We spent a long time not really bothering to listen to Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show, which ends tonight after more than a decade on air.
Our decision was based on the fact that we thought it would be a load of shouting about Kasabian. But we needed something to listen to while we were making dinner, and we settled on Zane.
To be honest we weren't completely wrong on the 'shouting about Kasabian' front, but it was soon obvious there was a lot more to his presenting style than shouting, and there was a lot more to the music than Kasabian.
There are two main points here:
1. The breadth and depth of his passion for music was and is unrivalled at Radio 1
Nobody else at that station gets or gets excited by music in the way Zane gets and gets excited by it. That excitement is contagious: playing new music is one thing, but championing that music is something very different, and hearing Zane going berserk about a new tune was always a joy. He also played a lot more pop than we would ever have expected. During Zane's time at Radio 1 the distinction between pop and other genres has blurred in a confusing but brilliant way and music fans are more receptive than ever before to multiple genres. We'd say Zane's been responsible for a lot of that shift. His legacy, if nothing else, is a partial ceasefire in the genre wars.
2. If you were in a band, you'd want to be interviewed by Zane Lowe.
Without steamrollering his guests he'd conjure an unusually zippy pace in interviews, even with the most monosyllabic indie acts. He'd give them room to breathe in an interview, but he wouldn't give them the space to drift away.
We've never found his show to be a particularly relaxing listen, but for all the right reasons — we'd rarely go half an hour without needing to Shazam something, or making a note to write about it or investigate a song further. This is what we Shazammed last night while boiling some water for some spaghetti. It's pretty much the opposite of a Kasabian song.
Zane would be the first to admit — in fact he'll happily volunteer the information — that his show was a team effort, so while Zane's heading to Apple we haven't lost everything that made the show great. The rest of the team, presumably, will continue to work in radio, and Zane's unique approach to music will certainly filter through into other shows. This said, UK radio loses its best DJ tonight, and that's an almighty pisser.
Farewell, then, to a man so amazing that we'd even put up with occasional shouting about Kasabian. A man so amazing that — and this is the ultimate accolade — a Swedish boyband did a song about listening to him.
Let's finish with that song, the aptly-titled 'King Of The Radio'.
GOODNIGHT SWEET PRINCE.