Q1: If you had the opportunity to get an inspiring message across to a large amount of people, what would your message be?
Wake Up! What are you waiting for? We’re waiting for you.
Q2: How did you get started with music? And if you weren’t doing this what would you want to be doing?
My family are folk musicians, I was born into a busy Irish Ceilidh band. I’ve always been in the music industry. I wanted to be a visual artist as my chosen career, but now my day job is visual arts curator which is lots of fun.
Q3: What keeps you motivated and inspires you?
New music and visual arts, especially photography, and Buddhism.
Q4: What are the most memorable experiences of your life and career so far? And what have you learned from them?
Starting the new music stage at Leeds Festival, now called the BBC Music Introducing Stage and presenting loads of great acts on there for the last 13 years. I learned not to be afraid to ask. Playing Glastonbury, getting John Peel dancing and drumming on some awesome records, especially the album with Benjamin Zephaniah. I learned that the man’s a legend, as is Mr Peel. Having the honour of working with some of the greatest photographers and musicians in the world. I learned that by working with people who are so much better than me, I improve my practice. Becoming a father. I am still learning and almost every day’s a school day.
Q5: Would you go back and change anything in your career so far? And if not, why?
I would have not spent so long waiting for permission to do what I thought I should be doing.
Q6: In the next two years what do you aspire to achieve?
I’m more interested now in helping other people achieve.
Q7: How much of your life and your background has influenced your career?
Being brought up in a musical and artistic family set me on this road from the start. Being from an Irish family in England has also given me a particular outlook I think. Finding Buddhism in my teens taught me that happiness can come from what you can give rather than what you can get. Then volunteering, training and eventually working as a Community and Youth Arts Worker reinforced that understanding. It was the community music work I was doing that lead the BBC to offer me a radio show.
Q10: Is there one most inspiring message you have heard in your life so far?
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Q11: Do you have a motto in life that you live by?
“Be greatly aware of the present.” – Buddha
Q12: Which bands or artists are currently on your playlist?
Kari, Of Allies, Ekkou, Vulgarians, Graft, As Sirens Fall, Night Owls, Piskie Sits, NB, Marsicans, Deadlock Saints, KaizzaB, Mugen, Scenes, Chiedu Oraka, Kill The Silence, ManCub, Being A Tiger, Citrus Heights, Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip, Fold, Stand Alone, Kumiko, Adore//Repel, Engine, Dave-O, Nomaster, Laminate Pet Animal, Joe Solo, Teeff, Gotts Street Park, Life, Yungblud, Galaxians, Prince Omari, Drahla, Team Picture, My Pleasure, Adolphus, Bud Sugar, Maebh, Mahalah Ray, Skull, Dan Esab, James Orvis, Lamia, Party Hardly, Kev La Kat, Scentin, Fiona Lee, Dharma Wild, Nala, The Hubbards, Glass Mountain, Tree Day Millionaires, Shipping Forecast. I could go on 🙂
Q13: If you could have one song to be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be and why?
Roy Bailey – Everything Possible. I met him when he came to play a gig and do a workshop at The Warren Young People’s Centre in Hull, where I was the Music Worker. He sang this song and I thought instantly that I must get a copy to leave as a guide for my young son in case I was ever unable to advise him myself.
Q14: What are your biggest dreams? And your biggest fears?
Dream: To experience as much as my senses can offer me in life, especially the arts.
Fear: To lose my senses.
Q15: What are your plans for this year?
To go to #360RAW and enjoy the music. I also have a fabulous program of exhibitions planned for HIP Gallery, PhotoCity and Lomography Embassy Hull. Of course, I’ll be making the most of the festival season as always, with camera in hand.
Q16: What would your advice be to those who want to live out their dreams?
What stops you? Get to know your dream very well. What will it sound like, smell like, feel like when it’s true? As you think about it being true now, what do you see and notice? What does achieving this dream do for you? If you still like it, work backwards. What had to be true for that to be possible and what had to happen for that to happen? Then you have your plan.
Remember, though, what the late great Alan Watts said, “The past and future are illusions, they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is”. “When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point.”
Q17: Lastly, for those who don’t know, what are the best social media methods for people to follow you?