1/ So First Off - Tell Us your Name, City and Country and what you currently do for a living?
My name's Jon Ewing and I live in Reading in the UK. I make websites for a living.
2/ Is This Something You Always Wanted To Do? What Do You Enjoy About It?
I've always loved music and writing. I spent a few years working as a freelance writer. Combining music and writing is a no-brainer. But sometimes trying to make a living out of the things you love can tarnish them a little bit. So, in that sense, this is much better, because I'm doing it mostly for myself. And, to paraphrase a cheesy old rock interview response, if anyone else likes it, that's a bonus.
3/ Tell Us About Your First Musical Memory - Why Do You Think You Remember It?
Probably getting a record player for my fifth or sixth birthday because it meant I could listen to my choice of music any time I wanted. It was very bulky and had a long spindle so you could stack records; when each one reached the run-off groove, the tone arm would swing back, the next record dropped down and the arm swung magically into place and started playing. Very Rube Goldberg / Heath Robinson. I loved it. I don’t really know what records I had. My first single was Wig Wam Bam by The Sweet and I remember I had a Scott Joplin ragtime album, because I liked the theme music from The Sting, and an album called Big Terror Movie Themes that included Toccata in E minor (from Rollerball) and the theme from Jaws. I'm rather excited to discover that album is on Spotify now. Who'd a thunk it?!
4/ Who Did You Make Your First Mixtape / Playlist For - What Was The Result - Did They Dig It?
The first would undoubtedly have been for myself. I just wanted to be able to cobble together B-sides and album tracks or songs from compilation albums into a single compilation to make it easier to listen to them. The first compilation tape I received was from my older brother when I was about nine years old and that was hugely influential to me - thanks to him I discovered some legendary Seventies rock artists I didn't really know about, like David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Roxy Music.
It's hard to believe now, but wasn't till years later that I owned the equipment necessary to record a cassette myself. Later still I owned every record David Bowie had ever recorded and would make "Best of" compilations for my friends, mixing together hits with obscure stuff, like Baal's Hymn and Please Mr Gravedigger.
5/ What Made You Go Online And Search About Music Curation?
In my case I was invited because of my background as a writer and music lover. But I'm very glad I was. I hadn't realised how much I had missed writing about music and interviewing up-and-coming artists.
6/ Tell us about the name of your Playlist - where did that come from?
Music to Fight Evil is collection of songs by and about people whose rights - and in some cases lives - are under threat. It's for anyone who needs inspiration to fight back against injustice.
I've agonised over the title and I probably wouldn't choose it now! In retrospect the word "evil" is probably open to too many different and very subjective definitions. The inspiration isn't religious, not does it come from a specific ideology, although anyone who follows what I write will have a pretty clear idea of my political views.
7/ What does a track have to have to make it onto your list, is there something special that you look for?
It's not enough to have a "positive vibe". The songs on this playlist have mostly been inspired by real life events, whether in the street or in the political arena. The lyrics have to say something meaningful - or at the very least sincere - about what it means to be the victim of discrimination, brutality, harm or exploitation. If you are feeling helpless, this music will make you realise you're not alone. Music to Fight Evil explores some very serious issues. Some of it is angry; much of it is joyful, celebratory and uplifting.
8/ What can an artist do in their track submission to your list to ensure that you'll listen to their track?
Tell me a story that I, and others, will want to hear. Explain a little about who you are, where you're from and what inspired the music.
9/ We know - these change all the time - but as of this week - what are your all time top 5 favorite tracks.
This is the worst! How can you choose five songs that are "all-time" favourites? I'm just going to pick five tracks that are by brilliant British indie artists.
- David Devant & His Spirit Wife - One Thing After Another because more people should know and love this wonderful band. All done with kindness!
- The Holloways - Generator because it perfectly sums up why music makes life worth living.
- Free Swim - Discuss At Great Length Very Interesting Things because it is joyful and baffling.
- Art Brut - Formed a Band because of the line: "And yes, this is my singing voice - it's not irony".
- New Town Centres - In the Bin because this superb track is reminiscent of the legendary Cardiacs, who are not on Spotify.
10/ And finally - which Music to Curator should we interview next?
Let's go for Matt Jenko from Music to Save the world