A BADGE OF FRIENDSHIP ON FUBAR RADIO: ‘WE HAVE BEEN CRAZYING UP THE AIRWAVES’

The good people at A Badge of Friendship – Claire Lim, Paul McCallum and Ed Williams – open up about their charmingly kooky & witty, weekly new music show on FUBAR Radio…

What is the best and worst thing of having a radio show together (Claire, Paul and Ed)?

Claire: As a PR company we only work with bands we love and I love our roster 100%. However, the best thing about doing the show, for me, is getting to shout out about bands who aren’t necessarily on our roster. We’re all about new music on the show and doing the show means that our ears are tuned into new bands every week and there are some brilliant new bands and independent labels out there. This year we’ve discovered so many great bands and labels, so, so many… Supercrush, Woolworm, Chastity, Surf Dads, Sweet and Lowdown. I could go on…

Paul: I think the best thing is being able to talk about a subject we all love. It has given us an outlet to push bands and labels from all over the world to our listeners, who hopefully have enjoyed learning about these bands as much as we have. I think the realisation that there are so many amazing bands out there doing great things has been the best part for me. I have felt like a kid again, constantly searching for new music and genuinely feeling excited by what I have discovered. This year has been a fantastic year for music.

Ed: The best thing for me has to be the new music discovery. I’m sure Claire & Paul will agree that working in PR can give you tunnel vision when it comes to music, as you’re so involved with what you’re working on you can sometimes forget that there are other artists out there doing amazing things that, while they might not be making big waves in the press, are completely mind blowing. In a way the show, has forced me to start looking for a music again without my business head on. The worst thing has to be my chair. I’m not as young as I used to be, and sitting on a backless stool for two hours reminds me of that.

You’ve reached over 20 shows now. How do you feel the show has evolved?

Claire: We’ve definitely become a little more surreal as time’s gone on. We don’t take ourselves seriously. Sure, we talk about the bands, the labels and make sure we know what we’re talking about when it comes to promoting them on the show but we want to have fun because music should be just that… fun! It’s a passion of ours and we want that to come across. We’re starting to play with the format a little now we’ve reached show number 2-0 so watch this space for some brilliant guests, special themed shows and plenty more daft chat!

Paul: For me, it has evolved exactly how we wanted, which is quite comforting. We set out to have fun, to allow our personalities to shine and to play music we thought was important for people to hear. Whether that be the weird and wonderful, pop gems or brutal metal. No compromises. The fact we have achieved this while, hopefully, entertaining people, is really quite satisfying. To be fair, some of the utter nonsense we come out with makes me wonder how we’ve actually managed to make it to 20 shows!

Ed: We’re definitely a lot more comfortable going off on tangents now than we were at the beginning. It’s important to be as informative as possible when talking about the music we play, but it’s also just as important to make the show a fun listen. As Claire said, I think it comes across fairly well that we’re all massively into music. Which helps working in Music PR hahahah.

How did you celebrate your 20th FUBAR Radio show?

Claire: Our 20th show was a music industry special so we chatted to James Brown from Pulled Apart By Horses, Andrew Trendell editor of Gigwise and Lloyd Meredith from Olive Grove Records. We thought it would be handy to have them give their tips and tricks to surviving the industry from their own unique perspectives.

Paul: By getting slightly tipsy on air. So, pretty much the same as every week…

Ed: Personally, I wore my favourite pair of pants, went home and bathed in the tears of One Direction fans, sent to me via mailorder by Zayn Malik. We all have our little rituals.

Who came up with the (crazy or clever?) idea to start a Radio Show?

Claire: I think we sort of just fell into it. We all get on as friends as well as colleagues and our chat is often pretty much what you hear on the show. We started recording it roughly like a podcast by ourselves but then approached FUBAR and they were up for the idea of us heading up our own strange little show and the rest is history!

Paul: It really is just one of those thing where three people, who spend too much time together in one room, working and talking complete rubbish day in day out thought such patter would be perfect for radio. Our grand plan is actually to use the airwaves to enact our version of mind control by attempting to brainwash the general public by playing bands such as kids favourites Aids Wolf and Boards of Canada inspired covers of the Super Mario theme. We hope, by the end of our stint on radio, the general public will have much better taste in music and no longer allow acts like Mumford & Sons, Crazy Town and David Sneddon to become household names.

Ed: I think we’d been in the middle of trying to put together a podcast for a few months when we were invited to do an hour slot on FUBAR for Comic Relief. Once we got the rush of live broadcast it became fairly obvious to us that we worked really well in the medium – the immediacy of it means you don’t really have time to overthink, and it really allowed our personalities to shine through without sounding stilted or scripted.

