Interview: Fuzzed Out radio show

Bearded tuned in to an internet radio station from across the Irish Sea, only to have some heavy grooves and viscious riffs caressing our ears, so we had to get a closer look at the workings of the Fuzzed Out radio show. Read our interview with show host Vert as we talk about the local music scene, commercial stations, and following your passion in life.

Posted on May 11th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Peter Clark
Interview: Fuzzed Out radio show Hello! Firstly, who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Vert??, I’m from Ireland and I run an online radio show called Fuzzed Out. I play downtuned, fuzzy grooves in the vein of stoner/desert rock, psychedelic rock, doom/drone metal. The show goes out on from Ireland on Tuesdays and from New Jersey, USA on Saturdays.

How does the average day/week pan out for you?
The average week is never really average. Normally a week involves looking and applying for that ever elusive paid job which seems to be eluding me so far. Listening to new albums takes up my evenings, replying to emails, interacting and engaging on the Fuzzed Out facebook with listeners and new bands as well as catching gigs that are passing through the city.

How did you first get into being a radio DJ?
I have always had an interest in radio and new music from when I was a teenager, I used to make mix tapes, and then mix cds of bands I had discovered through the internet. I would hand out copies of them around my secondary school to alert others to great new music from the US. One day I was tuning the dial on my radio around 2000/2001 and found a pirate station called Phantom FM from Dublin. I was engrossed in the amount of new talent from Ireland who I had never heard on commercial radio before. When I sent a text message to them, they would always respond back to me by giving me a shout out or play a request I sent in. I NEVER got that from commercial radio before, the phenomenon of being engaged and part of something interested me greatly.
In 2010 the same thing happened, I was tuning the dial when suddenly I heard distortion, feedback and realised Mudhoney was coming from the speakers. I thought to myself, what’s going on here?. I promptly got in contact with Rascal Radio, talked about some of my ideas and began a trial show in December 22nd 2010. In the beginning I think I only ever wanted to become involved in the research end of a radio station, the area of interacting with listeners and finding new unheard of talent to give them an opportunity to be heard.

You mentioned that you were looking for a job on a recent show. Is Fuzzed Out a work of pure love and joy, and not for the cash cow?
Yes, I am still looking for a job; I have applied endlessly, volunteered for many years in various areas including the music industry, undertaken internships, courses and have a degree in a subject unrelated to music. The feedback is always the same; ”You are over qualified or under qualified”. I took the bull by the horns in 2010 and set up Desert Rock Ireland as a myspace profile to determine if there was any interest or bands in Ireland with a fuzzy, kyuss sound. Fuzzed Out Radio show has since become a means of playing these bands I was discovering from the rural hinterland of nowhere to cities and sheds all across the country. I just wanted to hear the music I liked on radio, to showcase what was happening in different parts of Ireland and to maybe someday aid them in booking gigs.
Getting involved in something you love is a dream and a labour of love firstly, everything I have done since 2010 has been voluntary and a means of keeping busy, active and following a passion that has not let go of me since I was a teenager.
Due to being out of work, I would like to be able to make money out of “Fuzzed Out” but firstly I think bands need to be able to make something also. Many who try make money out of an idea are often called sell-outs, I disagree with that attitude, when you get older, gather responsibilities like family, cars, houses, bills, the opportunity to make a few quid out of what you love appeals greatly. Why not get paid for what you love rather than get paid for what you hate doing? Although at present, I am pretty happy doing what I do voluntarily as when money comes into the situation; I will more than likely lose the freedom to put on whatever grabs the mood.


You focus on desert/stoner/psychedelic rock. What is it about this genre that you love so much?
This type of music has many elements which combine to form a sound that mesmerizes; it’s got some great lyrics, some awesome riffs, grooving bass lines and drum melodies. When I hear it, I can’t help but groove back and forward feeling the music from a toe tap up my back to a nodding head. It is not a severe sound, more comfortable and soothing once you find your groove. The main thing is to listen and feel it. I think it’s the continuation of the Black Sabbath/Blue Cheer sound that grabs me, I wasn’t old enough to catch the 70’s vibe and this area of music is happening now in small clubs all over the world. The repetitive nature of riffs and loops just brings you to a comfortable groove that you don’t want to stop.

Could you work for a commercial radio station or would their playlist be too constrictive for you?
I would like to try it if given the opportunity; there was a time once where I almost had a shot but that’s another story. I would like to think that playlisting in the future will become a thing of the past and as the music business evolves, artists will get the opportunity to be noticed or at least played on merit. I have musical interests outside of Fuzzed Out within the Irish music scene and strong views that more Irish music should be played on commercial radio stations. It is quite a shame that the talent in Ireland isn’t showcased enough to strengthen the potential export of home grown music, rather than importing many bands some of which do not come up to par in my opinion. I listen to many radio stations and when you turn that dial 6 times and hear the same imports over and over again, sometimes you just want to shout back at the radio “Play something new and local”. The populous however listen to what they hear and are quite happy to keep going in that vein unless the artist and musician lobby gets stronger. Speaking of which, a new group called “IASCA ~ Irish Association of Songwriters, Composer and Artists” has been set up with an eye towards lobbying to get more Irish music on commercial radio in Ireland. One can only hope that new talent will get an opportunity to be heard. Support your local scene.

