Written for Loose Lips.
Noods Radio is a Bristol-based, independent radio station, broadcasting the cities’ best labels and artists, alongside an increasing pool of international acts. With shows spinning a vast expanse of genres and sounds, Noods isn’t your average, techno-infested streaming platform. Sadly, at the backend of 2017, the station found its base eradicated with the closure of The Surrey Vaults. But with the new year has come a new space. Loose Lips caught up with co-founders Jack and Leon in their new studio to chat about their refreshed hopes for 2018.
For those who don’t know you, how would you most positively describe your project?
Jack: We welcome everybody whether experienced or not – we’re just after interesting stuff. We were based in the Surrey Vaults, which I’d would describe as a misfits’ pub so, you used to get so many different groups of people in there, and everyone was just mates. Although it revolved around the pub, the radio station was above so they co-existed quite nicely.
One of the first things I noticed was the picture of Surrey Vaults above the doorway. Can you tell me about the process involved in the pub’s closure, and what it meant to you? Be as nasty as you like.
Leon: I think a lot of people were quite angry at that. It was a loss of a space – a clubhouse for different groups of people; but a place where people would often congregate, meet each other and then through that, end up working together. We met a lot of our residents, friends and, artists we know through it.
You’re now based above The Crofters Rights. Could this be your new hangout?
Leon: Potentially. We’re going to be doing our socials here.
Jack: That’ll be like different residents and guests coming through – and there’s pizza downstairs I guess it’ll be kind of like…a pizza party.
You’ve mentioned that you came here after studying in Bath, having not known each other beforehand. Has the station kept you here in Bristol for longer than you first expected?
Leon: More than anything its meant we’ve met a lot of people.
Jack: I wouldn’t want to move away, really. When I first moved here, I didn’t really know anybody. All of our mates moved to London, and we were coming here for just a short while, and then just absolutely fell in love with it. Such a quality spot like – such a nice community here. And its big enough. Projects crossover each other through venues and people.
You’ve become increasingly international, but you’re closely linked with Bristol. Is the city apart of your identity or just circumstantial? Would you ever attempt to shake off the Bristol geo-tag?
Jack: I haven’t lived in many spots but, especially in London, there’s so much going on, and it’s quite hard to distinguish yourself
Leon: I think the city is very much a distinguishing part of our station. I don’t think it’s something we’d want to shake off. A radio station is meant to be more of a community thing. I think if you took away like is locality or the ‘hub’ it becomes just a thing online. I think it’d be silly for us to try and distance ourselves.
So, we’re currently stood in your new studio. Could you tell me about the moving-in process and the studio generally?
Leon: Moving into the spots been funny. We’ve been in here a week now, but it looks different – been a lot of DIY – and a lot of venturing into areas of DIY for us. Fitting a door is harder than I thought it was.
Leon: It’s a lot of bigger than the last one, probably about twice the size. I guess it opens us up to doing more live sessions. We did a couple of sessions in our old studio, but it was a squeeze. It’s a good chance for people to meet. Sometimes, you’d have a show, and because the space was so small, people felt inclined to leave after their show. This offers a bit more space to chat after.
During this period of changing space, have you found that you’ve had any creative differences? Do you have any?
Leon: Not massively. We will call each other out on stuff sometimes, though. I think that’s good because sometimes you can get lost in momentum or trying to do stuff – it’s good to have someone else there to reign things in or keep your head on your shoulders; to challenge each other on stuff and try to keep things moving forward rather than settling for things. I think it’s really good to work with someone, anyway. It makes things a lot easier, makes thing more fun, but also makes you do things you might not normally do – in a good way.
Jack: We’ve worked together so much, it’s like – every day – my girlfriends like ‘fuck man.’
Does this bigger space mean your project as a whole is expanding? What about editorial opportunities?
Leon: We’ve got the new website launching soon which is going to have an editorial part, which means it’ll be opened up to journalists.
Jack: We put a thing up the other day for volunteers, and lots of people have got in touch. It’s really nice to have these artists want to do stuff – to have that community of musicians and artists.
What has been your most exciting offer? Can you tell me some more about them?
Jack: There’s some stuff we’ve got planned coming up.
Can you tell me about these plans?
Leon: No – can’t really…sorry! But there’s a lot of really good designers and artists getting involved. Artists that we’re really excited about. In the past, we’ve had a lot of artists get in touch which – rather than us reaching out to them – we’re really like wahey. Sometimes we’ve discovered some really good stuff, with the stuff that’s sent through. We’ll listen to it, and we’re like ‘shit, its sick the fact they’re getting in touch with us.’
Jack: It’s still quite – mindboggling – that they want to play music on the station. There are some insane residents at the minute.
Cool! Any favourites?
Jack: I think Mars 89 from Japan; his shows are always amazing. And Tara Clerkin, the thought behind her shows is outstanding. Everything about them is really well-thought out, presented and well-researched.
Do you ever have to turn any submissions down?
Leon: We don’t just take on everything. We try to steer away, as well, from too many dance focused shows. It’s a radio station – it’s a chance, I think, to steer away from that and do something a bit different. You can be an established dance DJ, but it means you can show a different side of what you do.
It’s cool that you train new residents on the equipment – it must go some way in helping residents establish themselves here and beyond Noods.
Leon: Yeah, that’s something we want to focus on a bit more as well. We’re planning on asking residents who are more established DJs to maybe provide workshops for, I guess, the volunteers, the residents and also open that up to the public. I think that’d be a really good use of the space. There are certain days, like today, for example, when we’re streaming with loads of stuff going on, but it’s all from out of the city so this space could be used for that sort of thing.
Have you encountered many problems? Residents not showing up, for instance.
Leon: Fortunately enough we’ve not had too much of that issue. We’ve heard it with other stations – with residents not turning up and stuff – but we’ve not had too much of it.
Jack: But equipment, though. Building yourself up from not having much
Leon: Yeah, when we started we were just using a laptop – using a DAW and just putting together stuff on the fly on that. It’s been a slow process, but now we’ve got enough equipment to do everything.
Jack: I think still funding is a huge priority. Again, money is quite a restriction for us, and we want money to push things forward. Something that we’re trying to plan for this year is looking to get some sponsorship.
Is it just you guys who fund this all of this, then?
Leon: Partly. All residents do subs as well. The subs help buy equipment, but also help pay for servers, the rent, other bills and stuff like that. We’ve been running it quite tightly for a while.
Jack: Yeah, if there’s anyone out there who can help with writing funding proposals then get in touch! Although it’s something we’ve been trying to push for over half a year now, it’s just getting around to doing it with all the admin side of it – it’s quite difficult. I mean, with the whole fucking thing shutting down and changing spaces, it’s just been a nightmare.
Looking forward, what are you most excited about?
Leon: I’m looking forward to getting this open. We’re going to start streaming from day to night. That’s what I’m excited about.
Jack: Although we’ve been doing stuff, it’s not been running properly – or from a ‘hub’ – so it’ll be fun to get it going again.