Tales from the Echobox 014
New year, new Tales from the Echobox! Lock in for another run of conversations with Amsterdam-based Radio Station, Echobox's community of broadcasters. The station has evolved leaps and bounds over the past few months including a collaborative T-Shirt with Patta, an all-day-all-night event at Paris Fashion Week as well as winning the Amsterdam Prize for Art 2022. Echobox has been forging a path for community radio by showcasing the diverse characters and concepts that surround them. In this feature, we will be looking into a few of the broadcasts that you can tune into so get locked in and don’t touch that dial.
Joy, you are the immaculate host behind Joygail Radio. Tell us how the show came to be.
The idea to host a music show has been in my mind for a while. During the pandemic I thought of how interesting it’d be to have a kind of give and take with my friends to get to know eachother better. Loosely inspired by Little Simz’ 101FM at WorldwideFM, a podcast called Are We Live and Jade Souls Soulfusion.
Coincidentally, the pitching round for Echobox came along after I just uploaded my first season (and ran out of friends). Since then I tried to invite music lovers in general and people from mostly the creative scene that inspire me.
Your show has a focus on people working broadly in the hip-hop and RnB scenes, whether as artists or as promoters, organisers, journalists, or elsewhere in this area.
When did you discover your love for this type of music and how do you like to explore that in the show?
I would add some nuance and say that the guests are mostly - but not exclusively - from scenes with a black origin. I’d like to think that a lot of conversations and adding context is important to actively make these genres inclusive since most of these genres were born out of exclusion of certain demographics. But to answer the question, whenever my mom and I were out I used to listen to songs that she had on her phone. Destiny’s Child, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys and whatnot. I was in love with beautiful soul voices until at one point the autotune from T-Pain’s Bartender grabbed my attention. That’s when I started digging into his discography. Since he was featuring on a lot of songs at the time I started digging into all sorts of hip hop and R&B artists from that period. The music fanatic was born. Shoutout Limewire.
You are also a performer and promoter yourself: what kind of vibe should we expect from an event or a performance with some kind of Joygail involvement?
Diversity AND inclusivity are very important to me. So I always strive for a space itself to be safe and fun for everyone, but these same terms also apply for me on stage. Whenever I’m DJing this boils down to question “What is the most progressive and fun thing I could play without alienating the crowd?” and when I’m mc’ing to help the DJ’s out to do the same. Hopefully this leads to an experience where people get the same kind of joy (not pun-intended) from music as I do and hopefully find something new or interesting.
Who or what is doing it for you musically at the moment?
Do you have a moment? The year has just begun but there are so many things I’ve been completely obsessed with.. Voice Notes by Yazmin Lacey, Capo Lee’s Cost of Living, MoMa Ready with Body 22, Nia Archives… Even Lil Yachty gave us a classic this year! Can’t wait for my end of year show to come.
You recently hosted an on-location broadcast in collaboration with Echobox and Melkweg for Oyster festival. What was the experience like and how does that kind of situation differ from your regular show?
It was as frightening as it was exciting. Normally I’m quite in control of the content of my monthly hour but doing live radio for 6 hours with so many other people and factors into play is very different. I remember I spoke with Mo a couple days before the event and he made me realize that the charm of live radio - of course - also lies in the spontaneity. I really needed that realization since so much of the event was random. For example, interviewing Feux with a 5 minute notice. Good experience and it inspired me for other exciting things I want to do in the future.
While not being explicitly or exclusively a talk show, your show has a significant talking element. What is it about the talking element that you feel is important for what you want to get across in radio, and why is radio the necessary medium to do that?
It’s important that people can share their story and have genuine conversations. Having an conversation about music for an hour feels quite long in this fast-paced TikTok day-and-age but I like to think of it as slower content where people can chime in, discover and learn if they want to. It’s so interesting to learn how other people experience music or even their own work. I hope that one day I can experiment more with the live aspect from people listening to add to the conversation being held in the studio so it’s not only necessary me leading certain conversations but all in due time!
Ann, you are the driving force behind Endlich Wochenende. What is the show about and how did it come to be?
