In an interview with Paris Munro we got to hear all about their podcast, ‘Queer and the Beat,’ which focuses on the intimate connection between music and life experiences. Paris talks about how their traumatic childhood led them to create this podcast and share the stories of artists who have found solace in music. They share an unexpected story from one of their guests, Honey Love, who found their calling as a DJ while serving in the Navy. Paris also discusses their desire to explore different genres of music and showcase artists who can take listeners on an emotional journey. With the podcast featuring special guests, including Zara Larsson and HoneyLuv.
How are you?
Not too bad. Just watching… what do you call it? The dog rehoming TV shows that make you wanna cry and eat ice-cream? That’s what I’m doing. That’s my vibe.
Can you tell us more about your podcast, ‘Queer and the Beat’? What inspired you to start this podcast?
For a while now I have been thinking about it. Because podcasts are so great, especially if you’re just like walking to work, you want something to chill you out. I tend to listen to a lot of Lo-Fi music and self-help podcasts and things like that. So, I figured like why not try and produce something similar but like in a music interview format style. As I am already doing that on the radio anyway and try something that I haven’t done before. So that’s kind of like one of the reasons why. But ‘Queer and the Beat’ the reason why I called it that and the deeper reason why I wanted to start it in the first place was built from like healing trauma basically. So when I was little I struggled with my identity, my dad left when I was four, I had a lot of anxiety. We did not know where the next meal was coming from, and music was the one thing that just helped me escape everything. So, when you are like trying to escape from all of life’s cr*p and you just feel so safe, and you just feel so free; I just wanted to speak to artists about that moment for them. What made music feel safe for them? What was that lightbulb moment for them. So, it’s kind of interesting to hear different people telling me about you know, the reason why they got involved in music in the first place. Things that had happened to them in their childhood or adulthood and how music became like a saving grace. I kind of wanted to share that with everyone else. Telling my side, but like the artists side too. I just wanted to make you feel like you are part of this intimate bubble with you and the artist. Seeing something or like hearing something you haven’t heard before, just like that little bit closer to the artist, if that makes sense?
So, your podcast ‘Queer and the beat’ focuses on the life and music of your guests. Can you share with us a particularly surprising or unexpected story you have heard from one of your guests?
There is one from Honey Love an artist who I only just started listening to this year really. She was telling me all abput how when she was in the Navy she was trying to learn how to DJ and that became such a moment for her, she realised this was what I’m emant to be doing. She was in the Navy for four years, she had gone through quite a lot and it was quite a traumatic career. But that was the ligh tat the end of the tunnel for her. She’s absolutely smashing it right now with all the tours and the festivals that she’s got going on. She is a massive lover of food, she finds she escapes in food. Just as much as me, I’m a foodie. So I would say so far that’s probably one for me that really stuck out, especially with working in the armed forces, I’ve never worked in the armed forces before, I don’t know what it’s like. I only hear of experiences. Doing something to help your country and having to go through such mental trauma, physical and emotional trauma. Not being able to speak to your friends and family very often. That must be tough. So that link to music from going to the Navy to music was quite an interesting move. There are some good ones as well that are coming out later at the end of the month, but I can’t tell you too much about that. Because I don’t want to spoil anything.
Of course your podcast features a variety of genres and artists. How do you choose which artists to feature and are there any specific genres, or artists that you would like to showcase eventually?
I would really love to showcase more genres that I don’t particularly listen to. So depends on the mood. You know, it depends on the vibe. Most of the time it’s basically house, dance, and pop at the moment that I’m speaking to. Or just a slight alternative kind of edge. But I do want to explore more of the heavy music. I want to explore grime, which I don’t tend to listen to. But would love to have an insight into different worlds and different genres of music. Also soundtracks to films as well. That’s quite an interesting one. You know when you watch for example ‘The Last of Us’ which is fairly, fafrily new, which is based on a video game that I am a really big fans of. The artist just carries it so simply and so beautifully, this atmospheric feeling that makes you feel like you’re part of the clan that is trying to go through this zombie apocalypse survival thing. I would love tospeak to Ludovico Einaudi as well, a beautiful pianist who speaks to me on different levels that I have not reallyexperienced with other musicbefore. I want to be taken on a journey emotionally. For me I want to feel the love, the heartbreak, the pain. I want to feel the struggle. When I listen to a song I want to feel the things that the artists felt or that the pianists felt when going through the situation. Especially when people write sad music, it king of takes me back to moments in my life where I experienced that, when my dad left and that feeling. For me it’s basically all about feelings. If you can take me on a journey, that’s what I want, that’s what i’m looking for.
You’ve interviewd many artists on red carpets as well. Now of curse you have moved onto your own podcast, which is amazing. Do you have a preference between these two types of interviews and why?
When it comes to red carpet, I’m more cheeky I think. I think because it’s a very different environment and also you only have like a minute or two with an artist on a red carpet. So you’ve got to try and kind of distract them from the main general questions that they get from every other person that’s holding a micropone in their face. You don’t want to hear the same thing over an over again, you want to laugh, you want to think, you want them to go “oh, I’ve never had that question before”. Kind of pull them out of that bored daze. I like the challenge of red carpet stuff, so I tend to just have fun, be cheeky, and just make them have a good time. With the podcast I have a little bit more time, so I can really dig deeper in to more things. Or ask them bout other things that they are more comfortable to speak about because they are a bit more chilled. Whereas red carpets are just ‘go, go, go’; but I do love a challenge of a red carpet.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, how important is it to you to use your platform to raise awareness and to create a safe space for others?
