IT has been interesting speaking with Rachael Bird…
the Station Manager of Soho Radio. She talks to me about the station’s ethos and why it continues to grow; why she joined the station and some of the best aspects of working where she does – and the reasons so many independent radio stations are forming around the capital.
Rachael tells me about the Jäger Soho collaboration: Soho Radio working with Jägermeister and the initiatives that are taking place right now; why the two parties have a close and productive working relationship – and why this will continue for a long time to come.
I learn more about The Vinyl Sessions and unique aspect to that project; festivals and outdoor events that Soho Radio and Jägermeister are involved with; some memorable performances that have happened as part of The Vinyl Sessions – why the new follower/discover should keep their eyes peeled to the goings-on of Soho Radio and Jägermeister.
Hi. Who am I speaking to? How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I’m Rachael; the Station Manager of Soho Radio. I am very well, thanks - hope you are too! Typical week at Soho Radio: mental!
I am a fan of Soho Radio and the work done on the station. What, to you, defines Soho Radio and what it is all about?
Soho Radio is a platform for hugely talented artists, D.J.s and producers; with a community vibe and a family spirit. Our eclectic roster is made up of shows from the likes of music journalist Pete Paphides, Dub maestro Dennis Bovell; Hacienda legend Mike Pickering and Primal Scream bassist Simone Marie. Inspired by Soho’s diverse culture, Soho Radio draws together musicians, artists; filmmakers, poets and the generally curious from across the globe.
We love that our presenters can play anything and say anything.
When did you join Soho Radio and what, to you, is the biggest benefit of working for the station?
I’ve been here since the first day of broadcasting and I absolutely love it.
The benefit for me is being amongst a bunch of hugely creative people who all love radio just as much as I do - and are all supporting the work we are doing.
There are quite a few independent, rising London stations offering a great choice of music and talent for music lovers. Why do you feel radio is enjoying constant success and appreciation?
Online radio stations provide a platform for creative talents to spread their passion for music, culture; art, food and more. People don’t want to hear the same five songs from the commercial stations: they want fresh, exciting and engaging radio, which the online platforms are delivering, through their freedom of having no set playlists or guidelines. The online radio station market is thriving with the likes of Radar, NTS; Balamii (and more) all offering something slightly different, yet sharing the same ethos...
Tell me about the work Soho Radio is doing with Jägermeister. How did the collaboration come about?
Our collaboration on Jäger Soho consists of Vinyl Sessions, Jäger Music radio shows; events and live broadcasts from festivals around the country. We also host pop-up residencies at the Jäger Soho space in Soho Radio - we’ve had Goldie’s yoga company, Yogangsters; Notion Magazine, the AIM Label Lodge takeover and more.
The collaboration came about from a shared love of music between Soho Radio and Jägermeister - which helps solidify our partnership on Jäger Soho.
The Vinyl Session is something that intrigues me. It involves a band/artist coming in and playing a song or two. Tell me about the bespoke lathe and the recording straight to vinyl. That sounds like a tough thing to perfect! What was the reason behind that idea?!
The radio station incorporates a designated performance area with a bespoke vinyl lathe, hand-crafted explicitly for the sessions. Instead of just a normal radio session; here at Soho Radio, we cut each intimate live performance directly to vinyl and film it in 360-Virtual Reality to create an exclusive package; producing a unique physical and virtual representation of the live session.
The vinyl renaissance is truly underway and the Soho Radio Vinyl Sessions are an integral part of the revival: bringing exclusivity to the art through the incorporation of a radio station and vinyl-pressing facilities in one place. The project showcases technologies a century apart through the one-off nature of the vinyl recording; to the immersive experience of a virtual reality film.
What has been the most memorable performance in the series so far, would you say?
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 was pretty special – we had fifteen musicians in the Jäger Soho space; all filmed in 360-V.R. It was our first dip into the vinyl-cutting process - definitely a good one to start with! Another one I will remember for a while was vocal musician Reeps One, who was joined by the London Contemporary Voices.
A mix of beatboxing and a choir – it sounded amazing!
In addition; there are outdoor festivals and events where Soho Radio and Jägermeister work together. What do you have planned for this year?
Jägermeister have an incredible experiential venue called the JägerHaus which they bring to selected festivals each summer. It’s made up of a number of different performance, entertainment and socialising spaces but, at its core, is a constant stream of incredible live music. This year’s festivals and line-ups are top-secret at the moment - but we definitely hope to bring our listeners some live broadcasts and exclusive band interviews from the JägerHaus this summer…so watch this space!
I know there are a few other brands and companies that have shown their support. Are these collaborations important in terms of exposure and spreading the message?
The support we get from brands and companies is great: it really helps to increase the Soho Radio exposure and spread the word. We want to continue to grow and develop our listener base and (just) play good music to the people. The advantage of being an online station is that our listeners are placed all over the world - not just Soho.
What else can you tell us about the partnership? Why should I, as a music lover, follow it closely?
Our Vinyl Sessions are one-of-a-kind – a showcase of technologies decades apart – and the array of reputable artists who are on-board to cut a session direct to vinyl is very exciting. Keep watch over the next year to hear the latest instalment of the sessions.
Finally, and for being a good sport; I’ll let you choose a song and I’ll play it here.
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