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SXSW 2017: summary of SXSW Conference keynote by Zane Lowe

By on Friday, 31st March 2017 at 11:00 am

Header photo courtesy of SXSW

Former BBC Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe made radio history back in 2015 when he became Creative Director and Los Angeles anchor for Beats 1, Apple Music’s first free global radio station. His keynote speech on the Thursday morning of SXSW 2017 split its focus between Lowe’s own career in radio and his vision for the future of radio as a relevant medium for artists trying to share their music.

Lowe might well have been pre-destined to make radio history, as he explained near the beginning of his speech. His father, a journalist in Lowe’s native New Zealand, had set a fine example for him in that regard, as one of the founders of New Zealand’s first private commercial radio station. The pirate station Radio Hauraki, as it is still known, began its operation in 1966, broadcasting from a boat in international waters off the coast of New Zealand. In 1970, the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority broke its monopoly and allowed Radio Hauraki to operate on land, opening the door for privately owned radio in New Zealand.

Lowe’s mention of Radio Hauraki grabbed my interest straightaway, as I already knew the pirate radio station had been an early champion of New Zealand art-rock band Split Enz. I’m a card-carrying member of the Frenz of the Enz fan club, which covers associated New Zealand acts Split Enz and Crowded House, as well as solo efforts by bandmates and brothers Tim and Neil Finn. Without diverging too much from the point Lowe was trying to make, the idea of radio presenters having the freedom to play music they genuinely love on air was the grand idea behind Radio Hauraki, and it has been, quite naturally, a foundational tenet of Lowe’s career as well.

Zane Lowe internal

Lowe discussed his early career in New Zealand, inspired largely by brick-and-mortar record stores and his love of bands like the Beastie Boys and Nirvana, and his eventual move to the UK, where he worked for XFM and the BBC, as a way of putting the the volatile current state of radio into context. Despite the rapidly changing landscape of radio as a medium for sharing music, which we as music fans are all too aware of, Lowe made the salient point that the ultimate job of radio presenters and music journalists—providing an avenue for musicians to connect with their fans—has remained, and will remain, fundamentally constant.

He emphasised that as artists begin experimenting with new avenues of music promotion, radio will have to continue to adapt in order to stay relevant, and radio personalities will have to be prepared to take on new ventures, such as the one he himself has taken with Beats 1. “Fans [are becoming] followers, and followers [are becoming] data”, as Lowe observed, but he still stands by the innately human element of the music experience: the importance of collective listening, whether via live performances, online streams, or the ever-enduring radio broadcast.

If you’re interested in hearing Zane Lowe’s keynote speech from SXSW 2017 in its entirety, you can watch the livestream video just below, courtesy of SXSW.



TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: this year’s Music keynotes and recommended speakers

By on Tuesday, 7th March 2017 at 3:00 pm

Every year, SXSW has the good fortune to be able to draw incredible speakers involved in tech, film, and of course what we’re interested in, music. This year is no exception. So I’ll be highlighting who I consider the can’t miss recommended speakers of the Music stream of SXSW 2017.

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (Thursday 17 March, 12:30 PM) – Utter his name and those beats from Run DMC’s version of ‘Walk This Way’ come into your head, don’t they? The thing that fascinates me about people like McDaniels is that you know they could retire on the royalties from songs and projects from so long ago. So why do they keep at it? It’s the passion. McDaniels has another passion besides music, comic books, which he parlayed into a comic book company back in 2014. He’s also a published writer two times over. Certainly a man with a lot to say and considering the current political climate, I am sure he has an opinion on what is going in our country today. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is a legendary music icon who first impacted the world over 30 years ago. From the first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone to the first to appear on MTV, Grammy nominated Run-DMC changed music, culture, fashion, language and made American history. It would be hard to overstate his influence on popular culture.”

Krist Novoselic (Tuesday 14 March, 3:30 PM) – After Kurt Cobain’s untimely death, history could have been written such that the surviving two members of Nirvana never could overcome the late Cobain’s shadow. We all know what Dave Grohl went on to, but did you know that bassist Krist Novoselic went on to making politics a high priority in his life? From SXSW: “A member of the groundbreaking rock band Nirvana, Krist Novoselic and his bandmates changed the course of music history with their much-acclaimed album Nevermind. Novoselic went on to become one of rock’s most politically-minded musicians and an influential part of the Northwest political scene. He serves as Board chair for FairVote, a non-profit that seeks to make democracy fair.”

