Imagine traveling the world, listening to music and discussing it on a podcast as your life’s purpose. Gardnerville, Nev., native Fil Corbitt is doing just that and his podcast, “Van Sounds,” is making news. An idea inspired by his lust for life and travel, the podcast has received accolades from Outside Magazine, which called “Van Sounds” one of the best podcasts of spring and listed it as “Best Offbeat Travel Audio.”
The concept for the podcast started while Corbitt was touring with a band in 2013.
“I liked being in a tour van, but I don’t live in a van. ‘Van Sounds’ could be from a boat, pickup truck or just on the road,” says Corbitt. “Engaging with new cultures, it informs the experience of what you hear when you’re traveling, whether you are in the middle of Nevada in South America or Asia.”
His nomad treks as a freelance travel writer lead him to interesting music wherever he ends up. According to Corbitt, “The reason I travel is to go and talk to new people and new bands. ‘Van Sounds’ is a podcast about movement, travel and music and the ethos behind the podcast is those things are connected.”
His process for interviews or how he picks and chooses bands for his podcast is not typical. He’s not necessarily covering a new album or band but looking for a deeper story to talk about. His shows are themed based.
“Engaging with new cultures, it informs the experience of what you hear when you’re traveling, whether you are in the middle of Nevada in South America or Asia.” – Fil Corbitt
“While in Hawaii I ended up talking with a guy in a punk band and realized how isolated it would be to be in a punk band in Maui. This got me to thinking about other bands on other islands,” Corbitt says.
He chatted with the songwriter of “Who Let the Dogs Out,” who lives in Trinidad and also happened to be a musician performing Soca music, a genre of Caribbean music.
“Van Sounds” includes a series of episodes in Peru where he was hired to interview radio stations. “I pick stories if I like an album or a band and I’ll reach out and find parallel themes,” he says.
He plays music and his hobbies, interests and passions all feed off each other. He thinks a lot about the role of music and travel, which he says, is infectious. One of his podcasts called, “Dice Series,” was a six-part series conceived when Corbitt and a friend decided to roll the dice before they drove. The roll of the dice deemed which way they would travel.
“If we rolled 1, we’d drive north; 2, we’d head east; 3, go south and so on. We’d find ourselves in Vegas or out west somewhere. It was a cool randomized adventure,” says Corbitt. “I thought I’d find big answers to some big questions and instead there were short glimpses, fleeting moments and ideas that came and went. I was constantly in pursuit but never catching it. The journey was to be in the moment and learning to be OK with it and enjoy it.”
Corbitt is a musician and plays drums, banjo and guitar in a band called “People with Bodies.” While traveling with his band he writes his stories. The band released a new album entitled, “Con Querpo,” which means “with body” in Spanish.
“There is really great music, really great people in a lot of places. The more you look, the more there is and if you dig through stuff, there is always something good,” he says. His hope is to explore what it’s like to be a band, playing music in another culture or another genre, such as punk, for instance — or as he puts it, “bringing the realm of culture the listener might not necessarily get otherwise.”
He is working on a handful of stories and then will head back to South America in September. He’ll keep making episodes, writing stories and having fun.
For more information or to subscribe to his podcast, visit filcorbitt.com.