A COMMUNITY radio station begins broadcasting today from the heart of the Barras Market ahead of a launch party tonight.

Clyde Built Radio’s founders want the new online station to offer “a window” on the Glasgow ever-fertile music scene.

Andrew Thomson, an internationally known DJ and founder of legendary party night Huntleys + Palmers, says he’s been fostering the idea for years – but he always thought someone else would get there first.

Speaking to The National as he and his team make final preparations for Clyde Built’s first eight-hour broadcast from the studio, situated directly across from Barras Art and Design, Thomson realised it would have to be him.

Following the culmination of Huntleys + Palmers’ 10th anniversary celebrations in 2017 with an extravaganza at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – just a short walk from where he began the night at Hetherington Research Club in 2007 – Thomson travelled the world, DJing as a guest at nights run by the international artists and producers he had previously brought to Glasgow.

It struck him how cities and towns throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia would have community-run radio stations showcasing local sounds. It didn’t matter if theirs were quieter, less verdant music scenes than Glasgow, the first city in the UK to be designated a Unesco City of Music back in 2008.

“On my travels I’ve been invited to play on these small local independent radio stations,” Thomson says. “Every city had one. Over time I felt it was crazy that Glasgow didn’t. I became very conscious of that from an inter-national level.

“What stations in London and Amsterdam have done, for example, is to really quickly get a window into the scene in that city. Because of Red Light Radio, we now know what the scene is like in Amsterdam.”

Thomson adds: “A friend from Glasgow moved there and now has his own international following based on the show he did with them. He didn’t have anything like that in Glasgow. That was another big motivator, that he had to go to Amsterdam to find that.”

When Thomson returned to Glasgow in October 2018 after a period living in London (“I was missing the community aspect of Glasgow, and what Glasgow has”) he now had the determination required to turn Clyde Built Radio from an idea to reality.

And with a new flatmate, ambient artist Claudia Vasiliu, he had the practical support too. “Claudia helped me run the label while I was away,” he says.

“When you have a DJ life, you can’t do both. Claudia being reliable allowed me to see the bigger picture and that it would be doable.”

In addition to the core team who have been pulling 12-hour shifts since they moved into the Barras space in November, Thomson is confident the Clyde Built Radio community will continue to grow over the coming months, with promoters, artists and guests helping to expand the broadcast schedule from its weekend-only origins.

And the DJ is evidently a man with his ears to the ground – and probably walls and ceilings too. Brian d’Souza aka Scottish Album of the Year 2019 winner Auntie Flo, Grammy-nominated Scot SOPHIE and acclaimed Chilean DJ/performer Alejandro Paz all released early work on his record label.

For the past few years he’s been collecting tracks from some of the most exciting artists in the city on a series of compilations named Clyde Built, such as Rihanna-endorsed soul duo LAPS, who play tonight’s Dr Martens-supported launch with Grim Lusk aka producer Murray Collier and visual/performance artist Lady Neptune.

The fifth Clyde Built compilation was released last summer, its diverse 56 tracks showcasing emerging artists from techno to free jazz, industrial to ambient.

Although Thomson’s background is in dance music, he’s keen for the station to feature all aspects of Glasgow’s scene.

“We want to make sure we get the rock and metal guys on the schedule as well as the established DJs that travel around,” he says. “We want as broad a range as possible. So in addition to people from the record shops, bookers, promoters, we want the music heads of Glasgow, people who don’t have their own party or label or band, just a good record collection and a good taste in music.”

Tonight, Barrowland 2, Glasgow, 7pm to 10pm, free. Tickets from drmartens.com/uk/en_gb/clyde-built-radio-launch

Clyde Built Radio is on air today and tomorrow from 10am to 6pm. www.clydebuiltradio.com