t’s 2013 and it’s a Six Nations-winning, Breeze-ending, creativity-loving time for this 39 (soon to be 40) year-old, but more importantly, who will be Newport’s number one?
Newport City Radio heads into its fifth year and it’s as straightforward a year as it gets, so let me take a little time out to talk about creativity. I love fresh ideas, which can be very challenging when radio has been knocking around since 1900. Most radio features, the bit that’s made to get a reaction from the listener, have been around since the 1960’s, so what can you do?
I’ve always loved the chart countdown shows. From listening on a Tuesday lunchtime before it was computer compiled, to the change to a Sunday and the battle between the Radio 1 and commercial radio versions. In between I presented chart run downs for Lliswerry High School radio and Flavour, Falmouth College Radio. These were paper-based. I’d have a list of 20 songs and a tick box sheet. The more ticks a song got, the higher it went until we had a number one. It always threw up the same old problem… Once you know who is number two, the only song left must be number one. Suspense almost until the very end! How could I change this?
‘Newport’s Most Wanted’, created in this year, brought the eviction element of Big Brother together with a countdown where you wouldn’t know who would be Newport’s number one that week. We’d start with 10 songs. We would then ‘evict’ four immediately. With six left standing (only five could be played) the final song either was that week’s number six… or number one. Suspense to the very end!
I also love seeing other people being creative, especially doing things that I can’t… like graphic design. At KMA I needed a flyer for my Friday night that was as cheeky as the great club itself. Macklemore had a huge hit with ‘Thrift Shop’ and a strong look that we took inspiration from.
This was Adam in design phase:
… and this was the final look:
At the start of the year, I was still at Breeze on Saturday until the last match of the 6 Nations. Wales could not win the Grand Slam, but they could take the title if they beat England. Tricky! I went into Breeze to watch the game, and deejayed straight after. What happened next was the best way to end a residency in a bar: Wales won, Breeze went mental, and I signed off on a high.
I was enjoying working for Rob Stewart and Robbie White. I saw their next project develop from an empty shell into a great looking bar. I also had some input into the musical direction. Effectively it was to be an over 30’s bar but this time not exclusively for that age group. It was to be a party place where the big anthems that you could dance and sing along to would get played from any decade, including the current chart. That bar (as I’m sure you might have guessed) is Atlantica.
So, what are my five big tunes that sum up 2013?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Dizzee Rascal – 'Bassline Junkie'.
Bizarrely enough, this was sent to me via email. I know you probably think that this is the norm for a DJ, and it probably is, but not for this one. It sounded great in KMA and musically summed up the attitude of the club. It was fun for me as people who may have been associated with drugs were singing along with lyrics effectively which could be viewed as an anti-drugs campaign. I loved the irony, loved the song and always disliked drug culture. Perfect match.
Could have easily been: Robin Thicke feat. TI and Pharrell Williams – 'Blurred Lines', Avicii – 'Wake Me Up', Will.i.am feat. Britney Spears – 'Scream & Shout', PSY – 'Gangnam Style', Fuse ODG – 'Antenna' or David Guetta feat. Ne-Yo and Akon – 'Play Hard'.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Bastille – 'Pompeii'.
I love lead singers, Dan Smith’s voice. According to the Official Charts Company, it was the UK's most streamed song up to June 2014.
Could have easily been: Imagine Dragons – 'Radioactive, Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith – 'La La La', 1975 – 'Chocolate' or Disclosure feat. Sam Smith – 'Latch'.
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Calvin Harris feat. Tinie Tempah – 'Drinking From the Bottle'
Another high-octane track celebrating the alcoholic side of club culture. I may be a bit of a hypocrite here: maybe condoning drinking culture, but not drugs. I’ll let you decide.
Could have easily been: Macklemore feat. Ryan Lewis and Ray Dalton – 'Can’t Hold Us', Swedish House Mafia feat. John Newman – 'Don’t You Worry Child', Rudimental feat. Ella Eyre – 'Waiting All Night', Disclosure feat. Aluna George – 'White Noise' or Avicii feat. Nicky Romero – 'I Could Be the One'.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Rudimental feat. John Newman – 'Feel the Love'.
Another song that sums up the energy at KMA. We might have built reputation and customer base through reggae and RnB, but a proper club needs cool dance music.
Could have easily been: Macklemore feat. Ryan Lewis – 'Thrift Shop', Bruno Mars – 'Locked Out of Heaven', Drake feat. Majid Jordan – 'Hold On, We’re Coming Home' or Nelly – 'Hey Porsche'.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – 'Get Lucky'.
Always loved Daft Punk, indifferent about Pharrell and unschooled on Nile Rodgers. I did know one thing: this song was going to be huge. According to Wikipedia…
'The single reached the top ten in the music charts of over 32 countries, and has sold more than 9.3 million copies, making it one of the best-selling songs of all time.'
Could have easily been: Passenger – 'Let Her Go', Lumineers – 'Ho Hey', John Newman – 'Love Me Again', Rihanna – 'Diamonds', Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – 'Stay', Ellie Goulding – 'Burn' or Katy Perry – 'Roar'.
That’s almost it from 2013. I’d like to thank the entire Welsh rugby squad for beating England, and my family and team of friends for giving me a great 40th Birthday night.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. She’s back, every Wednesday… Top Totty has your midweek singalong from 10pm.
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