Prog Blog: Andrew Haug (AndrewHaugRadio/Contrive) Interview

Andrew Haug is a name many in the Australian heavy music scene will be familiar with. Over the last 20 years, he’s forged a career in radio and on the stage, both as the host of the hugely popular triple j program The Racket and as drummer for Melbourne metal outfit Contrive.

Since his tenure hosting The Racket came to an end late last year, Haug has been busy working on a brand new 24-hour, 7 days a week online radio station (over at www.andrewhaug.com). Now in full flight, I took the chance to chat to Haugy about the new station and what else he’s been up to.

Prog Blog: Firstly, congratulations on the launch of the new station. How and why did it come about?

Andrew Haug: Thank you. Well, the idea came about after triple j made the decision for me to move on from the station after 10 years. I have always dreamed of something like this throughout my 20-year radio career, because doing a weekly program of 3 hours never seemed enough to thoroughly represent the rock/metal genres right across the board. Now with technology at phenomenal advances, the time couldn’t be better to unleash this monster.

PB: How on earth are you going to make it work? Automated programming? Multiple hosts?

AH: It’s been working fine since we launched on 20th November, with already weekly live programs in place, so it can only grow from here.

PB: What can we expect to hear on the new station?

AAH: Lots of music, present and past. Basically a celebration of the rock/metal genre of 40 years.

PB: Where does the music come from and how is it compiled for airplay?

AH: We have an extensive library that is constantly being updated and daily playlists are compiled.

PB: How do you see the station fitting into the radio/media landscape in Australia (or worldwide)?

AH: It’s the only one of its kind in this country, so it’s a great fit for those who don’t hear what they want via other media. If you are a fan of heavy music, AndrewHaug.com is your new home.

PB: Is there a focus on new music or will ‘the hits’ be played?

AH: Both. The Haugmetal Weekly Live program, which can be heard Tuesday Nights from 9pm, will feature the latest from around the globe. Also, some of those acts with new material will be featured in daily playlist rotations.

PB: Do you have to keep to the Australian content quota or will we see a higher/lower mix of local and international tunes?

AH: There is already lots of Australian music added to our daily/hourly rotations. Also, there is now a weekly dedicated all-Australian Show called Heavy At Home, which can be heard Monday nights from 8pm. I encourage all bands to submit music via the Contact section on the website for all the information – http://andrewhaug.com

PB: Any plans to introduce new hosts to the station?

AH: Not as yet, but if the talent out there is good, anything is possible?

PB: Your departure from The Racket has been much-spoken about and lamented by fans. How have you found adjusting to life after analogue radio?

AH: No adjusting required, just moved forward in building this monster and haven’t looked back.

PB: Have you heard The Racket program lately? What are your thoughts on the new host Lochlan Watt and the change in direction?

AH: Haven’t listened at all so can’t comment on that one.

PB: A question many people ask is whether it’s possible to make radio a full-time career these days. How do you make it work?

AH: Well, this is a 24/7 radio station, so there is lots of work involved, it’s definitely full-time.

PB: What are Contrive up to?

AH: Writing new material, sounding definitely stronger and more progressive than ever. I think those interested will be surprised by our next offering and hopefully dig it a lot too; we are!

PB: Contrive successfully toured Vietnam; tell us a bit about the experience and how it came together?

AH: That experience was quite overwhelming actually. I mean we’ve never had a reaction like that in our 12-year career, so yeah, a bit awkward! We have plans to hopefully return there next year. I heard we were the 1st western metal band to ever play there? They get very little so they were excited and very appreciative.

PB: Any plans to head overseas again (and what happens to the station in the meantime??

AH: No plans. The station has around-the-clock engineers and tech support on it, so it’s always in safe hands.

PB: Your interviews (and impressions) of famous acts are legendary; any particularly memorable moments?

AH: Wow, there are so many. Here are a few I can rattle off the top of my head: face to face chat with Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden in Bali before their show was inspiring to say the least; Ozzy Osbourne I have met and spoken too many times; Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) Maynard from Tool; Metallica’s James Hetfield face to face was great; and stacks more. The impersonations: ah yes, well, the obvious one was Lars Ulrich from Metallica. I think he was a bit stunned actually, but he was super cool and had fun with it.

Listen to it here:

PB: What are you listening to at the moment?

AH: I generally listen to the station like anyone else and always hear stuff I don’t know. With new music I keep up to date via the Haugmetal weekly live show with lots of releases coming through.

PB: Any Australian music piquing your interest?

AH: The new Mark of Cain is solid, been ages since I heard some new music from them; The Levitation Hex from Canberra is killer too.

PB: Finally – now the station is up and running, what’s next?

AH: To keep building on it. This station is for everyone, so spread the word! \m/

Andrew Haug Radio is online now at http://www.andrewhaug.com

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