Meet London born and now New York-based DJ/Presenter Jay Gray aka Scallywag Beats.
He plays the very best tunes every alternate Sundays at 3pm GMT live from Makerpark Radio is a non profit community streaming radio station based in Staten Island / New York.
His playlists feature the best in up-and-coming bands and he is a relentless supporter of the UK grassroot music scene. Anyone interested in some oversees play he is the man you want to talk to.
How did it all start for you?
It all started in 2017. I’d recently moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island and saw something on Facebook saying that there was going to be a new community-based station. I’d always wanted to DJ my own show and this was my dream come true. So I went to the introductory meeting and it all spiralled from there. The station is called Maker Park Radio and was set up and bankrolled by Kris Wallace and Tom Ferrie - total music nutters and a fine pair of human beings! The entire station is like one big family and I strongly encourage everyone to check out the many other great shows on there!
When are you on air and what shows are you doing at the moment?
I have two shows - Scallywag Beats which showcases independent and unsigned artists. That airs on alternate Sundays. And Gray Matters is more of an ‘anything goes’ show, which allows me to delve further back in time - I usually play lesser known or lesser played tracks. That goes out on alternate Fridays.
Could you please outline your hosting style? What word/phrase would you use to describe your show?
Oh gosh, my hosting style! Complete balderdash! In a word ‘dodgy’! Seriously though, I try not to take myself too seriously on the shows, in fact I try not to speak too much because I always want to squeeze in one more track!
I would describe my show as ‘hazardous’!
Who were your early passions and influences?
Well music has always been a passion. My parents gave me an old record player when I was around 4 years old, the kind where you could stack 45s and 78s. They also gave me a bunch of sixties singles, which set me on the right road!
My early passions were The Jam - as soon as I heard their 1977 albums In The City and Modern World, I was hooked. I’ve always been attracted to songs that had something interesting to say, so I gravitated towards The Jam, The Who, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Joy Division, The Doors, Blondie. Scotland's Deacon Blue’s Raintown album was one of my earliest purchases and I still love it to this day!
What excites you most about your show?
Getting to share a new artist with the world. I’ve always pestered my friends with mixtapes, but the show gives me a much wider audience to annoy! I’ve been fortunate enough to discover and share great artists like Bugeye, Tiger Mimic, TV Face, The Clockworks, Beefywink, Carla Geneve, The Grogans and so many talented people over the past few years.
How important is building a real relationship with the music you're playing as there is so much music out there. Is it even possible to do with a particular song or album?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to build a real relationship with the music I’m discovering. There is such a talented pool of artists out there - and I will definitely be having a lifelong relationship with a number of them for sure.
You’re right, there is so much music out there, particularly now that everything is easily accessible. I literally listen to hundreds of hours of music and have developed a system where I can tell in the first 30 to 40 seconds whether it's for me. That said, I like a lot! I usually start each two hour show with ten hours of music that I like - so it’s a painful process of rejection to get it down to running time.
What makes you decide to play a particular song? Is there a criteria or pure subjectivity?
It's total subjectivity - if I don't connect with a song, I won't play it!! I don’t believe in being trendy and adding songs for the masses. As I said earlier, I’m always attracted to songs that have something interesting to say, whether that’s the overall message of the song or a brilliant lyric. I’m also immediately down for a good guitar riff!!
If you could be eternally stuck in one year's / decade's music scene, which would it be?
Oh man - that’s an impossible question! The 80s were my formative years - that’s when I really, truly fell into music, so that will always be an era that I love. But I would have to say the sixties. All that free love and rock’n’roll. Yes please!! The Mod scene even!! To get to see The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, The Who and The Kinks would be absolutely mind-blowing.
What is your fav memory related to your show?
I don’t have a particular one. Just that satisfied feeling when you know that you’ve put out the best music you can find, haven’t made a total twat of yourself and have given voice to some artists that aren’t always radio friendly, but are awesome nonetheless - bands like Foxcunt and The Chats spring to mind!
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Time travel.
What's the best way for artists/bands to pitch songs for your show?
They can contact me on social media platforms - @scallywagbeats, or via my email which is
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