Mick Fleetwood (Wednesday 15 March, 5 PM) – His surname is half of the name of one of the greatest rock bands to have come out of the Seventies, so Mick Fleetwood’s place in the history of rock ‘n’ roll is assured. However, music is not the only thing Fleetwood has dabbled in. He owns a highly successful restaurant and bar in his current locale of Maui, Hawaii, and will be trying his hand at writing a chronicle on the band that made him famous. “Mick Fleetwood is a self-taught drummer and a founding member of one of the most successful bands of the last fifty years, Fleetwood Mac. Formed in 1967, their first album Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac came in at no.4 in the UK charts and brought the band overnight success. They went on to release the no.1 hit “Albatross” and a series of critically acclaimed albums, with further hit singles including “Black Magic Woman” and “Need Your Love So Bad.”

Nile Rodgers (Keynote / Wednesday 15 March at 11 AM / pictured at top) – Suffice to say, there are few people who have as many credits to their name, are as well-respected and are still in demand for collaboration and for so many decades as Nile Rodgers. While he’s probably best known as the co-founder and guitarist of disco trailblazers Chic, he’s responsible for countless hits that benefitted from his golden production touch. For myself, my life would never have been the same if he hadn’t been drafted in as a co-producer of Duran Duran’s ‘Notorious’ album. Rodgers is the epitome of cool and a living legend. As much as I’d like to be there for his keynote, to hear the stories he has to share from his many years in the business, something tells me it’s going to be rammed. From SXSW: “Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple Grammy Award-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist. As a cultural icon and music innovator with more than 200 production credits to his name, Nile Rodgers transcends all styles of music across every generation.”

Rachael Ray (Friday 17 March, 12:30 PM) – Her name probably sounds funny on a music speakers list like this, but having watched her cooking shows over the years, sister’s got a good taste in music and loves it. The now national network personality has hosted her own – and mind you, free – curated day of bands in Austin for the last 9 years of SXSW and as an unusual entry among the other Music Influencers, I’d venture to say this could be the most interesting Music Influencers session of them all. From SXSW: “Television host, bestselling author and Austin enthusiast, Rachael Ray, has hosted two annual Feedback food and music events in Austin during SXSW for the last nine years which have played host to the likes of The Districts, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Shovels & Rope, JEFF The Brotherhood, Blondie, Raekwon and over 150 other acts.”

Zane Lowe (Keynote / Thursday 16 March at 11 AM) – I was never a fan of Zane’s shouty delivery style when he was still the primetime evening presenter on BBC Radio 1 a few years ago. However you feel about him and the music he chooses to tip, it’s undeniable that he is well-respected in the global music community, his finger now on the pulse of things well beyond merely Britain as Creative Director of Beats 1. From SXSW: “Zane’s wealth of music knowledge and creative vision bring personality back to the modern age of music discovery through the human experience. With free-form, cutting-edge programming built purely on taste and passion, Lowe creates a united way for the world to talk about music in a free space. The objective is clear: to break records, to find new music, and to put exciting new artists in front of an audience that wants to hear it.”

As always, the schedule of events at SXSW 2017 is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information about the entire festival, including the music conference and the lineup of showcasing artists, you can consult the official schedule here. TGTF’s ongoing preview coverage of SXSW 2017 is collected here.


Live Gig Video: Josh Homme performs acoustic Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Long Slow Goodbye’ on MTV Soundchain

By on Thursday, 2nd October 2014 at 4:00 pm

I think it’s safe to say that being Zane Lowe is a pretty cool thing. The list of brilliant things that only Lowe has gotten to experience just keeps growing, including this appearance by Josh Homme on the MTV programme Lowe hosts called Soundchain. The Queens of the Stone Age frontman played an acoustic version of ‘Long Slow Goodbye’, appearing on the QOTSA 2005 album ‘Lullabies to Paralyze’, just for him. Watch the performance below.



Specialist DJ Takeover on Radio1 This Week

By on Monday, 3rd January 2011 at 12:00 pm

Radio1 is making an unusual move for the first week of 2011, in the form of four of their most famous and popular presenters taking over their airwaves from 7 AM to 7 PM every day this week. Turning the Radio1 schedule completely on its head, Zane Lowe will present in the breakfast show from 7 to 10 AM instead of his usual evening timeslot. Electronic music specialist Annie Mac will be in charge 10 AM to 1 PM. Indie band champion Huw Stephens (pictured above) will preside over the afternoon 1 to 4 PM slot. And Nick Grimshaw will be at the mixing desk at 4 to 7 PM, a couple hours earlier than his normal late night specialist show weeknights Monday through Thursday.

