Almost four years ago Noods Radio was born in Bristol. An independent radio station with community at its heart, it has gone on to become the home of an eclectic range of musical styles, branching out from the airwaves to venues across the city. We join founding member Leon Pattrick to find out how it all came to be and how it has grown over the years.
Could you tell us a little about how you first got into music?
Growing up I was always into music, but I guess when I first really got into it was when I started playing guitar at high school. It was around the same time I got a computer that meant I could access even more music and didn't have to rely on whatever 'Sponge' (my mate) was selling from his burnt CD collection.
Had you always wanted to start your own radio station, or was it a spur of the moment creation?
It was a spur of the moment thing, really. We wanted to do something that allowed us to learn some skills and have some fun with our mates. We knew a lot of people making really great stuff and felt that Bristol was missing a station that represented it, so we thought why not give it a go?
I guess behind that though there was always a desire to create a project that a lot of people could be a part of. Once uni had finished, our friendship group had started to drift as it does with everyone moving away and I'd always wanted to make something that would pull us all back together and keep us all making things. It didn't quite work out that way, but a few of them are or have been involved.
There’s a great mix of different genres all the way from jazz to spoken word to death metal. How important has it been to offer a platform for so many different genres?
Since day one having a bunch of different stuff is something we've always been conscious of when it comes to programming. Mainly because we don't want to listen to the same thing day in day out, who does? It's a reflection of our listening habits and what we want to learn more about.
You’ve accrued a massive list of residents for the station. How did you go about getting them all onboard?
It's kinda changed over time, but the original core residents were either friends or friends of friends who were up for doing bits or regulars who put on events at The Surrey Vaults. For a long time it was a lot of asking and crossing our fingers, but as time's gone on people have started to ask us, which has opened us up to a lot of new music.
Back in the station’s infancy you were hosting a lot of events through The Surrey Vaults. How did that partnership start?
I'm not really sure how it started, you know. We were just hitting the place regularly, enjoyed the vibe of the place and just asked about hosting an event and it kind of rolled on from there.
That place's floor was ruined so you had to be creative with where you would stick the decks. The first time I went there they were hanging a door from the ceiling using chains that had the DJ setup on!
You’re now putting on events across the city. How big a factor has this been in the success of Noods?
I think it's been crucial to how the station ended up developing. It's what allowed us to meet so many people who would later become residents, it gave the station a sense of tangibility and a new avenue of promotion.
As someone who studied a music degree, what’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone whilst they’re studying?
Talk to your tutors and peers, they're fountains of knowledge that will help you a lot. USE the equipment whilst you can, you'll end up paying a lot for it once you finish. And use your time wisely! Start a project or something, make music and try out something different. You won't be getting it back and you won't have this much free time again!
Finally, what are your top tips for anyone interested in starting their own online radio station?
1. Have fun with it
2. Talk to people
3. Play music you want to hear
4. Be open minded
Listen live at www.noodsradio.com or tune in via DAB in Bristol.
The Noods Radio family
Discover the degree courses at dBs Music and find out more about how our tutors and facilities at dBs Music can help you fulfil your potential.