What freedoms does Rascal Radio give you to experiment with?
Rascal Radio online gives the opportunity to play what you feel, rather than what you’re told. I design shows based on themes which then impact on the songs I play. For instance, I did an “Australia Day Special” playing Australian bands for two hours to showcase what is happening down under. When the show is uploaded as a podcast, anyone can discover these bands for themselves and support them at a gig or afar by purchasing their merchandise. Playing bands from around the world means that you get to meet, albeit online, some very interesting folks who dig exactly what you dig. Collaborations are occurring as a result of this between other online radio stations, sharing of new music as well as collaboration of booking gigs.

What are some of the highlights and low points of what you do?
The highlights of what I do are discovering new bands from many of the excellent blogs I read online, interacting with listeners or indeed fans of the show and getting emails of appreciation which makes me smile and keep going.
The low points have to be when gremlins or tech difficulties occur and also the fact that this music isn’t showcased as much as it should. I think in times when commercial radio loses its zeal and the exact same music is played on each show that pirate stations pop up to attempt to bring back diversity. It is sad to note that the regulations governing radio stations state that more talking is undertaken than music. When you talk to some of the few who still listen to radio, they are tired of djs “filling time” by talking about nonsensical jibberish. It irks me to think that the one main avenue of getting local music to national ears is taken up by rubbish talk instead of playing music.
Long Live the Pirates.

Where do you source your music? How much pleasure do you get in playing a new underground band for the first time on air? Do you only play what you would listen to?
I source my music from a lot of different locations, from buying albums in record shops, online direct from artists own labels, small to medium record labels send me pre-releases as well as free downloads on Bandcamp and other social media sites.
I think the actual music product has been devalued considerably as a result of online sharing and illegal downloading. But within the fan base of desert/stoner rock/psychedelic there seems to be a very loyal community who purchase albums and merchandise when they can. An important factor of supporting any band is to attend their shows and purchase what they have to offer. I get immeasurable pleasure from playing an underground band that has produced a strong demo or EP to new listeners. When a new band excites you and listeners enquire what band you played, it is like being a teenager again sharing mix tapes and realising that there is still great music being created all the time. I do only play what I would listen to personally; a band must make me want to go see them perform live for me to play them on the show. I think DJ’s are a direct link between the band and the audience and if you play what gets you grooving then the audience will dig that too.
fuzzed out posters
You often mention getting a “community” of music lovers together in Ireland. Do you see this as important within the scene to keep bands touring and working?
Yes, a community or following for a particular area of music is what is needed to support the band as fans and also to attend gigs showing the bands that they are appreciated. When I talk about a community, I mean that there are people in different parts of the country who enjoy the same music but may not be fully informed about people who are similar to themselves but just separated by distance. Online communities exist and work quite well to share their likes and favourites but to have a community of fans on the ground that are interconnected and supportive means the bands can tour more and play with different line-ups in cities they have not been to.

"I would like to think that playlisting in the future will become a thing of the past and as the music business evolves, artists will get the opportunity to be noticed or at least played on merit"

You’re based in Ireland, what is the music scene like over there?
There are a lot of very good hardworking bands within their own genres in Ireland at the moment; I have learned that each part of Ireland has a particular scene that remains very loyal to it resulting in less mixing than I imagined. The music scene is still very underground and not as connected as other countries I have experienced. Something I recently discovered is that many bands are tired of playing their home cities and towns. Two bands recently said the same thing that they want to play other places, play with other bands and experience different audiences. It is very easy to slip into playing your local due to cost implications and also the challenge of juggling life, work and music. Desert Rock Ireland (Fuzzed Out’s Promotion and booking brother) is venturing into organising gigs in Dublin and Galway, booking bands from different parts of the country as well as from Europe to play on a bill with bands of a similar sound. Collaborations with other promoters, bands, venues, booking agents are among some of the ways it hopes to achieve this. Personally I think Ireland needs an annual rock/metal festival that pays equal respect to the many different genres and scenes that exist. Maybe someday.

You promote a lot of unsigned Irish bands. Do you feel like they don’t get enough airplay elsewhere?
Unsigned Irish bands do get some airplay on select metal shows on some commercial and community based radio stations but when a metal show is aired, they have to compete with the big cats and they are the ones that pull in listeners. A “Metal radio show” is so broad that they may get one or two spins and then its back to the Big 5, I drifted out of established acts to seek out what Ireland had to offer from 2010 onwards. I recently did a show for “Paddys Day” featuring Irish and Northern Irish bands that I felt had a great sound, I try to include at least 2 to 3 Irish bands in Fuzzed Out shows to keep listeners informed of what is happening over here.

