Audio Challenge #1 – The Sound of Silence

To kick off our first Audio Club we asked you to create 5-7 minute pieces about anything and everything in the whole entire world. The catch? You needed to incorporate 60 seconds of absolute, pin-drop silence. Listen below to see how people tackled this challenge.

The Sound of Silence – Ramon Briant

Hold your breath – Cristina Marras

Audio Challenge #3 – Pass the Mic

‘Pass the Mic’ is the first of our two-part series on interview skills. Our first month focused on capturing advice from our community for capturing a great interview, regardless of your context.

Here’s Audio Club’s top tips for preparing for, capturing and editing interviews!


Consider the dynamic and material you want to capture and adapt your preparation accordingly.

Do you know exactly what story or moment you’re looking to capture?

Focus on developing the wording and order of your questions to generate the desired response when you sit down for your talk. Allow time for deep research and if possible, complete pre-interviews with your guest or even people that know them well so you’re clear on your details and how comfortable they feel about specific topics so you know how they might respond on the day.

Are you looking to capture a feeling or sense of a person, more than a specific story?

Do some general research about the person / topic, but avoid listening to previous interviews they’ve done and don’t take notes into the recording. This will help you focus on being present, connecting with the other person and actively listening / responding in an authentic way.

Or perhaps you’re interviewing on the fly and have no chance for preparation?

Sometimes we’re capturing voxpops or something more spontaneous and you’re not even certain the other person will say yes to being interviewed! Give yourself a moment to think about your opener – it’s important to introduce your purpose in an honest but succinct way (‘I’m making a podcast about farmers markets’) and to identify an easy and low-stakes question you could ask such as ‘Why are you here today?’ or ‘Where are you going?’


  1. Room tone: Capture a few minutes of room tone – this will help with your editing stage!
  2. Set up / settle down time: Leave an additional 10-15 minutes of time on top of the length of the interview for you both to settle in – get water, tea, comfortable in front of the microphone and maybe even let some of those butterflies out by chatting about a topic unrelated to the interview.
  3. Set expectations: Take a moment to ensure your guest doesn’t have any questions about what you’re going to be discussing / how the material will be used. It’s also useful to let them know you might interrupt them to go back to a moment in their story or answer and this will be to make sure their story or interview will sound as good as possible. Let them know that you’ll adjust the audio equipment if you need to – they can move freely / focus on being comfortable.
  4. Connect as human beings: If your guest is nervous, agitated, tiring, becoming upset – offer them the space and time to get comfortable.
  5. Find and exude a sense of calm: Guests can often arrive with emotions that can impact an interview – maybe they’ve been in a rush to get there, come from an event that was upsetting or annoying, or maybe they’re nervous about being interviewed! Being a calm presence, not making them feel rushed or expressing your own pressures, can help to set a welcoming and focused space for the conversation to take place.


  1. Label your recordings: As soon as possible after recording, label each file and take down any notes about what you think was important to use, remove or remember. When you’re ready to edit, try to listen through the recording in one go without pressing pause. As you listen, use time stamps and key words to describe what you hear.
  2. Transcripts: Nowadays, there are heaps of free AI-based transcription services that will turn your audio file into text. This can be a useful way to do a first edit of your material – you can quickly delete what isn’t useful, or highlight what you think you’ll use. Otter.AI will create the transcript version only, but Descript is particularly great for audio-users as when you interact with the text it will also make changes to the tape. You might then export your audio into a waveform DAW like Reaper, Audition, Pro Tools (or any other!) to get into closer editing, sound design, mixing etc.
  3. Group your audio: Many DAW’s allow you to group audio files (e.g. all of the dialogue tracks as one group, the sound effect tracks as another group etc.) which can make it easier to adjust the levels at the same time.
  4. Pauses / Ums: When making a cut/splice in audio always ask yourself: does this edit sound natural? If you (or another person) can hear the edit, you might want to re-consider whether it’s necessary or whether there’s another place to cut / splice your audio. Closing your eyes to listen can be important so you aren’t focusing on the place where you’ve made the change. There are lots of tricks to softening (cross-fades, cutting at hard sounds like plosives), but sometimes we also just need to leave in that um or ah! All humans make them and it might be more distracting if someone doesn’t breathe for three sentences than if you remove a slightly noisy inhale.
  5. Stuck? Ask someone else what they think: It’s easy to fall into a vortex when we reach the edit stage…we get so close to a particular edit, sound choice or moment that it takes us 2, 3 or 4x as much time to solve a problem as it might take if we seek help. Audio storytelling needs external ears and often someone who isn’t as close to the audio will be able to help us find a solution or think differently about a problem. So never be afraid to share something that’s not working – it might just save you a couple of hours!