Hello hello. Yes I am hosting the show Endlich Wochenende once every 4 weeks on Echobox. Endlich Wochenende is German for 'finally weekend’. For the title and show I initially had two things in mind: First of all I’ve always wanted to host a radio show which kicks-off the weekend and gets us in the mood to go out, go dancing, go meet people and give us a diverse musical inspiration to do so...and to maybe go and explore a club night or a night bar playing the music or showcasing the artists you might have heard on Endlich Wochenende. Secondly, since I am German myself I found the title very much fitting that idea. It’s something Germans always say when it’s end of Friday work hours and everybody is happy that it’s weekend. By the time Echobox announced the open call for pitches, I just had moved back from The Netherlands to Germany. So, I proposed that the show therefore should function as a bridge between the two cultures and countries. Besides showcasing different styles of party music, I also thought of regularly inviting artists from both countries as guests. I hope we can all benefit from knowing about each other and connecting more.
Besides Echobox you also DJ under the name Panda Lassow and founded Anus Records. What is the label about and, at the risk of making you answer a question you’ve answered many times, what is the story behind the name? Does the label differ from the kind of thing we could expect from a Panda Lassow set?
ANUS Records is a music label for electronic music of the category - odd, future, not too serious. You can refer this to the music itself or the process of creating music or the attitude of the producer/artist making it. As artists so often overthink. Just do it.
Oh yes the story of ANUS Records. Long story short here is that at a friends dinner table while a beer chicken was baking in the oven we did some funny brainstorming and ANUS Records was the one that stuck with us. After a week of thinking about whether to use it or not, I went to the KVK (Dutch chamber of commerce) and registered the record label. The word ANUS is exactly something summarising it all - we release cool shit, it’s a bit odd and the shit we release is timeless. It’s a name meeting all of our values - bold (name it), unity (we all have an anus), provocative, a hurdle to pass (not for everyone), message, not too serious.
And to answer the last part of the 3-in-1 question: I would say the sets of Panda Lassow are …Panda Lassow sets! Of course they fit the values of ANUS Records but in a specific way. I love to dance and I always dance when producing music. Dance and message are important to me as DJ and producer. Musically, I always find myself in the more rough genres which protest - like Kuduro (Angola, Portugal), Gqom (South Africa), Ghetto Tech (Chicago, US), Juke/Footwork (Chicago, US), Techno, Bass music like Jungle, Grime (UK), Soundsystems.
You usually broadcast your show from Fats Fenders Records in Dresden. What is your relationship with the store like and what do you think broadcasting on location like this brings to the show? [Fun random Hieroglyphic Being cameo on one show springs to mind!]
Yes I usually broadcast from Fat Fenders Record store in Dresden. It’s run by Dennis and Fabian and around 2004 I lived in Dresden and decided I want to become a DJ. Fenders as we call it is the record store I bought my first records. And besides the fact that they are very lovely human beings they have a very good music taste. I can get everything there from Dub to Jazz to Techno and the collections is very well selected and curated.
It was very cool they said yes to the idea of doing live radio from their store. People can come to the store, they can experience Endlich Wochenende live, they can buy records in the meantime or just connect and network with others. And Amsterdam feels so close when we go on air - amazing feeling. And with doing it from a record store means you can also meet artist who are in town. That the one time suddenly Hieroglyphic Being and Derrick Train entered the store was too cool. Record stores are meeting points. Those surprises are the best. This also adds to the feeling of Endlich Wochenende - start your weekend in a record store.
Your show frequently includes guests: who are some of the people who have come on the show that we should know about and what kind of energy do you think having a guest on brings?
In the beginning of Echobox Radio, I did Endlich Wochenende as prerecorded show. But since I was missing the live energy we started at Fat Fenders in-between. One time a prerecorded session for Echobox and two weeks after a live one at Fat Fenders. Therefore, I want to mention some guest from that time as well. Radio to me is all about music, stories and guests. It’s very interesting to learn from different approaches to and contexts of music. I love that.
