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Over the last nine years, NTS has evolved from a small shack in Dalston into a sensory-shaking, imagination-igniting, everyday-soundtracking global platform that continually drives underground cultural exchange. As it has shapeshifted into a global family of music lovers that soundtracks our lives, it has opened ears and minds to just how powerfully music powered by passion rather than algorithms resonates.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic paused many of our realities, this pioneer of internet radio established itself as the go-to space for artists, DJs and hosts to explore ideas – through sound or otherwise – without limitation or restriction, but with the world in lockdown, the platform’s output became that bit more necessary. Just when we needed it most, NTS has turned the dial on its eclectic stream from its live stations in London, Manchester, Shanghai and LA to excite, inspire and move us. Inspired, we invited our fellow Dalston-born, global-reaching neighbour to curate a 10-part series of store mixes as LN-CC continues to celebrate our tenth anniversary. While the series will showcase NTS’ diversity of talent and sounds, we just had to launch the series with the platform’s founder, Femi Adeyemi. After he visited the store to try on his pick of new season pieces, we spoke with the pioneer over email as shared his mix that includes a number of tracks he has bought from LN-CC’s own record store.
Firstly, how are you, where are you and what have these questions interrupted you from?
I’m good thanks, you haven’t really interrupted me from much because I made special time for this.
As this series soundtracks LN-CC’s tenth anniversary, what were you like aged 10?
I can’t remember much about being 10, apart from getting my first bike and it was pretty exciting, it would be like me getting a PS5 now.
If you could go back and speak to 10-year-old you, what advice would you give them?
I’d tell myself to take my piano lessons more seriously… It's the only instrument I ever came close to mastering and I have a few regrets that I didn’t push it.
Let’s go back to the future. Hackney, April 2011. What was the silence that you wanted NTS to fill?
I was bored of listening to the same shit on radio all the time. I just wanted a space for me and my friends to play the diverse music we loved, so set one up for us and anyone else who felt the same way.
What did NTS mean to you then and, as it’s shapeshifted from a small shack in Gillett Square into a global hub cultivating underground culture, what does it mean to you now?
It still low key feels like a small shack in my head. Back then it was about bringing together a community of music lovers with diverse tastes together in a space in London. Still the same now just that the community is a lot more Global.
On the power of ten... NTS is only months away from celebrating its tenth anniversary too. How does that make you feel? How did you celebrate your ninth anniversary during the first lockdown and how do you hope to be celebrating next year?
Yeah 10 is pretty mad, we didn’t do much for our 9th tbh - didn’t feel like there was much to celebrate especially as it was peak pandemic. We have some exciting ideas but would much rather just wait for everyone to see. Of course we would love to have a massive party but alas, we live in a world now where all parties are on pause.
2020 has been a mad year. Who and what were the people, distractions and sounds that got through?
My family, friends and everyone I work with got me through the year - I was truly blessed to have them all around during this period. Luckily I had NTS to distract me with work and sounds also.
What, if anything, has the pandemic taught you/revealed to you about NTS’ work and world?
It’s just emphasised the important role music plays in all our lives. I’m privileged that I work in music and the output from NTS definitely aided in getting through some of the tougher periods of the year. I hope it did the same to our listeners around the world also.
If 2020 was a single sound/track, what would it be and why?
Jeff Buckley’s I Woke Up in a Strange Place.
What was the last thing that you listened to that moved you any which way?
Patti Labelle’s When It’s All Over. It’s not necessarily the last track that moved me but it moves me every time I listen.
If you have one, what’s your New Year’s Resolution?
Hopefully the end of COVID-19. Playing squash again … I miss that. I’m really craving a small party with 20 friends tops, low ceilings, loud sound and loads of smoke. Then NTS turning 10, honoured to have made it this far.
Could you introduce the mix in your own words?
It’s more of a laid back selection of tracks that I listen to frequently at home.
Beyond shopping at LN-CC, what would like listeners to be doing to this mix?
Good question tbh I don’t know, maybe hit the edibles.
What would you like listeners to take away when they press play?
Hope they enjoy the tunes.