Resident Focus: Nocturnes
Paul White and Rob Johnstone split the duties of music selection and wine pairing respectively - curating a blissful hour fit for cold winter eves, dreamy Sunday afternoons and all else in between. Spanning everything from Jazz to Folk oddities, their show remains a staple on the station - consistently satiating listeners wine and music needs.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you are in the world, one fun fact about yourself?P
Fun fact: I once saw Olivia Colman walk past me holding a bottle of Cif. I’ve been a greasy-haired photographer for years and now I’m moving into just directing films, and having my hair cut in the latest style. I’ve had my Saturn Return so it’s about time. I am back and forth between London, where I work, and Bristol. I also work as a driver on film sets and that keeps me out of mischief.
How are you spending your days at the moment?
I’m trying to make it through this dark and wet part of the year alive as my ancient flat is brutally cold in winter, I can see my breath. At least I don’t have to put the milk back in the fridge. I’ve just cleaned out the hearth though so I’ve got a log fire going, thank the Lord.
Favourite thing to hear in nature?P
Things with white or pink noise, like a huge waterfall, or the surf on a pebble beach. I played ‘Kate Carr - under the roar the waves break, the wind picks up’ on the show, which miraculously mixes the sea with the sound from inside a tube train carriage. My most played song on Spotify, by far, is ‘Infant Airplane Training - Pink Noise For Babies’, which I have on loop in my headphones, it stops me from melting down.
Tell me about your other creative endeavoursP
I’m developing a documentary film and music and sound are a big part of my filmmaking process from very early on, so I’m exchanging ideas with musician Lorenzo Prati. He’s sending me exciting bits that are shaping the structure and tone of the film.
You’re about to do a seance, what song is cleansing you?P
‘John Coltrane - Dear Lord’. There isn’t a cigarette paper between this and the heavenly realm.
How do you approach curating your show on Noods?
P: I think about what I might play if we were sitting up late, by the fire, with a bottle of wine. Rich things, delicate things, but not exactly easy-listening, some things that can be a bit challenging, that pull you in and take you somewhere. Then send some tracks to Rob to think about which wine the show should be paired with.
R: Paul sends me the playlist a few days before the show and I go for a wander around the liminal bits of central Bristol with my headphones on to get a feel for the mood and see if any particular pieces snag in my psyche. Then I might think about the lyrics or artist backgrounds to see if there's a jumping-off point. Sometimes it's one piece that stands out and that defines the wine selection and sometimes it's more nebulous and vibe-related, or there's a starting point but then a rabbit warren of associations to tumble down. I try to avoid literalism or it could feel a bit 'Saturday Kitchen'.
Sometimes the wine choice is obvious, on one particular show there were three artists (I think without specific intent from Paul) from New Zealand. What I love about Paul's choices is that there's a diversity in origin and style and I try to mirror that with the wine choice. I would always rather highlight an unsung region or style over the incumbent popular. It's always under a tenner and readily available from the high street retailer, we both really want listeners to enjoy the pairings and I hope it does add to the listening experience.
Top three wine and album pairings?P & R
‘Nina Simone - Live at Montreux 1976’ — Open a bottle of Nero di Troia – organic, rich and persistent with plums, cinnamon, tobacco, cedar.
‘Oklou - Galore’ — This wonderful album starts off restrained and opens out, therefore I’d open a Verdejo blend - modern production, citrus and mineral structure, opening up to grass and fennel:
‘Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares Vol. 1’ — At once traditional and modern, pair with a Middle European Grüner Veltliner with apples and tingly citrus:
What albums are essential to keep in the car?P
I often listen to David Sedaris in the car! He’s great for a long journey. A short trip to pick up your mate needs Moondog. For a night motorway drive, Tlim Shug compilation ‘2016-2018’ should suffice, lovely and deep, ‘U+99FD’ is the most fun you can have in 8 and a half minutes. When I was a kid an Abba tape took up residency in the car stereo and didn’t leave for years. No wonder I turned out a queen.
You're lost at sea and there’s only enough juice in your ipod for one track, what do you play?P
‘This Mortal Coil - Song To The Siren’ would be the most beautiful way to drown.