Host Spotlight: Pablo Blanquito

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 stay in Manchester to chat with DJ, radio host and Better Days co-founder, Pablo Blanquito! His monthly residency ‘Hubcap Hustler’ is a genre-free exploration with a dancer’s mentality, encompassing Pablo’s love of bringing people together from all kinds of backgrounds. We find out more about Pablo’s illustrious career so far…

Hey Pablo! We love your residency ‘Hubcap Hustler’. Can you tell us more about the ideas behind the show?

Hey there, thank you very much. I’m always grateful to be hosted by Melodic. 

I did a one-off live show at the old studio and it went very well and was super interactive. The show was and is an eclectic representation of my musical background. No musical style is out of bounds and it allows me freedom.

How did you first get into music?

I was surrounded by music growing up in a vibrant, multicultural part of my city (Manchester). I was exposed to everything from Turkish Funk and Irish rebel songs, to Jamaican Dub and Lovers Rock.

Can you tell us more about Better Days and Idle Moments?

Better Days is a collaborative DJ partnership with Chris E (a fellow Melodic resident) encompassing private parties, major live acts and lots of radio shows. Idle Moments *was* a group event for all ages, Sunday afternoon jazz vibe with live music and DJs. A beautiful community thing.

What are the main ethos’ of the parties?

Always to allow people and the DJs (Mad Mats, Tall Black Guy, Opolopo etc.) a chance to relax and express themselves freely. A gap exists in the market for parties that encourage all ages to come and share a safe space. 

Also an incredibly talented DJ, what’s been your favourite event to play so far? Dream artist to play alongside? 

That’s very generous. I’ve played with so many incredible artists and can’t help but be grateful for those opportunities. I loved playing with The Headhunters, Peanut Butter Wolf (creator of Stones Throw) and Terrace Martin, who was very kind and super talented. Also people who end up friends like Butcher Brown, 30/70 Collective and Binker and Moses. More recently, the incredible Melanie Charles.

A dream artist to play alongside would be Channel Tres, Taylor McFerrin or Jamael Dean. All of whom I think are fresh and massively innovative artists. 

What’s your take on the Manchester music scene? Are there any other local DJs/producers we should know about?

It’s a very vibrant and confident scene with many successful DJs and musicians. We’ve always had a swagger, but it seems to have gone up a notch or two in the last ten years. Locally, I’d always rate Szjana and Mecca83 as producers, among many. As for DJs, I love open-minded fresh sounds so Chris E(obviously), Lil Minx and my other half, La Presidenta.

With various projects on the go, what usually helps you to keep a clear mind?

I need to regularly take a step away from social media to retain clarity. Recently, I’ve been way more selective of where and how often I work, which definitely helps. I’ve always been a person who has their own way of organising themselves, so it’s probably hard to explain to others!

What was the last record you bought?

I bought ‘Y’all Don’t Like Black Women Do You?’ directly from Melanie Charles after supporting her last Monday. It’s a combination of classic-verve female jazz recordings, with her trill jazz modernity. It’s an incredible record (rightfully up for a Grammy) – highly recommended!

What do you have planned for 2023?

I’ll be on my own for 6 months at the start of the year (my wife, La Presidenta and son, Dr Cookie are off to Puerto Rico!), but I’ll hopefully return to Berlin for XJazz in May. I’ve also got Supersonic Jazz in November, plus I’m back at We Out Here and the other festivals I passed on this year. 

I also have a super cool, secret compilation finally coming out next year. A modern take on street soul, it’s very exciting with artists both from the UK and worldwide represented.

Join Pablo Blanquito for his final ‘Hubcap Hustler’ of the year this Saturday (3rd), 16:00 – 17:00. In the meantime, listen back to the November edition below and check out the upcoming Better Days listings here!