The Mixtape Vol. 43

A 45-track monstrosity courtesy the 15 contributors at Noonday Tune

What is the Noonday Tune and why do we need it in our lives?

Noonday Tune is like that buddy who always clues you in to the newest, most interesting music out there. Except, it's a site, not a person, and its tastes are really diverse. Finding fresh music to listen to can be tough: mainstream radio can be a bit, well, mainstream, and music sites are often intimidating, overwhelming or elitist and overly genre-specific. Noonday Tune aims to offer a different way to discover and explore: one song a day, every day, at noon, recommended by somebody who really, really loves music.

When it comes to contributions anything goes, except that we try to only ever feature a song once. At the end of each month one of the contributors picks ten stand-out tracks, which are curated in a mix and shared on our Soundcloud.

There are 15 people involved in the project, who are they and what does each person bring?

There are 15 regular contributors, yeah, but we’ve also had numerous guests posting on the site since we started out in August 2011. We take guest contributions over the festive season each year so the regulars can take a bit of a break.

We're a diverse bunch, including writers, editors and bloggers, designers, a biologist, marketing and advertising executives, a social media manager, a talk-show producer, a trend researcher, a business analyst, and an international record label manager. Between us, our taste covers pretty much everything from hip hop to sludge metal, folk to electro, blues to alternative, jazz to classical. We all have one thing in common though: a passion for sharing the music we love. 

I think that shows in the quality of the content on the site every day, from the tracks themselves to the thought that each contributor puts into the blurb they write discussing the song they've picked and why they're currently loving it.

This is currently us:

  1. @anniebrookstone
  2. @chris_reid_esq
  3. @craigwilson
  4. @fictionfred
  5. @johannvdnest
  6. @johnpienaar
  7. @lancedaniels (S/o for the artwork!)
  8. @missemmajude
  9. @miss_moss
  10. @orchidhunter
  11. @rhodemarshall
  12. @rharryharris
  13. @rowaneva
  14. @schweppsrocka
  15. @zoddies

You're international. That's pretty cool, right?

Well, we have an international following (over half of our site traffic comes from the US), and lots of us are pretty travel happy, but for now the contributors are all South African. Leon currently lives in Minneapolis, Brett lives in Melbourne, and Fred was Dusseldorf-based for a while, but the rest of us are spread around South Africa itself. What's cool is how Noonday Tune has enabled us to be a small part of a kind of ongoing, worldwide conversation about music. The internet is great like that.

You guys have been publishing daily since August 2011. What have been the highs and lows?

The high has definitely been being indexed by Hype Machine. Hype Machine is a blog aggregator, which uses a collection of blogs to determine trends and tell its followers what's hot right now. It thanks to Hype Machine that our international followers have found us, and beyond amplifying our voice it’s a great acknowledgement that we’re relevant in some way.

The lows came in the early days, when we were nearly kicked off Tumblr. We were uploading music we wanted to talk about, and the odd artist didn't agree with our methods. These days, we share the tunes we like by linking to them on Soundcloud or Spotify.

Which artists and genres do you push the most?

I think that Noonday Tune is a really democratic space, with each contributor just sharing what they like. Because we're so diverse, we end up covering pretty much everything, and everyone's tastes and choices are respected.

The only time a song will be rejected is if it’s been featured before. We’ve played around with a Theme For the Week (like, say, 'Christmas') once in a while, but we don't intentionally push any specific genres or artists. Obviously, each contributor has their favourite artists (John, for example, loves The National, while Leon is a lifelong Depeche Mode devotee), and this fandom is often reflected in a particular contributor's catalogue.

Because we’ve been running for so long, once in a while you’ll find a track you want to post has already been featured, but I like to think that just encourages contributors to find something equally awesome. Plus, I suspect that sometimes there’s a little healthy, unspoken competition between some of the contributors to try and outdo each other by posting the best, freshest tracks first.

Who have you collaborated with? 

This is the first time we're collaborating with a publication as a team. As individuals we've contributed playlists, mixes and tips to various publications here and there, but this is the first big mix we've done.

What's in the mix that you made for us? 

I asked everyone to share their three go-to tunes right now; and the result is a 45-track sonic journey of delight. Okay, that might be overstating it, but we’re an excitable bunch. At the very least, we hope the playlist will introduce you to a few tracks or artists you’ve never heard of but end up really liking.

What's been your most successful tune to date?

Probably "Waiting" by Alice Boman. This track was sent to us by her record label over two years ago (in the early days when we could still handle our inbox), and we loved it. At the time she was completely unknown and the version we first listened to wasn't even the final recording. It's an exceptional tune and we were one of the first blogs on earth to post it. That felt pretty special. A remix of it opens our mix.

Anything to add...

Noonday Tune is a labour of love. We've never tried to monetise it, we've never been incentivised to push a particular artist or album. So what you've got is a collection of really genuine, from-the-heart recommendations. Obviously, a lot of the music can be quite niche or esoteric, but followers never need to wonder if they're being fed a song because of an ulterior motive. I think that's an amazing thing, and I'm proud to be part of it.