Drift Radio – on housing diversities and facilitating communities

Blog February 22 2024

Interview by Sofie Westh

Out of admiration to DIY and the community radio media, I spoke to the Icelandic DJ and promoter Anton Sandholt (he/they) – aka. Fruit DJ – about what drove them to initiate Drift Radio, the soon-to-be-one-year-old Copenhagen-based radio station and bar. Hosting a broad variety of radio shows every Thursday at Øen, Nørrebro, Drift Radio have quickly turned into an emerging platform for both experienced and experimenting new radio hosts and their eclectic music selections. 

This conversation is an insight into Anton’s story and the thoughts behind Drift while also delving on curation and selection criterias as a method to engage communities and create radio.

P/A: In quite a few years, you have made a lot of initiatives happen in the subcultural music scene in Copenhagen. Personally, I got to know about you through Depot, a former radio station in Copenhagen, but later I learned that you were a part of Jolene and also had a pretty flourishing basketball career back in Iceland. What else has gotten you to this stage in life?

AS: “When I moved to Copenhagen 9 years ago my first job was being a busboy at Jolene. Jolene has had a big influence on me and my learning. There I tried almost every job – some more glamorous than others – in the nightlife industry. I used to clean the club on Sundays after the weekend so sometimes I would DJ there at night and then come in the following day and scrub the toilets and floors. Around the same time I also DJ’d at the tiny Icelandic bar, Café Blasen, on Nørregade every Friday night from 9PM to 5AM. That was definitely a valuable experience because I learned how to play varied selections of music for all sorts of different people.

I worked at Jolene for 5 years and after I left, I started a party series with my friends called Rewild. For the last two years we have hosted 16 parties which have been truly amazing. Rewild definitely gave me the confidence to found Drift Radio. I have tried to bring Rewild’s approach to curation and the DIY spirit of the project to Drift as well.”

P/A: Whenever I’m heading down to the radio location, I can hear the song “Just Drifting” by Psychic TV in my head. Other locals have thought about “drift” as in “operating”. What was the key motivation for doing the radio and how did you come up with the name? 

AS: “I was missing a space where the alternative music community of the city could meet in a more wholesome way. I am hoping that Drift can house a diversity of sounds and art forms, perhaps even give way to new ones. A community cannot flourish without a real physical space for people to meet, talk and feed off each other and I hope people can experience something like that at Drift Radio. 

The name came to me after I had done a Fast & The Furious marathon and decided I like Tokyo Drift the most. I considered going for this more car aesthetic, but ultimately my graphic designer and I decided to go in a different direction.”

Copenhagen has a vibrant and growing art scene for its size and we need more venues for artists to showcase and develop their craft – radio stations work super well for that.

P/A: Throughout the years, Copenhagen has been hosting community driven radio stations such as The Lake, the now closed stations UUMPHFF and MMH Radio etc. Drift Radio went public in 2023, and more recently Baggen launched their own, Panini Radio. Is there a need for so many radios in Copenhagen and what differentiates Drift from the rest? 

AS: “Copenhagen has a vibrant and growing art scene for its size and we need more venues for artists to showcase and develop their craft – radio stations work super well for that. I am really encouraged to see that there are more of us to support this growth.

We have a communal goal of providing a platform for alternative music in common, but also the same neverending struggles of keeping things running financially. We try building Drift based on learnings from previous projects, but also interacting with our peers.

Finding a location in Copenhagen is always a barrier. We are so lucky to have been able to operate in the tiny culture house Øen and being allowed to keep going in the space, after the team behind Øen ended their stay. It provides a lot of versatility despite its size and can transform from a chill bar hangout to a dance floor in the span of minutes.”

P/A: Which potentials do you see community radios as having in regards to dissemination of music and culture? 

AS: “The radio format is so open so I think it can be such a nice platform to showcase what a music/art community has to offer. For example, one  of my favourite listening experiences was when we had Mija Milovic present a radio play that she wrote and composed music for during Covid and never got to perform anywhere. She had Clarissa Connelly, Spellcaster & Arte Carlander as cast members. I feel like a radio station can also serve as a unifier of different scenes and in the case of Drift Radio a place where people from different scenes can come together.”

