People: Interviews

In Conversation, Leo Walton

Founder, Amateurism Radio

Leo Walton

Leo Walton

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@leowalton
@amateurismradio

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You probably noticed that some of the best soundtracks over lockdown came from Amateurism Radio – we had many a spontaneous disco courtesy of Amateurism. And as we’re itching to get back in the club, we’ve caught up with Leo Walton, DJ and founder of Amateurism to discuss music and things. If you too are in the market for new music, be sure to check out Amateurism.co.uk for an archive of nearly 1000 shows, or their Mixcloud.

UJ: If you could go to any one club this weekend, anywhere in the world, what would it be?

LW: Wow, what an escapist question! The idea of going to an amazing club now feels like a total dream. There are so many special options out there around the world, and I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to experience and enjoy a lot of them. I haven’t been to the Panorama Bar in Berlin for many years, and would love to go back, but with summer ’round the corner, I’d also LOVE to be back on the terrace of Amnesia in Ibiza. It always feels so special to be there – a place steeped in so much folklore! But if I had to choose just one club to be transported to, I would have to choose the Robert Johnson club in Frankfurt. The perfect size, vibe, crowd, location and music for me.

UJ: One track that immediately gives you that dance floor feeling?

LW: One track! That’s a tough one. I’m constantly digging for new music, and also listening to the amazing discoveries from all the many Amateurism selectors, too, so I’m always surrounded by new music that gives me that feeling. “That” dance floor feeling normally happens not from a particular track, but a certain DJ in a certain environment. Andrew Weatherall always used to give me that, as does Ricardo Villalobos when I get the chance to see him play. I will dance and dance to certain DJs. But to answer your question, there are so many classics I love, but a recent find I’ve been dancing to is the Psychemagik edit of ‘What A Funky Night’.

UJ: Lockdown music discovery?

LW: My lockdown music discoveries have all come via Amateurism Radio. To be honest, it’s been such a big and immersive project for me personally that it’s been very difficult to consume any other content, despite being aware that there’s been so many great options available. So, my favourite discoveries have been the selectors on the station. All of them have made special contributions, but people who joined the crew during lockdown such as Adam Willis, Adele Carmichael, Michelle McKenzie, Graeme Fisher, Johnathan Collins, Iona Fitzgerald and Glenn Kitson have all been brilliant new additions. I’ve also been blown away by people like Nancy Sandison, Barny Read, Alison Ford, Mama Walton, Victoria Saunders and Seb Marling, who’ve all stepped up to become radio stars from no previous broadcasting experience. It’s also been great to discover that it is actually possible to remotely create continuous three-hour dance floor mixes with my three brothers-in-radio and longtime DJ partners Rob Leggatt, Gavin Lucas and Aymen Bensaad!

UJ: Any upcoming shows on Amateurism we should look out for?

LW: Having broadcast continuously 24/7 for 4.5 months during the first lockdown in 2020 (we also broadcasted for the whole of November 2020 when we went into the second lockdown), we have since switched to doing regular ‘pop-up’, event-style broadcasts over long weekends or holiday periods. So for anyone interested in tuning into Amateurism right now, I’d suggest delving into our archive of nearly 1000 shows – you can access them via our website (amateurism.co.uk) or the Amateurism Mixcloud. There is so much great music of all varieties to discover!

UJ: Is there a show that you replay frequently?

LW: I am currently listening back to shows from our latest ‘Music Is The Key’ one-year anniversary, eight-day special broadcast. The great thing about a radio station is that there’s music for morning, day, evening or late night. So it really depends on what time of day – or indeed what day of the week it is – to decide what I like to replay. For anyone wanting a Friday night dance, I’d highly recommend checking out the Amateurism Collective mixes, which were the catalyst for establishing the whole station.

UJ: Any 2021 Amateurism Radio news you want to tell us about?

LW: Our background is hosting parties and areas at festivals such as Glastonbury and Port Eliot, so we’re all waiting patiently to find out what’s going to be possible this summer. We certainly hope to be able to host an actual party for all the extended Amateurism family at some point – it would be so special to be back together in the same space after a year of keeping the vibe alive on the airwaves during the past year. As well as that, we will definitely continue to deliver pop-up radio broadcasts on the station and, as ever, be open to whatever opportunities arise. We just celebrated 10 years of Amateurism, but even after a decade of building, it still feels like we’re just getting started!

Thank you Leo!

Originally published on
9th April 2021

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