Sunday, 23 January 2011

A self-indulgent aside: My interview with Record of the Day

Record of the Day recently asked me to answer a few questions for the Media Spotlight section in their weekly industry magazine. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about it; self-promotion's not something I'm particularly interested in. But, Nick and I are aware we need to promote the Radar site with a bit more vigour and personality, so I felt it was probably worthwhile. Industry types usually read the rag and, well, it might just help to give some exposure to our site and some of the bands.

So, here's the interview in full. It was a bit disconcerting being on the opposite side of things, even if there was no Dictaphone involved (thank god), but I think I managed to come across OK without sounding like too much of an ignoramus. It has been a strange start to the year; not only did this crop up but I've been asked to be a selector for this year's TITP TBreak stage. It's not something I'd ever thought I'd be doing, but if it helps some deserving bands out then it can only be a good thing. Can't it?


Billy Hamilton


First music-related job:
Reviewing various music-related shenanigans on the Edinburgh Fringe for ThreeWeeks magazine. 110 words for a review seemed like big deal back then. Working every day and having to file to deadline was a steep learning curve.

The last music I purchased was:
It was actually a collection of Otis Redding songs for a fairly arduous car journey up north. Not that cool, I know, but Otis had pretty hefty set of pipes.

The music that's exciting me at the moment is:
Well, there’s a young Edinburgh three-piece called Lady North who are probably the most brutal and genuinely breathtaking band I’ve seen in the city in years – the drummer is insane. We’ve actually got plans to put together our first in-depth photo-story with them, which Nick [Mitchell, fellow Radar co-editor] and me are quite exited about.

A recent trend I've been enjoying is:
I’m not sure I enjoy trends so much, but I’ve got a lot of admiration for the people putting on makeshift shows around Scotland at the moment, in spite of the demise of the country’s smaller venues.

A trend I have less time for:
Is Rihanna a trend? She’s seemed to be on every R&B record these days, so I think she counts. Her voice is like a vocoder-affected chest infection.

How I'm listening to my music now: (Spotify, iTunes, CDs)
I absolutely loathe listening to music through computers, probably because mine is a bit shite, so usually it’s just MP3s through my stereo/iPod, or good old fashioned CDs or vinyl.

The best thing about my job is:
Seeing a new band for the first time and feeling like you absolutely need to write about them. It’s a pretty satisfying feeling.

The worst thing about my job is:
Enduring the wounded blog posse that rounds on writers after a middling (or less) review of their favourite band. It can get particularly blood thirsty up here and I’m certain it affects what journalists write, which in turn does no one any good.

How have recent changes in the media world affected what I do:
The gradual movement from print to online was a big change, in terms of style and tone and just the amount of space you have to write. Also, I think having to ‘tool up’ and work with multi-media content is something most journalists have had to get to grips with. Ultimately, it’s made music journalism more dynamic, if maybe a little less personable.

The best interview I did recently was:
James Graham from the Twilight Sad is always a pleasure to interview, so it was probably my last interview with him in October. It’s just a shame we couldn’t publish half of what he said.

The worst interview I did recently was:
I guess the worst I’ve had in the last year was with a singer from an American band who was clearly annoyed by being phoned up at 12pm US time, as agreed with his PR. Add this to his complete inability to understand my accent and it turned into a pretty uncomfortable half hour.

What other music magazines or writers do you read?
The usual online/magazine fare, I’m afraid: Pitchfork, DiS, Quietus, Cokemachine Glow, Pop Matters, Stool Pigeon. Every month I’ll wade through The Skinny, which is still Scotland’s best music magazine. Also the NME has been getting noticeably better so I’ve started picking that up more often.

One change I'd make to the music industry?
Kill off The Brits.

One act I'd really like to succeed this year is...
John Knox Sex Club. Their debut LP Blud Rins Cauld was one of last year’s best records and their live shows are incredible, yet they’ve barely been heard of outside the Central Belt.

If I didn't do this job, I'd...
Probably have more spare time and less junk mail.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rihanna DOES sound like a chest infection. Her and David Guetta-life depress me beyond belief. Mon The SEX CLUB!