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Heating Up! – Nocturnal Sunshine Finds Radio Airplay with Dark, Experimental Sound

The alter ego of DJ/producer Maya Jane Coles shows that there is a place for experimental electronic music on the radio. We look at how her ‘Foundation’ EP has performed and how it has gotten airplay in some surprising places.

Nocturnal Sunshine is the alter ego of the award-winning British-Japanese DJ/producer Maya Jane Coles. While she usually dabbles in tech house and electro-inspired sounds under her own moniker, Nocturnal Sunshine is the vehicle for her darker and more experimental, bass heavy side.

NC’s debut album was released in 2015 and was followed by the two-track Foundation-EP in November 2018. Apart from the title track, the EP contains the track ‘Heroes’ and we here we take look at the radio performance of both releases.

Of the two tracks, ‘Foundation’ has performed best on the radio in terms of spins. It has been driven by very strong support in her home market, especially on one particular station.

Shortly after its release, ‘Foundation got its first radio spins and, interestingly, the first station to pick it up was WRCT, a freeform university radio station in Pittsburgh. It shows that student-driven radio stations are often first movers when it comes to more ‘alternative’ releases. It also got some early love from the listener-supported community radio station WPKN in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Shortly after, it was picked up by Reprezent Radio in London which is BY FAR the station that has supported the track the most. In fact, out of the total of 154 spins, it has gotten since November, Reprezent has played 111 of them. Until very recently, they’ve actually had it in daily rotation with multiple spins each day.

The second biggest market for ‘Foundation’ is Germany. German stations were a little slow to pick it up, but since the beginning of 2019, it’s been getting traction on several stations, especially in Hamburg. In the US, it has also had brief spins on iconic stations such as DubLab in L.A. and KCRW in Seattle which has gotten in on the action started by college radio. There are also sporadic spins in Spain, Australia, Mexico, and Russia.

While ‘Foundation’ was mostly driven by spins in the UK, Coles’ home market,  ‘Heroes’ has mostly gotten support from radio in Germany. Out of its 88 spins, 73 have occurred there.

A HUGE amount of that support has come from Cologne’s important radio 1 Live, more specifically 1Live Fiehe, which is presented by the legendary German radio host Klaus Fiehe. Support has also come from the respected independent station Byte.fm in Hamburg.

It was also picked up early by Swedish national radio P3 as well as the leading UK stations RInse.fm and, interestingly, Capital Xtra which is primarily an urban music station.

Maya Jane Coles will be touring with Nocturnal Sunshine during the coming months and her second full-length album under the name is also scheduled for 2019. It will be very interesting to follow the development of her airplay.