Interview with Peter Shillito at Hyper Japan 2016

Could you introduce yourself to those who don’t know you?

I’m Peter Shillito, the host of the anime music radio show Neko Desu on thisisthecat.com on 107.9FM. It covers Crewe and Nantwich but people generally listen online anyway, so it sort of covers everywhere else.

How long have you been running Neko Desu and how did it start?

I started it in roughly college time which would be in 2008. I was part of an anime fan-club, we’d meet up once a month and watch anime in a church hall. We got the idea of promoting it on the then temporary FM station The Cat, it was only on for a month at the time (they didn’t have the full FM license back then). Me and someone else went on and talked about the club, and I asked whether we could play a song on the air. They played Bouken Desho Desho by Hirano Aya from Haruhi Suzumiya, technically that was the first anime song they aired.

On the way out I asked if they had any presenter positions or ‘how do I be a presenter’; they said ‘just send us an email’ and then I got a show. I started off with just one hour on a Thursday night which moved to Friday night, and to Saturday night and then it got extended from 10-11pm to 9-11pm, got that extra hour so here we are.

How difficult is it to run a radio show by yourself?

Haha that’s an awkward one. There’s a lot of different things that are difficulties and they vary week by week. I’ve gotten used to it now but there’s some things that still catch me off guard. One of the main things that I struggle with is playing songs that flow through each other because the vast majority of the songs I play are requests. I can’t play the song to the opening of Cardcaptor Sakura, all cute and relatively slow and then play Zetsubou Billy (ending to Death Note) by Maximum the Hormone, there’d be so much contrast but it’s a bit more complicated now.

Got to make sure the songs flow properly, keeping guests under control I should say is interesting as well. Quite often I have to make sure either the guests keep talking or don’t go off on a tangent too much even though that’s my job (to go off on a tangent). One of the problems we do have is because we got a time limit, news has got to be on the hour and if we start talking too much, we start losing enough time to play music. And then if we’re near the end of the show and we’ve got one track left to play, we have to get essentially bang on the right amount of time otherwise we have to start fading out the track at the end of the hour and I don’t like doing that, I want to play the whole track.

So keeping an eye on time as well, and monitoring social media is difficult ‘cause I’ve got all the Twitter (Twitter’s the main one) but occasionally you get emails, phone calls, Skype and IRC as well so I have to keep an eye on everything and try and pull things in. Also if I say I’m going to do anything on the show, remembering to do it as well. Like ‘I’m going to talk about this later’ and then I get distracted doing something else on the show and I forget to say it, so I need to keep an eye on that as well. Like I have to take notes or something and then do that later, that sort of thing.

When you’re not doing Neko Desu on Saturday nights, what are you normally up to?

Well I should probably point out that doing my show is all voluntary, I don’t get paid for it. Everyone at The Cat is a volunteer, so I spend most of the time during the week doing my day job, I’m a programmer. Outside of that I’ve started watching more anime recently, I’m quite proud that I’ve finished my backlog from a couple of years ago. It started off with like three hundred episodes and then slowly started getting down to zero which happened last week. So I’m watching new anime which is a big thing for me now. And I am still into anime stuff outside of that. I do dabble into a bit of programming myself and I use Twitter a lot *laughs*.

Which anime shows are you watching this season?

I really like NEW GAME!, it’s quite good and very cute. Only seen the first episode of that, it feels quite similar to Servant x Service from a few seasons ago. It’s about someone starting a new job and following them to see what’s going on, and seeing how they expect people to be and it’s nothing as professional as they were expecting.

I’ve watched the first episode of Rewrite which was a bit of a surprise for me because I went in expecting the episode to be the usual twenty three minutes. I ended up with it being an hour long which was interesting, it was a bit slow but I think it could pick up. We’re running into a couple of episodes in the new season so I’m still trying to come into grips with everything that’s new.

Second season of Food Wars (or Shokugeki no Soma) and Aikatsu Stars!, always Aikatsu Stars! *laughs*.

Will we see more of Alt Shillito in the future?

Alt Shillito? Well I’ve not noticed it myself but apparently there’s been a broadcast on The Cat talking about Alt Shillito escaping from the International Space Prison on Alpha Lima Tango, so Alt Shillito *may* turn up at some point, I don’t really have much say in the matter. I guess just keep on listening to the show, yeah Alt Shillito may return.

Why can’t we request Dango Daikazoku?

*laughs* Dango Daikazoku…do you want a serious answer or do you want a joke answer?

Serious answer?

Serious answer: because it’s funny *laughs*. My show has quite a lot of running jokes with listeners and while new listeners may be put off by some of them, I try to keep the ones that people will sort of figure out fairly quickly. With Dango Daikazoku, it’s become a running gag that I refuse to play it unless I’m given almost no other option. Funnily enough it got played two weeks ago because I think it reached the number one most voted for track for the last six months. I didn’t really want to let a load of people down by not playing it, but generally speaking it’s just a joke.

Joke answer: it’s the worst thing ever *laughs*.

Apart from anime music, what other genres do you enjoy listening to?