Do you know what? Growing up… so I’m 32 now. Growing up in like section 28 it was hard tp kind of navigate on where you could go for resources, for education. Now younger generations are getting that education, getting the resources. It feels like it’s slowly becoming more accepting and understanding. I know there is so much more to elarn, even for me. But for me to create this space and like pass the torch from big artists at the moment here, for example, Bimini. Bimini is somebody that I’ve actually got on my podcast. That’s going to be released in May, which I’m really excited about. Because we go into a lot of their experience, my experience, music and all that kind of stuff. But I was saying to Bimini how watching Bimini on RuPual’s drag race, had that conversation about being in the community, their identity and their sexuality. It was really refreshing, because you get to see yourself being represented if that makes sense. So I think representation is so important. Not only that, felt like in that moment, I felt warm and fuzzy and I felt seen and I want others to feel seen too. So Bimini has passed me that torch in a way. Now I want to do the same for others. I want people to feel seen, feel safe, enjoy themselves in this like little community. To give them the freedom to express who they are, to give them the freedom to be without having to explain themselves, that’s what I want to do. So I think it’s really important to represent, to just be out there really. Just doing a simple job like being behind the tills, cleaning, warehouse job; I have done them all. I only came across one trans person when I was working in a supermarket. This was about ten or fifteen years ago. I thought it was wonderful to see somebody who was part of the community. I instantly felt safe with them and I could confide with them about my identity, my sexuality, and my journey and stuff like that. So I felt sort of seen then as well and I want to do the same for others. So I do a radio show on Gaydio and when I started the role, to the world I was lesbian. That is how I identified at the time because I was terrified to come out as trans non-binary. Eventually I did come out last year in January and I just had floods of support and love. It was just really really refreshing. It was beautiful to see people that were listening everyday going, “good for you Paris, so happy for you. We support you”. That meant a lot. So I just want people to feel seen in whatever they do.
You are collaborating with Outcast UK a podcast that focuses on the reporting of the reaction and analysis of what’s going on in the world of LGBTQ+. So how important is it to have media outlets like Outcast UK that are dedicated to providing this representation and coverage of queer stories?
So I spoke to Graham who hosts the podcast, Outcast UK. I was talking to him for a while actually about trying to sort out my own podcast. He said “lets team up together, I feel like it’s important for the community to not fight against eachother but to support eachother”. He said “look let’s buddy up, I’ll help support you, you help support me. Let’s do something together. It’s like sister stations, or sister podcasts, like sharing eachothers content. I’m totally up for it. Anything I can do to support other LGBTQ+, producers, artists, singers, musicians, PR companies, magazines etc. I just wanted to do something where I wasn’t fighting against the community just to try and get one up on the other. Because it’s tough competition. You’re fighting against, not fighting, but you’re competing against like everybody. I feel like as a community in general with the LGBTQ+ communities it’s important to be there for eachother, to stand with each other. I think it is quite cool to kind of collaborate with them and I would love to do more stuff with other queer media. I think it would be really cool just to like help eachother basically. So that’s the reason why I joined forces with them.
So back to your podcast. You will of course be doing podcast specials from the Great Escape Festival in Brighton and the Great Estate festival in Cornwall. Can you tell us more about what these festivals mean to you and why you chose to cover them in your podcast?
So with the Great Escape, one I’ve never been to that festival before. Two, I really wanted to be in an environment where I could just indulge in a combination of different stuff and just diver straight in there. Just for me, networking and speaking to people. I love meeting people and speaking to people. You get all wonderful nuggets and stories. It’s just great to speak to people and just share that. To hear people’s experiences. So, one person I am really excited about in particular is Arlo Parks, I actually really like Arlo Parks a lot. Her girlfriend, Ashnikko, I interviewed her on the red carpet. She was absolutely hilarious, she came on the red carpet with this trypophobia, she had like lumps and holes and things like that. It was just really cool to see her and just talk to her about what she has been up to. But I asked her, would you collaborate with your girlfriend Arlo Parks? She said, “we collaborate on love”, so I thought maybe not then. Because they’re two very different styles. But Arlo Parks is one, absolutely talented to the bones. Two, it’s wonderful to see more people of colour being represented that actually they have talent. Three, this one is going a long way, I can definitely see her doing bigger stuff for sure. So I’m really excited to get to know her a bit more and just have a laugh with her really. What I want to do is, you know when you just go to a pub and have a pint, or you go for some tapas and you’re just hanging out, and you’re just grabbing some bits to eat, and just have a nice chat. That’s basically how I want you to feel when you listen to the podcast. That’s what I’m hoping for, like a slightly less chaotic red carpet style and more of a chilled, let’s hang out and talk about what you want. There’s no limits here. Unless you don’t want to talk about it, and just have a good time really. But yeah, Arlo Parks for sure, really excited to speak to her.
Thankyou for taking the time to speak to us today.
Yeah no worries. I really appreciate you having me so thank you. And my dogs as well.
The episode featuring Bimini will be out on 3rd May. From what Paris said, it is set to be a really good and emotional episode.
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