Interview: UK Mondo Radio
A home for the wealth of Sheffield DJs pushing cutting edge, underground sounds, UK Mondo has come a long way since its inception in 2015. Initially focused on bassline, garage and grime, the online radio station now broadcasts shows from a diverse roster of DJs and crews - representing the full range of underground music that Sheffield has to offer. We chatted with the station’s Dan Gee to talk about inspiration, eclecticism, pirate radio, and what’s in store for the future of Mondo.
First things first, for readers new to you - who and what is UK Mondo?
UK Mondo is an Online Radio station operating from the heart of Sheff City. We are a collective of like minded individuals, passionate about providing a platform forSheffield’s talent, and exposing esoteric and unheard-of sounds and styles of music to a broader audience. Right now the management team consists of Dan G, Ben Rhodes and Ed Malus, but we have over 45 DJs/Crews playing regular slots on our station every month - too many names to mention but big up each and every one of you.
What was your initial vision when setting up the station in 2015?
I guess initially our idea was to be Sheffield’s premier Bass music station. When we first started, we mainly had Grime, Bassline, Garage and Hip Hop Djs. Over time, we havedefinitely broadened our horizons. Not to say that we don't still hold these genres close to our heart (we're 0114 heads so it kinda runs through our veins), but as there seems to be an infinite amount of talent exploring many different genres in this city, we wanna provide a spot for all of those ideas to come together. We have DJs that play African Funk and Japanese Jazz, Musicians that showcase their own pieces influenced by their travels, artists that combine Ambient sounds with Trap and Grime, Old School Garage selectas, D&B heads and the suchlike. It's a proper diverse roster!
Any key inspirations for the station? Have you looked to the UK tradition of pirate radio or more to the new wave of internet stations?
We definitely take inspiration from a plethora of sources. Firstly, inspiration comes from our city and the beautiful people in it! Without them guys, we wouldn't exist. Honourable mentions are NTS - they have provided a platform for so many incredible and otherwise unheard of artists from all walks of life to showcase themselves. Nothing but props for the people running that ship.Sheffield Community Radio were legends as well, big up the Pirate radio crew each and every. There are too many other Radio stations and collectives doing their thing to count, but big up each and every one of you for the dedication you put into this.
How do you approach programming? Is it tricky ensuring the diversity of styles and genres played and produced in Sheffield are represented?
The selection of artists has always been quite organic to be honest. We get a lot of DJs hitting our inbox with mixes asking for slots (email@example.com - hit us up yo!). Sometimes a guest of ours might bring friends along, and if we are feeling their selections/mixing approaches, we will invite them down for their own slice! Other than that, we try to keep an eye on what’s happening across the city and further afield, and reach out to DJs and collectives to get involved. Over the last year or so, since management has changed hands, the diversification has become a lot more fluent. As I said before, we were originally coined as an "Underground Bass" station, specializing in only a few genres. We never want to alienate our core listeners, but feel as though Sheffield needs to be represented to its fullest extent, so we have broadened our scope massively in terms of genres.
What challenges do you face in running the station?
Finances, finances, finances! We rely on subs from our guests, but costs are high! Anyone wanna sponsor us? Haha. Manpower can be an issue at times. As we aren't making any profits from running this station, it can be quite hard to find the right, motivated team members. But I am so thankful for the people that have come on board to help us out!
Internet radio seems to be thriving in the UK at the moment, this new wave tending to favour eclecticism over the genre-specific ethos of many of the pirate stations. What’s behind this?
There is an abundance of unbelievable, earth shatteringly fantastic music out there, why not showcase as much of it as possible? Being a part of Mondo has opened my eyes to so much amazing music that I would probably not have heard otherwise. Super grateful for that!
What’s in the pipeline for UK Mondo looking forward?
More pop up live streams in locations throughout the city. More day parties (and night!). New guests, shows and artists, as well as more new music from our faithful DJs. More growth! More putting on for this wonderfully robust city.