Introducing Signal Flow, Berklee's Newest Podcast

Kimberly Ashton
October 10, 2018

Signal Flow explores the technology, techniques, and ideas in digital music, and the interaction of audio with other arts.

As part of their Berklee Online courses, Erin Barra and Loudon Stearns create instructional videos that make life spring from topics that, in less capable hands, could crumble with dryness.

In these videos, the two are heard having long conversations about things like file management and MIDI controllers. And, believe it or not, these clips are popular, says Barra, an associate professor in the Songwriting Department.

“Not sure how we made file management exciting, but people seem to like listening to the two of us chat, so we thought we'd make a thing of it,” she says.

That thing is Berklee’s new podcast, Signal Flow, in which she and Stearns explore the technology, techniques, and ideas in digital music, and the interaction of audio with other arts. Signal Flow is Berklee’s second podcast, following Sounds of Berklee, which features interviews and music from the College and Conservatory communities, and beyond.

“I think out there, in the world, there’s a desire for people to make…. We’ve democratized creation. Everyone wants to make, everyone wants to create something new, and I want to share these insights,” says Stearns, an associate professor in the Contemporary Writing and Production Department.

In advance of the first episode, Barra answered some questions about the podcast’s genesis and what listeners can expect:

What inspired you and Stearns to develop Signal Flow?

Loudon and I have been working together for years on lots of projects, both inside and outside of Berklee and the dynamic between the two of us is unique. Our skill sets and interests overlap in so many ways, but in terms of how our minds work, we couldn't be more different. We had just finished working on a multiyear project, closed our laptops, sort of looked at each other and asked, ‘What's next?'

What topics will you two cover in upcoming episodes?

We start the series by paying homage to, and dissecting tracks from, the [artist-] triumvirate that is Modeselektor, Apparat, and Moderat. Both Loudon and I love how these acts and artists work both separately and together to create electronic tracks that are dripping in musicianship and are so refined in their approach. In later episodes, we start to tackle concepts such as spatial audio and what's happening to the way people experience sound.

What kind of listener is Signal Flow geared toward?

Signal Flow is for people who are interested in the intersection of music and technology. Listeners who are music tech nerds will love this podcast, but I think it's accessible to anyone who's interested in either music or technology and wants to learn more about either.

Personally, I don't know much about cars but I still love listening to Car Talk on NPR. The same idea is true of Signal Flow; no prior experience or prerequisite knowledge is required.

Take a listen to the first episode:

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