Tom Raine Interview – “It’s true that everything run’s its course”

With a Student Radio Association award for Best Specialist Music Show behind him, Tom Raine’s radio work on show Saudade is gearing up for a busy 2022. I sat down with Tom to talk about ambitions for the New Year, bringing Brazillian culture and music to a wider audience and how difficult it can be to research and plan a weekly show amid a global pandemic.

Has your show changed or evolved because of the coronavirus pandemic?

The show itself was born during the pandemic back in April 2020, so it hasn’t known any different! After I’d been forced to return home from my year abroad in Sao Paulo, I was desperate to keep in touch with a culture, people and music that I’d fallen in love with, and this show was the perfect outlet for doing so.

With a specialist show, how easy/difficult is it to source new songs, new artists and new content for your show every week?

I think it can really depend for a specialist music show. The main thing I’ve found is trying to strike a balance between having consistency in the shows’ sound alongside keeping the show as varied as possible – as you can imagine, doing a show on the whole of Brazil is quite broad! However, generally speaking, sourcing new music can be quite easy having done the show for a while, and with still a lot to delve into. It does help following Brazilian music magazines and speaking with Brazilian friends, but I’m driven by my love of the music and culture which makes it less of a task. I’m regularly listening to old and contemporary Brazilian music and delving into the careers of different musicians which often gives me a good base.

Research can often take a while, but I’m obsessed with learning about different musicians and music scenes that have interesting stories. If I come across a musician or song that I like I always try and find out more, and often that can result in amazing discoveries that turn into content for the show. One example is a song I found last year called O Mestre Sala dos Mares by João Bosco and Aldir Blanc, a song about the Revolta da Chibata, a mutiny by mistreated Afro-Brazilian sailors on a ship that had been built in the shipyards in Newcastle.

“I think there are a lot of music scenes around the world, both specialist and mainstream, that never enter the popular consciousness of the English-speaking world.”

Sometimes you can find yourself playing a lot of the same artists that you enjoy playing regularly like Tim Maia and Caetano Veloso, but in those cases, I’ll try and vary the show elsewhere, such as focusing on a genre or music scene that I haven’t previously covered. It’s a lot of fun!

What are your hopes for the show in 2022?

I’ve got big plans for it! I’m looking to put out weekly or fortnightly shows in 2022 with a lot more content. I’m hoping to grow Saudade and spread the show as far as I can, as I really believe that there’s something for everyone! There’s going to be more genres, more music scenes and more content in general. I’m also going to start doing interviews with Brazilian musicians, journalists and cultural folks, and broadcast them both on my show and my Instagram/IGTV – I already have a couple lined up with some interesting people and can’t wait to get them recorded and shared.

My main hope (which has been the same since I started the show) is to get more people into Brazilian music and to share my passion for it with as many people as possible. I think there are a lot of music scenes around the world, both specialist and mainstream, that never enter the popular consciousness of the English-speaking world. Brazil has such an amazing wealth of music and talent that is still relatively unknown in the UK at least, and if Saudade can offer people a window into a new culture, be it through classic artists from popular Brazilian music (MPB) or through exciting scenes and genres like baile funk, then my mission is complete!

You picked up an SRA for Best Specialist Programming (well done again by the way!) this year, what does that mean not just for yourself but the show also?

Raine picked up his SRA for his show, Saudade

Thank you very much! This award really means a lot to me, I never imagined that I would win something like this from doing something that I really love. Winning it also meant a lot because it gave me a big boost of confidence to keep going with radio in the hope that it can one day become my career.

I think what meant the most to me is that it was won by a show on Brazilian music. As I’ve mentioned it’s something I’m incredibly passionate about and I’m so pleased that it has got this recognition.

What’s the one bit of advice you now have that you wish you knew starting out in radio?

That’s a tough one! I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that if you’re enjoying what you’re doing and have the time to do it, then do it as much as you possibly can. It’s true that everything runs its course, but I think with radio it’s good to get into a good routine of doing regular shows and other things such as interviews – confidence really builds as you go, and so does the fun of thinking up new features, playing new tracks and so on.

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