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Platform B DJ Profile: Elsa Monteith

Platform B is a not-for-profit next gen radio station broadcasting online since 2016 and on 105.5 FM and DAB across Brighton & Hove since the 1st October 2018.

By Thom Punton

Platform B is a not-for-profit next gen radio station broadcasting online since 2016 and on 105.5 FM and DAB across Brighton & Hove since the 1st October 2018. The station is directed by a new wave of DJs, producers and presenters who are re-imagining and diversifying the medium with an eclectic mix of music and youth programming with a studio based in Brighton’s legendary Green Door Store. 

 

Tune in and you’ll most likely hear something you’ve never heard before. It’s the perfect antidote to the bombardment of adverts, trails and predictable playlists of the other stations crowding the airwaves.

 

This month, we spoke to Elsa Monteith, a key member of the Platform B team, about what radio means to her, what you can expect from her shows and the songs she’s been listening to at the moment. Currently, you can catch her show every third Friday of the month at 9pm.

When did you get involved with Platform B?

 

I became involved with Platform B the year they began broadcasting on FM – ever since then, 105.5 FM has been firmly dialled into my kitchen radio and scheduled into my working week. In 2021, I was lucky enough to co-present the Platform B breakfast radio show The Rising, and have continued to develop a wonderfully rich relationship with the phenomenal community of presenters, producers, and listeners.

Have you always been interested in radio? Is DJing your main focus in life? 

 

I grew up in a busy Brighton home with a radio in every room, a familiar chatter that has formed the soundtrack to much of my childhood, adolescence, and career. Aside from moonlighting as a radio presenter, I’m currently a writer working in and around the arts and with impact-driven businesses.

 

In terms of DJing, I haven’t got much further than the Platform B studio – I spin tracks on a tiny controller in the comfort of my sitting room, and occasionally venture out to a studio to practice on the decks, but I’m no pro. I’m gaining confidence, shaping a sound that feels familiar, fun and vibrant, and hope to be at the helm of the club CDJs in the near future!

 

What’s the vibe of your show? What kind of music do you play? 

 

I set the tone of every show by beginning with a track from the inimitable Erykah Badu, the funk and soul siren who has become my signature artist. Selfishly, I mostly play what I listen to. My tracklists are often based in UK underground rap and grime, and then span a more global scope of afrobeats. 

 

How do you approach the relationship between you and your listeners?

 

I want my show to feel natural, organic and connected. If I had it my way, I’d turn up to each listener’s house at 9pm every third Thursday of the month, pulling up a seat to the kitchen table and settling down for the evening with good friends – one hand firmly on the aux cord and the other beckoning you to pass the salt. Good radio should be intimate, informal and full of mistakes. At its source, it’s a democratic medium – everyone can listen and at no cost. Don’t underestimate audio!

 

What have you learnt doing the show?

 

I’m constantly learning about articulation and intuition. Live radio is equal parts exciting and terrifying, with each show essentially being a one-sided conversation without any immediate feedback or response. It’s a unique mix of to-the-second planning and routine interacting with a wild unpredictability – quite literally anything could (and does) happen. I’ve learnt to be agile, trusting both the process and the producer.

 

Who or what has inspired you in your career?

 

I’ve always been very connected to audio and print, but my love for writing, speaking, and listening began with my dad. He would always buy the Big Issue, one of the first prints I was introduced to that presented progressive politics accessibly, whilst supporting people at a grassroots level. I would always read John Bird’s editor’s letter, (most recently, “Bird’s Words”) and felt particularly connected to his vision – each page has purpose, depth, and humanity. Their recent rebrand is excellent. I’d love to work with them in the future.

 

Who’s a band/artist from Brighton to look out for at the moment?

 

Twang pop post-yacht-rock soft psych band Hutch are an outstanding Brighton 5-piece featuring formidable harpist Eva Lunny. They’ve just been longlisted for the Glastonbury emerging talent competition and deserve every moment of success that comes their way. I see big things for them. 

 

Elsa’s 5 songs everyone should hear

  • Sunrise – Kwákz, Namani: This song samples a Weldon Irvine track called Morning Sunrise. The original is more an anthem than a song for me, a profoundly romantic ode to, well, weather. Kwákz and Namani have lifted the sample effortlessly, somehow elevating a near-perfect track with deft rap and precise beats. They’re both ones to watch.

  • Super Bounce – Duckwrth, EARTHGANG: I’ve always had an affinity for music videos, and whilst this one is paired back to a meagre 20 second loop, Duckwrth’s visualisers are stunning. There’s an artful quality to this track – it feels like thick acrylic paint with a warm orange palette. I recommend listening twice.

  • Free Mind – Tems: I first came across Tems when she appeared on Wizkid’s track of the summer, Essence. Her voice is rich and melodious, with lyrics asking for both time and a free mind, both of which are often in short supply. It’s one of those tracks that melts into the percussion and backing vocals. Her whole EP is golden – I can’t skip a single song.

  • Na Hora (feat. Faktiss & Chris MC Clenny) – Sango: Da Rocinha is a sensational three-part Baile Funk EP series that never fails to get me tapping my foot. Sango is an incredibly talented producer with a prolific output and expansive discography. It’s hard not to love his sound.

  • 12.38 (feat. 21 Savage, Ink & Kadhja Bonet) – Childish Gambino: I think Donald Glover is a renaissance man, a multihyphenate of immense talent and artistry. This track is no exception, with a running motif somehow akin to Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stand the Rain. Wholly different, but with the same brash ambition and execution. Six and a half minutes you won’t regret.

 

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