Liverpool’s music community has reacted to Coronavirus in inspiring fashion, not letting the closure of venues and facilities stop the flow of new music. One of the most impressive reactions has been from Melodic Distraction, the independent radio station based on Jamaica Street. We caught up with them to find out more about what they’ve been up to.
How would you describe Melodic Distraction to someone who’s never listened?
Melodic Distraction is a radio community made up of over 170 hosts from across Liverpool and the North West. Our roster celebrates all corners of the local music scene. The station has show hosts including DJs, music producers, podcasters and promoters, the people behind record stores, venues, festivals and record labels. We think of Melodic Distraction as a cross-section of all of the beautiful sounds found in and around Liverpool. We’ve been broadcasting for the last three years from our Baltic Triangle studio, and in that time we’ve evolved and had the opportunity to take our radio hosts to DJ at festivals, showcases and international radio swaps. Not to mention also running our own (small) clothing line, our own events and a music magazine too!
How have you kept the radio station running when people can’t get into the studio?
As soon as we considered that it wasn’t safe for hosts to come into the studio, we set about trying to ensure that they could remotely record their shows. We did this by filling in the missing puzzle pieces of as many home studios across Liverpool as possible before the anticipated lockdown would get announced. We’ve also been tutoring all our hosts in the use of the equipment and software, as well as alternative solutions that people can easily access from home. A huge thank you goes out to Total Control Sound, PAHire Liverpool, Loft Audio and everyone that donated equipment to the effort. We couldn’t have done it without everyone pitching in to help and our hosts being up for the challenge of broadcasting from home!
Why has it been so important to make sure people can keep broadcasting and recording from home?
As things currently stand, a huge number of the hosts on the station have sadly had their gigs, festivals and events over spring and summer postponed due to Covid-19. We still want all our hosts to be able to share music and continue to promote the wonderful work that they do even during this down time. Plus, we all need something to keep us amused at home, and a creative outlet is just the ticket to keep us all happy!
How has it helped in keeping the community together?
Without daily contact with the people we normally see day-to-day, we all need a sense of connection and community. Hearing a familiar, friendly voice and a host’s favourite music guiding you through the day, from your morning coffee to your mid-afternoon snack and your after-work-from-home video-call drinks makes us all realise we’re in this together. The whole community has come together to keep the station running – giving their expertise, making free software templates (thank you Chris Barker!) and donating spare equipment to fellow hosts. It’s a really heartwarming show of generosity in such a surreal, difficult time.
Are there some shows you’d recommend people tuning in for?
I mean, how could we possibly pick favourites? We’ve tried our hardest to curate a station where there really is something for everyone, whether you like ambient, jazz, soul, rock, disco, reggae, house, garage, techno, jungle or even breakcore. We’re also expanding the number of shows rapidly over the quarantine period, with loads of guests from across the country contributing their time. Plus, we have a new daily morning show from the Melodic Distraction team called Wake Up with Melodic Distraction that will run 9am-10am. We’ll be playing easy, breezy morning tunes to get you out of bed and soundtracking your commute to the living room! This is followed by a new breakfast show, MDR’s Breakfast Club, running 10am-12pm and a lunch hour, Red Brick Picnic, 12-1pm, hosted by a number of the station’s friends and family.
You can tune into Melodic Distraction here: melodicdistraction.com/radio