Get to know Playback

amclellan, 23rd May 2018

Presented by APRA AMCOS and distributed via the Community Radio Network, each week Playback brings one hour of the best new and rediscovered music from Australia and New Zealand.

Playback celebrates the diversity and depth of Australian and New Zealand music, with a focus on new releases and shining a spotlight on music that may have fallen through the cracks.

Presenter Paul Gough (pictured) draws on his extensive broadcasting experience (most recently as host of ABC RN’s Inside Sleeve), musicianship (see Pimmon) and diverse musical taste to create a wonderful weekly program covering everything from blues, folk and roots to electronica, pop and rock. 

Here Paul shares more with us about the program.

What sounds does the program cover each week?

Playback is about celebrating diversity and the wide scope of music. There are no rules as to what can be played or not be played. There's such a depth of music available by composers that write instrumental music, music that is from the heart and has a more folk-centric bent, through to electronic, rock'n'roll, and blues musicians. Songs can bridge so many genres. 

What excites you about joining the dots between new artists and their inspirations?

When you've listened to music for a long time, it's evident that it's very hard to come up with something that would be classified as entirely new. You may have a melting pot approach where a band will suddenly incorporate something from a certain era or a certain style, but it's pretty hard to say "wow, that's a whole new strand of music." That doesn't mean that new music isn't exciting though, because, in the end, it's an individual take that makes something unique or gives it a different twist. So for me, I'm excited by the fact I'll hear things from young people who may not necessarily have heard all the music in a relative vein from 20 or 30 years ago.  And when you hear something that reminds you of something from a while ago - that's exciting because sometimes there's a necessary naïveté from the person making the music now.

For me, with that experience, it's great to say "well, if you like this new band, then I think you're going to like this band."

At the moment, I see a lot of young bands that are referencing the Eighties. And it's exciting to share those moments with a listenership. I'm hearing a lot more bands that are referencing The Triffids for example. It's great to see that they're acknowledged still to this day. And sometimes it's about bands that aren't as well known. Recently, I had an episode where I spoke with a group called Even As We Speak, a group who are celebrated overseas, and one of the few bands - like The Triffids and The Go-Betweens and The Birthday Party, whose names are pretty up there high within the past of great Australian bands. 

Is there something that makes Australian music unique?

At times, you can hear a sense of larrikinism within Australian music. There's a certain laid-back nature that I hear that Australia does very well. I think the whole slacker pop movement if a good example of this. Once again, though, these are just signposts, they don't really describe the variety of sounds.

There is bands that like The Twerps or, even in a more gentrified sense, the music of Rolling Blackouts, Coastal Fever, who certainly are a lot more polished but initially they too had this particular sound that I would just suggest has an Australian feel to it. And NZ music has that bent as well. Particularly in the guitar pop realm, you'll hear that most predominantly.

There's a sunny sense within the music too. You think of The Go-Betweens and their particular brand of pop music which excels here and again, there are examples certainly overseas but I feel we nail it on a regular basis.

You've got that uncanny knack to speak almost directly to a listener as if it was a personal conversation. Where do you think that came from?

I feel incredibly honoured that you think that's the case. And I guess that's a goal that I've tried to achieve. And that really only comes through the people that I've worked with and observed. The best way of putting it is that when the microphone turns on, you become a version of yourself. I'm still me but I go into a place now that is a natural place. It took me a long time to be able to go to that place. Radio is the most personal medium. It's a wonderful medium and I need to be able to talk to you.  That's something that's been a long process of learning.

When I first started doing programs on 2SER, they were absolutely horrid. They were so awful and I'm ashamed to even listen to them but I do it just to remind myself. You always can slip up and it's important to move forward.

How do you find out about new music? 

Live music is, I think, probably a real key. I just do a lot of reading of blogs and snoop around on a variety of digital platforms listening.

One of my favourite techniques has been looking at festivals and rather than looking at the headliners, look first at the bottom, and you work your way up. I've found some incredible young talent there.

Sometimes artists reach out and that too is a good source but it's a matter of devoting a lot of time to listening. It's always listening with an idea of where or when I can play it.

You've had a big career to date across community, commercial and ABC broadcasting. How important is community radio in the mix?

Community radio in Australia is more important now than ever before. I remember listening on a Saturday night on 2SER - I'll never forget the announcer. Her name was Shayne Collier and she directly spoke to listeners. She played music that I really loved too. It made me want to be on the radio. So I then started doing stuff at 2SER.

That was the first radio I heard that was very personal. Commercial radio is beholden to demographics - they're more about wanting to keep people happy rather than discovery. I think the ABC has changed a lot in the way they deliver that too.

And so more than ever, community radio acts as the great opportunity for presenters and eager listeners alike.

Not everyone wants to hear golden hits all the time. Community radio offers that ability to find new music, to take risks. When you have someone who is passionately sharing something with you, that personal experience - well, you can't really get that anywhere else. 

Stations you can hear Playback on:

  • Valley FM – 89.5 FM, Wanniassa, ACT 
  • 2ARM – 92.1 FM, Armidale, NSW
  • 2BAB – Bay & Basin 92.7 FM, Sanctuary Point, NSW
  • 2BBB – 93.3 & 107.3 FM, Bellingen, NSW
  • 2BOB Radio – 104.7 FM, Manning Valley, NSW
  • 2RDJ – 88.1 FM, Burwood, NSW 
  • 2EAR – 2EAR FM, 107.5, 102.9, Moruya/Eurobodalla, NSW
  • 2SER – 107.3 FM, Sydney 
  • 2YAS – Yass FM 100.3, Yass, NSW 
  • 2YYY Radio – 92.3 FM, Young, NSW
  • 3GCR – Gippsland FM 104.7, Morwell, VIC
  • 3ECB – Radio Eastern 98.1 FM, Croydon, VIC
  • 3MCR – Radio Mansfield, 99.7 FM, Mansfield, VIC
  • 3REG – REG-FM,  90.7 and 105.5 FM, Gippsland, VIC
  • 3WAY – WAY-FM 103.7, Warrnambool, VIC 
  • 4BRR – Burnett River Radio 91.5 FM, Gayndah, QLD 
  • 4CRM – 107.5 FM, Mackay, QLD 
  • Fraser Coast FM – 107.5, Hervey Bay, QLD 
  • Radio 4NAG – 91.3 FM, Rockhampton, QLD 
  • 5THE – 107.7 FM, Millicent, SA 
  • 2 Oceans FM – 97.1 FM, Augusta, WA 
  • City Park Radio – 103.7 FM, Launceston, TAS
  • Tasman FM – 97.7 FM, Hobart, TAS
  • CAAMA Radio – 100.5 FM, Alice Springs, NT
  • Tiaro Community Radio – 107.1 FM, Tiaro, QLD

Is your station broadcasting Playback? Let us know! Write to [email protected].

For CRN subscribers:

  • Playback distributes Thursdays at 22:00 to 22:59 AEST/AEDT
  • Repeats on satellite Saturdays at 04:00 and Sundays 23:00 AEST/AEDT
  • Available for on-demand broadcast by stations via DDN capture and download
  • Runtime is 55'50
  • Presented by APRA AMCOS for a national audience
  • For more information contact CRN staff on 02 9310 2999 or email [email protected]

Not a CRN subscriber, but want to find out more about getting content like this for your station? Read more here.

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