Rob Castro is a Seattle vet of the music scene, an original member of hip-hop groups and collectives like Grayskul, FFU, and Oldominion. But before all that, when he was just a kid, Castro got hooked on music thanks to someone far, far away—BBC Radio 1’s John Peel.
“He did these live studio recordings for 30 years,” Castro says of the DJ’s famous Peel Sessions. “It was a big influence on me as a child. Hearing bands that I would never be able to see live. Getting access to that feel without having to go to England.” Castro jokes that he’s “dating himself” as he reminisces about listening to the early Peel Session recordings of bands like The Police, Bauhaus, and the Pixies.
On March 2, Castro will launch Radio Concuss on YouTube, a channel in a format that pays homage to Peel’s. “We’re bringing guys in the studio, and we’re mic’ing them up,” he says. “It’s going straight into the board, so they’re rocking it like it’s a band practice. But there’s no headphones, so they’re having a lot of fun. It’s like bumping music in your car and rapping along to the beats. It’s a feeling that you don’t always get as a performer. We try to get that quality of fun and enjoyment for the artist.”
While Peel is the chief influence, with YouTube, there’s obviously the added visual element, giving fans a chance not only to hear artists as they create music, as Castro did as a kid, but see them as well. The experience will be similar to a KEXP In-Studio performance, allowing fans to watch artists perform raw music, but will stay true to the Peel influence by incorporating brand-new jams recorded live during the show.
While Castro promises fans a “garage-band practice” view of musicians, he is also attempting to look out for local artists. “A lot of people get trapped here,” he tells me. “They don’t travel and they don’t tour. I hope that I can use my networking that I’ve gained touring the country with Grayskul to try to promote Seattle and the Seattle scene.”
The launch party itself will feature catered soul food courtesy of Jerm D (formerly of Kingdom Crumbs); live performances by SpecsWizard, Silas Blak, Diogenes, and Pryor Prism; clips of the March 2 Radio Concuss episode; and sneak peaks of future episodes.
Monkey Loft, 2915 First Ave. S. $10. 21 and over. 9 p.m. Thurs., March 2.