Purveyor of the anti-pop
I think it's taken a while for 6 Music to find its niche but now it has really found a sound. You wouldn't find bands like Warpaint or Beach House - who have both been really big acts for us in the past year - on the A-list of any other station. We're all about alternative spirit. It can be many things; it can be an artist's sound and/or their influences. A great recent example has been the Jamie XX and Gil Scott-Heron track 'I'll Take Care of You'. It's been on the 6 Music A-list and is a fantastic example of what the network does best - it's a new act collaborating with a heritage artist both in alternative music to create something new.
I've been producing shows here for four and a half years and I'm just about to launch a brand new show with Tom Robinson on Friday nights (7-9pm) called Now Playing @6Music, which is all about the digital conversation with music. Music has never been more digital. A music fan will listen to radio but also probably look at blogs like Drowned in Sound.
They might well use a third-party music service like Hype Machine or Spotify to either play music or aggregate their tastes in recommending music, and they probably get their music news from an online source rather than a copy of NME. So the idea of this new show is to take part in this online music conversation. We're going to create a space once a week where people can share and recommend tracks related to the week's music news, and find out what's happening in the world of digital music. The show will be a weekly iteration of the activity going on 24/7.
I try to go to a couple of gigs a week to see what's out there and make my own judgement on bands who music PRs have 'plugged' to me. For example, there's a group I went to see last week called Holy Ghost who a PR had pitched to do a 6 Mix - the other show I produce. They are quite hipster and signed to DFA - which is James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem's label. On paper they look pretty good - they're on a very cool label and their music has an electro vibe about it - but, as a producer, I needed to see if they've got more legs than just a single.
To do this, I saw them play live with Cut Copy, gauged their popularity on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and was ultimately really impressed, so commisioned them to do a mix. It's all about thinking if they're a career band and, if they're not a household name yet and I'm offered them early doors (which we are at 6 Music), it's always worth seeing them perform to get a stronger sense of their talents and where they're heading. I don't want to get really excited about someone, put them on a show or argue to put their record onto playlist and then see them live and they're rubbish. In my position I've always got to think about bands in a broader sense.
Rowan Collinson produces Now Playing @6Music.