Oral History: Bethany Smyth

I originally planned to interview my mom over Thanksgiving break and discuss the changes throughout her life, from her first black and white tv to the new and innovative technology she has on hand today like the Apple Smart TVs and her MAC Desktop computer. Unfortunately she couldn’t make it for the interview so I had to rethink what I wanted to do. I was later inspired by my Spotify account, when I realized I had to pay my monthly five dollar fee. Although remembering to pay for unlimited music every month can be fairly irritating, having a source to unlimited music throughout the ages is just that easy. I made two recordings. The first recording was a tester where me and my interviewees were having a real conversation about the questions I had for them in the real interview. For the test recording, we simply discussed and reminisced about our childhood and how so much has changed with the music radios that make it quick and easy to access new music. After they had their answers ready, we did the second recording or the real interview. After listening to the second recording, I didn’t like how formal and tense everyone was, waiting to answer the next question. It didn’t seem real and they sounded very nervous. I really enjoyed how at ease everyone was in the test recording and how much fun we had just having a real conversation about it.
During the test interview we brought up some things that I had completely forgotten about like the iPod Nano and Shuffles. I was also amused when we shared very similar stories about our access to music when we were younger. There is definitely more to talk about in the past than there is at present. I think we are so used to the current technology we have its more interesting to remember how complicated downloading music used to be. I’m sure however that in a few years we’ll be reminiscing about how complicated it was to access music today. I wanted to focus on questions that would make my interviewees think about how fast technology is changing throughout their lives and how it may be in the future.
It took a very long time to edit out twenty minutes of audio down to four or five minutes. I slowly had to delete sections that weren’t relevant, starting with the long pauses, then any stuttering or cursing, and lastly long parts the audio story could do without. The voices were either very loud or soft and I did my best to fix them audio however it didn’t work out as I wanted. So instead I used the Garageband telephone microphone to mask the voices. It gave the voices an echo that is typically found in Lofi music, so in the end the interview had a musical quality to it. It also took a very long time to figure out how to add a background track. I decided I wanted to add a Lofi music track in the background because of the low, slow beats. I recorded a lofi track on an app that allows me to manipulate free beats and music with select instruments. It also has free test sounds I incorporated into my track. I recorded the music I made with Garageband as a second track.

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