So here you go (not in order of appearance): Pau Pau and John Meckel DJ from the fragmented: collective in Dresden (DE), Coline (Dresden, DE), The Duke of Juke (Dresden, DE), schlachthofbronx (Munich, DE), Uncanny Valley Record label (Dresden, DE), Barikowski (Dresden, NL), Titus 12 (Bristol, UK), Godelivia (Utrecht, NL), Black Cadmium (Rotterdam, NL), Whistle & Klont (Rotterdam & Utrecht, NL), SUBFICTION (Rotterdam, NL), Dro Carey/Tuff Sherm (Sydney, AUS), State OFFF (ZW, NL-based), Trigga Pablo (ZW) and more to come.
Technically, there is always a bit more to prepare at Fat Fenders when I have a guest. For example when a guests can’t be there in person, then they mostly call in. So we need to check the line beforehand etc. etc. Actually every time I am there we build a radio station from scratch. So some extra excitement when guests are there. And interview-wise, I love when a talk is just natural and we talk like we would when we meet offline.
What has your relationship with radio, online or otherwise, been over the years?
The relationship was and is fruitful and at the same time accompanied with ups and downs sometimes. And I learnt a lot and I still learn.
I started with an iTunes podcast back in 2008-2010. It was called Wunschkonzert IEM Podcast which I hosted as Petra Lundawerk (my other Moniker for IDM, Electronics, Sound Designs etc.). I also invited guests like Helena Hauff, Morphosis, Grischa Lichtenberger, Credit 00, DJ Wada, Astro, Simona Barbera & SONORA, Karsten Pflum, Tobias Schmitt etc). So cool to think back actually.
Then I moved to The Netherlands in 2009 and I did radio at Red Light Radio from 2012-2020. The radio station was iconic. Many guest joined the show and it was always a happening. After they stopped it felt very natural to keep going with the Echobox family which I partly knew from Red Light Radio. New chapter, new radio show incentive.
What is your perfect weekend, when it’s endlich here? (sorry)
Uhhh I had to think about this one! To me a perfect weekend is not so much about the how’s and what’s, but more about the feeling. It’s perfect, when I forget about time and when I am mentally get into the present moment. Craziness is allowed and welcome. Also a good balance between relaxing and action is what makes a perfect weekend. Yes, I think this is it. Sounds like the perfect life description too.
Anything exciting that people should know about coming up in 2023, in terms of Endlich Wochenende, Panda Lassow, Anus Records, or beyond?
As Panda Lassow I am making a lot of new music over the last 2-3 years which isn’t released yet, but soon - Boom! Watch out. ;) I am not sure yet with what labels I do want to collaborate, but we’ll see. Also I am more and more experimenting with live stuff in my DJ sets. I don’t know where this will take me, but you might get a little preview on the Amsterdam Open Air weekend on the Echobox stage. I am looking forward to that experiment and that might influence Endlich Wochenende as well. More to come. This life is never boring to me.
Luuk, you are the host of Citrus. What’s the story behind the show, its name, and what do you try to explore while on air?
The initial concept of my show was a radioshow that exists between the worlds of music and literature & poetry. I'm really interested in what words can do and what happens to them when they exist in a musical environment, I was for instance always drawn to songs with lyrics that convey a very different feeling than the music does. It always felt unexpected and like digging for a deeper truth, where different interpretations can coexist freely together in the package of a song or musical piece. In my show I want to constantly cover that balance, between the weight of words and the weight of music.
Something that bothers me sometimes is the elitist approach of literature or poetry, and how it always gets conveyed as a very serious form of art, with a lot of rules. Because of that I make the show with a much lighter and fun approach to these forms of art, where it can be awkward, cozy and punky as well.
A word that really covered that was "Citrus" for me. A citrus fruit is always quite a weird mixture of tastes, it's sweet, so approachable, but sometimes really sour, and that covered the punky side for me, after the sweet and sour taste the taste deepens into another character. I really like how they're very weird to pin down, and that's something I find in my favorite music & books as well.
