All music producers record artists, but Grammy, SESAC, Billboard and Dove Award-winning producer/songwriter Seth Mosley doesn’t stop there. He also records engineers, songwriters, label execs, fellow producers and plenty of others, all for his podcast, The Full Circle Music Show. Pros like Reid Shippen (Death Cab For Cutie; Kenny Chesney), Neal Avron (Sara Bareilles; Fall Out Boy) and others have stopped by the show to share their insights and tales from decades in the industry. There’s something to be learned from each of them, and during each episode, it becomes apparent that despite his own successes, Mosley is learning, too.
“My goal for every single show is to learn something I didn’t know when I woke up that day,” he says. “If you are always learning, you are always growing. Unfortunately, the opposite is true also—when you stop learning, that’s when you start dying, and your work starts getting stale.”
Feeding that need to learn led to creating the show in the first place. “The podcast came out of me being a podcast junkie, and really more just of a ‘story’ junkie,” he says. “I love to hear the back-story behind why people do what they do—specifically successful people, and even more specifically, successful people in the music biz. How do they think? What are their habits? Why do they make the decisions they make? This is as much of a selfish reason for me to simply learn and soak up their immense experience and wisdom, and I figured, if it’s that valuable to me, I’m sure it would be valuable to others. So that’s simply it. It’s a way for us to add value to the music biz and to shine a light on the stories of its leaders.”
For Mosley, a key prerequisite for guests is that regardless of their roles in the music industry ecosystem, they have to be actively working and moving forward today; it’s not a place for victory lap recollections of a music business gone by—unless the moral is applicable to the present.
“One rule I live by is to not take advice from someone who isn’t where you want to be; take advice from people who are actually doing it, and succeeding,” says Mosley. “We interviewed Jeff Moseley, the president of Fair Trade Records, who is a 30-plus year industry veteran. It was like a master-class in music business, without paying for the college degree…. I think even if you are producer or songwriter or artist, there is always something you can take away from a conversation with someone like Jeff, who doesn’t do the job that you do. For instance, myself as a writer/producer, I feel like I know how to better serve labels after having that conversation with Jeff.”
While Mosley and many of his guests know their way around a studio control room, that level of gear would be overkill for a podcast. Equipment-wise, the show is simply recorded via a UAD Apollo Twin Interface to Avid Pro Tools 11 on an Apple Macbook Pro. Mosley and his guests chat into Shure SM58 microphones on stands, but it’s all kept fairly low-key to facilitate a loose, conversational style, with them opting for sitting on a couch versus an interview-table setup.
That more laid-back vibe has led to some intriguing moments—and sometimes rather personal ones as well, revealing the real people behind the names in the liner notes. “I think my most unexpected and favorite moment so far is at the very end of the Tim Lauer episode. He is an uber-talented producer/writer/player/arranger. In the end of the episode, he went off on a tangent about how he feels like he’s still trying to prove himself and really opened up in a moment of vulnerability that even though he is in the top 1 percent of the 1 percent of people doing this for a living, he still feels like a kid trying to prove himself.
“Things like that are always affirming, because being in a creative business, which is ultimately subjective, it’s hard to know if the work we are doing is really special, or are we just crazy? I think everyone should listen to that episode. It’s very affirming and human.”