There is no better way to discover new music than listening to radio. Not only do hosts scour the depths of record shops, and nowadays the internet, for sounds you’ve never heard of, but the passion for presenting builds a connection that you simply cannot get from listening to your ‘discover weekly’ spotify playlist. The BBC have pioneered 21st century radio, old pirate stations like Rinse FM have established legitimacy, maintaining the underground suave that made them famous, and purely digital outlets like NTS have revolutionised the ways people interact with music, so we thought we’d do a little rundown of our favourite shows.
Benji B on Radio 1
Since 1 Extra’s beginnings in 2002, Londoner Benji B has been blessing the BBC’s airwaves with his cherry picked sounds of future club music. His co-host series, with guests in the calibre of Anderson. Paak and Virgil Abloh, is evidence of just how understated his influence is on popular culture. Not only does, real name, Benjamin Benstead, spin tunes in the early hours of Wednesday morning, he has production credits for Kanye on Yeezus and Life Of Pablo, and finds himself soundtracking runway shows for the likes of Katie Eary, and, more recently, Virgil’s Luis Vuitton spectacle in Paris.
You’ll find yourself shazaming every other song over the two hour period, whether It’s an old school jungle banger selected by guests in the calibre of Fabio and Grooverider, or a deeper cut off Steve Lacy’s new album, the sheer variety of sonics you discover is mind-blowing for the little time he’s on air. Listen to the show here.
Bone Soda on NTS
When Skinny Macho, one third of Bone Soda, isn’t slyly hopping over barriers and running the London Marathon, he, as well as good friends Tommy Gold and Truce Susan, are interviewing the likes of Channel Tres and Ama Lou on their monthly NTS show. Not only does their eclectic mix of “upfront gunk” blend sonics from all over the globe, but Bone Soda is also a record label. We have the trio to thank for exposing artists like Slowthai early on, and pushing through talent in the calibre of LoVibe, who’s painfully underrated. If you rate the sounds they spin, then look out for their gig showcases, which have brought Comethazine and Toro Y Moi to the capital, supported by DJ sets from the lads themselves.
XTC with Fauzia & Sherelle on NTS
If you are a DnB head, and you aren’t listening to this radio show, then do you even rate jungle and drum and bass? 1/3 of the infamous DJ collective ‘6 figure gang’, Fauzia and Sherelle’s monthly broadcast of scatty drums and intergalactic rhythms are out of this world; you barely even realise It’s been two hours when the set finishes, as the music they play becomes incredibly hypnotic after a while. Sherelle’s boileroom set has been one of the YouTube channel’s highlights this year, her mix of Fixate and Double 99’s Ripgroove and Slick Shoota’s Hardcore Junglist absolutely shelled down the Bass and Percs special. Fauzia like wise has a natural prowess behind the decks, every song she plays is a testament to the energy she puts into her performances and sets on Rinse as well as NTS.
Tom Ravenscroft on 6 Music
Son of legendary radio DJ John Peel, Tom Ravenscroft is continuing his Dad’s legacy with a weekly show on 6 music, where he combines musical obscurities with his overt passion for world sounds. One minute, you could be transported to the 80s, listening to a DnB classic by LTJ Bukem, and the next you’re lost in a world of ambience and “late night wonky synths”, as he recently described when filling in for Gilles Peterson. As well as electronic sonics, the selector plays some outrageous punk records, without him I would never have heard of Girl Band, and euphoric African numbers too. Get on BBC sounds, and expand your mind by listening to one of his programmes.
Virgil Hawkins on Balamii Radio
Rooted in the heart of Peckham, Balamii radio can be heard all across the world, but it maintains an authentic London vibe that allows rappers and radio presenters to flourish on their sets. Hawkins, who co-founded underground rap movement Resevoir/237 in 2014, couldn’t be more involved in the Capital’s DIY rap movement, and so this show is kind of an essential if you are into the waves rappers like Kish!, M.I.C and Kibo are pioneering at the moment. Shout out to Virgil’s solo music too, he’s been busy releasing tracks like ‘Destiny’s Child’, and featuring on songs by Wisdom. He’s a busy man, and his Balamii show is packed with banter and unreleased tunes, so definitely check it out.