photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
ive come around recently to the AUCKLAND DJ and former long-time BBC RADIO 1 RADIO PERSONALITY ZANE LOWE, especially with regards to his current THE ZANE LOWE INTERVIEW SERIES on APPLE MUSIC. ive watched and listened to his interviews for years and while he always came across as INFORMED and an ardent fan of his subject, there were times his PASSION seemed to stray into straight-up adulation. or so i thought. i believe the dude is fully aware of his role in the wider ecosystem of modern culture as a bridge of sorts for the global public to access emerging and established musicians, and i feel his ENTHUSIASM is a reflection of such. his queries are often the types a hardcore fan would want answered by a favored artist if given the opportunity and the nerve.
and that perspective of LOWE from that as a stand-in for the public was how i judged him until recently. i began to realize that, like HOWARD STERN, he is a great listener. and i think such may be an outgrowth of the long-form format of THE ZANE LOWE INTERVIEW SERIES of podcasts as it gives him time to weave and contextualize competing narratives and informed takes on his subject's career. in essence he isn't necessarily flattering his guests, instead he's creating a SAFE ENVIRONMENT for them to open up. and post-pandemic he is doing such physically as well, often meeting his subjects on their home-court. at their favorite spots. in their cities. sometimes even at their home or recording studio.
i've also noticed that he is shrewd in his interviewing style as he allows his subject to TAKE THE LEAD, with him interjecting only to clarify or contextualize a point he found interesting or needing of clarification for the average viewer. LOWE is the type of interlocutor that is comfortable not being "in the know" at all times and lets it known when he finds something genuinely UNEXPECTED or COMPELLING. i've also noticed he is not afraid of silence. it reminds me of my teaching days where there were sometimes pregnant silences were students or myself were conjuring a response to a BOLD question hanging in the air. the silences in his interviews are ones where people are fully contemplating and thus fully ENGAGED.
it took me a while to come around to the fact that the guy is just a fan of music and art and the processes/ALCHEMY from which such rise from the ether. in that sense it is almost inconsequential who the subject is, from DAVID BYRNE to MILEY CYRUS. i look forward to seeing where his long-form interview series leads him. hopefully he can interview some of my heroes like Q-TIP, JOHNNY MARR, SHANE MCGOWAN, JUSTINE FRISCHMANN, HUGH CORNWELL, MARK MOTHERSBAUGH, MIKE PATTON or even transcendent emerging artists like DRAB MAJESTY and CHELSEA WOLFE.
one can dream.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
when AMERICANS think of public radio the dry, educational shows associated with NPR usually come to mind. these shows, much like their PBS television counterpart, are meant to enrich and cultivate thoughtful dialogue on a myriad of subjects.
this is not the BRITISH model at all. they have a celebrated station dedicated solely to news called the WORLD SERVICE, but they also have a number of stations dedicated to the arts, including BBC6 which is dedicated to modern ALTERNATIVE MUSIC (i.e. INDIE ROCK, TRIP HOP, ELECTROCLASH, ALTERNATIVE ROCK, INDIE POP, PUNK ROCK, etc).
the professionally mixed live performances are particularly well produced and include the likes of TRICKY w/MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD, IGGY POP, THE PIXIES, LIZZO, JOHNNY MARR, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, BEAK> and STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS as notable past performers among many many others.
definitely worth a listen.