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IT MUST BE PRETTY AMAZING TO LOOK AROUND AND SEE PEOPLE YOU’VE KNOWN SINCE YOU WERE YOUNG PLAYING INTERNATIONAL SHOWS.
It definitely is, it’s a brilliant thing. Anytime I’m in another country and I see people that I know, even if they’re not musicians then I’m always taken aback. Growing up we never used to leave the country often – we couldn’t afford it as a six-person family so being out of the country always feels like I’ve made it! I was able to get on a plane recently and go on holiday away from home and be able to take a break from life – that felt pretty good.
I bumped into my brother at SXSW last year in a hotel lobby and I was like, “Raaah, what are you doing here!?” It felt good – you never want to be the person who’s out there on their own. It feels sick to have everyone else out there at the same time and enjoying what we’ve all built together.
YOU GENUINELY HAVE BUILT IT ALL TOGETHER – THAT’S WHY IT FEELS SO STRONG.
I remember Junior and Jamie used to go out to Ayia Napa for months and I would wonder what they were doing. Then I went I saw what it was like. They were mini celebrities and it was like a mad summer camp. When he’s out in Ibiza this summer I’m sure Stormzy’s going to be taking it all in and appreciating how far he’s come. He has done so well, it’s incredible to see him doing that.
ARE YOU OK IN FRONT OF A CROWD RATHER THAN IN THE RADIO BOOTH?
I actually really like hosting. I love being in front of a live crowd more than I like being on radio. You get that energy with a live crowd – they give you instant energy back. On the radio it’s like talking to yourself – you know people are there but you can’t speak to anyone. I love doing live shows and speaking to crowds; I like telling them to shut up and being a bit more rowdy. I love it when the energy is perfect and everyone’s having a good time. It’s an opportunity to talk to the people in the crowd and have a bit of fun.
YOU JUST KNOW THAT THE #MERKY CROWD’LL BE UP FOR IT…
Yeah, that’s what I’m looking forward to. I like it when people shout out and get on stage; I love crowd participation. That’s by far my favourite thing – I’m looking forward to people being on their top heckling game.
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO BEING SO RELAXED IN YOUR INTERVIEWS? ARE YOU NOT A VERY FAZED PERSON?
I try not to be! It depends on who I’m interviewing, if I’ve met them before or if I know them then I try and be completely relaxed. But there are some people that I can’t be too relaxed with because it’s Serge from Kasabian or it’s Pharrell Williams… I’m not just gonna be all laid back with them. You have to show a level of excitement when you’re talking to people of that stature in music. The most important thing is I never want the person to leave thinking that they’d had a bad interview. I never want them feeling that they’d had all those questions before so I’m always thinking that if it was me, what would I want to talk about with someone I don’t know very well? If someone leaves and I can see that they saw it as just another interview then I’m sad. I take those things to heart and I get really upset about it. No one likes being interviewed do they? It’s nerve wracking! So how can I make that time interesting for people.
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO BEING SO RELAXED IN YOUR HOW’S LIFE AS A TASTEMAKER? DO YOU LIKE IT?
I don’t really to be honest! I don’t feel like I’m doing anything. I appreciate that people respect my opinion in terms of what I’m
listening to but I don’t want people to think that I’ve got this key to all of the answers to new music and new artists. I learn about new music and discover it in the same way that everybody else does.. I don’t want anyone to think that I know stuff before everybody else. I want to discover it naturally, I don’t like to scour my emails and force something. I like to go to parties and see what people are listening to in the club. I don’t want to fall into this role as a tastemaker who says things are good with no evidence.
NOW THAT PEOPLE RECOGNISE YOU, DO YOU GET THEM THROWING THEIR USB’S AT YOU TO CHECK OUT THEIR MUSIC?
Oh my gosh, yes! That’s so funny you asked me that. I was in SXSW this year and I went to a Boiler Room party in the middle of nowhere. The cab driver wouldn’t take us all the way there. We had to get out of the car and walk. We got into this club and it was manic. Ho99o9 had just finished playing and I was standing by the wall with my hood on when this person walked up to me and gave me a USB. At first I thought he was doing that to everyone so I watched him and it was just me. He went and enjoyed the rest of the party. I thought that was crazy.
DID YOU LISTEN TO IT?
When people do things like that I always listen to it. I was a bit scared to put it in my computer, I’m not gonna lie!
WAS IT ANY GOOD?
It was good actually, very good!