Broadcasting Bristol: A day with Noods RadioPosted on: 22 Dec 2019
This article was first published in LOUD Magazine Issue One, released in November 2019.
From starting out filming sets on a webcam because they couldn’t work out how to stream audio, Jack Machin and Leon Pattrick have built Noods Radio into a full-time station with a programme that spans all corners of Bristol music. We spent a day at their brand-new HQ to find out where it all began and just how they manage to fit a growing list of over 200 resident DJs into their broadcast schedule.
In a fitting scenario for a piece covering the unpredictable world of independent radio, our date with Noods falls just one day after the team is forced to move the entire station across the street, from their previous HQ above The Crofters Rights - their base for almost two years - to an impromptu setup inside Hamilton House.
Noods Radio heads Jack Machin (left) and Leon Pattrick inside their Hamiton House HQ.
Their new home may not have been the first choice of long-time friends and Noods Radio heads Jack Machin and Leon Pattrick, especially given the infamously uncertain future of the building itself, but the space has a DIY vibe about it and seems to encapsulate the spirit of the station.
Established in 2015, Noods was initially just something for Jack and Leon to fill their Sunday afternoons with, streaming sets from home to anyone that might be listening. “For ages it was just us two,” Jack explains, “running between different people’s houses with a laptop.”
Despite not having any real direction in the station’s early days, the pair still strived to run it as professionally as possible. Jack and Leon “had a bit of a vision and took it seriously, but really it was about doing something that your mates can get involved, and to have a bit of fun with.”
Spud Roots in the mix during a Spuds Mashdown set alongside special guests, Sound Transmission Recordings.
In the three-and-a-half years that have followed (Noods celebrates its fourth birthday this month), the project has grown into a fully-fledged online radio station with a full team of volunteers, and has recently expanded into the realm of DAB. There are more than 200 residents on the books, as well as semi-regular all-day takeovers from respected Bristol collectives like Bitch, Please! and Mix Nights, and an array of guest shows.
“It’s a bit tricky [to programme] because once someone’s got a slot that’s theirs and it’s taken,” Leon says. “You’ve got to be a bit aware of what’s around it, too, and what time of day it is – you don’t want to be pumping out industrial techno at 1 o clock in the afternoon.” On the face of it, and particularly in their new temporary location, the station seems a bit thrown together and improvised, but the Noods team know what they’re doing.
What used to be a case of inviting friends over to play a set from their house on a Sunday afternoon, is now established enough to warrant careful consideration as to what makes it onto the airwaves. Leon makes sure to be clear that they’re not just looking for people to come down and have a mix once a month.
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“When people apply for a residency they have to outline what their concept is, what they’re looking to do with their show and what they want to get out of it personally,” he says. The result is a huge catalogue of musicians, DJs, labels and more with a specific vision and a massively diverse musical output.
As for the future, priority one is to find a more permanent place to set up. From there, Jack and Leon plan to put more time aside to help out with other Bristol music projects in the same way that other people have helped them nurture Noods and develop it into what it is today.
“We’re definitely looking to do more of that sort of thing, to work on more community-type projects that other people are trying to get off the ground,” Jack says, personifying in one comment the family nature of independent initiatives across the city’s music scene.
“Bristol’s great for projects like ours - everyone’s just doing things for themselves in so many different ways, and everyone else around them will be there to help out, get behind them and say ‘yeah, do it’.”
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Having moved to Bristol from Cornwall in 2015, Matt graduated from UWE with a degree in Journalism in 2018. He's keen on a wide variety of musical genres, as well as taking an interest in art and illustration, producing his own work in his spare time. Matt makes the most of Bristol's diverse nightlife and attends gigs and club nights regularly. Get in touch via email at email@example.com.