September 14, 2009


John Richards loves his job, and it shows. As the host of the Seattle-based radio station KEXP ’s influential John in the Morning program, Richards plays a dizzying variety of music, from indie-rock to electronic, hip-hop to folk, and his on-air enthusiasm is the definition of infectious. Recently, he’s been spinning Lusine’s ‘Two Dots’ a great deal, as well as tracks by School of Seven Bells and Deastro—so we thought we’d give John a buzz and talk to him about his work, his favorite music, and, you know, triple-A hockey. Five Questions with John Richards continues below…

1. Why should people listen to your show?

The first reason is that there are so many ways to listen, you have no excuse not to listen. It’s on the dial in Seattle at 90.3, in NYC at 91.5, and online at Another great reason is that every other band I play seems to be on Ghostly International. Not kidding!

People should also listen because the aim of the show is to bring the very best music onto the radio dial (or online) as it was meant to be heard: no commercials, no plays for money, nothing but programming from the heart. From the newest demo from a Brooklyn band to the new Radiohead, you’ll hear it on the show.

2. What’s the one record you can’t live without?

Pixies Surfer Rosa
(followed by)
Radiohead OK Computer
Elliott Smith Either/Or
Sugar Copper Blue

3. What song should play every time you enter a room?

My first thought when I read that was ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC. Next was ‘Celebration’ by Kool & the Gang. But then I realized those were both themes used for the triple-A hockey teams I watched growing up (the Sioux City Muskateers and Spokane Chiefs). So I guess ‘Transmission’ by Joy Division will do. I don’t think any hockey teams use that one.

4. What’s one genre you listen to regularly that you think would surprise people?

Classical. I wouldn’t say I listen a ton, but when I need to chill out or I’m jogging long distances I dig the classical to keep in check.

5. How about a piece of sage advice for the younger generation?

Don’t give up on the radio. Help me save it from destruction.