Host Spotlight: James Binary

Host Spotlight: an opportunity to shine a light on our wonderful radio hosts and wider community, be it a new music release, a brand new music residency or simply to champion them as an individual. This week, we chat with Forest Swords/Bonnacons of Doom bassist and Memory Control host, James Binary! 

How did you first get into music? 

I had to ask my parents about this. My dad said, “you started at Tafelmusic (a music school in Birkenhead) when you were 3 mum says, and banging tambourines. Then started flute at 8, we think”. I was also lucky to have a really cool next-door neighbour who gave me a hair metal compilation he made on cassette, full of Skid Row and Whitesnake. That got me motivated to be in a band. Then as a 14 year-old BMXer, I had access to a whole range of new underground music on the VHS’ we would buy. Later on, John Peel and Probe Records filled in all the blanks.  

Who are your main inspirations musically? 

My first full ‘what the fuck’ moment was hearing Aphex Twin whilst incredibly stoned (probably the way most people get into him). Nowadays, my wonderful friends in the Liverpool music scene have been a permanent source of inspiration and I’ve been lucky enough to be in bands with some of them. Adjacent to those folks would be the likes of Mr Oizo, DMX Krew, Lightning Bolt and Part Chimp. But if you really want to hear who I like, you must listen to my radio show to find out.

You’ve toured pretty extensively with various artists and bands – what’s been your favourite gig to date? Dream artist to perform alongside?

I’ve played under a football stadium in Tbilisi, on the roof of Romanian parliament, at an Alfa Romeo factory in Turin and inside an aircraft hangar outside of Reykjavík, to name a few. My best memories are playing festivals like Sonar, Primavera and Unsound. The first Berghain show was a really special one too. But supporting Mogwai on tour whilst on bass guitar duties for Forest Swords was by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my life – getting to see them destroy it every night was a true privilege. However, driving thousands of miles in a battered Berlingo was something I hope not to repeat.

I’m still waiting to play with, or even see, Mr Oizo though, that’s one for the dream gig list.

What do you enjoy most about the Memory Control shows? How do you usually prep for radio?

I consume so much music daily, that it just naturally builds up into 2 hours worth of music to share with everyone each month. Sadly, I must just love the sound of my own voice otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. However, getting to share the studio with fellow musicians and hearing what they’re into is another perk of the trade. I’ve had some great guest co-hosts (I love George \m/) over the last 2 years, with many more to come! Being part of this community radio station is incredible. 

What else have you got coming up?

On 19th November I’m playing Brave Exhibitions Festival in our band Bonnacons of Doom, with our 2nd full album coming out next year on Rocket Recordings. I’ll also be DJing in The Kazimier Garden on the 30th October for a special 4 hour Halloween set, with my fellow music aficionado, Andrew Ellis. I’m also currently working on some other side projects with my great friend over in Liverpool-synth-den, The Production Room Liverpool.

If you like what James is doing, support him on Patreon here! In the meantime, check out Bonnacons of Doom’s latest EP below and get tickets for Brave Exhibitions here.