RFB: Hi Alex and welcome to Radio Free Brooklyn! Tell us a little bit about the creative (or other) path(s) that led to you doing your show and to the network.
AJ: I grew up in a place called St. Asaph, Wales, and music was a massive part of my upbringing. When I was very young my dad was a mobile DJ, so playing and talking about music is something I’ve inherited from him. I moved to Manchester, England, in 2013 to study Media Production at Salford University, and quite quickly became enamored by the student radio station, hosting shows almost daily and regularly popping into the studio to join other presenters. As I’d caught the bug, I started volunteering at a local radio station, Reform Radio, which, similar to RFB, is a non-profit organization supporting the wider community.
I was then lucky enough to be handed a monthly show interviewing bands and artists from across North England. They selected the show’s tracks, which gave us a true insight into their musical mind. After eighteen months of hosting on Reform I picked up a second, weekly radio show on the fantastic Access North West, Liverpool, selecting my own music and reducing the interviews to just a small section of every show. I named the show Alex Jones’ Planet of Sound, which now works wonderfully as I host two editions of the show across the Atlantic.
RFB: What made you choose RFB?
AJ: As I’m based in Manchester, naturally I wasn’t aware of RFB right away. One day while researching for an interview with Sourdoe, a Brooklyn-based anti-folk band, I stumbled across a performance of theirs at an event hosted by the station. I looked into the network a bit more, and knew immediately that I wanted to be involved. The ethos of Radio Free Brooklyn is perfect to me, and as a big fan of the New York music scene I knew it would be an appropriate fit. I’m just so pleased to be part of this network.
RFB: You focus on psychedelic music, a genre that was part of the soundtrack behind the turbulence and social changes of the late 1960s-early 1970s. What do you think made psychedelic music so popular then, and why do you think it is now?
AJ: I think there’s definitely a correlation between psychedelic music and a nation in dispute. But honestly I think the rebirth of psychedelic music is down to young people who simply love the music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The Beatles, The Zombies, The Byrds, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, the list goes on. I think it’s fans of that era wanting to emulate that sound, and having their own take on it.
RFB: I love that you’re from “across the pond” — Manchester is the home of so much good music (Factory Records produced some of my personal favorites). Who are some of yours?
AJ: Where do you start? The city is one of the music capitals of the world. Anthony Wilson, who co-founded Factory Records is somebody I truly admire: a broadcaster who helped create a seminal music scene here in Manchester. As you’d expect, I’m a big fan of Joy Division and New Order. Then there’s The Smiths, The Fall, John Cooper Clarke… it’s endless. But the new music coming from this city is fantastic too. Horsebeach are a band I love at the moment, along with Velvet Shakes, Serratone and Gurnal Gaddafi. Oh and Oasis, mustn’t forget them (my friend Lewis would be very upset).