Honestly, genres are tricky with me. I don’t fall into any particular genre, so I listen to a lot of Duran Duran, the sort of 80’s stuff…I quite like Babymetal and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Japanese music. I really used to be into dance anthems actually, like The Weekend by Michael Gray and Sandstorm by Darude. Just whatever I hear really, I sort of look it up and go ‘I quite like the sound of that, I’ll get that’ and then sometimes I listen to all the things by them as well. A new album by The Avalanches came out recently, I’m looking forward to that because that’s what I have on CD in my car and it’s very different from a lot of things I’ve listened to. So yeah, everything really.

Can you play any musical instruments? Otherwise what would you like to learn?

I can’t play any musical instruments, it’s quite funny actually but I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the sitar. There’s been a few anime tracks that uses sitar, and when I had satellite in my room I used to watch the Indian music channels and I was getting quite into that. I’ve been watching a few Bollywood films in the cinema lately as well, so I’m getting into that a lot since it uses a lot of sitar. It’s just finding a tutor for sitar in Crewe and Nantwich is a bit tricky, and also finding the time. Apparently it’s quite an involved instrument to learn, we’re talking like years and years and years to get anywhere reasonable at it. It’s quite daunting, it’s something that I’d like to do but whether I’ll get to do it I don’t know.

If you were to be voiced by a Japanese voice actor, who would it be?

That’s a very interesting one *laughs*. I’d quite like Taketatsu Ayana, I’m really into the voice she’s got but I’m not quite tsundere enough so maybe Toyosaki Aki. Just think it’d be quite fun to be cuter with my voice.

And if you got dubbed, who would voice you then?

Cristina Vee has done the voice of a few characters which would probably be the sort of thing I’m going after. It’s really the only name that comes to mind at the moment *laughs*.

Being a traveller and train fan, have you got a favourite train station?

So there’s a ‘train station’ called Norton Bridge that’s between Crewe and Stafford. A few years ago they were upgrading the line there; they removed the footbridge that got from the road to the platforms, and replaced it with a bus service. It’s about ten years on and it still hasn’t got a bridge and it’s got a bus service. But it’s still there, it’s still got signs and everything but it’s sort of abandoned in the middle of the railway so I quite like its sort of mystique. I really want to be on that platform, but of course I can’t get to it ‘cause I’ll have to walk across the rails and I’d probably get crushed so *laughs*.

For an actual working station, I went to visit Kemble station in the Cotswolds, which is where Shino from Kiniro Mosaic went in order to visit Alice in England (and I happen to be wearing a T-shirt of that now). I went to visit there in a Karen jacket (obviously), and it’s a really nice area around there. It’s really quiet and it gets trains to London from this tiny little station in the middle of nowhere. There’s trees and like four houses around there, and I really like it being quiet and it’s got the anime link as well.

What’s your favourite song from Aikatsu?

Funnily enough I did my own little ranking of this and my favourite Aikatsu! track from the last year of it airing was Chica x Chica, which I really enjoy the sort of Spanish-sounding style they were going for with that. Whereas before that I’m sure it was SHINING LINE*, it’s one that sticks in my mind for a long time. It’s a song that feels good to listen to and sing along to as well *laughs*.

If you were an idol in Aikatsu, what clothing brand would you go with and why?

Dance Fusion, definitely Dance Fusion. I quite like the disco feel of that, it’s a really really cool brand, it also has the flashy LED sort of thing going on. It goes with a lot of tracks I’m really fond of like Tutu Ballerina and MY SHOW TIME!, I feel that those would be cool to dance along to with the clothes for it.

Why do you think that idol music has so much appeal?

I think it’s the energy and the amount of dedication that goes into it. I watched the Blu-ray for one of the Aikatsu Stars! concerts recently; everyone there got the chants, the calls and all that sort of thing. People were joining in and it feels like an all-round experience to have with the idols rather than watch the band play and that’s it. I’ve never been to a concert with quite that level of audience involvement…Charisma.com, perhaps it’s a Japanese style. That’s the impression I get, you feel more part of it than just going to see a band play.

Is there a song that you would definitely recommend everyone to listen to?

I finished watching Celestial Method (or Sora no Method), and the opening theme Stargazer is by Larval Stage Planning. It’s got a really nice progression to it, it’s been in my head for a while especially since finishing the show last week. Spoiler alert, I’m probably going to be playing that tonight *laughs*. I really enjoy that show and the song just gives a lot of good feelings.

And since we’re at Hyper Japan, what has been your favourite thing here so far?

It’s got to be Charisma.com, who I’d honestly didn’t know what to expect coming here. I wasn’t sure if they were just gonna stand there and play a set, although I had heard that they were quite energetic. I’ve actually seen them two days in a row now, incidentally the setlist was different. They really make a good show of it and they look like they’re having a loada fun. Charisma.com gets the audience involved, yesterday they were running around the audience with a selfie stick and it was really great fun. Apart from the acts, there’s quite a lot of artbooks for sale. I’m really tempted to spend some money although I’m going to Japan in a few weeks so that’s my dangerous thing. So Charisma.com, absolutely.

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