This week, we present an interview with BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing Kent host Abbie McCarthy. Abbie is best known in the world of music for her continuous search for new talent, often taking the time to champion new acts through her hosting of the monthly live event Good Karma Club. After turning two recently, Good Karma Club has a lot more to come in the long run, with a seven-day tour being lined up alongside The Academic in April. Furthering the reputation that Abbie has grown, she has recently taken the next step in her career and signed with management company Insanity.
Throughout the interview, we discuss Abbie, her career, radio and its place in the modern industry and what is in store for Good Karma Club after turning two.
What was the appeal and what were the main factors in becoming the figurehead of BBC Music Introducing in Kent?
I absolutely love doing the show every week as I get to discover so much amazing brand new music. I love playing stuff on the radio for the first time and potentially introducing someone to their favourite new band, or an act they’ll go on to love for years. I’m really proud of the scene where I’m from so it’s an honour to get to champion it on the airwaves.
What do you consider to be the three most important qualities of a modern Radio DJ?
1) Passion – I think it shines through when someone is genuinely really passionate about radio & music and really knows their stuff.
2) Drive – if you’re trying to become a presenter, you have to be very driven! There will be a load of hard work & chasing emails and making your own opportunities along the way.
3) Doing more than just being on the radio – whether that’s hosting or putting on events or DJing around the country. It’s about connecting with listeners on more levels.
What is your view on the importance of radio in the current industry outlay to emerging artists?
Radio is as important as ever in championing new acts, listeners tune in to hear trustee curators play them tunes and give them context on why they will love them too. A platform like BBC Music Introducing supports grassroots music and for artists, this is often the first time that they have been heard and championed outside of their close-knit group and in many cases, this has led the artist on to bigger things, such as playing festivals and getting signed.
Are you a keen reader of any specific publications, websites, blogs etc when discovering new artists?
I think it’s about looking in as many places as possible for new music! I don’t simply depend on the same websites and publications every week but scour loads of different places online to see what little gems I can discover. I also try and go to as many gigs as possible to discover bands on the live circuit too.
Good Karma Club turned two on Friday, congratulations! How did Good Karma Club come about and what makes it different to other live nights?
Thank you! As a massive music fan, I wanted to put on special parties to share with people my new favourite bands. I also thought it would be a great platform for new artists as it’s a nice, cosy and intimate setting where the bands can play to a friendly music-loving crowd. These small nights are crucial for new bands to play, it’s somewhere they can learn how to play live and get really good at it.
I think it’s different from other nights in London because it’s not just catered to the music industry, it’s a place for huge music fans to come to every single month. We want there to be a fun vibe and a real sense of community and we’ve really seen that build over the last couple of years.
What do you feel you gained in terms of personal growth and experience after two years of Good Karma Club?
Before Good Karma Club, I had no real experience of putting on events so I’ve learnt loads along the way! I’m so proud of some of the line-ups we’ve had on so far and it’s always so exciting seeing the acts we’ve championed go on to big things.
Good Karma Club has allowed me to really develop as a curator and as a DJ and there’s so much more we still want to do! The next big adventure is the 7 date UK tour with The Academic in April.
If we were an artist looking to play one of your shows, what would we have to do to attract your attention?
Good music will always be heard, the most important thing as a new act is to make sure your songs are the best that they can possibly be. Connect and plug into your local scene as much as possible, once you’ve gained a fan base there, you can start making waves around the country and building your fan base even further.
We also take submissions for the night through the Good Karma Club Facebook page so please feel free to hit us up on there!
What are your predictions for the music industry in 2018?
2017 was a great year for music, we saw lots of brilliant emerging homegrown talent getting recognised and it looks like 2018 is gonna be another very strong year of music with lots of artists continuing to rise to the top.
I think this year will be a massive year for that afrobeat sound that artists such as J Hus and NOT3S are bringing through, as well as the reggatón beat which has been present in almost every pop song of the last few months.
I also really hope that indie makes it’s massive, overdue comeback. I think with artists such as The Arctic Monkeys and The Vaccines returning, it may just happen…
Photo credit: Image 1st London