2014-11-05 Down the rabbit hole
When Alice went through the rabbit hole she entered a world where everything felt strange. This last week has felt something like that for us too. But there is more. In this strange wonderland some things appeared to be exactly opposite of what Alice was used to in her normal life. And now, that has also happened to CeltCast! 😀

We are all used to radio stations interviewing bands and artists. However, the first ever interview that CeltCast is involved in is an interview that the lovely people at Bastaard had with us!

For Dutch speakers, you can find the original article and interview at www.bastaard.net.
For English speakers, we have translated the article and interview for you here.

A bit more than a week ago the new online radio station CeltCast went live. On CeltCast you will mostly hear Celtic, Viking, Folk and Folk inspired music. The station was founded by Alex and Arjan, but already has a bandscout as well.
CeltCast originates from the Netherlands, but it has an international focus. Primarily on Europe, but because of the non-stop music it has gained attention from all over the world. You can listen to CeltCast through their official website, ShoutCast and recently through TuneIn. So most devices should be able to play CeltCast!
In order to better introduce you to CeltCast we had a written interview with its founders which you can read below. What do you think about the start of a new radio station? What kind of music would you like to hear on a station like CeltCast? Let us know in the responses!

What is the goal with which CeltCast was founded?
Alex: The station was founded out of a love for music. I really wanted to give something back for what the musicians gave us (my family) over the past years. The joy at the festivals, on the road or at home, the energy to pick up tasks that I thought I wouldn’t have the stamina for, the dancing with my girls in front of the stage, in the living room and even in public, the emotional touching experiences, the depth and the humour! But the greatest gift is the interest that my daughters have developed in making music themselves. They play Celtic Harp, Piano and Harmonium, but are already looking at playing Bodhran and Guitar.
Music is something magical. It can touch you, or move you. It is this magic that I would love to share with as many people as possible, and I would like to present a large stage for that to the bands and artists.
Arjan: For me there is of course also that love of music, that I have felt since a very young age, that is a driving force behind me wanting make a contribution to the scene. Music influences all aspects of my life and I am very thankful to the musicians that make that possible. But besides that I also like to address the feeling of community that I feel within the folkscene. I think, we think, that we can use our radio station to amplify and expand this community, so that more music can be made and shared, and ultimately so that more people can enjoy it. That is also the thought behind the addition of “Community Radio” to the stations name.

What is the target audience for CeltCast?
We don’t really want to think in target audiences. At the festivals you see people from all corners of society come together to enjoy themselves. The music in our playlist has something primal, something touching. Something that people don’t get to hear in the “mainstream media” any more, but that immediately grabs you when you open up to it.
Everyone is very welcome: musicians, producers, organisers and listeners. If they just sneak a peak we hope that something “clicks” and that they choose to stay.

Is CeltCast aimed at the whole world, or more at European listeners?
We chose English as our primary language, in order to be accessible for the largest possible audience. Since our home base is in Europe it is logical that most of our listeners are European, but to say that we specifically aim at that would be wrong. We don’t say “around the clock, across the globe” for nothing. At this moment the Netherlands is clearly in the lead when speaking of where the listeners are from, followed by Germany, the UK and the US, but to our delight we even seem to be reaching people in far away lands like Ecuador, Japan, India and Australia. In that last country our scout, Bob, is currently working to find bands that are as yet unknown to us here in Europe.

What kind of music and bands will we hear on CeltCast?
Celtic, Viking, Folk and Folk inspired music is how we describe it. The concept of Folk of course encompasses a wide range of music including Nordfolk, Balkan Folk, Breton Folk and sometimes certain “Gypsy” music. But we can’t ignore music like EUZEN either. We mostly select the music by feel and we discuss it a lot amongst each other. The thing that connects it all is positive energy and that acoustic sound.
We play various big names from the festival world such as Rapalje, FAUN, Omnia, Cesair, Sowulo, Trolska Polska, Virelai, AmmA, Shantalla and Harmony Glen, but we also play the lesser known bands from a forgotten past, from remote areas or bands that are working hard to make a name for themselves. It’s great to receive responses and questions, because we see that listeners hear of bands like EMIAN, Instinkt, Lunasa, Tevenn and Sylvain Barou for the first time through our station, or maybe get acquainted with the old Clannad (1973!) or Mark Knopfler solo.

Through which channels can people listen to CeltCast?
We are working hard to offer several options. At the moment people can listen using the player on the website, the RadioJar plug-in on Facebook, and the TuneIn and RadioTuna apps for tablets and smartphones.

Is it all non-stop music or are there/will there be specific programmes?
Currently we play non-stop music, even without jingles, but we’re working on that. 😉
We have thought about specific shows and programs based on the time of day, but as a global station there’s never really an “evening” or other fixed time. We also want to keep an eye out if the audience actually wants it. Right now we are actually getting a lot of compliments on playing “nice alternating music”, so we’re focussing on the basics for now.

If there is going to be scheduled programming, will they be non-stop programmes with a certain theme or will there be hosted programmes? (Live or recorded)
Both options are possible, though it would mean we would really have to take the time to set up proper preparations. Because of the nature of the station, everything will have to be broadcast in English. For the near future it is most likely that we will present additional material, such as recorded interviews or reports, separate from the stream on the website. But who knows what the future, or help from the scene, might bring…

Do you view other similar stations as competition?
No. We sincerely believe that there is room for multiple stations, each with their own characteristics. It’s good that listeners have a choice to tune in to what they need at that time. The more, the better, I would say, so that the artists have the largest stage possible. In the mean time we’ll see about growing on our own strengths.

In what way will CeltCast differentiate itself from other similar stations?
We chose to create a stream with 100% music. No commercial breaks, no chit chat. We are able to do that because we chose to pay the royalties ourselves to BUMA/STEMRA and SENA (the Dutch copyright organisations). In this way we’re not dependant on a provider that wants to profit from us. We also consider involvement to be a core value for us. We want a “for the scene and by the scene” radio station. We want to invite and encourage everyone, both the listeners and the artists, to think along with us.

Does CeltCast need money to exist?
Absolutely! But we invest this ourselves, so that we are registered as “non-commercial”. We never know what the future holds, but for now we gladly pay for this, so that we have the freedom to decide everything ourselves.

Can listeners support CeltCast?
Well, not financially, but if you want to support us we’d be very happy! You can share the station with your friends. Write a nice report on a concert, an album or a festival and we might be able to publish that. You might have the guts to go interview a band. Go crazy with creativity on our logo if you want. All forms of artistic contributions are appreciated! We’re also always open for tips about new music and all sorts of good ideas.
With the subtitle of the station being “Community Radio” we want to indicate that this station is something for, as well as by, the listeners. By working together with bands, listeners and organisers we can grow as a whole.

What kind of activities can we expect from CeltCast in the near future?
We are currently working on expanding “our” repertoire and we’re making time for interviews, reviews and reports, but all the while new and huge ideas are forming in the backs of our minds. Ideas that we will be executing with the help of the community. So stay tuned… 🙂