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Sarah Combes


My fascination for music of the more obscure variety came about while writing my Honours thesis, which focused on the work of Genesis P’Orridge and John Cage. While their motivations were different, both artists employed provocative processes to create music. They attempted to question and dismantle dominant beliefs that control the human production and consumption of sound. Having spent a fair proportion of my adolescence learning classical piano, the very foundations of my appreciation and understanding of musical composition were challenged. It is fortuitous that Difficult Listening has provided me with a forum to indulge my curiosity in musical weirdness.

How did you become involved in the station?

I was a big fan of Difficult Listening and regular attendee at Club Zho nights. I eventually worked up the courage to approach Difficult Listening Program Coordinator and long-term presenter Bryce Moore at one of the Zho gigs. I expressed my admiration for the show. Luckily the timing was right because he was looking for another presenter. Things unfolded quite naturally from there.

If stuck on Mars, what five albums could you not go without?

  • Cocteau Twins – Head Over Heels
  • Dead Can Dance – Dead Can Dance
  • The Soft Moon – The Soft Moon
  • Chris and Cosey – Songs of Love and Lust
  • Skinny Puppy – Too Dark Park

What is the best thing about being involved in the station?

I think Perth is very lucky to have a station like RTR. It plays a significant role in fostering Perth’s music and art scene, so I feel chuffed that I can play a small part in that. I also can’t deny that the opportunity to interview some pretty exceptional musicians and composers from both local and international experimental music scenes is a bonus too!

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you at RTRFM?

Several years ago, I was in the middle of presenting Difficult Listening, when I heard someone entering the building through the after-hours entrance. This was not that out of the ordinary, as presenters will often pop in all hours to pick up CDs, so I thought nothing of it. A few minutes later, the door of the studio opened and two men appeared. One of them was covered head-to-toe in aluminum foil and handed me a heart, also crafted out of foil. The other one asked if I could do a ‘shout out’ to their mate. Needless to say they had probably stumbled across the road from the Scotto.

If you could present a show other than your own, which would it be and why?

Posted, Golden Apples and Ambient Zone are among my favorite shows so either one of those would do just fine!

What do you do in real life?

Drama Teacher