Evan Kaldor makes radio, and he’s pretty happy about it. But you wouldn’t know it when you see him. In his late thirties, the somewhat serious Kaldor – with a pale blue Oxford shirt tucked firmly into some sensibly belted chinos (a hangover from a career in corporate finance in the US) - is, well, hardly rock’n’roll. But a background in banking seems perfectly in tune with steering a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation hell bent on showing Sydney a good time.
With the play-list showcasing 50 per cent Australian music, with half of that coming straight out of Sydney, it sounds the same any way you do the maths: a dedication to promoting local artists. FBi helped launch the careers of The Presets, Cloud Control, The Jezabels, Wolfmother, Angus & Julia Stone and Muscles by providing an audience for their early demos.
Broadcasting out of their studio in Alexandria, FBi rides the airwaves at 95.4 FM, and Sydney’s proving to be very receptive. The station’s programming hits just the right pitch, becoming so popular that they now host weekly gigs as well as one-off arts and performance events at the FBi Social, with permanent digs at the King’s Cross Hotel.
Punters can expect live performances from the likes of ILUKA (with her colourful bursts of bluesy pop), indie-pop darlings Little Scout (fresh from touring with Brooklyn’s School of Seven Bells) and Brisbane’s golden boys, Hey Geronimo, later in the year.
Back on air, the programs are diverse to say the least, with weekly shows dedicated to experimental music, heavy rock and metal, post-folk-rocktronica, granular pop, orchestral breakcore and beyond. But perhaps more interesting than what they’re playing is where they’re broadcasting from.
Jesse Cox’s weekly show Canvas talks all things art, culture and ideas and recently, insect penises, from a special live broadcast from Cockatoo Island in collaboration with the Biennale of Sydney. FBi is also spinning tunes at the Biennale Bar at Pier 2/3 until late September, providing everything from indie, garage and experimental beats.
But organising live shows is not without its challenges and giving the people of Sydney a creative, inspiring and fun night out can get sticky when it comes to red tape. It seems that in Sydney, you’ve got to fight for your right to party. But we feel pretty safe with FBi on the case, protecting the good people of Sydney against the war on live music and culture.
FBi Radio is celebrating their ninth birthday on August 31 at the FBi Social. The line-up includes Catcall, The Khanz, Bon Chat Bon Rat and a very secret headliner… Brothers and sisters, pump, pump it up.