For Zan Rowe, 'it's all gut'

Only a few things in this life are absolutely reliable: your dog is always happy to see you; it’s impossible to buy almond butter without eating it straight from the jar; and Zan Rowe will know your new favorite song before you do. A Triple J family member since 2005, Zan is now moving into the brave new world of podcasting, having just launched Bang On with her partner in crime and bff Myf Warhurst. By Mia Abrahams

Hey Zan. Tell us, how do you know when you’ve found a song Triple J listeners are going to love? Is it an art/science/gut feeling?

It’s all gut. Particularly for me, as I have no musical training (or ability) other than being a fan. I know when I hear something, if it will connect. And connecting can be to a mass of tradies on a work site, to a queer kid in the country, to the woman who’s at work streaming Triple J in her open-plan office.

Years of listening to music, and sharing it with so many people has shown me that it doesn’t matter the genre or the audience: A good song is a good song.

What excites you about launching Bang On? What things are you most looking forward to talking about on the podcast?

I love listening to podcasts, so I’m really stoked to be joining that community of conversations. And that’s why Myf and I decided to dive in, because for years we’ve been having solid catch ups on all kinds of things, off air.

Ever since I’ve known Myf, she’s blown me away with her passion for music and art, but also the incredible ability to surprise me with something from her past that I have never heard before. She’s also very good at stitching me up. I figured it was time to share that with everyone else. For better and/or worse!

Who inspires you?

So many people. Journalist Jessica Hopper for her music writing and courage to ask the questions that few others do about problematic artists. David Byrne for his unending curiosity around all forms of art, and for giving everything a go. Meagan Loader, Content Director at Double J and dear friend, for her penchant for always wanting to try new things (and have fun doing them). PJ Harvey, one of the greatest musicians and performers of my generation, for consistently broadening my world.

We’re big fans of #zansbookclub [readers: check out the # on instagram]. What book do you go back to again and again? What book was important to you growing up?

Oh thank you! I really love sharing stuff I love, and am so happy others dig it too!

Life is too short (and busy) for me to re-read much, I actually usually gift most of my books when I’m done. But in the recent past, I’ve held onto copies of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Two epic narratives, so brilliantly told, that I want to go back to them again one day. Just thinking about them makes me well up.

Find Bang On here or subscribe on iTunes.

Artwork by Nina Abrahams