Meet the team behind Noods Radio, Bristol’s community-driven music hub - Features - Mixmag

Meet the team behind Noods Radio, Bristol’s community-driven music hub

We chat with the figureheads behind Bristol’s bubbling radio station as part of Studio Monkey Shoulder - a new grassroots music initiative between Monkey Shoulder, Worldwide FM, and Gilles Peterson

  • In association with Monkey Shoulder | Photos: Brennan Bucannan
  • 21 June 2024

To celebrate some of the successful shortlisted entrants into a new UK-based music initiative fund Studio Monkey Shoulder - backed by Monkey Shoulder, Gilles Peterson, and Worldwide FM - we caught up with Bristol’s bubbling radio station and community hub, Noods Radio, to talk all things grassroots music.

First established in 2015, Noods Radio has taken many shapes and forms over the years, first as a homegrown hub built by friends linking up for Sunday sessions, now a fully established radio station operating out of Mickey Zoggs, a local pub and community space in St Pauls. In those nine years, Noods has launched several initiatives helping young people gain the skills needed to enter creative industries, established programmes to give women and non-binary locals a leg up into broadcasting, and now hosts more than 230 shows every month direct from Mickey Zoggs.

Read this next: "Grassroots is from the ground up": Inside Studio Monkey Shoulder, the new grassroots music initiative

In May, Noods broke the news that it faced an ultimatum: Buy the pub, or get out. “We’ve been told that if we don't buy the building our lease will come to an end,” the team explained. “However, our landlord has given us the opportunity to buy the building first, ensuring that the space remains to serve the city”. With the help of community funding, Noods is now hoping to raise the money needed to put down the deposit on its home and buy the building.

“Spaces like Noods provide a place for all sorts of characters to converge and discover new music,” the team tells Mixmag. “Without the community, it would no longer exist. For us, radio is community.”

We met the figureheads behind Bristol’s bubbling radio station to chat about grassroots music, community funding, and some of the most rewarding aspects of running a homegrown radio station. Check it out below, and listen to a playlist giving a snapshot of the Noods community.

What inspired the launch of Noods Radio? Did you see a gap in the scene that needed to be filled?

Noods was started as something to bring together a load of different friends we knew in the city, helping them to meet one another and spotlight that to the rest of the world. It wasn’t really that we saw a gap in the market, but more that there wasn't a station in the city that felt like it was serving the side of Bristol that we were experiencing. Radio stations are also a great way to involve all sorts of creatives.

How does community play into your project?

Radios such as ours are there to serve the community. Without the community, it would no longer exist. For us, radio is community.

Since its launch in 2015, how have you seen Noods grow and develop amongst Bristol’s thriving scene?

Noods has become a fixture within the city’s musical ecosystem. With our base, Mickey Zoggs, it's become a place where new arrivals can easily meet like-minded folk, start new projects, and share a pickled egg or two.

We’ve only been able to get this far due to the unusual concentration of great artists and selectors in the city. Although we represent artists around the globe, the physical aspect of the station and its community has been integral to making it what it is. Our role within all this, outside of delivering exciting projects and amplifying the community, is to help nurture talent in the city and to platform and document the scene for everyone to experience.

What’s the ethos behind Noods? What kind of environment are you trying to foster?

For us, it’s about having something that is welcoming and brings all kinds of people together, all tied through a love of music. If you ever have a chance to pull up a pew in the pub for a bit, you’ll see what we mean.

You host more than 230 shows every month from Mickey Zoggs - what inspires your drive to nurture new talent?

Investing in new talent is everything. It helps to keep the local ecosystem moving and keeps things exciting for everyone. You don’t want things to stop here, do you? You want to create something that can be passed on, and that needs a community to be passed on to.

With the current threat of Mickey Zoggs’ closure, can you tell us why community funding is necessary to keep Noods afloat?

Unfortunately, we’re not in the position to round up the deposit alone. None of us come from money, but our greatest asset is the community around the station. Through coming together, helping out with music 1-to-1’s, festival tickets, tattoos and even organising games against the legendary Steve Davis, we’ve managed to pull together the momentum and be at a point where we’re almost across the line!

What are some of your favourite memories or most rewarding moments at Noods over the years?

This is a tough one, but here's a couple that come to mind:

- The punk show we had in the Surrey Vaults - the floor was flexing from all the people jumping!

- Signing for the pub, popping the Prosecco, and playing ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ by Thin Lizzy.

- And mainly just the jokes moments in between everything else.

The most rewarding thing, though, is how the station has gotten to a point where all these different people come together. It’s like one huge group of friends: village-like, but in the middle of a city. It might have happened without the station too, but it's definitely had its part in it, especially for us.

How would you like to see Noods grow into the future? What impact do you hope it would have on the community in Bristol?

The dream for Noods is really to secure the building for good, and then grow the station into an institution in the city and the wider scene so it can be passed down for future generations. We want it to be something in the city that continues to bring people together, championing the alternative, and investing in the coming generations of artists.

Find out more about Studio Monkey Shoulder here, and listen to Noods Radio's playlist below.

Donate to Noods Radio's fundraiser here.

Next Page
Newsletter 2

Mixmag will use the information you provide to send you the Mixmag newsletter using Mailchimp as our marketing platform. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us. By clicking sign me up you agree that we may process your information in accordance with our privacy policy. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.