April 10, 2020

How I Podcast: In conversation with the co-hosts of I’m Grand Mam

We’re talking with podcasters from all walks of life about their creative process and why audio is one of the coolest ways to tell a story.

Have you ever met someone and felt like you’ve known them forever? That’s the feeling you might get when you listen to I’m Grand Mam, co-hosted by Kevin Twomey and PJ Kirby, two animated Irish lads and self-described “mammy’s boys.” The show is a meeting point to talk openly about being gay, living in London, and anything else that’s on the minds of these funny and supportive friends.

Photo by Jose Galang

With each new episode, Kevin and PJ skip the usual podcast introductions and jump right into the conversation, picking up wherever they left off. Their discussions are free-flowing and bounce between different topics with a typical episode covering subjects like Tinder dating, coming out, Royal Family drama, people clipping their nails in public, and songs on the radio that are actually subliminal anthems for the gay community. It’s as casual as two friends catching up in a living room, and it’s easy to feel like you’re right there with them.

Kevin and PJ bring their full energy to each podcast episode and make an effort to let their true selves shine. The co-hosts are a perfect example that you don’t need to be an expert on any specific topic to make a great podcast. You can win over listeners with whatever’s on your mind, by capturing conversations with friends and simply being yourself.

We talked with Kevin and PJ about their podcasting process and what they learned along the way.

PJ and Kevin with their mams
What motivated you to start podcasting?

We both moved to the UK to train in the arts and both work as freelance creatives. We had an idea to start our own Irish themed gay night club in London, but soon realised that could be a difficult feat as we have quite a small circle of friends. We’ve always loved having people ‘round to our house and people would always comment that we made a good team. As creatives, we decided that instead of waiting to be employed by other people, we would create the work for ourselves.

What’s your show’s format?

The first episode we did was essentially verbal diarrhea, and we basically spoke about anything and everything that came into our heads — from the Royal Family to mishaps with Lush bath bombs. And though it was a bit chaotic, the reaction was still really great. From then, the format started to take shape in that we’d have a catch up at the start about what’s been happening since the last episode was published. The themes we explore are typically specific to our own experiences as young gay men, but it resonates with a lot of people. We talk about coming out, moving away from home, dating, how we miss our mams and all that craic. These themes are then layered with funny anecdotes. In the last segment of the podcast, we do a section called ‘Mam Knows Best’ whereby our own mams offer their advice to our listeners on issues and questions they’ve messaged to us on Instagram.

What’s your recording setup?

For the first two seasons we recorded at our kitchen table in our humble abode in East London, with a microphone that we purchased on Amazon for £50 and a pot of tea between us. Since starting season 3, we’ve been recording at Factory Studios on Oxford Street, and it’s stunning. They’ve recently just launched a purpose-built Podcast Lounge, and the place is so glam. We’re one of the first podcasts to record there, and everyone on the team is so lovely, and honestly it’s just a dream being there. We’re so fortunate to be working with them and having them on board as a production company.

How do you promote your podcast?

We’ve really just relied on social media and word of mouth to help get the word out about I’m Grand Mam. Irish people love chatting, and there’s so much to be said for when someone tells their friend to give us a listen. We’ve recently started doing content for IGTV which has resulted in more followers of the podcast. The videos are based on the hashtag #mcm which stands for ‘Man Crush Monday,’ but we’ve put our own spin on it and repurposed it as ‘Mam Crush Monday.’ We basically react to pictures of people’s mams and hype them up, if you will. Irish mammies don’t get enough credit for how iconic they are, so we want to celebrate them.

What’s your favorite Anchor feature to use?

Once we decided that we definitely wanted to do a podcast, we didn’t really know how to bring our vision to life, or how to get our podcast up on running on all the different hosting sites. Anchor did all this hard work for us. Once we had the first episode recorded, we were able to distribute it to every major platform at the click of a button. The analytics dashboard has also been invaluable to us to see where all of our “mammies” are based all over the world, and to help entice brands who are potentially interested in doing a partnership with us.

“Once we decided that we definitely wanted to do a podcast, we didn’t really know how to get our podcast up and running on all the different hosting sites. Anchor did all this hard work for us. Once we had the first episode recorded, we were able to distribute it to every major platform at the click of a button.”
What’s one thing you wish you knew about podcasting before you started?

How much time it takes! Especially when we were doing all the editing ourselves! It’s a lot of work but it is so worth it.

What’s your favorite thing about your podcast?

Kevin: The fact that I get to work creatively with my best friend on something is so lovely. I also love being on the tube or sitting in a cafe and seeing someone with headphones on having a giggle to themselves and thinking they could be listening to me in their ears. Making people laugh and brightening up someone’s day is so rewarding.
PJ: My fave thing about doing the podcast is that I get to have a laugh with one of my best friends. We started this at our kitchen table and it has grown into a platform where we can speak openly about any topic and make each other burst out laughing. And our listeners are right there laughing with us. I think that’s really rare and something that I’ll never take for granted.

What’s your best podcasting advice?

Honesty is the best policy. One of the main reasons we feel people love listening to us is because we’re very open, and we speak quite candidly when tackling different topics. People have remarked that when listening to us, they feel like they’re sitting down with us having a cup of tea and a good catch up. We don’t shy away from sharing personal stories because they’re the ones people relate to and find the funniest.

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How do you podcast? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re looking for more tips, check out the previous edition of How I Podcast, and if you want to start your own, try making something awesome with Anchor.

Learn more: Inspiration