‘Carnival’ declares costume designer Ashton Charles, ‘is an art, and what we do is we improvise our art: the street is the canvas’. It was this we saw materialise in front of us at the weekend; people using the streets as a place for self-expression in art, fashion and music, leaving us not only craving a colourful one piece and camel-back of rum, but biting at the bit to talk to the Rinse FM team on how they used the street to transmit musical joy to the masses.
Pioneering radio show and chart-topping record label Rinse FM have, like Carnival, humble beginnings, starting out as a pirate radio show possessing a strong underground following.
20 years on (as of Carnival Sunday) and what started out as a local community has now become a global strong-hold, transmitting London’s pioneering club culture to the world and all the while producing chart-toppers like Route 94’s ‘My Love’ and Katy B’s ‘Red Love’.
The similarities with Carnival are uncanny; community turned cultural phenomenon on the passing of a few decades. Its exactly this that renders Rinse FM’s place in Carnival so fitting and an in turn, an ideal subject for our Carnival retrospective.
We catch up with Rinse FM presenter Yinka Bokinni backstage on Carnival Sunday, to find out exactly what goes on behind those decks through the eyes of one the biggest radio stations in London.
Rinse FM Team with Sophie from Corner Mag, right
How long have you been presenting Rinse FM? I’ve had a full time show 5 days a week at Rinse for just over a year.
Do you think the music at Carnival has changed or developed in any way through recent years? Music is always changing but the good thing about Carnival is that it caters to all tastes, you’ve got your old-school basement, your new tunes and even RnB, afro-beats and grime (which is new) so it really is a party for everyone!
What does Carnival mean to you in one word? CRAZY.
The kind of vibe the Rinse FM stage wanted to bring to Carnival? Rinse began on Carnival weekend 20 years ago. This is our birthday so we wanted to celebrate our past and where we started.
What music do you think people want to listen to at Carnival? People are listening to all sorts! It’s certainly not strictly basement, people go to Carnival for the vibes and the atmosphere predominantly.
Out of your time at Rinse FM what has been the most memorable moment? It has to be Ibiza 2013; the whole station upped and moved abroad for a week of broadcasting… it was insane.
What was the most memorable moment of your Carnival this year? My favourite moment was seeing all of the people at the Rinse Rough but Sweet stage raving away in the rain on Monday! They were there to have a good time, its all about that festival spirit- not even a flash flood would stop them it was brilliant.
What next month’s calendar looking like for Rinse FM – any more exciting West London events?
It’s our 20th birthday this year so we have so many events, check out rinse20.com for all the details.
Want to learn more about Carnival? Corner Mag recommends:
-Book / Carnival: A Photographic and Testimonial History of the Notting Hill Carnival, Ishmahil Blagrove Jr & Margaret Busby