This unique “specialist DJ takeover” week will give these four DJs the latitude to look back at the bands they championed in 2010 while bringing attention to the acts they think will be big in 2011. A special feature to Zane Lowe’s breakfast show is the announcement of the top 5 acts of the BBC Sound of 2011, one each day, until the #1 act is crowned on Friday, the 7th of January 2011. For more info on the artists on the BBC Sound of 2011 longlist and a comparison with TGTF’s own 10 for 2011 and the MTV Brand New for 2011 list, go here.


Final ever Gonzo – Kaiser Chiefs, Dizzee Rascal and Mark Ronson talk

By on Tuesday, 20th April 2010 at 9:00 am

It’s Tuesday night. You’re not even halfway through the week. What’cha gonna do? Well, it’s most likely that you’re not gonna be out living it up if you have school / work the next day, so we’d suggest you catch MTV’s Gonzo tonight, as it’s gonna be the last time you can catch it with Zane Lowe.

Yes, that’s right the New Zealander is hosting his final ever episode from the brown couch, with a sort of who’s-who of some of the biggest names from his 8 year tenure on the Gonzo sofa…. Dizzee Rascal, Serge from Kasabian, Mark Ronson, The Libertines, Nick from Kaiser Chiefs, We Are Scientists, Lostprophets and a few extra surprises.

Mark Ronson gave Zane some sneak peeks about his new album – “The Record is done, its called Record Collection, its coming out September” he revealed before mentioning some of the rather bizarre mish-mash of guest stars we can expect. “I got a lot of really cool people that are up and coming and people that you might know like Wiley, Ghost Face, Boy George”. Could we hear Karma Chameleon with Mark Ronson trumpets on? You heard it here first…

Meanwhile, UK music scene’s golden boy, Dizzee Rascal was positively upbeat about his year to date – “I am glad that I’m still in tact, I aint strung out on drugs, I aint killed myself yet, no ones pregnant and I’m alright. I’m still clear at this point!” Good work Dizzee, always the positive one.

Finally, Nick from the Kaiser Chiefs has been writing with Mark Ronson, however (thankfully) Nick commented that whilst “there’s songs, there’s no [Kaiser Chiefs] record”. Phew.

You can catch the last ever Zane Lowe fronted Gonzo tonight at 10pm on MTV Rocks (formerly MTV 2)


Preview : BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend

By on Wednesday, 22nd April 2009 at 2:00 pm

Looking for a review of the Saturday of the Big Weekend? Click Here.

KasabianBBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend is an annual musical festival with bit of a twist. Every year, the 2 day event takes place in a different town, with past locations including Dundee, Preston and Maidstone. This 2009, Radio 1 will be bringing their Big Weekend to Lydiard Park, Swindon, on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of May. Tickets to the event are free, and are obtained through a random lottery on Radio 1’s website (registration has now closed). Lucky winners will blag a pair of tickets to their selected day (Saturday or Sunday), with Swindon residents receiving allocation priority in order to make the event more accessible to locals.

Every year the event has boasted an impressive line-up (past artists include Madonna, Muse and Foo Fighters), and this 2009 is absolutely no exception. Snow Patrol (pictured top), Kasabian (pictured right)and Dizzee Rascal will be headlining the ‘Main Stage’ on Saturday, while Lily Allen, Akon and Franz Ferdinand will be taking over the top slots on Sunday. Other artists who will be featuring within the main arena over the weekend include The Script, Calvin Harris, The Wombats, The Saturdays, Scouting for Girls, Ne-Yo, Alesha Dixon and N-Dubz.

Meanwhile, headline acts hitting the smaller ‘In New Music We Trust Stage’ on Saturday include Basement Jaxx, Doves and Jack Penate, while Sunday will be tastily offering up The Enemy, Maximo Park and Gossip. Further impressive artists appearing on this stage across the May weekend include Friendly Fires, Florence and the Machine, Fightstar, Enter Shikari, Ladyhawke and White Lies.

Should you fancy checking out some new music while at the event, why not head over to the ‘Introducing Stage’, where you can get up and close with a range of upcoming talent including Stornoway, The Temper Trap, Bombay Bicycle Club, Thee Vicars, Gallop and Marina and the Diamonds. And if that’s still not enough, you can catch a wide-range of top DJs spinning the decks over at the ‘Outdoor Stage’, with Radio 1 favourites including Chris Moyles, Annie Mac, Tim Westwood, Zane Lowe and Rob da Bank all making an appearance.

Registration for tickets to the event has now closed, but never fear, as the BBC will be broadcasting highlights of the festival on Radio 1 and BBC Three across the weekend. You’ll also be able to catch footage online, as well as on your trusty red button. If you’d like more information on the event, along with a full line-up, head over to the Big Weekend’s website now.

Top photo comes from Radio 1’s Flickr Stream.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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