P/A: Recent years’ focus on working conditions, barriers and gatekeeping within music and culture have emphasised the importance of understanding your own organisation and its processes. Both when it comes to work environment but also when it comes to recruitment and in the case with Drift, selection processes. From my understanding you have run Drift single-handedly and even though it is not part of the vision, you end up having an influential position in the underground scene here. What are your thoughts on having managed to gain this position?

Despite being a small player on the cultural scene, we approach our vision of creating an inclusive and exciting radio with all seriousness.

AS: “The project has been an effort of so many contributors and a whole community coming together with so many people offering to help. I have been so grateful that a community embraced the space and the project from the very beginning. Drift is fully run by volunteers that actively contribute to developing the space and concept.

We hope to create a space that is welcoming and encourages interaction and activates people. For example, at the opening we had a packed house and a full dancefloor so I was struggling to protect my computer that was doing the streaming. There was a very sweet Australian girl called Imogen dancing next to it so I asked her to take care of the computer, she did and after that we got to know each other and she ended up volunteering for Drift at the bar every single Thursday for the rest of the year until she went back to Australia. Like this story there are many others who first only came to experience music but later became regular contributors to projects.

Despite being a small player on the cultural scene, we approach our vision of creating an inclusive and exciting radio with all seriousness. Since we started just a year ago, we have been able to showcase 123 femmes radio hosts and 121 male as well as 43 transgender or non-binary. We ensure the programming continuously represents the diversity among the artists, be it background, gender, genre etc. I would love for the project to positively change the music industry for the better even if just at a local scale.”

P/A: Do you follow certain guidelines or themes for each radio day?

AS: “Some of the things I enjoy the most about being at Drift is how easily we can shift through moods and genres of music and radio. Throughout a day I try to explore this and go in between different energies, from ambient listening sessions to hard jungle sets and sometimes everything in between. Recently we had Vanity Productions premiering his album and performing a live noise concert with a cellist at 19:00. During their concert I thought to myself “how are we gonna transition to Entree after this” who is a fun bouncy house DJ, but it actually worked seamlessly, to my surprise. I love that there is room for experimentation and learning in the process. In the evening I usually book some fairly high energy music that could fit for a bit of a party atmosphere. That can create a very nice setting where people can decide for themselves how they interact with the space and the music, if they wanna sit and listen, dance or stand, drink and have a conversation.”

P/A: What are the criteria when you select hosts?

AS: “I believe in putting together a diverse program. This diversity is based on many things combined, genres, skill, art form, artistic background and experience among other things. I don’t require a host to have a long history of gigs but I think more about whether their music selection fits the station. All of this can contribute to a program that can challenge the norms of how bigger institutions do bookings and creates a space where new artists and more established names can share a space and even a stage.”

P/A: In general, I am quite interested in the process of curating and are excited to hear your thoughts on how you select your hosts and programmes. For example, what did you curate for this month and what will you do for the following?

AS: “At the moment we are closed for the month of February as we are taking over the space from Øen. We are renovating it to make it more our own and make it more suitable for sitting and listening. For the month of March we got many exciting shows and events happening. DJ NAH CARE is hosting a Kurdish themed show celebrating Kurdish New Year and the arrival of Spring. We have our second episode of our designated R&B show “U Make Me Wanna” with DJ Lizzbdope as the guest this time. Jonas Torstensen is starting a new show where he will present experimental tapes. Emma Acs has promised a car cruising music themed show where she will park her car behind the window. Bedside Productions are also doing a takeover of one of the Thursdays. 

We have a new Drift Extended party in Nordvest which is an event we are doing for the second time in a little basement called Pladefabrikken and are aiming to do every 2-3 months. There we bring our usual radio bar concept into an equally cute, but bigger, location where it’s easier to lean into a party atmosphere.”

P/A: Let’s get ambitious, maybe even utopian for a moment; what are your biggest dreams for Drift Radio?

AS: “As for so many other non-commercial cultural projects there is always a wish for continuity. Our goal for this year is to secure long term financial security, that we accomplish through funding, partnerships and our own contributions.

I dream of being able to open a permanent radiobar/listening bar 5-7 days a week and continue working with our wonderful community and amazing people like Linnéa Nielsen (production & host) & Hakeem Osman (projects and partnerships) who recently started working at Drift.”(

Editor’s note: Sofie Westh is a resident radio host at Drift Radio with the programs “Are You Free” and once in a while the more movie soundtrack-focussed “Feels On Wheels”. Her work is voluntary.