Music Issue 2015: GNC Sessions at WMNF live studios

Late-night radio show Grand National Championships has been recording and archiving the best local acts for years.

Founder/engineer: Alastair St. Hill
Since 2007, Alastair St. Hill — the host of WMNF’s Grand National Championships with Jerrad McLeod and Matt Kannenberg — has had virtually every significant rising and renowned act from Tampa Bay and the greater Florida scene play his GNC Sessions, live performances that are typically pre-recorded at the station’s live studio and aired later during his 10 p.m. Wednesday night slot, usually with the featured bands joining him as guests. All but a few of these recordings (120 and counting) are posted at the GNC Sessions site, and in the past year, paired with video, too. While the odd select acts have recorded material at the WMNF Live Studio (including Stolen Idols and Wet Nurse), it’s primarily used for programming purposes, and St. Hill is one of its most regular engineers.

Favorite part of GNC Sessions: “I definitely like finding new bands. It’s cool because some bands only exist for a very short period of time, and then they’re just done. They go on and do other things. People don’t even stay into playing music for very long, I like the idea of capturing a band during a short existence, if it’s someone that has something unique to say. I love it when a band doesn’t have anything recorded previously and they use their set from Grand National Championships as their collection of music they have online.”

Most memorable session: “One I’m particularly fond of is Dear and Glorious Physician. They played a set for the radio show last year, in September, and it was after they’d reunited after being pretty much inactive for six years – they’re a Gainesville band made up of siblings and each had gone off to do their own things. They were one of my favorite bands back when the radio show was first starting, but they’d stopped playing by the time I really got the sessions up and running. So it was extremely gratifying to get them in there and have them play some music.”

GNC Sessions roster: Zulu Wave, Atlantic Oceans, Luxury Mane, Empire Cinema, Permanent Makeup, Benjamin Booker (as Booker & Norton, unavailable online due to his label's request), Sonic Graffitti, Cosm, DieAlps!, Radarmen, The Woolly Bushmen and many more.


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