'Radio 1 gives you freedom': Jack Saunders on how his indie show can help break bands

'Radio 1 gives you freedom': Jack Saunders on how his indie show can help break bands

Radio 1’s Indie Show With Jack Saunders launched this week in a late-night slot (11pm-1am, Monday to Thursday) to give a bigger profile to guitar music on the youth network. As revealed in the latest issue of Music Week, Saunders is aiming to break bands with the show, which is produced by Wisebuddah

The former Radio X and Kerrang! Radio presenter was opinionated and brimming with passion for the music on air this week. Here, he takes us inside his ambitions for the show…

It sounds like you’ve always wanted to present on Radio 1?

Yeah, absolutely. Radio 1 has been my dream from that start. I had a fantastic time at Kerrang! Radio and Radio X, but Radio 1 has always been where I’ve wanted to end up - it’s literally a dream come true for me. Radio 1 gives you the freedom with specialist music to champion bands and actually really get behind some good music.

Radio 1’s had a run of music champions in the evening slot. Can this show be just as essential for alternative music?

Completely, all the people that have done this show previously - Huw [Stephens], Grimmy, Lamacq, Zane, Peel - have been huge inspirations to me. Making a big statement in this show is really important. The remit of the show is indie music but that’s up to our interpretation - if it sounds good we’re going to play it. We’re a super integral part of this station and we’ve got to really shout and scream about it. 

In a late slot, can you can take some risks?

Yeah, completely. We can dip into the underground scene a little bit more, go a little bit leftfield with things as well if we find something that sounds really interesting. The really important thing is that people don’t think we’re just going to completely play guitar music. We’re not just playing guitar music, but that is our focus. We’re very open to all sorts of different genres.

This is our chance to jump in there and be that playlist for people

Jack Saunders

Radio X has being doing well in the RAJARs - was that a sign that Radio 1 needed to do more with guitar music? 

I think there’s a huge amount of young people that are into indie music. Arctic Monkeys selling out four nights at the O2, four nights up in Sheffield, two nights in Manchester, and a number of other bands doing those kind of arena shows just shows that there’s a space for that music. All the chat about indie music being dead, rock’n’roll music being dead, I can’t stand it because it's just not true. Music goes in cycles and hip-hop and urban is at the forefront at the moment. But there’s a huge market for indie and rock music and we’re looking to portray that on the show.

Do you think there's a new generation of bands coming through?

Yeah, absolutely, Stereo Honey are a band to really look out for, they go from quite mellow to absolutely euphoric in one small step and it sounds amazing. There’s a band over in Canada called Cleopatrick, so we’re going to be championing them. If you like Royal Blood, you’ll love Cleopatrick. 

Rock music hasn’t performed particularly well on streaming. Is that a chance for you to reach an audience the digital platforms are missing?

Yeah, completely. It needs a personality behind it, it needs a champion behind it and needs someone to guide people and to show just how great the stuff out there really is. I think if you look at streaming sites and indie playlists, they’re not great, they’re not updated often. So this is our chance to jump in there and be that playlist for people. 

Do you want to help break new bands? 

Yeah, at the end of the day that is going to be the whole point of the show, to break these bands and guide them to a bigger level. We’re hopefully going to be able to start them off, give them that platform to push onto Annie Mac, and then it’s over to her to carry on and push them onto daytime. We’re going to be that gateway.

To read Jack Saunders’ interview in Music Week pick up the latest issue - or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story click here.

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