Nick Hornby wrote in the book, Songbook, “I love the relationship that anyone has with music … because there’s something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. … It’s the best part of us probably …” Music has that effect on our lives. It makes us feel. It makes us think. It helps see who we really are. In this month’s edition of “For Your Listening Pleasure,” the focus is on a local podcast that finds the best local and indie music around and brings it home to the Triad.
Halshack is local podcast that focuses on indie and local music. Produced by Hal Jester, the show is an outlet for these artists to “show their stuff” and give listeners a taste of the talent that is out there but maybe not heard by a huge audience. It is a haven that looks for emerging artists and unsigned acts. for
Hal Jester began his career as a local promoter in the area in 1998. He started small with two other business partners, and put on a few shows within the state, but life took him in a different direction when he became a father. Jester continued his career behind the scenes, helping push and promote a band he founded called On Second Thought. This led Jester to helping with Road Runner Records Sign Me Too website and eventually the caught the attention of others at the label. Thus, began his journey to Halshack.
“Shortly after Road Runner’s demise, I befriended an awesome internet radio DJ from Seattle, WA, who is now my good dear buddy Matthew Meadows. He offered me a guest spot on his popular indie show ‘Rango Unmuzzled’ (which was part of the Reputation Radio Network, an internet radio station based in the UK) to help promote some of my bands that I had found over my years. I got to do some guest spots, it was a lot of fun and an amazing experience,” says Jester.
“Once I acquired enough bands, John Summers (former Virgin Records A&R and the owner of Reputation Radio) offered me my own show which allowed me to become entangled with some really cool people like Pete Ringmaster (Ringmaster Review — UK) and Tom McNeil (Bombshell Radio — Canada). Both of which I am still working with today!” he continues.
The rest is podcast history as Jester only needed to find a name for his show. “Soooo, I needed a name. I went through a few variations from, Howlin’ Hal to The Band Stop to Hal’s Bands. Then I reluctantly decided on The Band Shack, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I was doing some brainstorming with my good buddy Matthew (aka Rango the Dog) and he blurted out, and I quote verbatim, ’Call it Halshack and hashtag the $#!^ out of that.’ But it had to have more than Halshack, so I thought ‘podcast’ … ugh, too boring and then a braingasm hit me: ‘rockcast.’ And I thought, yeah, that’s different, and the HALSHACK INDIE ROCKCAST was born. The first episode went live on Oct 16, 2014,” concluded Jester.
Jester’s has no shortage of energy when discussing his show and the role he wants the show to play in the community. “I am passionate about this project. I make no money from what we do and certainly take no money from the bands. It is my goal to catch the attention of radio stations and networks, satellite radio, also the major record labels to possibly open doors and make contacts for all parties involved and especially to promote the BANDS and get them noticed. I am passionate about indie music and discovering hidden talent. I strive to find bands and artists (which are relatively unknown but have proven themselves successful in building their image and fanbase) that can compete with today’s industry standards,” he further comments.
Jester is also very proud of what makes his podcast unique and relevant. “I’m the one-stop shop for ace level indie bands and solo indie artists that can compete with or rival today’s stars that have their own potential hit songs, and some of them have several hit songs at that. So apart from offering some of the best (unknown) unsigned indie bands and artists, my show and my website are chock full of reasons why we are ‘unique.’ This is the only place you will find all these same acts under one roof. I offer a platform that no other radio show or podcast offers. I blend rock, pop, and alternative with a smattering of reggae, ska, punk, Americana, funk and modern blues,” he concludes.
Halshack is not a podcast for mainstream music lovers, but it is a podcast for music enthusiasts who yearn to hear something new or find the “next big act” in the music industry. It is a podcast for those who listen to find connections with songs from bands that they have never heard till now. In short, it’s a podcast for music lovers from true music lovers, and Hal Jester wouldn’t have it any other way.