Recent shows have focused on, for example, Bertolt Brecht and David Bowie. What is it about these kinds of figures, that a show might be centred around, that you find interesting to explore?
I'm really interested in how our world creates these myths around people. I think the artists help with it, but it's mostly that we create this dreamlike feeling around a person, where someone is starting to be more than a person, they almost become this new entity. When I think about David Bowie I don't think about one song, but more about an approach to life even. I really like to let people hear what I feel when it comes to such an example. Where the whole duality and weirdness around one person gets covered a bit more, where you can zoom in to one person's extremes, instead of the highlights of their life. I also make a point of incorporating criticism of these figures or times, because it's not the intention to make a tribute for someone, but only to get a bit closer to what their art in all it's flavours feels like.
What is your favourite way to incorporate a citrus flavour in a culinary context?
Oooof, so we can go in so many directions. Liquid or solid. Sweet or savoury. I think what I mostly do is lemon in ginger tea. But lemon in pasta is something special, especially when spring or summer is close. There are two dishes I really like, one I made up myself a bit, which I titled "Zee Pasta". It's spaghetti with green asparagus, spinach, and instead of a sauce, just two lemons and olive oil to tie it all together. There's also "Pasta e Ceci", this chickpea, tomato and pasta soup where lemon works so well over it. Lemon together with parsley or rosemary are killer combos that I use quite a lot. I tried to bake a grapefruit cake once but failed miserably so that's still high on my agenda.
Your show promises a ‘healthy post-punk attitude’: who or what is interesting for you in the diverse world of post-punk at the moment and, moreover, how exactly should the post-punk minions out there stay healthy?
Post-Punk is by far my favorite genre of music. It's the first music I really fell in love with since I stole a burned "Best Of" CD by the Clash from my dad when I was younger. From then on, the genre stayed with me, because I think in a lot of ways it's not a genre. It's more of a way to look at music and how to incorporate the world around you into the music you're making. Post-Punk is for me the most open-minded music genre: an ambient record or a hiphop record could be dubbed post-punk as well. I'm always really impressed by all the releases on Osàre! Editions since they convey what Post-Punk is for me, but deny any nostalgia. It couldn't have been made in the 80's for example. There is an expression in dutch which goes "niet voor een gat te vangen" which basically means that someone is impossible to pin down. This is also what I advise the post-punk minions now. There is no post-punk sound. The most beautiful thing about post-punk is that it's dual, weird, and incomprehensible. So keep making sure you are "voor geen gat te vangen"!
You also DJ and are musically-involved outside of Echobox. What kind of thing should one expect from a Citrus gig?
DJing is really important to me, because it always feels like a kind of check up moment with myself. How do I feel, and how can I show the listeners how I'm doing? Checking in with myself is something I forget sometimes a bit too much, and I like how DJing made that kind of an obligation. Like I do in the radioshow, I want to give the listener something that can be interpreted in multiple ways, and is dual, weird and hard to pin down. The big difference is that I prepare my radio shows a lot, and my dj-sets as little as possible, preferably as close to the gig as I can, to keep it intuitive. So basically when you're at one of my gigs it's always a fun chaotic experience, where I mix my noisier and more aggressive side with a more sensual and soft side of myself. I like to incorporate a lot of music from the post punk world but am alos incredibly hooked on jungle and also Kylie Minoque. How does one of my sets go? Well, it's dance-able, but also very dream-like. When I'm playing I always try to unfold a weird, collage-y kind of narrative.
Anything exciting that people should know about coming up in 2023, in terms of Citrus, radio, or beyond?
For the show there are two things that are in the pipeline now, one is a show around the VPRO, the legendary dutch public broadcaster that made incredibly progressive radio and tv programmes for a long time. It is meant as a deep dive in the way they made programmes that scared many of the dutch households during the 60s, 70s and 80s. Besides that I want to invite more writers on Citrus, there were some musical guests last year so it would be interested to hear from guests that inhabit the "words" part of the Citrus planet. Besides radio I'm currently working on my debut release as "Citrux", my project of weird organic/electronic songs, all sung in dutch and very inspired by abstract poetry.