Hitmakers: The songwriting secrets of Blue Oyster Cult's (Don't Fear) The Reaper

At the time of writing (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, we didn’t have a Top 40 chart hit. We were not that kind of band, we always considered ourselves an album band. Reaper was the first song I wrote when the ...

Meet the 6 pack: Stuart Maconie

The digital station's longtime presenter talks ambitions for new weekend show with Mark Radcliffe... WHY IS YOUR MOVE TO WEEKENDS EXCITING? “I like shaking things up. I’ve loved the afternoon show and we’ve made a great success of it. I’m looking forward to trying a different thing with a different audience. There are going to be people knocking about on weekend mornings and I’m looking forward to the challenge of making a show that appeals to them. Mark and I won’t change at all as people, the music will probably change a little bit, we’ve not decided how yet. I’m always by the radio on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and it’s part of a lot of people’s routines, so I’m looking forward to trying to lure them. We can offer a bit of everything, we’ve got chat, we can be funny and also quite interesting and we’ve got music, so we’re hoping it’s the whole package!” HAVE YOU HAD ANY IDEAS FOR NEW FEATURES? “We’re still talking those through. It’s striking a happy balance between what we leave and what we take with us. I’m very keen that we don’t assume knowledge of our old show, it can be off-putting. Teatime Theme Time has been successful, there’s no reason that couldn’t translate. We want it to feel new for a new audience, so they don’t feel they’re coming late to something. I like programmes where you feel you’re part of a little club, but we don’t want people to feel like they’re coming to a club that’s already got members. I want to build an audience.” WHAT ARE THE MOST APPEALING THINGS ABOUT YOU AND MARK RADCLIFFE TOGETHER ON THE RADIO? “It’s hard. It’s hard to work out what people like, I know the things people say they like. They know they can get a quite serious conversation about music, or the news. They also know they’re never far away from something funny happening. We’re quite different in lots of ways but the same kinds of things make us laugh. There’s always a chance that something often quite stupid will make us laugh and send us in a spiral, I think people like that. It doesn’t feel cheesily set up, people are just amusing themselves. We tap into the minutiae of life but it gets people hooked in. It’s amiable silliness but we know what we’re talking about.” WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC POLICY? “I don’t think we have one. I like great pop music and I like weird music, free jazz and experimental electronica, Abba and Chic. Mark is more of a rock fan than I am. That’ll mean a good mix. That weekend audience, you’ll probably get a more collective listening experience, the radio might be on in the kitchen, in the car… I’m aware we need to be inclusive in our policy, not soft or easy listening or mainstream, but [to play] records where everyone in the family will go, ‘Oh, this is interesting…’ I probably won’t play all of Magma’s 1973 concept album Mechanic Destruction Commando, which is about an intergalactic war and sung in an invented language.”

Meet the 6 pack: Mary Anne Hobbs

The digital station's new morning presenter opens up about the schedule changes... THERE’S BEEN A BIT OF A SHAKE-UP AT 6, HASN’T THERE? “They’re really exciting times. Moving forward into 2019, obviously everybody’s got an opportunity to play to their strengths and shine in the new slots. I’m thrilled to bits to have the opportunity to bring the rich diversity and palette of music I really love and that I’ve championed for a lifetime into the heart of the schedule. It’s a dream job, really.” WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS FOR THE NEW SHOW? “It’s going to be principally music-driven. What 6 have done is looked at a presenter who’s been very productive in the more shady areas of the schedule. A great number of the artists I’ve championed over the years, people like James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Nils Frahm, Kamasi Washington and Julia Holter, have resonated in the lives of our listeners. This is a chance to broaden the musical palette of the network in the daytime. It’s a really exciting new adventure for me. I was thinking back to my interviews with David Bowie, he said you’re only ever moving forward if you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. You have to be prepared to do that from time to time and break new ground, so I’m channeling the spirit of Bowie right now.” WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WEEKEND AND WEEKDAY RADIO? “One of the reasons I’ve been chosen is because the network would like to take many of the elements of the DNA of the programmes I’ve created for 6 Music at the weekends and evenings into daytime. It’ll be a change of pace for me. I’m probably one of the quieter presenters on the network; I’d imagine it’ll be a gear change for me as a presenter. A great deal of the feature content we do at the moment around arts and culture we’ll transpose into daytime, as well as the interviews. Those will mainly be live, which is really exciting. We’re also going to be introducing live sessions, which is something I’ve only recently been able to do. I recently did the most extraordinary one with Thom Yorke.” WHO WOULD YOUR DREAM GUESTS BE? “I’ve got a huge list of dream guests, everything from Kendrick Lamar all the way through to really special things like exploring the relationship between Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. I’d like to get some more hard rock on the show too, bands like System Of A Down and Deftones. I’d also like to introduce some of the fine artists that I love, people like Jeremy Deller, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. And then great masters like Ryuichi Sakamoto alongside newer artists like Kojey Radical and Daniel Avery. There are all kinds of different elements I’d like to draw together!”

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