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20.04.12 MusicWeek 11

“With UK festivals, there needs to be a bit more imagination and a bit more risk. Coachella has shown the way, putting Swedish House Mafia as a main stage headliner. Nobody grumps at that music – it’s hands in the air, 90 minutes of fun. That’s what festivals are for”


you have to try and make it fun for them.

Let’s move onto music on UK TV… Oh God. Jesus. You tell me what’s going on there, bro.

2012’s Ibiza and Mallorca Rocks festivals will be the biggest in the brand’s seven-year history. Some 64 gigs will be hosted

payday for a lot of bands, and it could be a bit more exciting.

You can’t really say that about Radio 1’s Hackney weekender… That is the single most ridiculously amazing line-up I’ve ever seen. Jay-Z, Jack White, DeadMau5, The Swedes... [Radio 1’s] George Ergatoudis is not a man of hyperbole, but he said to me the other day: ‘This is insane.” He’s right. It’s going to be an incredible two days.

You’re a musician: does that give you a unique take? You seem quite open to various genres… Yes, much to my detriment in some people’s eyes. It’s the old “he likes everything” argument. I’ve always been completely obsessed with music. It started with an unshakeable ambition to want to perform it. Then I discovered rap music and thought: “That’s the job for me. I want to make beats for the rest of my life.” I found my way into the media because it was a good way to make a living and I enjoyed it. My open-mindedness really took hold at Radio 1 where I rediscovered my love for things like drum’n’bass and club records. Before that, at XFM, we were very rock-orientated.

Do you hear the criticism that you “like everything” a lot? I’ve always thought it’s quite an arrogant attitude to try and pick records so that you can tell the world how crap they are. That’s me believing my opinion carries more weight than it actually does. It frustrates some people

across a 16-week summer period, each attracting as many as 3,000 punters. Headliners will include Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, Bloc Party, Kasabian, Professor Green, Tinie Tempah (pictured), Two Door Cinema Club and New Order. This year will also see a

new weekly DJ-led night included as part of consumers’ ticket prices. Called We Are Rockstars, it will showcase

sets from the likes of Magnetic Man, Annie Mac, Skream & Benga and Zane Lowe. “The two most important music

scenes in the past 10 years have been the festival generation and the bass generation and something genuinely exciting is happening at the minute,” says promoter Shane Murray. “Zane sits at the heart of that, and is seen by the key movers in both of those worlds as a person who can speak with credibility and with passion.”

I take it you believe there’s not enough… There’s nothing! I mean, there’s Jools, and give respect to Channel 4 for being loyal to its late night programming. T4 covers its pop artists, that’s also cool. But I spoke to a friend of mine last night and was like: “We’ve got to make a show again.” I want to have fun making TV again. People justify it by suggesting everyone’s online, but the old internet argument is not the answer to everything. It’s the answer for Luke Hood and Jamal Edwards and the smart people who have got bass culture and UK rap and grime sussed. But what about people who just want to sit on the couch? It’s depressing. I’ve thought about it a lot recently, and I haven’t thought about TV since I left MTV. I want to make something. Music and television have lost confidence in one another, but it’s just a conversation. That’s all it takes.

Do you genuinely think you might make a new music television programme? Yeah, I don’t see why not. It’s an independent marketplace these days. I want to reach out to the crew I did Gonzo with and say: “Come on, let’s have some fun again.” If there was something on now I thought was better or filled the gap, I’d concede: “Maybe this isn’t for me anymore.” But you know, I still have things to say. We might not have time, we might get together and realise everyone’s too busy. But I love the idea of it.

You’re a friendly chap and into music: have you seen your mates dropped by labels? The whole music industry from the whole minute it was conceived was based on some weird parental approval: “You’re great. I will take all your money and your publishing but I will tell you how great you are.” Very often in the artists there’s something that requires that encouragement. It’s a shit situation when you find your mates

that I’m not more discerning from a critical point of view, but I’m not a record reviewer. I

don’t have that cross to bear. I don’t have to analyse music to the point of marking it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had in journalism or broadcasting? Always remember that whenever you interview a band, they don’t really want to be talking to you. Especially in New Zealand: they have 24 hours in Auckland, they’d much rather be at Piha swimming. Being with you is not fun, so

have been dropped. But I’ve gone through it: I’ve been signed to labels and worked on records where the support has had to end because we didn’t achieve targets. It doesn’t happen so much these days because

[labels] aren’t signing as much and people are forging their own path. Also, if someone’s investing more moderately in you, the rug isn’t pulled away quite so dramatically. It’s not like it was back in the day: “Hey man! Come for a fancy lunch! Here’s a big cheque! We’re going to make all your dreams come true!” And then 18 months later it doesn’t happen. Yeah, that sucks.

Do you feel pressure to stay loyal to older bands you’ve helped break when they return? The only time I feel any pressure is if a band who we’ve supported heavily on the first or second record come out with a new song that none of us feel is strong. To say “no” is a statement, and I don’t like making statements. I don’t want to be a ballbreaker. In that situation, we tend to play it and let the audience decide.

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