AMOK Radio Show

Brum Radio is proud to present ‘AMOK – things which we found in the other ghost realms’.

The show is a radio version of a concert that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It features music specially commissioned by a range of composers. All the music is in reference to ghosts, the past and the spaces in between.

AMOK is a performance platform that showcases new and experimental music by emerging composers/sound artists. James Mcilwrath of AMOK tells us more.

James, share with us the story behind AMOK.

AMOK was established in 2019 just after I finished my undergraduate degree in York. York is full of really talented composers and performers and I wanted to make a public platform to allow for more public performances of their works. The city is full of really special and exciting spaces that sadly are neglected in their use, so we focused on using underused spaces, like the Stained Glass Centre, a now deconsecrated church, dating back to the 11th century. It’s now used occasionally for workshops and education for stained glass. Using unusual spaces and putting on designed for spaces like these, by local artists and artists from further afield is our main ethos. Since 2019 we have had six events, in various amazing spaces. Now we are having a little bit of a break from events due to the pandemic and also I moved to Birmingham to study a master’s degree… but we have been working with a local experimental music series Don’t mind control with Thinking/Not Thinking.

How challenging has it been switching from a live event to a radio performance? How did the idea come about?

I feel like the translation of a complex live event to a radio performance should be a challenge, but it was made relatively easily because all of the artists involved are so adaptable and good at what they do! Having a performance on the radio also allowed for things which wouldn’t normally happen in a live event, like making the presenter get trapped in a household object or, conduct an interview through the phone. It has been a step out of our comfort zone but we are really pleased with the end result!

Without giving too much away, how have the artists interpreted the brief?

The brief was to bring something transient to the show, to utilise the transient nature of radio and how it brings sounds, emotions and spaces into personal spaces in which it is being experienced through. So the artists ranged from transmuting text from the past by Shakespeare and Sappho, encounters with non-corporeal beings, and an exploration of the habitants of ghosts that have existed within your home over history.

What do you hope listeners will take away from the pieces?

I hope listeners remember the feeling of being linked to spaces and other people, outside what they have been regularly experiencing for just over a year. Recorded sounds are kind of like going somewhere, opening a jar and taking that sound wherever you want, and you can take your jar (or microphone) anywhere. So, to combine that with the radio having all of these sounds from different places being broadcast at once is exciting for me, and makes me excited to explore sounds outside my home again, but also to continue to find new sounds and spaces in my home. The spaces are still there and it won’t be much longer (hopefully) before we get there again.

Listen to AMOK here:

Visit James’s website for more about AMOK and his other projects. And you can follow him on social media as below:


Twitter: @AmokPlatform

Facebook: @AmokPlatform

Instagram: amok.platform