Podcast Spotlight

The Cat vs Bat podcast discusses pressing issues in the subculture

On May 19, 2019, Cat vs. Bat Podcast will celebrate one year of discussing music, debating the pressing issues of the subculture, interviewing interesting people, and having many good laughs.

Cat vs Bat hosts DJs Mistress McCutchan (left) and Batty von Bats (right)

The history of the podcast

“Cat vs. Bat came together over a conversation at [Java cafe]. We,” podcast host Mistress McCutchan explains about herself and co-host Batty von Bats, “sit around over coffee or stronger beverages and discuss music, shows, and the scene on a pretty regular basis, and thought it could be really fun to start recording these conversations and create a podcast. We have a lot of stories to tell from our experiences as DJs and folks who’ve been in the scene for quite some time.”

She then adds, “I remember Ryan [Batty von Bats] coming back to the table after a trip to the washroom saying, ‘I just had a stroke… of genius! We call it Cat vs. Bat!'”

“It really was that simple getting started. We didn’t put a lot of forethought into starting it. We just kinda did it because we like talking about things and we think we’re amusing,” Batty von Bats affirms.

The planned start to the podcast was delayed for a furry group of the most adorable reasons. Batty von Bats discovered a gaze of raccoon kits (yes, that’s a plural form and the term for juvenile raccoons!) just outside where the podcast is usually recorded. Mistress McCutchan and partner-in-crime Justin were tasked with caring for the kits while desperately looking for a safe new home for the furballs.

“It confirmed every reason I never want to have children. They were so cute, but so much work! It took over our lives for a couple months until they could be moved north of the city,” Laura aka Mistress McCutchan reflects.

Building Momentum

The podcast has averaged about 92 downloads per episode in its first year. Its reach is growing at a healthy rate, but harnessing or leveraging that for any other purpose is not really the point for these podcasters. The point is fun for themselves and for listeners.

Laura explains, “we started podcasting because we thought it would be a fun project to do. It would be lovely to monetize the podcast at some point, but was not a definitive goal. Putting together a Patreon account could help, but that’s not something we want to pursue at this point.”

Ryan concurs, “I know the goal for me is really to have fun with it. They are a lot of work and while we take it seriously, I want it to remain as a hobby. If it picks up and we can get a sponsor or two to get some coin flowing, that would be cool, but it would have to be the right people to work with.”

Partners And Tools For The Job

While both podcasters have plenty of experience under their belt, a third and important person mentioned once so far is Justin Minister. He’s played with David J Haskins and Sex Gang Children among his other musical projects such as Jay Draper and the Subterraneans, and his sound expertise helps to bring everything together. The three’s experience working together does result in brief but super useful advice for anyone looking to start a quality podcast.

“Being DJs and having some experience in working with audio software certainly helps, but a lot of what makes us sound good is Justin Minister. He’s spent years working on learning audio software and producing his own music. He’s done a lot of editing for us and has been pretty particular about quality. The more I listen to other podcasts, I can hear and appreciate the difference between good and poor audio,” Laura says.

Ryan adds, “for me, the biggest hurdle was going from live to recording. I paid too much attention to what bloggers were saying and not just getting the gear I wanted. Buy with your ears after all. Since then, we’ve gotten much better with Justin’s help and investing in good gear rather than what random people were suggesting. Seriously, buy with your ears, folks.”

Talk Radio

Quite often the podcast will discuss new and/or overlooked music, recommendations from experienced DJs. However, social issues are on their minds and well-discussed, no surprise given subculture itself tends to have political and social issues at the forefront of its existence. One episode included an interview with Allysin Chaynes about Queerdo and the queer presence in subculture.

These topics are easily too broad and deep for a single episode, as Ryan agrees, “there is a lot more to talk about regarding queer history in the scene and we’ve only heard one perspective. There is a lot to talk about regarding politics and problematic people in the scene as well. Big issues really can’t be fully addressed in a single session, no matter how long, so I expect more conversations around these things.”

Laura sheds light on the process for coming up with podcast topics even through busy life schedules. “Yeah, if it’s something we’re currently thinking about and talking about, we plan it as a topic for a show. We loosely plot a lot of topics for shows, and work it in to our crazy schedules outside of podcasting. Both of us have corporate day jobs, and when we’re not podcasting, we’re planning and attending live shows and DJing. I also direct two dance troupes. I want to be sure our shows are listenable on someone’s commute to work and spark more conversation or interest in the music.”

The Future

The biggest thing coming up is out One Year Anniversary Party May 19th at the Boat in Kensington Market so if you are in Toronto come out and see us. DJs Vernal Trash and the Wasteland will be joining us like last year and it should be fun!” Ryan strongly suggests.

Regarding what other topics might be discussed in the future, Laura says, “We’re planning some ‘on the road’ topics so we can chat with other folks in other places as we travel! Travel’s been pretty big on my list this year, I interviewed Kevin Matthews (Sex Gang Children) while in a pub in London about his new boutique record label, and at the time of this writing, will have together a scene report from Winnipeg… I’m thinking on what I may do when I’m in Boston for Convergence.”

Cat vs. Bat Podcast can be found via Facebook, Podbean, and iTunes.

Dylan Madeley
Dylan Madeley is the Copy Editor of Auxiliary, a frequent contributor, and the author of The Gift-Knight’s Quest.
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