Rob Morgan is uniquely trained to ask questions.
That’s because, as bassist for musical acts including the Minnesota-sprung electronic-pop band Owl City, Morgan has found himself in the role of the listener. Never standing front and center, he has learned to respond to what others want musically—enough to foster a love of listening in his day-to-day life that has spawned a new podcast: Rob Morgan Is A Curious Person.
After touring internationally, Morgan started interviewing Minneapolis-based artists and entrepreneurs to learn more about who they are and what made them that way—with an aim to teach listeners about local scenes.
He had found his best conversations did not happen inside recording studios, so he didn’t think his podcasts should take place in one, either.
“When people do podcasts, they sit in rooms, they put up curtains, and all you hear is the voices,” he says. “None of my favorite conversations I’ve had with people have been so sterile. All my conversations happen in a bar or a coffee shop or restaurant. You feel like you just pulled up a stool at the bar.”
Sitting down with a drink in hand, no matter where you are or who you are with, can open a world of possibilities, he says—a simple idea that spurred Morgan to record episodes in public settings.
With glasses clinking and trains passing in the background, Morgan talks with locals such as Nick Kosevich, the cocktail wizard behind the now-closed Town Talk Diner and co-founder of Bittercube Bitters; Minneapolis drummer Steve Goold; and Alex Grahmann, an international Lego-building champion. Morgan is readily impressed and inspired (“Oh, man, that is so huge. Wow.”) talking with guitarist Tyler Burkum about remembering to exist in the moment, even if that moment is spent telling your kid to put his clothes away, because the small things are what will add up to your life. Although the natural sound can be distracting, it adds to the immersive feel.
Because of Morgan’s background working with multi-platinum, Grammy Award–winning artists, he used to think his projects should have a worldwide focus. He has since realized there are interesting people right here, and they don’t have to be the biggest names in town. The podcast’s accompanying website features an interactive map of where the recordings take place, so listeners can go on location to sites such as Indeed Brewing Co. and Taproom or Bad Waitress while they listen, to feel as if they were part of the conversation.
Ultimately, Morgan has three goals: to entertain, to enlighten, and to encourage. Using the voices of everyday Minnesotans, he hopes to lead others into new conversations, to ask questions and pursue the things they are passionate about.
“I have no hopes that this is the number-one podcast on the market,” he says. “I’m convinced that 99.99 percent of the problems in the world today can be cured with a general sense of curiosity. If you approach someone with that general sense, it would fix everything.”
Rob Morgan Is A Curious Person is now available on all major podcast download sites. To learn more, visit The Curious Pod website.