DJ, The Morning Show on KEXP

John Richards

From the moment you set foot in Seattle, you can feel it: art is everywhere.

The thriving arts scene is a priority in this city—in fact, Seattle has been recognized for having more arts-related businesses and organizations per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Americans for the Arts. KEXP’s host of The Morning ShowJohn Richards, is one of the contributors to this creative city. Read on for a look at the city through his artistic lens.

Q&A with John Richards

What’s it like waking up insanely early to host your 6am Morning Show?

This is the most beautiful city in the world, and on my drive in to work, I get to see it in a way almost no one else does. There’s no traffic, no distractions. I drive by the stadiums, the Great Wheel, the waterfront. I see the mountains, the ferries, the water—it’s inspiring.

What’s the best way for visitors to experience Seattle?

You should definitely go to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, take the Monorail. But if you only do that, you’re going to miss the neighborhoods—which is where Seattle is really experienced. Every neighborhood really has its own vibe, and even the music venues reflect that. Ballard is twangy, Capitol Hill is more rock and electronic, Columbia City is jazz. West Seattle is where the old rockers (like me) go to retire.

Seattle has a reputation as a music city. How does that play out in reality?

I think Seattle over delivers. You get off the plane at Sea-Tac, where you hear local musicians making PSAs, local bands playing on the speakers, local musicians busking on the concourse, and there’s a great SubPop store. You can tour KEXP at Seattle Center—where even the International Fountain music is curated—hang out in our gathering space, watch the DJs work, and buy a record at the Light in the Attic store.


Where else can visitors experience the music scene?

Sonic Boom Records and Easy Street Records are pillars. There’s Daybreak Records, near Fremont Abbey, and Jive Time records just down the street. A lot of neighborhoods have two music venues—High Dive and Nectar in Fremont, Sunset and Tractor Tavern in Ballard, Neumos and Chop Suey on Capitol Hill. The Crocodile, Showbox, and Triple Door downtown. And people should try to make it to the Sound Garden sculpture at Magnuson Park. Soundgarden brought the city into their songs, and the band really represents Seattle.

How do you like to spend time with your kids in the city?

Pacific Science Center is great—we go to the exhibits and the IMAX theater. And the new playground at Seattle Center is amazing. But my family loves going to parks. Our life used to be centered on Green Lake. Now we’re in West Seattle, so we go to Lincoln Park, which is incredible. It’s on the Sound, you can walk the wilderness trail to Colman pool, and the Fauntleroy ferry dock is right there, so you can hop over to Vashon Island. We also love going to see the Sounders play. Those games are a really fun, family friendly experience. The March to the Match starts in Pioneer Square, with live music and chants. Nothing represents our community better.


Interview by Brangien Davis. Photo taken on the Seattle Monorail.


Take a listen to this classic jingle for John Richard’s The Morning Show on KEXP by Seattle artist Damien Jurado.



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