Introducing The Series from Ben Sherman, A curated collection of inspiration individuals, featuring: James Chuter, Bushy, Tom Ravenscroft & Nicholas Sinclair.
DJ, radio presenter and all-round champion of new and alternative music, introducing Tom Ravenscroft. Tom’s regular radio show showcases music handpicked from as many far flung places a possible, creating a mish mash of sounds that work together in harmony. Ben Sherman sit down with Tom to discuss everything from his career, to what inspires him and his favourite record shop.
Can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming a radio DJ? (When and how did you first get into radio. Early influences. Any standout advice. Early music memories.)
I starting Djing at University and collecting record and getting a bit obsessed. Then one day, about 12 years ago my friend Hermeet, who was a radio producer, asked me if I fancied doing a pilot for a music podcast for Channel 4 Radio. This was back when there were hardly any music podcasts out there so we managed to pick up a lot of followers quite quickly. One of whom was BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson who asked me to cover for him whilst he was away. A couple of years later they gave me my own show.
You’ve always been an advocate for new music, have you seen any major changes for those looking to make it as a performing artist or band in your time? (What do artists/bands need to have now or be savvy about, that perhaps they didn’t 10-15 years ago?)
There are so many more avenues you can take now, its feels more democratic. Radio has been revolutionized by the internet as has music press and its made it easier for you to be heard, to find you audience. It’s made things a lot more interesting. Finding venues to play live seems to have got tougher though, particularly for bands. Musicians with a thirst to perform can usually find a spot to commandeer though.
You must be inundated with new music, how does a band/artist stand out from the crowd and grab your attention? (Does this often lead to the them being played on your show?)
Just send it in, I get through it all eventually. It is much easier, quicker, to go find things for myself but I do listen to all my post. As for appearance, design, I don’t tend to take much notice of it until after I’ve fallen for how it sounds. Also just because someone doesn’t play your first record doesn’t they mean they won’t play the next one. Keep sending!
Do you still manage to get out to gigs, if so, what gigs have stuck with you of late? (Who played and where and why did they stand out?)
I’ve two young kids now so not as much as I did but still quite a bit. Recently, James Holden at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. I’ve long been a fan of his mystical ways, he just gets better and better. Sat crossed legged on the floor surrounded by cables and samplers, in a slightly meditative state, surrounding him a band of hugely talented musicians. Rarely has some managed to mix electronic sequencings with a live improvising band with such fabulous results. Also, Nubya Garcia at the Winter Jazz Festival, amazing, everyone got schooled that night.
For young people who want to get into radio djing, what tips would you give them?
Find a local station your into and go bug the hell out of them. There are so many great internet stations out there now find one that fits in with your tastes and take you’re your angle on the music you love. Try and get as much time on the mic as possible, the more you do the more control you develop over your voice, delivery, style etc.
Do you have a favourite record shop? (It could be anywhere in the world and may longer to open. Do you remember a specific visit to this shop that makes for a good story and an album you bought?)
Red Eye Records in Ipswich, it sells mostly Drum and Bass, Jungle and Hardcore. It was the first record store I built up the courage to go into and buy a 12’’ single. Me and my friends all chipped in to buy it, Jimmy J and Cru-L-T – Six Days on The Run, I still have it. Also Sounds of the Universe, Honest Jon’s, Hardwax in Berlin and recently 2 Bridges in New York.
Do you support Record Store Day, if so, do any particular releases stand out to you this year?
I don’t really follow it to be honest.
If we took a look through your ‘Recently Listened To’ on Spotify/Apple Music, who would we find?
Aphex Twin (I often cook to Ambient Works)
Ross From Friends
What does Ben Sherman mean to you? (Can you remember your first experience with Ben Sherman. Do you have a particular favourite brand-subculture association?)
I remember my dad getting some Ben Sherman shirts when I was a teenager and me poaching one of them for a night out, everyone thought I was dead smart. I never gave it back, it was way nicer than all the other shirts I owned.
What’s your favourite Ben Sherman piece of clothing and why? (You don’t have to own this, perhaps an iconic Ben Sherman piece or an item that holds sentimental value. However, would be great if you have something hanging in your wardrobe you’d like to talk about!)
The Polo Shirts, always felt like a bit of a treat putting one on. I’m pretty mucky though so they don’t tend to make it to the end of the day.
How do you decide what to wear in the morning? (Can you summarise your style? Do you have any fashion/style influences? Do you dress more for function or form?)
My wife and some close friend are all fashion designers so generally whatever I get given for free, this can result in some pretty ridiculous outfits. Mostly though, sweatshirts and jeans, basic dad style. Nice clothes covered in food, if that’s a look?