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Interview with Ed Barnes about his new project: IO Radio

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Interview with Ed Barnes about his new project: IO Radio

There’s no need to introduce local legend Ed Barnes to IP1 readers. He’s the driving force behind the vast majority of music events in Ipswich, an enthusiastic DJ and all round top guy.

I had a quick chat with Ed about his new project, the Ipswich music scene in general and…Noel Edmunds’ hair!?!

Firstly, can you summarise what IO Radio is all about for the IP1 readers? 
Its an online radio station based around people aged 16-25. Its aim is to give people a break into broadcast media using a modern studio and industry standard software that is not available anywhere else in the region.

We are the first step into radio and aim to give as many people a chance as we can. Since we launched we also discovered that with our modern approach we could open the station up to everyone in the community. We have done this by creating shows not only for aspiring DJs but also for with people with learning disabilities, people with autism or Aspergers and partnering people with physical disabilities up with mentors.

IO Radio partners groups such as Activities Unlimited and Leading Lives to help deliver those courses throughout the year. We also link up with local Colleges and schools and aim to give everyone a crack at DJing! We have over 70 DJs so its pretty busy down here.

The station is in it’s infancy right now, how did it all begin? 
I was previously at ICR FM (a fantastic station!) but felt as if I was one of the youngest people there. I was 38 at the time so I figured that something was missing in Ipswich when it came to youth radio.

I set the station up with a European funded project called VXM in 2013 and since the project ended, IO Radio has started to take its first steps on its own.

What kind of music can we expect to hear when tuning into IO Radio? 
Its a cliche to say it but all kinds really! We don’t tell the DJs what they can or can’t play. Instead we make sure that the shows are going out at an appropriate right time (ie grime/metal not at 10am), are doing something original and the DJs have a passion for it. We have every thing from Funk, Metal, K-pop, Indie, Dance, Bollywood, Dub, Reggae, Salsa, Jazz and more.

What would you say is the ethos behind the station? 
Its about integration and originality. We want to see everyone in the community represented and making shows that are just a little bit different in music and subject matter. There’s no point in us setting up a station like one of the major players as that’s not what people aged 16-25 want to listen to. We want our music and our stories.

Do you host some of the shows yourself, or are you more of a ‘behind the scenes’ kind of guy?  
Mainly behind the scenes these days. For 6 months of the year I co host our American Football show “The Endzone” (Monday nights 9pm EXCLUSIVELY on IO radio) with three other guys. The rest of my time is spent doing a million different jobs in one day! Plus a lot of training and running courses for people who want to get involved.

You’ve been heavily involved in Ipswich’s music scene for a number of years, what keeps you motivated to work with and promote local artists and events?   
I get bored REALLY easily. That helps get me up and doing things! Myself and the IO Radio assistant manager Ben Driver just launched a vintage swing and dance night called “The Double Dip Club”. I launched that because I wanted to go to something a bit different and figured I probably wasn’t alone.

Ipswich is an incredible place to try things out. If I’d stayed in London (where I grew up) I’d never have created half the things I have. In fact, probably none of them. Best thing I ever did was move to Ipswich in ‘94.

What’s really great about IO Radio is the training opportunities that you guys offer for those interested in working in radio, can you elaborate further on what’s available and how we could all get involved?  
First up, drop us a line at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We can get you on one of our training courses. No experience needed, just an abundance of enthusiasm and a good attitude to match. If you know how to operate a tablet or smart phone, we can get you DJing!!

The same goes if you or someone you know wants to get involved with one of our courses for people with a learning disability. Just drop us a line and we can get the ball rolling, we’d love to hear from you.

Let’s get to know the real Ed Barnes with a (music-related) quick fire round: 

- Your current jam? Oooh… Song is Hot Chips version of “Dancing in the dark”, favourite album this year is Ezra Furman: Perpetual Motion People
- *IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION ALERT* Favourite album of all time? LCD Soundsystem : Sound of Silver…. no.. Beatles: Abbey Road…. Beck: Odelay…. NEED…MORE…THAN….ONE!!!!
- Vinyl or digital turn tables? Digital. You’ve only got one spine and record boxes don’t help. 100k songs on a hard drive is the kind of witchcraft that I only dreamed about as a boy. I love it.
- Best gig you’ve ever been to?  Orbital at Glastonbury ‘94. Look it up kids, its legendary. 
...and the worst?  Lemon Jelly in Cambridge. It just didn’t work live and still remains the only gig I’ve walked out on.
- What skills do you need in your arsenal to make an interesting radio show? Passion in your chosen music/subject. Without that, its just not possible.
- Favourite movie soundtrack? Pulp Fiction. Obvious I know but it was the first soundtrack in my life that took songs from the film to the dancefloor.
- What radio stations do you listen to (apart from IO radio obviously)? 6 Music, ICR FM and a little known station called “Dadrock Radio” based out in Texas.
- Any upcoming events in Ippy that you want to mention? We have a brilliant line up at the Rep in December. 9 Bar Blues on the 4th, Abdoujaparov ft Fruit Bat from Carter USM plus the East Town Pirates on the 11th and Kate Jackson from the Long Blondes on the 18th. Varied and quality!

And finally…

...Is Noel Edmunds’ hair as voluptuous and bouncy in real life as it appears on the TV? (Ed killed it on Deal or No Deal a few years ago making this question seem much less random than you may have initially thought)

It has a life of its own. In fact it should get its on spin off show it’s so good. God bless that mans mane….

Follow the all the goings on at IO Radio via their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @ioradiouk.

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