Note from the author:

Below is a written version of the podcast, which you can find on SoundCloud, iTunes, or wherever you get podcasts. The text below may differ from the actual recording by a lot. I write the text and then speak it on the podcast to Stephen, so it inevitably changes depending on his reactions.

Welcome to Episode 5 of Four Questions – a weekly podcast where I answer four questions about my husband’s indie rock band, Learson Peak. My name is Michelle Learson and I’m your host. Stephen Learson, my husband, is also here and will be providing comic relief. 

So this past Sunday was Mother’s day – we hope you celebrated your mother or if you are a mother, then I hope you were properly recognized. For myself, I admit that I spend a lot of time on social media, and I really enjoyed seeing all the mother’s day photos on my Instagram and Facebook feeds. One of the cutest photos I saw online this weekend was a toddler photo of our beloved drummer, Jules Jenssen, with his mother and a set of drum sticks. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Jules with his mother

Stephen and I spent Mother's day with his very large extended family - his mom, his grandmother, his aunts, and his cousins - who are all mothers! I was definitely jealous. My mother is in China so the best I could do we send her a very cute Bitmoji of myself through Wechat.


#1. What went well for the band last week?

Last week, due to another band cancelling a show last minute, Stephen had the opportunity to play a late night slot at our local craft beer bar, Article 24. It’s a fairly new restaurant located in Brighton just around the corner from Harvard Business School, WGBH, and Big Daddy’s Pizza (my favorite pizza place in Boston). 

Even though Steve had just 2 days to practice, I think the gig went relatively well. The two other bands that played were super nice and friendly. They even helped us unload the car – I can't remember the last time another band helped us load in or load out. We were super thankful.

I really enjoyed meeting new musicians. In Stephen’s scene, most of the bands I see tend to be the same ones over and over again. This was a rare opportunity to experience a different genre of music – singer songwriters. Stripped down, strong vocalists. 

Guitarist Jack Byrne played first, followed by Gentle Temper –which is an “Ocean Folk” blues duo with fantastic harmonies. Here's a video clip of Gentle Temper:

After Gentle Temper, Stephen played a power set of Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Indobox, Queen and brand new originals. Also - two guys in the audience approached Stephen pretty aggressively halfway through his set and requested Land Down Under by Men at Work. It always surprises me how Stephen can just pull songs out of his butt at the spur of the moment.

If you are a local musician in the area, Article 24 runs a weekly open mic night and are looking for musicians to play . If you are interested, let us know and we will put you in touch.

#2. What didn’t go so well for the band last week?

Um… well I didn’t do any of the things I said I would last week because I ran out of time, and I was sidetracked by a new pet project, which is the answer to the next question. 

#3. What is the most interesting thing I learned?

So.. this may lead to a philosophical discussion about robots, but I wanted to share with you a new project I’ve been working on which creates Instagram Robots. It’s an open source software called Python, and someone named Tim Grossman published his code on GitHub for free. 

Things you can do with the Instagram Robot:
•    Follow someone else's followers
•    Follow users that someone else is following
•    Follow the likers of photos of users
•    Follow the commenters of photos of users
•    Unfollow certain users
•    Like posts based on the number of followers and/or following a user has
•    Liking based on the number of existing likes a post has
•    Commenting based on the number of existing comments a post has
•    Comment or Like by Locations
•    Comment or Like by HashTags

All I have to do now is better understand how the robot works and run the code on my computer. Here’s what I’ve managed to do so far:
-    Download the Google Chrome driver
-    Install Python and Visual C++
-    Pull the Python code from GitHub and start to tailor it for my account

I’m a little hesitant to launch my robot because I don’t want to:
A) Crash my Computer
B) Annoy my friends and followers online or
C) Get banned from Instagram.

There are good ways to use robots and dumb ways. I will give you an update next week if I manage to get the courage to run it. Some people consider internet bots to be unethical, and I’m not sure I disagree. 

#4. What am I excited about next week?

Learson Peak will be playing at Article 24 next Friday night for the Boston Calling After Party night #1. That will be the day The Killers, Portugal The Man, Maggie Rogers, The National and many others perform. Boston Calling ends relatively early, so come and continue the night at Article 24.

In addition - the MIT Logarhythms are performing a free Spring Concert at Kresge Auditorium on Friday, May 18. Go check them out. Super talented MIT A Cappella students. Here's a taste:

Last thing – if you didn’t know Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be getting married at Windsor Castle on Sat May 19. I know it's super early in the morning, but I do wish I had someone to watch the wedding with other than Bartok. If you are having a watching party please invite me! Maybe I lived in Australia for too long, but I cannot WAIT to see this wedding.