All Hail Raina Douris – The New Queen of Indie Radio

I first met Raina Douris a few years back when my band was playing an Edge Steamwhistle storefront studio gig and later while corresponding with her about playing Edgefest in ’08 – trying to score drink tickets.
She quickly graduated to an on-air personality and started up Rain’s World, interviewing and drinking with new up and coming bands. I believe we even had an art encounter at one point but I can’t get into my Myspace account to verify that story.

In her spare time Raina is a social media guru, graphic artist, video editor and a force to be reckoned with in this town. She’s come a long way since her early days as a promo girl and is now the music director and on air personality to the brand new Toronto station Indie 88.1.

I’ve been a fan of hers for years now and it’s great randomly bumping into each other backstage for hugs n high 5’s. I  recently got a chance to ask her some questions about all things music.

So you were an Edge girl and did your time with the CBC. Now you’re a music director and an on-air personality. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Whenever someone asks me what my goals are, I have a really hard time answering. It’s not that I don’t have goals — I do, but they’re … abstract. I want to do more, be bigger, make better things. I’ve alwayswanted to be “ON” – on-air in some capacity, but just being on-air isn’t enough. I want a say in how things are run, in how things work. I’M GREEDY, OKAY?! So, I guess, where I am right now is pretty darn amazing. Beingmusic director & host is the best of both worlds.

Indie 88’s great. Glad you’re on board! For those who don’t know, please describe this brand new much needed local station. What made you want to join on as music director?

Raina at workIndie88 is an independent music station… and while the word “indie” means something different to everyone, what we really are is a station staffed by music lovers playing music for music lovers. We want to reflect Toronto – and we do that by having our listeners help choose the music. Joining the team as the music director was thrilling for me because I love music – and even more, I love Toronto’s music scene. It’s vibrant, it’s exciting, it’s full of life and it needed a home on the radio dial in its own city. It’s amazing to be able to shed light on the wonderful musical things happening here!

You’ve seen tons of shows. What was your first concert you attended and what has been you’re favorite so far?

The first concert I attended (without my parents) was the Edge Electric Christmas, at the Warehouse (before it became the Kool Haus). Treble Charger, Eve 6 and Gob were playing. Smoking was still legal in bars. I was 14 and I went with my best friend. When we came out, we were sweaty from dancing and smelled like cigarettes and we were both pretty sure it was the coolest thing that had ever happened.

My FAVOURITE concert is a tough one. Does Bonnaroo count as a concert? Oh – I know. LCD Soundsystem at Sasquatch! Music Festival in 2010. Thousands of people, waving their hands in unison to All My Friends as the sun was setting and a light rain started. I cried. There’s video of it on Youtube somewhere. (The show, not me crying.)

If possible, can you please list your Top 10 favourite bands of all time?

Talking Heads
Modern Lovers
LCD Soundsystem
Joel Plaskett
Jeff the Brotherhood
Ben Folds
Animal Collective
Mac Demarco

Uh… WeezerArcadeFireHolleradoZeusGoldenDogsMGMTSublimeTheShins. That counts as one, right?

Name 3 bands I’ve never heard of that I should keep a look out for.

Hard to say what you have or haven’t heard of, but off the top of my head: THIS IS TOO HARD. I have a giant white board over my desk at work with bands that are coming up quick that I’m keeping tabs on… So I’m giving
you more than 3. Weaves, Stella Ella Ola, Pup, Michael Rault, Jane’s Party… Oh the list goes on.

905, 416 or 519 for up and coming bands?

416 all the way! What kind of Toronto indie radio person would I be if I didn’t say that?!

Besides Hollorado, Who’s been your favourite band to appear on Rain’s World? And is this something you will continue to do in the future?

Rain’s World has been on hiatus for a while now, but it’s always been my plan to bring it back. Every episode was so much fun. Personally, I thought the Darcys episode was hilarious. Trying to play red-ass at the park with Parlovr was pretty great too.

Referring to all of the Theory of a Nickle Creed bands out there, are you equally upset when bands from Sudbury find success and release terrible music to the world?

While I personally may not like it- someone out there probably loves it … so I can’t say anything is objectively terrible. It’s kind of like when I saw “Two Girls One Cup” – and while it’s not my thing, I did find it touching that there really is something for everyone. As one of my good friends and former colleagues, CBC host Lana Gay always says: “You do what you feel is real!”

What are your opinions on judgy reality talent shows and Canada’s always lesser produced versions of everything American?

People LOVE to watch people humiliate themselves. And they love human interest stories. It’s all just gameshow culture. With only the rarest exceptions, even the artists that win fade into obscurity. Do what you love, practice, play a million shows and keep trying – that’s how big bands get big. That, and luck. But very rarely is it “game show” luck.

As for Canada’s never-ending attempts to be like our southern sibling … well, it’s not really working is it? And do we really want it to anyway? As the Genie in Alladin once said, just BEE yourself!

I’ve seen a few female friends leave labels due to unaccredited success and generally being taken advantage of in the Canadian music industry. What are your thoughts on women in a male dominated industry? Is it getting any better? Do you have any advice for women starting off in the industry?

First off, it really depends on your personality. Even though I’ve faced challenges because I’m a woman, and I consider myself a feminist, I never really thought about it much when I approached my personal career. I went into radio determined to do something, to make it to the top, to be the best — without thinking about whether or not being a woman would stop me. Of course, there were times where I noticed discrimination — I can remember distinct moments where I was told that it was my job to “be sexy” or that I didn’t need to be funny, or even use my last name because that “wasn’t important” – but if you ignore that, if you keep moving, if you keep trying to be the very best at your craft, eventually people will stop saying that. Yes – I believe that shouldn’t happen to begin with – but if it does, carve your own path. Make yourself stand out for your wit and your brains and your humour and your passion – and those will be the things you’re recognized for. SURPRISE the people who underestimate you.


Tune in to Indie 88 Monday to Friday 4 – 8pm and make sure to follow her on TWITTER
and check out all her RAIN’S WORLD episodes.
INSTAGRAM and check out her awesome ART

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