Who would you want to do a radio show with (dead or alive)?

Claire: Apart from the wonderful Paul and Ed, I’d say I’d like to get the cast of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia in the studio. They have nothing to do with music but we just love that show and I love that lot – if you’re reading guys – you know where we are!

Paul: Kid Jensen, Tony Blackburn, Simon Mayo or Bruno Brookes. Any of the great radio DJ’s of our time really.

Ed: Lester Bangs or Hunter S. Thompson. To be fair, either of them would probably be career suicide, but it would be worth it for the chance to pick their brains and see what they were like face to face. And to see what we can get away with on air.

What is one unforgettable radio show memory?

Claire: I really enjoyed Paul’s birthday episode (no. 17 if you want to have a wee listen!). I had to create two running orders – one for Paul, like a normal show running order, and then the REAL running order for me, Ed and our producer Laura. We got Paul’s mates Simon (Biffy Clyro) and Ross to call in and his parents – he had no idea what was going on until we got into the studio. That was good fun.

Paul: I would have to agree with Claire. That for me was pretty special as I did not have a clue. The only issue I have with that Claire allowed me to spend my Sunday working on the show, researching, finding bands and generally getting prepared on my day off, only to find out that I had wasted my time in doing so. Swings and roundabouts though. It was very sweet of Claire to do what she did and it was lovely of Simon, Ross and my parents to come on and thoroughly embarrass me on live radio.

Ed: Two words. AIDS Wolf. I can’t believe that they’re a real band, I can’t believe that that’s their name and I can’t believe I got to play them on the show. Not for the faint of heart.

Do you get nervous before the show?

Claire: I did for the first episode but I don’t anymore. Even when things go wrong we just sort of roll with it because there’s no point in getting nervous or hung up about it – the show must go on! We’re all pretty good at covering up any cracks with shit talk plus we have so much fun doing it, there’s no point in being nervous. The boys have a couple of beers, we get to play great tunes, chat to interesting guests and showcase a lot of great music. It’s like we’re in our living room just hanging out except I’ve got to remember to press the right buttons at the right times!

Paul: Initially yes. The butterflies were definitely a fluttering when we first started. Now, like jaded, privileged egotists, we rock up in our helicopters at the very last minute with our ‘people’ reminding the FUBAR staff not to look us directly in the eyes.

Ed: Not really. To be honest, I was more worried about getting the piss taken out of me for my radio voice as I have a bit of a nondescript accent – put a mic in front of me and my voice automatically goes into ‘RADIO ED’ mode. It’s really hard to switch off.

Which famous radio presenter do you admire? Why?

Claire: I’m going to sound like a right wanker but I’m not into the whole ‘heroes / admiration’ thing in a big way so I find it hard to answer this question. I will say this though… We met Dermot O’Leary earlier on this year as we had Idlewild, who are on our roster, go in to record a live session for BBC Radio 2. He was just the loveliest man and you can feel his passion for music. So regardless of what you think of him as a TV presenter, he really believes in his radio show and is 100% passionate – you can’t fault that really.

Paul: I am not sure if I really have any to be honest. There is the usual suspects in John Peel and I did quite like Adam and Joe when they were on Radio 6. Mark and Lard back in the day too. I think that with iTunes, iPods, Spotify and being able to listen to anything you want, any time you want, this has meant that I don’t listen to radio as much as I used to.

Ed: Terry Wogan. Hands down. The man is an absolute legend in his own right. That voice, the self deprecating humour – he’s never tried or wanted to be cool, and seems genuinely surprised that he’s as popular as he is. Plus the Floral Dance is da bomb.

What distracts you while you’re on air?

Claire: Sometimes Ed will write things for me to read on bits of paper whilst I’m talking or a guest is on the line and that’s a bit distracting or the boys will be taking the piss out of me or something else and I’ll lose my train of thought but hopefully you won’t be able to hear me struggling too much!

Paul: When Ed purchases biltong and we try desperately not to be heard chomping away, as our mouths water insatiably, tastebuds pleading for more, and the meaty, chilli goodness envelopes our very being from top to bottom like a warm, tasty cocoon delivered from the Gods… Mmmm biltong. Sorry, I lost my train of thought for a second there. Yeah, biltong.

Ed: There’s a loose window right beside me in the studio that’s seen better days. Sometimes a bus goes by, sometimes there’s loud casual violence/street theatre and sometimes the ice cream van stops underneath it with full musical accompaniment – and that completely takes me out of the zone. Who can concentrate with the prospect of ice cream not 40 yards away? Admittedly, I have the attention span of a Golden Retriever.

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By Frank Bell ©FAMEMAGAZINE.co.uk