Fresh out of presenting Reading Festival’s TV coverage, he hosts one of Radio 1’s most popular weekend shows. But this success hasn’t come easily; It’s a whopping 14 years since a teenage Huw Stephens joined the BBC. At just 17, he became Radio 1’s youngest ever presenter.
Ahead of his Engine Shed gig next month, he spoke about festivals, Lincoln and why he loves Freshers week.
Reading Festival could easily be considered an institution these days. But for those who couldn’t make it, there was the less muddy option of watching it on TV. Radio 1’s very own Huw Stephens got the honour of presenting this alongside DJ sidekick Greg James.
“It’s a great festival and as you can probably hear, I’ve lost my voice,” said Huw. He’s clearly a big lover of music, and said that whilst he loved many performances, a couple stick in his mind: “My favourite performance was Biffy Clyro. Haim were great as well!”
He’s more than comfy in a studio with just a mic and producer for company, but he said that festivals and gigs are a totally different scene he’s also got a soft spot for: “You get to see loads of people at the main stage and you DJ for them. It’s different to doing radio because you don’t see anyone in the studio. You just see a producer and stuff.”
Huw was actually due to start studying radio at uni when the BBC offered him the job, so he never had his own freshers. He says this is a gig he’s used to headlining though and he’s taking to the stage again next month to help kick off what seems to be a pretty jam-packed year for the Engine Shed.
“Freshers is the most fun ever because everyone’s excited and everyone’s ready for a new start of their life. It’s always an absolute pleasure to do a Freshers set,” said Huw.
He’s played in Lincoln once before and despite, as he puts it, all his gigs rolling into one, one thing sticks in his mind: “I do remember the Lincoln crowd is pretty rowdy, isn’t it?”
Every DJ has their own tastes and style and when on the radio and Huw is normally the one to bring unknown new music to the ears of the nation. He says that he doesn’t do this at live sets, though: “I don’t go too obscure, you know I play a lot of obscure new music on the radio. I don’t really do that when I DJ out because it just doesn’t work.”
With this in mind, what tunes might he be bashing out in Lincoln?
“I try and put new tracks that I like in, things I’m playing on the radio, and try and put in a few old school curve-balls in there as well to make it interesting,” he adds.
It’s hard for him to believe that he’s been working in radio for over half of his life, but for people merely dreaming of being in his shoes, he has some advice: “Get practicing as soon as possible. Get involved with whatever local station you’ve got, whether its hospital or student or community or commercial or BBC. Learn the tricks of the trade and find out what your voice is and make sure it’s strong and definitive. Just enjoy it!”
Huw’s set is on Saturday, September 27th during Propaganda at the Engine Shed.Tweet