Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Ruth Barnes

RuthEver wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, A&R, and even positions you may not have known about make the music you love come alive! We spoke with the lovely Ruth Barnes to see what amazing radio skills she pulls behind the scenes of our favourite bands!

AMBY: How did you first get into your industry?

RB: I worked for free, how else does anyone get into radio?! Working at a community radio station and doing a course in radio production (and sending many cheeky letters – yes, actual letters) led to my first job in BBC Local Radio.

AMBY: Explain to people what you do.

RB: I present two radio shows for Amazing Radio, which is a new music network dedicated to supporting new and emerging artists across all the genres. Our strap is: ‘You heard it here first!’

AMBY: What are some of your favourite moments while hosting Ruth Barnes at Breakfast?

RB: The whole thing is blast, I’m paid to play great new music on the radio. The sessions are my favourite moments as meeting the artists who are often playing their first ever radio session is a total buzz, you’re bonded forever after that.

AMBY: How vital is it for you to expose new music to your listeners?

RB: It’s the whole point of what we do at Amazing Radio. We only play new music – that’s what makes us unique. Also we support the independent sector, labels and artists, which means the world to them and helps fans find the music they want that’s not being exposed on mainstream radio. If fans by music through our affiliate website 100% of the profits go to the artist which is also unique.

AMBY: What is the craziest work related thing to happen to you?

RB: There are too many to just pick one. As a reporter for the BBC for many years I had too many moments where I thought ‘This is crazy!’ From interviewing Russell Crowe at the Cannes Film Festival to Brett Anderson (a childhood idol of mine), to being told to pretty much ‘eff off’ by Damon Albarn once it’s all been essentially… crazy.

AMBY: You host a show on Sundays called The Other Woman which features music by females only. Where did the concept come from?

RB: As I worked in music radio over the years I realised I wasn’t hearing a broad scope of new music by women artists, so I set up my own show to support female artists and female fronted bands who don’t fit the marketing moulds of the major labels and are independently doing their own thing.

AMBY: Who are some female acts that our readers should be listening to?

RB: Sharon Van Etten, Jesca Hoop, Lady Leshurr, Savages (fronted by Jehn from John and Jehn, she’s ace!) Smoke Fairies, Stealing Sheep, This Is The Kit… to many to mention here – check out my playlists ;)

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about your gig?

RB: Best: the connection with artists and lovely feedback from them. Worst: having to listen to lots of rubbish music too to find the gems – that can get you down.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

RB: Neil Young – Harvest, REM – Automatic For The People, The Roots – Things Fall Apart... they really show my age don’t they?!

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

RB: I spent ten years in South Africa, that’s where I went to school and University.


Thank you very much Ruth, for giving us your answers!

Alicia & Yaz Atout

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