An Interview with John “John in the Morning” Richards
By Sarah Baker
Being newly transplanted to Seattle from LA, I was clueless about the local music scene, especially since the last time I lived in the Northwest was during the heyday of Grunge. Imagine my delight in discovering KEXP’s“The Morning Show” with John Richards playing set lists featuring the hottest up and coming bands in the area, not to mention more mainstream indie and alternative classics!
Not only a popular morning DJ, Richards is also the head honcho at Loveless Records, home to Northwest favorites Man of the Year and Voyager One, to name a few. After numerous emails, a bribe, and pissing off the talent, Nada Mucho takes a quick peek at what’s on John in the Morning’s full plate and gets the dirt on what inquiring minds really want to know: paper or plastic?
Nada Mucho: How did you get involved in music?
John Richards: I got involved in music the day the Communications program at the University of Washington was cut to save money to build more buildings for professors whose programs weren’t cut. I walked over to the public radio station (which at the time was called KCMU) and told them the magic words, “I’ll do anything, for no money”. From there I got on the air and bands send you music when you are on the air.
NM: What made you start your own record label?
JR: I could tell you that it was the desire to get Northwest talent a chance to be heard here and/or elsewhere but that was only after we were for real. It all REALLY started when we got shitfaced at the Nitelight one night. We were naming the label “Dirty Grandpa” and “Drunk” records….
NM: How do you choose what bands you put out?
JR: We don’t stick to one genre or one style of music. That may be confusing for some, but not for us. We only have to all LOVE the music and believe in it. Nothing more, nothing less.
NM: What releases do you have coming up that our readers should know about?
JR: Super top-secret band from Seattle. But I can say they are the next big thing to come out of Seattle, and I’m not kidding. They are IT. Stay tuned to lovelessrecords.com to find out (cheap plug). Readers can also expect follow-ups from most if not all of the current roster! If you don’t know who that is, just check out lovelessrecords.com (another cheap and obvious plug).
NM: What non-musical things influence what you do musically?
JR: I’m not sure what you mean? I no longer really DO anything not related to music. It’s sick, really. Actually when I think about that question some more, I would say that everyday life influences that. You have your up days and you have your down days and those influence your direction and your spirit. It’s a bit new age, but you’ll have to forgive me, I’m in “down dog” as we speak.
NM: What are your thoughts on the current state of popular music?
JR: It is ass. I started to think it was me getting older and “not getting it”, but I’ve figured out that isn’t the case. It’s ass. The music is so very terrible and these kids listening are so brainwashed by MTV and big time radio that they don’t know what they are listening to is pure ass. On the bright side, it has to get worse before it gets better. I’m guessing a very good state of music is almost upon us. It just better hurry up. I’m guessing George W. and the economy will help that along nicely as well. Did I mention W. is also ass?
NM: What was the first concert you ever attended?
JR: Jane’s Addiction at Eastern Washington University.
NM: What records do you listen to the most these days?
JR: Loveless Records of course. But when I put those down, I would say the new Vendetta Red and Los Halos albums. Oh wait, they are signing with Loveless. Um, how about the new Sigor Ros, Radiohead, Built to Spill, American Analog Set, Bjork… is that enough? If we are talking local, Aveo, Carissa’s Weird and Graig Markel.
NM: Name 5 albums you rate 10/10.
JR: 1. Pixies – Come on Pilgrim
2. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
3. Pixies – Doolittle
4. Pixies – Bossanova
5. Pixies – Trompe le Mond
NM: Do you ever get to the point during your radio show where you ask yourself if everybody is feeling all right this morning, but you really don’t care that much?
JR: I always care how everyone is feeling because chances are I’m feeling the same way. Now if I feel different, my music may steer them in that direction. It also may cause them to call and email and yell at me, but what can you do really?
NM: Have you seen the Jackass show the youngsters are watching nowadays? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done on purpose? Saying ‘agreeing to this interview’ doesn’t count.
JR: Is society moving so quick that we forget about the Tom Green Showalready!? Anyway, the dumbest thing I have ever done is start an indie record label. Not a lot of money in it I’m afraid. That or the time I killed a man in Utah for no reason.
NM: Although it’s getting more and more taboo, some say that smoking makes you look cool. Do you partake of the sweet, sweet nicotine? If so, how old were you when you started?
JR: Sweet, sweet nicotine (in a Homer Simpson voice). I really prefer sweet, sweet crack cocaine to be honest with you. Have you seen that commercial with the woman with the hole in her neck? Dear Lord that is sick. I don’t smoke, to be honest with you, and am getting tired of going to shows and feeling like shit because everyone else does. You go to a show in California where you can’t smoke inside and the next day no matter how much I had to drink I don’t feel that bad. Plus I have just a little less cancer forced inside of me – have you seen that woman!!!!??? Her name is Debi, people, and she has a hole in her neck.
NM: What’s your sign?
JR: Caution: Falling Rock
NM: Paper or plastic?
JR: They never ask anymore, they just shove it in plastic. BASTARDS!!!!
Visit the Loveless Records website
Visit the KEXP homepage