Broadcasting from Gillet Square for just over a year now, web-based music station NTS Live has already gained a cult following across the world and showcases a mind-melting array of music across all genres. It's content comes from a stable of passionate and committed hosts for whom quality music is always the priority. Always expect the unexpected on NTS - freeform jazz, urban garage styles, ambient soundscapes, Japanese folk and Chicago house jams are drawn from the record boxes of local heroes, enthusiastic collectors and international DJs alike. We spoke to NTS founder Femi Adeyemi about his creation.
How long have you made Dalston/East London your home and what is it that keeps you here?
Dalston has been home for me since my mum, my brothers and I moved over from Lagos when I was a baby in the ‘80s.
Do you see the area as being fertile for creativity or did you set up NTS here for convenience?
Yes it’s always been a fertile ground for creativity - simply because deciding to be a "creative person" automatically means being broke for a very long time until you strike gold. Dalston, Hackney being one of the poorest places in the UK meant that the area was more affordable for creatives to live (not sure if that’s relevant anymore though) hence its fertility for creativity.
In regards to NTS it was more out of convenience; it’s home, I know it like the back of my hand, and I know a lot of people from the area (that’s how I got the studio space) - I couldn’t do it anywhere else, it just wouldn’t feel as comfortable.
Describe the vibe in Gillett Square for readers who might not be familiar with it...
Gillett Square is my definition of what London is as a whole - a mix of cultures and ideas that you wouldn’t really get in any other part of the UK.
Who are your radio heroes and what stations still inspire you?
I’m very inspired by many radio stations particularly by BBC Radio 4, WFMU , KCRW and radiolab – I’m inspired generally by American college radio.
How did you go about setting up NTS Radio- in terms of finding the studio and finding the first lot of presenters?
I was out of work for almost a year when I just decided I wasn’t going to work for anyone anymore and decided to chase up something I've always wanted to do.
The studio was given to me by the person who ran the business in the space prior, and we just basically set out a strategy to get the first few shows in which involved me reaching out to all the DJs I knew and placing posters all over London- stating that we were looking for hosts.
What does the future hold for NTS? It's already massive with coverage on Dummy, Nylon, Dazed & Confused- do you find that daunting or exciting?
Just to continue to focus on good programming - we want to do a lot more of our own features. But a definitely a huge focus on keeping our shows strong.
Coverage sometimes can be daunting as expectations are raised - but then the excitement kicks in when we realise the amazing potential and interesting ideas we are sitting on.
What qualities do you look for in potential shows and hosts?
Passion and knowledge.
With 130+ shows, how do you keep track of them all?
I sometimes lose track but Debi the Programming Director is way better at keeping track of them all.
With the chatroom and the social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter there is a lot of scope for audience interaction. What has been the strangest that you know of?
Nothing strange yet - you always get some weirdos jumping on the chatroom - but the strangest was a character called Dolly Dildos. She said she was from Thailand and was looking for a husband - and all the things she'd do to the man that marries her. She was on the chatroom consistently for about a month then disappeared - shame because we all found it entertaining.
Working in radio, the last thing you must want to do when you get home is switch on the radio but are there any NTS shows you would choose to listen to in your own time?
I still tend to listen. When I get home I find myself going back to podcasts to check the shows I’ve missed - I'm a fan of the more soundscape style shows when I’m relaxing at home though.
You have quite a lot of shows that have links back to the local community- what is it you and your hosts like about Dalston?
I can’t really speak about the others, but for me it’s the cultural mix that creates such a unique environment that I love. I've travelled to a few major cities around the UK, Europe and the States and I don’t think anywhere else has such diversity.
Listen to NTS Radio both live and podcast recordings at: ntslive.co.uk
Check Superstore guvnor Dan Beaumont's House show Rhythm Connection here