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Monte Famous | "Each Week, My Passion For Indie Music Grows Stronger"

‘Monte Famous’, (aka James Irvine radio DJ to the local Forbes area), pours his heart and soul into playing independent music, with his passion growing weekly through hidden gems and artists, in which the commercial radio listeners often miss. Its people like Monte, who bring the colour to our ears, opening up doors for listeners and the artists.

Monte Famous - James Irvine

“I love playing indie music because the variety of subjects they sing about. There are the usual themes of being in love, losing love etc, but Indie music has so many great social issues in it, there are songs about mental illness, drug recovery, environmental issues, political views, empowerment of women, outlooks on life the universe and tribes to parents and other influences in their lives. It makes a great change to what the mainstream commercial music seems to be about.

The other thing I love about indie music is that it’s started to cross over genres, so many artist have created music that is hard to pigeonhole. There is country music that is crossed over to the pop and rock genres, folk music that has elements of electronic or hip hop to it, and electronic music that has rock or pop influences.

Every week I get to hear this evolution of music and I get to play it for my listeners. Monday night is my favourite night of the week, and each week my passion for Indie music grows stronger.

I have started to invite different members of the Forbes and Parkes community to come and co-host with me each week. It has been a great addition to the show, to see my co-host realize that Australia has so much great musical talent that they have not been exposed too. I have also had local artists as co-host who have gained a lot of inspiration from talking to fellow artists and learning about their journey within the music industry.”

What enticed you to become a radio DJ?

“When I moved back to Forbes there was not a lot to do, I had always had an interest in Radio and a passion for music. I applied to be a volunteer announcer at 2LVR the local community radio station and I was accepted. I started off doing a rock request show every Friday night from 6 to Midnight. About 6 months after I started doing that show, I was showing a friend some of the great indie music that people out here really don’t get to hear. She said to me I should start a show about this kind of music, after a couple of these shows I decided to try and do interviews with the Independent Musicians that make the great music I was playing and so my journey and passion for Indie music and Indie Artist was born”.

Where did the name, ‘Monte Famous’ derive from?

“The #Montefamous came from an artist I was interviewing at the start of last year. During my interview with Helen Perris we were talking about hashtags and joking about different things that could go with Monte. Helen came up with #Montefamous and its something that stuck. Now when I interview a Musician they become #Montefamous. I take a lot of pride in being able to call so many independent Australian musicians Montefamous.”

What kind of music is played on your show?

“Montefamous Mondays does not have a set genre, so we play everything from Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Electronic, Hip Hop, Dub Reggae, Blues and every hybrid of these different genres as long as they are Australian and has been released in the last 7-14 days. The interviews are the same, no set genre only that they are Australian and are Independent.”

Monte’s ‘Monte Famous Mondays’ show is aired in Forbes, Australia and has devoted his time and energy into improving his much loved show by weekly travel to Sydney to up-skill in the area of Radio.

“I travel to Sydney each week as I am studying at The Australian Film Television and Radio School, doing an Advanced Diploma in Radio. I decided to study at AFTRS at the end of last year because I wanted to improve Montefamous Mondays (previously known as Uncharted Wednesday Nights) to be a more professional platform to highlight Independent Australian Artists.”

Are you originally from Forbes?

“I grew up in Forbes. My parents still live in Forbes and a few years ago my father became very ill, I moved back from to Forbes from Launceston in Tasmania to help look after my dad and mum. The good news is both my parents are a lot better now.”

How long have you had your own show for now?

“I have been going only since January 2015, and Montefamous Mondays (Uncharted Wednesdays) has only been going since August 2015. As of the 22nd of May I will have conducted my 200th interview with Pirra. I am so excited to have talked to so many very talented Australian Musicians.

I had the wonderful privilege of going to the Music Oz Independent Music Awards as a result of the show, it was a great couple of days being able to meet so many of the artist I had spoken to via the phone in person I think I filled up my phones memory with all the selfie pics I took with all these people. The cherry on top of this incredible experience was being asked to present one of the awards.

I have also just learned that I have been nominated for an award at the CBAA Community Radio Awards for Contribution to Australian Music, which will take place in early November.”

Other than devoting his time to community radio and independent artists, Monte writes reviews for the local papers, both the Forbes and Parkes Phoenix about new albums and EP’s that have been released by indie Australian artists, as well as his weekly travel to Sydney to study. Monte shares a very personal side as to how his giving to others in this way, in turn helps his own recovery.

“I am on a disability pension as I have Bi-Polar and I am still recovering from a major break down in 2012. Being involved in radio and in particular making connections with Indie music has been some of the best therapy I have done. It keeps me alert and focused on a big positive, being able to do a little bit each week to support these amazing artists.”

Are people able to hear your show other than living in Forbes?

“At this stage if people are local to the Forbes area they can tune into 97.9 Valley FM. I am now looking into setting up the show as a podcast, as we are now able to record at a higher quality. There is a Soundcloud page set up with only the interviews but I have plans to podcast the whole 4hrs of the show.”

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