There are a lot of Irish bands gaining a lot of exposure at the moment (ASIWYFA, LaFaro) Do you think there’s any particular reason for this or are the bands just there on their own merit?
I think many bands in Ireland put in a lot of work but sometimes forget to promote themselves with the new technology that exists. Everything has to start somewhere and I believe ASIWYFA, LaFaro and other Northern Irish bands built a following just doing their own thing. Northern Ireland has certain advantages over Southern Ireland in the fact that it has more access to other markets, labels, media coverage etc. The BBC introducing element of Glasgowbury music festival held in Derry in July has helped bands from Northern Ireland get coverage in the UK and thus another audience and options. There is less focus on heavy music down south in the public eye; it is still all very underground and DIY.

Everyone is aware that the music scene is struggling with poor sales, what do you think is the key to keeping independent music alive in 2012?
I think there will always be independent music alive as long as people are creating and performing, the struggling sales issue is a model that is changing with bands now choosing to form labels and support one another. The Richter collective who ASIWYFA are signed to is a prime example of a label that is putting out independent music and trying new things. They have a friends of Richter idea that fans sign up to and get tickets to secret gigs, and other small initiatives to get people to become more a part of the label themselves. I don’t think there is one key element of keeping independent music alive, it has to be a number of ideas and solutions to help improve revenue for independent musicians.
People stopped buying cds and are now on mp3’s, itunes and many other applications, I will always buy physical copies of music if the bands are good and the artwork stands out. With bands played on Fuzzed Out, there seems to be a high level of artwork that comes along with the music. Vinyl is coming back also as a result of collectors enjoying the physical means of owning something as well as the larger format to enjoy the artwork and of course the vinyl sound.
two tales of woe

Two Tales Of Woe

Do you think there will ever be a resurgence in the traditional music shops or have things gone too far down the digital/free download route?
I would love to see resurgence in traditional music shops but not of chains, I think they are the most sterile and uncomfortable places to look for music. Have a look at any music shops, the layout and design is to keep you moving, there are no seats to neither sit down nor lean. How do you listen to your music at home? Standing up or sitting/lying down? I know this is a marketing strategy to prevent people from sitting down as a person will buy more if they stand due to wanting to go to sit down and eat someplace else. Anyways, I have had an idea for years of combining comfort with good music, more in store performances, seats to sit down and listen and possibly even have a beer (AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE). If you make a shop look more like a home than a sterile chain, I reckon people feel more comfortable and listen to more and potentially buy more. Obviously people will want to stay longer but if you do stay, you get hungry and thirsty and want to eat in the shop.
I don’t think I will ever own an ipod, I like the fact that I can get a vinyl record or a cd sleeve signed by an artist. In saying that, I do own an mp3 player, but there is still nothing like listening to a full album from start to finish to “listen without distraction”.

Any advice for people wanting to become a DJ or perhaps start up their own show/station?
I think you need to know why you want to do it in the first place. I don’t do it to hear my own voice on air, I do it because I love these bands sound and I want to be able to connect others to this sound if they are interested. Listen to shows you enjoy that are already established and identify what you like and don’t like about them. If you are going to do your own show online, do it on your own terms and learn about the industry by attending events and learning about technologies. If you put in research effort for new bands, it will pay off. I tend to try and play different songs every show if I am playing the same band, it’s a little rule I like to follow. Plan your shows and your layout, it runs smoother if you are doing a live show. Also enjoy it..
Listen between the lines-----------------

"Getting involved in something you love is a dream and a labour of love firstly, everything I have done since 2010 has been voluntary and a means of keeping busy, active and following a passion that has not let go of me since I was a teenager."

What recommendations would you give to people who want to get into more bands involved with the doom/stoner/psychedelic scene?
Don’t read glossy music magazines, I stopped reading those years ago. I would recommend checking out the many online blogs that are put together by some absolutely awesome people from around the world, they have been writing about Doom/Stoner/Pysch scene for years. Blogs like The Soda Shop, Heavy Planet, are places I have found a lot of links to bands for free legal downloads of demos, tips, EP’s and webpages. If you find a band you like on social media sites, check out the likes of that band or recommended links. Youtube some bands and go on a tour of the suggested bands on the right, some you win, some you lose. Check out some of the festivals happening in April like Desert fest Berlin, London, Road Burn, Stoned from the Underground in July, Aquamaria in August.
Best thing to do is to go to a gig in your local area or the nearest city.

Do you have a motto or mantra?
I do actually, two of them, something that rolled off the tongue.
Fuzzed Out Radio Show ~ Revel in the Riff \,,/
Desert Rock Ireland ~ Finding a groove in the spaces in between ~

Cheers and Beers from Ireland.

You can listen to past shows

and make sure to listen to the next show Tuesdays from 6pm-8pm GMT ~ Rascal Radio at
Saturdays from 10pm-12am GMT ~ Grip of Delusion Radio at