By Stuart Huggett
DJs Andrea Fox and Tony Marks are a busy pair.
As well as their daily radio shows for Juice FM, they promote live music at The Windmill every Thursday – mixing open mic slots with headline sets from breaking Brighton bands and the occasional surprise guest.
Juice’s New Music Showcase also returns to The Green Door Store this Wednesday (April 26), and the station is promoting two evenings of music at Digital for next month’s Great Escape festival (May 12-13).
We headed up to The Windmill last week to catch a word with them both at Juice’s Free Music Thursdays. The evening was typically buzzing with the city’s musicians – The Beautiful Word were headlining, Alastair Gray from The Stars Down To Earth played an unannounced open mic set, various Electric Soft Parade folk were wandering through – and the Juice pair were getting stuck in to the Bank Holiday festivities.
Tony explained how acts are picked for their Windmill shows. He said: “I get sent a lot of demos, so we always invite anyone who gets in touch with my show to come down and take an open mic slot, but the headline band is always chosen by myself and Andrea.
“The purpose of the night is to promote local bands and singers, so we don’t want them to be overshadowed by big names, but we love the idea of occasional secret appearances.
“We’ve had Scroobius Pip, Itch from The King Blues, Lauren Pritchard and Texas’ Sharleen Spiteri come down, so we definitely want to create that excitement of never knowing who you’re going to see play.
“Having The Windmill absolutely rammed for Ramona and Sharleen (also Ramona’s manager) will live long in our memories.”
She said: “Munich is another band that we’ll be putting on at The Green Door. They’ve played here at The Windmill before, they’re great.
“They’ve just done a European tour, and are playing The Great Escape, so it’ll be really exciting to see how they’ve come on.”
The acts Juice are promoting at The Great Escape are an international mix of artists from France (Housse De Racket), Sweden (Little Dragon), Denmark (Oh Land) and the USA (Holy Ghost!), as well as the UK.
Tony said: “The Great Escape told us the artists they were thinking about, and myself and one of the festival organisers went through the list together.
“There were bands that I wasn’t familiar with, there were bands I was very familiar with. We’ve got a really good mixture. They’re all new, there’s no-one that’s massively established.”
Andrea is pleased Juice is involved with The Great Escape. She added: “It’s a really great festival for the city. I still get really excited about it, and I try to go to as many of the talks as possible.
“I get the timetable and map out my little route, the same as everyone else. It’s always that toss-up – you’re going to have to miss some stuff you love, but you’re going to see some stuff you love. It’s about the discovery.”