Clyde Built Radio: 'It's about building something for the people in Glasgow who don't have anything yet'
- David Pollock
- 24 December 2019
Andrew Thomson, co-promoter and label boss of both Huntleys & Palmers and Highlife, tells us about the new Barras-based electronic music station
'The Barras feels like a good place to do this, or at least the best place to start,' says Andrew Thomson, one of the founders of the new Clyde Built Radio, an online electronic music station which will begin broadcasting from the Barras Market in Glasgow in the New Year. 'It means we'll be working with locals, of course, and it's a unique, world-famous place with a character all of its own.' He explains that the owners of the Barras – who also own Glasgow's famous Barrowland Ballroom – are keen to get projects like Clyde Built involved; to foster a sense of regeneration on the site, but on their own terms.
'We're building a little studio in a stall, and the plan is that we'll put in a coffee machine and encourage as much interaction as possible,' he continues. 'If you're finishing your show and some of your friends are there, then you can hang around with whoever's on next and their friends, and foster a sense of conversation and community. I don't know how that's going to work in the Glasgow weather, but the idea is to put it all there, at least, and see how it goes … '
As the co-promoter and label boss of both Huntleys & Palmers and Highlife, as well as presenting his own show on Rinse.FM in London, Thomson has been immersed in Glasgow's electronic music scene for more than a decade. The roots of the imminent radio station come from the Clyde Built series of compilations he has issued over the last few years, featuring large numbers of the finest new production talent in Glasgow, and inspired by Huntleys & Palmers' own Boiler Room takeover in 2016.
'For a long time I'd hoped somebody else would come along and do this, and I'd been in touch with the big online stations asking if they'd be interested in collaborating on some sort of pop-up Glasgow show,' he says. 'Each time the conversations dried up. Eventually, the year before last, I was living in London and feeling frustrated by the lack of community compared to Glasgow, it felt more industry-orientated.'
He moved back a year ago with a sense of purpose to set up this station, because 'I realised nobody else was going to do it', and has worked towards the launch since then with with Claudia Ioana Vasiliu, Janneke Hulshof and Rose Manson. The idea I want to keep from the compilations is giving those people who don't have a big platform or a show elsewhere a shot,' he says. 'The big names will feature somewhere of course, we'd love to have them, but it's about building something for the people in the city who don't have anything yet.
'The people I actively got in touch with early on in the process, to make sure they were on board with this and willing to support us, were all the clubs and all the record shops,' he continues. 'We'll be giving each of them probably a monthly slot, and they can have someone from the shop or a resident or guest play, it's up to them. We want to give these institutions their part to play, partly because we want to create connections between them; as a promoter I flit between lots of venues, and while they all know each other, they don't always interact or help one another out. You just get stuck in your bubble, don't you?'
The exact launch date isn't known yet, but it will be in January, with an official launch event in February, and from the initial two days a week, Thomson hopes that might expand in future. He says that in other cities he's visited which already have their own radio stations for electronic music, 'there's a sense of community there, even if there isn't really as much going on as Glasgow. It's not something that bothered me, as such, but I thought I had to do something about it.'
Thomson names Red Light Radio from Amsterdam as a big inspiration. 'There were cool DJs from Amsterdam before that, but no one really knew who they were or what they were doing,' he says. 'Now they've got a platform and regular shows, and they've built an international audience. I'm motivated to do something similar for the people of Glasgow who are involved in music, to try and show them off a little bit more. It's a proper community here, you live it and go through the ups and downs together.'
Clyde Built Radio will be launched in January.