Interview

BAND SPEAK(interview): Record Hospital Director/RH FEST organizer Daniel Lakhdhir whole interview

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WHRB 95.3FM is Harvard’s Radio Station. From 10pm-5am each weekday WHRB transforms into the Record Hospital, the portion of the radio station’s programming dedicated to far out, loud, beautiful, strange, and furious sounds. I, as a youth in Weymouth, MA, had my brain transformed by the sounds reaching me through the ether
via the Record Hospital. What I heard on that far reaching radio station changed me forever, for the better I’d like to think. The Record Hospital’s history is illustrious, having harbored wonders such as FAT DAY, and GERTY FARISH among their ranks over the years, and having been host to amazing long lived programming, such as DJ Dinos’ RENDEZVOUS, a living garage rock encyclopedia, and their annual ORGY SEASON programming. Each year they put on an amazing underground music festival known as RECORD HOSPITAL FEST. This year the fest takes place april 13th & 14th @ the Democracy Center in Harvard Square.

-DS

Hello hello, so what is the philosophy behind the Record Hospital, if there is one? Few college stations anywhere, at any time, have remained so focused in their programming. I figure there must be some sort of overarching guiding principle?

I guess the benefit of being a non-commercial station is that we have a lot of leeway to stick by the kind of programming we think is worthwhile, even if its a bit idiosyncratic (and even if WHRB is slightly broke as a result). RH has always been dedicated to playing music that other stations — even college stations — don’t play on the FM airwaves. Punk, hardcore, noise, stuff that will get your mother in a fender bender when she scans by it, jams people should hear but can’t because they were only released as an edition of 500 in 1988, etc. That ethos has developed a life of its own, and it has only become stronger as it’s been passed down. We get a lot of flak from our fellow WHRBies for being pretentious but…we think its worth it.

Can you give us a brief history of the Record Hospital?

RH has been around for 27 years now, though we were originally called Plastic Passions and played New Wave (we don’t like to talk about that phase…) I think the founders were converted to punk by the post-hardcore revolution and RH never looked back. Taste has obviously changed — there was a lot of middling indie pop in the 90s and I’m pretty sure Skrewdriver were un-ironically #1 on the playlist at one point — but otherwise RH has stayed pretty true to its roots. We’re old fashioned that way.

What’s the deal with the record Hospital Fest? How long has that been going on for, and who are some of the bands who have played in the past?

Um, this is probably something I should know, isn’t it? I guess the origins of Fest have been lost in the mists of time — RH isn’t very good at keeping records. We have had a ton of awesome bands play though: Ampere, Daniel Striped Tiger, The Body (all on one day! Before my time though sadly), The Beets, Bare Wires, Carlos Giffoni, Libyans, The Men… I always get a little jealous when I see the old posters but hopefully we’ll be able to live up to our predecessors this year.

How are the fest’s line ups created? How was the decision come to to break the fest into two days, one essentially punk and its related genres, the other seemingly where all other underground musics are represented?

Fest has evolved over the years because its basically a reflection of the taste of RH’s members. A couple of years ago it was a hardcore/noise split but nowadays more people are listening to emo, pop-punk, fuzzy pop stuff, etc. and I guess it shows in the lineup.

What role do you see the Record Hospital serving in the current Boston area diy/underground culture?

Historically, RH has been huge as both a broadcast outlet for a thriving local scene and as an organizer of shows. Boston punk has fractured a bit in the last few years but we still aspire to be one of the fulcrums around which the scene revolves. Maybe that sounds kind of big-headed but all we wanna do is help punks get their music out there.

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