Peak Time is a celebration of what's new in music, introducing listeners to the best new artists and scenes from around the world they might not be aware of. The show also casts a glance back at the artists and records that inspired today's music-makers to do what they do so well.
Over the last few months shows have focussed on everything from footwork's pioneering Teklife crew and Glasgow's synth-pop obsessed Night School Records to the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch and 21st-century divas. It's a restlessly diverse show put together by presenter Vivian Host, a long-time music journalist and DJ who ensures that the show's details are as precise and illuminating as the tunes are killer.
Read on to understand what Peak Time is all about, and then tune in Monday to Friday from 12midday-2pm EST / 5-8pm BST / 6pm-8pm CEST.
For anyone who hasn't tuned in yet, explain what Peak Time is and why people should listen…
It's a daily guide to the music you need to hear now. My idea is that there is more music than ever out there but people still have to look in 20 different places to find everything that might be important or relevant to them.
If you want to keep up on what's happening in music today – all the tracks you need to know, the breaking music news – Peak Time gathers it all together in two essential hours, with interviews with a wide selection of interesting musicians. We travel around the world too, bringing you the best local scenes.
You've celebrated everything from footwork and acid house to hyphy and bossanova; is anything off-limits?
Nothing! We try to cover the vast world of music that doesn't always get airplay on regular stations, and shine a light on breaking underground artists and exciting names from around the world. Our only parameters are good music and authenticity -- that's what we think about when we book artists. Also, people who have interesting stories to tell.
Do you have your own holy grail artist that you desperately want to bring to Peak Time?
Personally, my "holy grail" interviews are Bay Area rap legend E-40, Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, and Siouxsie Sioux. That said, all the interviews we do are a surprise, so I just look forward to whatever happens next.
Do your own tastes colour the show or do you always make sure to leave your comfort zone?
I leave my comfort zone on a near daily basis! I definitely try to curate a wide selection of music, from different genres and from different places around the world, and I'm usually learning along with the audience.
But I do think my life experience, my travels, and my 20 years as a music journalist and DJ do colour the show. I really do try and ask artists things they haven't been asked in other interviews, and add context and detail to the music we're listening to.
Is there an episode of Peak Time that sums up the show's philosophy?
We did an episode in Los Angeles that featured Drab Majesty, who makes this sort of dreamy, Cocteau Twins-inspired gauzy goth music; Bollywood legend Bappi Lahiri; Gregg Kowalsky, talking about his ambient music; and the city's world music DJ crew Discostan. A real mix of genres, ages, nationalities and styles.
It was definitely a wild ride, but one that I think represents the ethos of Peak Time – that most people listen to a really wide variety of music and that you never know where you might find inspiration or new sounds to enjoy.
Peak Time has been involved in live events, like the Teklife and footwork special in Chicago earlier this year; does it get chaotic on Peak Time?
It definitely can, but that's usually the most fun part and where the magic happens. When we travel, we try to get in as many guests as we think are interesting. So some shows will have four interviews and I'll go from talking about trap to indie rock to minimal techno. It's a fast-paced show and I think that's what makes it a fun listen and maybe different to other radio shows and podcasts out there.
What's the most surprising story you've had the chance to reveal on the show?
Oh, so many! Talking to film director Werner Herzog about looking into the soul of man; techno pioneer Juan Atkins explaining what the "transmat" of his 1985 hit "Time Space Transmat" is; journalist Vivian Goldman revealing what it was like hanging out with Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols; Brazilian DJ Pininga translating the lyrics of Brazilian proibidão funk; Glaswegian DJ and producer Denis Sulta regaling us with the melancholy personal stories that inspire his lush house and techno tracks. And lots of people with great Madonna stories.