In September of 2010, we visited the BBC’s podcast page and began perusing. After coming across two or three that seemed fairly promising, we caught sight of one that seemed entirely fitting and appropriate. BBC Introducing in Oxford was described as a show devoted to spotlighting the very best of Oxfordshire’s local music scene. In the early ’90s, we had been introduced to the music of Oxford legends Ride and Swervedriver, We couldn’t help but be instantly curious about this programme. 8 years later, we have Dave (and the equally amazing Ronan Munro) to thank, countless times over, for introducing us to artists such as Gunning For Tamar, Wild Swim, Aureate Act, Phantom Theory, Rhosyn, Bug Prentice, Spring Offensive, Coldredlight, Lucy Leave, Richard Walters, Young Women’s Music Project, Hold Your Horse Is, Undersmile, Leader, Esther Joy Lane, Cassels and many, many more.
Dave graciously took time out of his frenetic schedule to have a sit down with us, in Anglophile Studios, to have a proper chin wag. He was as nerdy as we had hoped and as amiable as we had suspected.
- When you were young, what inspired you to believe that you would eventually combine journalism with music and combine them into an actual career befitting an adult (or did this simply seem far more fulfilling than working in Waitrose or Tesco)?
I remember at school the careers booklet didn’t have ‘musician’ or ‘journalist’ in it, so I gave up on that dream pretty early. I did study media at university but spent several years in the wilderness before getting an actual job in the profession, and that was after I helped out at BBC Radio Oxford in my free time, which eventually led to a job at the station and on the news website.
2. Given you’ve been at the helm of such an iconic radio programme, for ages, and have seen so many artists come and go (or hang around and survive), what do you believe makes Oxford one of England’s ground zeros for producing top shelf music talent, year in and out?
Being able to see other bands and artists having made it is a huge inspiration for those just starting out. I remember seeing Radiohead at Glastonbury and it was the first time I heard Thom Yorke speak. It seems very silly now, but I remember thinking, ‘his accent is just like ours’!
3. Arrange the following Oxford bands in order of greatest cultural/musical impact (in your opinion): Ride, Radiohead, Foals, Supergrass, Swervedriver – and explain why
The fact that a lot of these acts massively influenced each other makes putting them in any sort of order feel weird. But most of the people that send us music are clearly influenced most directly by Radiohead and Foals.
4. What has been your defining moment as host of BBC Introducing in Oxford?
I’m still waiting!
5. Who would you love to (or dream of) having as a guest on the show and why?
I’ve interviewed three members of Radiohead so I’d like to complete the set, please. Thom and Ed, I await your call!
6. Do you, Dave Gilyeat, play any instruments?
The guitar, badly. The piano, horribly. The harmonica, disgracefully.
7. How did you come about crossing paths with Nightshift’s Ronan Munro? What was your first impression of him?
My first impression of Ronan was from his reviews in Nightshift. I can’t say I was one of his biggest fans because he kept giving my band rather mediocre reviews. Tim Bearder, the show’s first main presenter, wanted Ronan involved in the show to give it a bit of integrity, and when I started working with him I found we had a lot in common! And in retrospect, my band was a bit mediocre. We had a couple of good tunes though.
8. Who are your top five favourite British and American bands?
Just bands? The Beatles, The Divine Comedy, Glass Animals, LCD Soundsystem, The Walker Brothers.
9. You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty has just asked you to choose a book and luxury before she casts you away. What do you choose and why?
The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and the Complete Works of Netflix.
10. Who would you fancy taking afternoon tea with?
11. What is your favourite venue, in Oxford, to see concerts?
I love them all exactly equally.
12. What makes you proudest to be British?
Blue Planet II!
13. Do you believe that female musicians are gaining momentum in being discovered and promoted more now than in the past?
Not nearly enough. Festivals need to do more, promoters need to do more, my team and I need to do more.
14. What does music mean to you? Could you go one day without listening to it?
Yes, unless I had to drive somewhere. I can’t drive without listening to music, it’s desolate.
If I’m a small footnote in a book somewhere, I’ll be happy.
To listen to the programme, please click on the link below: