In-depth US podcast covers Winnipeg’s Propagandhi
For two guys living in the United States, Greg Soden and Keith Gough have spent a lot of time in Winnipeg over the past 12 months.
They are the hosts of Unscripted Moments: A Propaganda Podcast – though, calling their large-scale oral history project on the Winnipeg-based punk-metal band a âpodcastâ seems somewhat insufficient.
Soden and Gough, both 37, have released over 50 long episodes (and several bonus episodes) on Propagandhi’s music since June 2020. Although neither have visited our mid-sized prairie town , it became a recurring character in their weekly interviews with musicians, writers, academics and local fans.
âWhat’s been so interesting about this whole process is how central Winnipeg is to the history of the podcast,â Soden said via Zoom from his home in Buffalo, NY. “We talk about your city so often.”
Soden earned a master’s degree in Saskatoon, but Gough, who lives outside of Chicago in the northwest corner of Indiana, never ventured north of the 49th parallel.
âIt has been a learning experience,â he says of the show. “Obviously on the group, but also on things that as foreigners we would not have learned in school or that our media would not have understood.”
The couple were little more than Twitter acquaintances when they decided to launch a long-distance pandemic passion project together.
Listen to Episode 50: The Coach’s Corner.
Both are teachers and meet regularly in online education circles. The relationship progressed beyond likes and comments when Soden noticed that Gough’s profile picture was the cover of the 2012s. Failed states, Propagandhi’s sixth album.
âThe idea for this song-by-song Propagandhi podcast started to sprout in my mind,â says Soden, who was already producing his own religion podcast at the time. “I was like, ‘Oh, I wonder if that random guy from Indiana would be a good person to do a show like this with?'”
The format for Unscripted moments was inspired by a podcast titled As you were, which dissects the discography of the American rock group Alkaline Trio one song at a time. No one had tried the same with Propagandhi; Soden was eager to give it a shot. His potential co-host, however, needed to be convinced – six months of conviction, to be exact.
âI was never someone to create something and take it to the world,â Gough says.
“I felt very insecure about recording my thoughts, my voice, and then having strangers on the internet hitting me for things I said or not said.”
Last March, when the coronavirus started making waves in North America, his school closed for four weeks and then the rest of the year. He needed a social outlet. An ongoing weekly chat about her favorite band with a new friend from two states started to gain traction.
Gough discovered Propagandhi through online music bulletin boards in the early 2000s. He fell hard and relished the chance to talk about their music whenever he noticed someone wearing a band shirt. The social, political and historical ideas of the lyrics have changed his view of the world and influenced the way he teaches American history in the classroom.
âWe like to see the past separated from the events of today. (I’m trying) to help students draw a thread between then and now,â Gough says. “Questions about power, access to resources, who has influence over the media, what is in textbooks and what is left out.”
Soden first heard a Propagandhi record during a high school jam session. That he stole his bandmate’s copy of the then trio’s debut in 1993, How to clean everything, or borrowed and never returned is a detail lost in history. Regardless, he was addicted to the band’s tendency to push the limits, musically and ideologically, which is factored into his teaching as well.
“As an English, speaking and debate teacher, the main thing I want my students to feel comfortable with is researching and expressing opinions on things that they find interesting or disturbing, âSoden explains. “This is what Propagandhi has been doing throughout his career.”
Recording Unscripted moments was a way to channel their fandom and speak to the larger context of the band’s music. Most episodes are two hours long and include a song discussion, musical performances, and interviews with subject matter experts and people associated with the band. They also chatted with former and current band members Chris Hannah, Jord Samolesky, Todd Kowalski, Sulynn Hago and David Guillas.
Once they have analyzed each Propagandhi song, of which there are over 100, the podcast will be over, that is, until the group’s next release.
The desire to do justice to meaningful music turned the hobby into a part-time (albeit unpaid) job. The hosts spend over 16 hours per show researching, recording, editing, and publishing, all while being a parent, teaching, and trying to maintain a semblance of work-life balance.
âThat’s what this group inspires me,â Soden says of the self-imposed workload. “This is by far my favorite creative project that I have ever participated in.”
Listeners were receptive to the concept. The show sees around 10,000 downloads each month from people around the world. If Gough hesitated before commenting, it became one of his favorite parts of the podcast, “To get it well received and to receive emails and (direct messages) and care packages and letters from people cheering us onâ¦ these things are pretty amazing, âhe says.
âTo get it well received and to receive emails and (direct messages) and care packages and mail from people encouraging usâ¦ these things are pretty amazing.â -Keith Gough
The show doesn’t follow any set timeline, but focuses on the song the hosts want to talk about that week. The work has kept them sane during the pandemic, but the heavy topic often takes its toll.
âWe’re going to research and read about cops killing First Nations men in Saskatoon for a whole week,â Soden says of the song. Brighter of greater things, about the police department’s tradition of ‘starlight tours’, which led to the freezing deaths of three native men in 2000. âThere are songs we really need to talk about. ”
After almost a year of recording Unscripted moments on Zoom, Soden and Gough first met in person in April. The weirdest part was how big the other one was.
“He got out of his car and he just continued to stand,” Gough says, laughing.
They would love to meet up in real life and haven’t ruled out a trip to Winnipeg once the border opens – maybe for a live show or just to see the city they’ve spent so much time talking about.
âI’m coming,â Soden said. “It’s a guarantee that people will see me roaming the streets of Winnipeg looking for murals on West Broadway.”
Listen Unscripted moments on unscriptedmoments.libsyn.com or any podcast platform.