Along with regular duties presenting her week day show on BBC Radio 6 Music, Lauren Laverne has been busy this festival season. Not only did she front TV and radio coverage of this year’s Glastonbury, but she’s lending a hand to Summer Series at Somerset House with American Express (10-20 July), presenting a series of backstage reports. We caught up with the DJ for a quick chat in the back of a cab.
How the devil are you?
I’m good thank you. I’ve just been filming at Somerset House. I’ve just been talking to Kyla La Grange who is adorable. She’s one of the supports at the Summer Series next week [15 July with Bastille]. She’s a really interesting girl.
First things first, we saw you charing Dolly Parton’s backstage press conference at Glastonbury. Part of you couldn’t believe it was happening, right?
Oh my God! I’m still not over it. I can’t actually believe that the dream came to pass! It was so exciting. It was very surreal. Emily Eavis had been dreaming about that gig for a decade. That really is true. When we first met, we would send each other Dolly dollies and speculate how great it would be to have her at Glastonbury. It really was a massive deal for Emily and everybody there. It was brilliant to see such a big crowd.
She was very sharp during the press conference.
She is incredibly funny! She’s got this great autobiography published in the 90s and she is very sharp and funny. She’s also very good at giving interviewers exactly what she wants and no more. Very, very smart. She’s an absolute hero, it was brilliant to meet her.
Do you get to enjoy Glastonbury or are you too busy presenting for the telly?
It was really busy, but it was a brilliant one. From my perspective, I did seven different broadcasts which was really interesting because of the breath of the bill. We were going from Arcade Fire to Metallica, Kate Tempest to Lizzo, as always it was full of surprises. I had a great one! You do watch things in a different way though. I watched Arcade Fire knowing I’d be interviewing Win and Will [Butler] immediately afterwards, so you’re logging it in different way, but it’s fab. It’s the best job of the year, every year.
From actual Somerset to Somerset House, their Summer Series gigs start on 10 July and you’re covering that too. Hopefully there will be less mud…
The forecast is looking good! It’s a really nice bill. I had Little Dragon on my 6Music show from Glastonbury on the Friday and they’re playing, which is going to be great. Kelis who I also saw, is on the bill too and she was just phenomenal!
She’s going to have to go some to top her Glastonbury outfit.
Oh my word! Kelis’ pink dress was the unofficial fourth headliner at Glastonbury as far as I was concerned.
Looking below the headliners, the Summer Series does have a good reputation for its supporting bills. Is there anyone across the line-up who jumps out for you this year?
I’m really keen to see Agnes Obel [12 July] who I’ve had on 6Music and the show I did on Radio 4. Somserset House is just going to be perfect. In terms of the support Jess Glynne [supporting Kelis] is great, Francois & The Atlas Mountains [Franz Ferdinand] and Sébastien Tellier is supporting Little Dragon on the closing night. That’s going to be absolutely fantastic! It’s a really adventurous bill. Because you’re in a setting that is unexpected and a bit different, you have the license to be a bit more playful. It’s not just in a park, it’s already in an amazing historic setting so you might as well go with that, and I think they do.
Talking of support acts, have you ever missed someone who was opening and later regretted it?
I always try to go to see the support bands, especially now. It’s very often the case that the headliner has asked for the support band to come with them and there’s going to be an affinity between the two. It’s part of the night out.
In a previous career you’ve been a support band, plus you’ve hosted and DJed at plenty of gigs. Any advice for the openers on getting the crowds going early?
Come out there with your best stuff, play your best song first! [laughs] That’s it. Play your first best one, then your second best, third best… you know what I mean? That’s my approach to DJing!
Talking if your day job, all well at 6Music?
It’s going really well. It’s a brilliant place to work and it feels like we’re in a positive little zone. We’re roundabout two million listeners now and I remember a few years ago when our boss said let’s try for two million it didn’t seem impossible, but it seemed like a dream! The listeners are really nice people. They’re funny, interesting and interested in music and all the other stuff that goes alongside that. For me it’s more important to play something good than to play something first, but it’s obviously good when that just works out. We’ve had it a few times now where people have been at their day job with the radio on and don’t know I’m going to play their track so they freak out! It’s the most fun job I’ve ever had, for sure.
And you get to do it during the daytime!
Yeah! It’s ridiculous really the stuff we can play. It’s a lot of fun.
Amex Insider Lauren Laverne will be behind the scenes of this year’s Summer Series at Somerset House With American Express, Head to Youtube.com/AmericanExpressUK to watch her get the insider information.