In Conversation With: Tom Ravenscroft
6 Music‘s Tom Ravenscroft has magical ears. The young man has impeccable taste and there seems to be no musical genre he is not all over. Drum & Bass, Indonesian Led Zeppelin covers, hardcore country fiddle… When listened to with an open mind and generous heart his shows can be truly ear opening.
It is perhaps unsurprising that he is the son of the godfather of all broadcasters ever – Mr John Peel. His Friday 9pm-to-midnight slot features music across a supremely diverse sonic spectrum – Canadian dancehall-House fusion from Don Dias; Irish noise merchants Girl Band; U.S. Hiphopster Oddisee; Folksters Dark Dark Dark; and Glasgow based electronic merchant Tom Marshallsay AKA Dam Mantle. There’s truly something for everyone and anyone.
We caught up with Tom ahead of his Saturday set at this year’s Field Day to talk broadcasting origins, record shopping, jungle classics and classy trees….
Hi Tom, what’s the vibe?
Pretty strong, been in the garden smashing stuff up.
Talk us through your entry into broadcasting. Where did it all begin? And was there a particular moment in time where you decided this is what you wanted to be doing with your life?
My friend Hermeet asked if I’d present a podcast for Channel 4, I thought it might be fun and they kept asking me back. It was kind of an accident, a jolly nice one though. I think most people that do live radio once want to keep doing it, it’s pretty addictive.
Your new slot on BBC 6 Music is Friday evening 9 til 12. Do you find the time to sift through all the music sent to you? What do you do immediately after your show ends?
It’s actually my old slot but being a bit later tends to mean I can play more dance music. I get through pretty much everything I’m sent or I certainly try to. After the show I either race to a pub for last order or drive home to check my son is still asleep.
Record shopping. Where are your top 2 places in the UK to buy music? Do you have the time to listen to everything sent your way? Do you play vinyl on the show or is it all digital?
We play a mixture of formats, however it comes really. I go to Sounds of the Universe quite a bit or there’s a newish place called Kristina Records near my house, which is proving rather useful. Not sure I could live without Boomkat though.
We used to enjoy your Slash Music podcast. What happened to Rollo Tomasi?
I was wondering the same thing then I noticed their name in loads of gig guides, they’re back with a new album. We should probably all check it out.
Girl Band are regulars on your show and are pretty amazing. Who are your tips for the year?
Yeah they’re the best but if you have to listen to something else then this week I’m digging Jesse Hackett, High Wolf, The Big Moon and Little Wings.
Have Venetian Snares ever done a guest mix? Who would your dream guest mixer be, dead or alive, and why?
It was a while ago, we should probably repeat it right? Crap I don’t know, Alan Lomax maybe, he had the greatest job on earth.
The BBC’s licence fee could be under attack by the new Tory culture secretary John Whittingdale. Any thoughts?
I’m not really allowed thoughts.
German electronic wizard Dominik Eulburg really likes nature and plans to retire and become a park ranger. What is your favourite tree and why? What would you be doing if not DJing?
The Silver Birch, it’s a classy tree. Living in the countryside making terrible art and boring the locals.
You’re playing Field Day at Victoria Park again this year. What was your highlight of last year’s? Anything or anyone you are looking forward to seeing most this year?
Playing on stage before Future Island, great to see them finally getting big crowds. This year Viet Cong, Sylvan Esso, Clark (LIVE).
What is the best jungle track ever?
DJ Flash – Pulp Fiction [Urban Gorilla] or Rude + Deadly – Mash Dem Down [Smokers Inc]
If you where to have a pretend kung fu fight with fellow 6 music presenter Gilles Petersen who would draw first blood?
He’d kick my arse, he’d be well fast.
And finally, what is the one Urban Essential you couldn’t live without?
Being able to walk to gigs and stuff my face on the way home is pretty essential.
Tom Ravenscroft plays Field Day 6th June 2015. For more info visit the festival’s official website.