Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

A Gorgeous Haunting: Tom Ravenscroft’s Favourite Records

From 90s grunge and hip hop to contemporary ambient electronica, DJ Tom Ravenscroft tells Ben Graham about the 13 albums that give him the most listening pleasure, and developing his own musical interest away from the influence of his dad, the late John Peel. Tom Ravenscroft image courtesy of the BBC.

"I think it’s probably exactly as you’d imagine really," says DJ and radio presenter Tom Ravenscroft, on growing up with the UK’s most celebrated champion of alternative music, John Peel, as a father. "It was a constant, you know. His work room adjoined the kitchen, through a stable door, which was always open, so he was almost in the same room. Whether you wanted to have music playing constantly or not, we didn’t really have a choice. From seven in the morning till ten at night there was a record playing every single day. It was relentless."

Forming one’s own music taste in such an environment was difficult, with the young Ravenscroft balancing a natural desire to rebel and find his own niche with a reluctance to embrace commercial pop just for the sake of having something his dad wouldn’t approve of. In the mid-90s, UK hardcore rave music solved the problem admirably. "It was the only thing I’d ever beaten him to because I was buying rave cassettes from a record shop in Ipswich and playing them in my bedroom. I think that’s probably the only time he’s ever come to me and said, ‘what is this?’, rather than the other way around."

Ravenscroft joined BBC Radio 6 Music in 2010 and has been a constant presence on the station ever since, currently presenting The New Music Fix with Deb Grant on weekday evenings, and The Raver’s Hour on Friday nights. But as his father also found, listening to and playing new music as a job can make it difficult to have favourite records, or at least to dedicate as much time to them as you’d like.

"I feel like we’re almost at peak noise," Tom admits. "I don’t really get to enjoy the music I love in a way that I’d like to listen to it. But I don’t think that that’s exclusive to now. I don’t think my dad really ever got to listen to his favourite albums. I think it’s always been like that if you do this job and that’s part of the joy of it. But I do occasionally wish that I’d got time to put an actual record on and listen to it from beginning to end. It doesn’t happen very often. Car journeys are probably the only time I really get to do that. It’s quite relentless, and the promo machines are pretty hardcore and aggressive. But it’s a luxurious problem to have, isn’t it?"

Tom Ravenscroft will curate the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage at All Points East Festival on Sunday 27th August 2023, with highlights broadcast the following week on New Music Fix Daily, presented by Tom and Deb Grant (6 Music and BBC Sounds, Monday – Thursday, 7pm-9pm). Click the picture of Tom Ravenscroft below to begin reading his Baker’s Dozen selection

First Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today