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WAM INTERVIEWS: RTRFM’s Music Coordinator Will Backler

26 Jul



Radiothon is RTRFM’s annual 10-day fundraising drive, and the annual Radiothon Party is due to take over Northbridge once more on Saturday 13 August. The continued support of listeners during Radiothon ensures that RTRFM can continue to remain a high-quality alternative to mainstream media in Perth, and continue being such a fine supporter of local music!  “30% of the station’s operational costs are funded by subscribers, there would be no RTRFM without them,” and Radiothon is of course the best time to come to the subscription party!

Ahead of this important time for RTRFM, WAM’s Lauren Bettridge caught up with RTRFM’s new Music Coordinator Will Backler to discuss this, as well as his three local picks he’s Back(ler)ing, existential on air crisis with Scarlett Johansson, how to get your music played on RTRFM and more…


Congrats on the new gig! You’ve been around the traps at RTRFM presenting for Full Frequency, but what made you most excited about scoring the role of Music Coordinator?
Thank you! There are so many exciting aspects of this new role, but if I had to narrow it down to one, it would have to be the fact that I am constantly being sent new music to share with presenters at the station. The music can come from anywhere, be it a major label or an undiscovered bedroom musician.

What tips do you have for artists keen to get their music played on RTRFM, and how they can best go about it?
When sending music via email, always include a brief bio, as well as streaming and download links. All files should be 320 Kbps mp3s or WAVs to sound nice on the air. If you are sending CDs, also include a presser and at least 3 copies for presenters, with track titles clearly marked.

What 3 local acts are you back(ler)ing to next make it big and why?
Akioka: Producer using samplers, synths and drum machines to make experimental abstractions of electronic music, featuring her hypnotic voice
Jeff’s Dead: About to release an awesome new album combining elements of folk, rock and electronic music, with each track being extremely distinctive while making sense as a whole
Mike Midnight: As good behind the decks as he is in the studio, this guy can produce a wide range of styles, with an emphasis on soulful, emotional house sounds

As the host of Full Frequency for 3 years, what’s a fave ‘interesting’ on-air story, slip-up or moment?
For some reason something that always springs to mind is the time I played “What’s A Girl To Do” by Fatima Yamaha as a 4 O’clock classic when I was hosting with Jo Lettenmaier. The track has a breakdown that features an emotional sample of Scarlett Johansson from “Lost in Translation” – Jo’s mum thought we had left the microphone’s on and Jo was having an existential crisis on air. I found it hilarious.

As DJ Will Bixler you’ve probably played some rad gigs, what’s your fave show you’ve played and why?
Another toughie to narrow down to one! I’m going to be cheeky and give you two – supporting Clark was huge, as he has been one of my greatest inspirations regarding electronic music. 
Being lucky enough to support the legendary footwork producer and DJ, DJ Rashad, before he passed away was also extremely special.

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We hear you’re pretty good at organizing… how do you catalogue your music? A-Z? By Genre?
Due to the volume of music I receive, I catalogue new music on a week-by-week basis, with an associated document giving a brief description and genre tag. The library is updated each and every week with countless new releases, so staying organised is essential!

Why should people subscribe to RTRFM?
People should subscribe to RTRFM to ensure the station can continue to present alternative news, views and interviews as well as local, interstate and international music – 30% of the station’s operational costs are funded by subscribers, there would be no RTRFM without them!

What 3 acts are you most looking forward to seeing at the Radiothon party and why?
Doctopus: Always deliver a live show of lo-fi punk as intense as it is fun, with between track antics making you feel part of the show
Willy Slade vs DJ Hame: The newly appointed Thursday Full Frequency host Willy Slade DJing back-to-back with DJ Hame (from HAMJAM) is sure to be a set full of choice underground cuts
Henry Kissinger: Up-and-coming producer making house, footwork and hip-hop sounds, cutting tracks straight to tape – excited to see him play after a long time.

Predictions for the funniest happenings at the Radiothon Party?
You never know what might happen, but with Barefaced Stories on the line-up, you are guaranteed a laugh or two! Oh, and anytime Stephen from Doctopus talks between songs, chuckles are 100% guaranteed.


RTRFM’s Radiothon Party – Saturday 13 August, The Bird, Ezra Pound, the State Theatre Centre Foyer, Studio Underground


Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.