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Celebrating 10 Years Of idobi Radio’s Fish And Gone Fishkin

Fish Gone Fishkin
[Fish in the idobi Radio Studio with his best bud, Biggie]

Cast your mind back a decade, and think about where you were and what you were doing. Well, for fans of idobi Radio and our charismatic host, Fish, we have the privilege of pinpointing that moment precisely. A decade ago, exactly to the day, Fish embarked on the maiden voyage of his idobi show, Gone Fishkin. What started as an internship with Gunz of The Gunz Show on idobi Radio has, in a remarkable decade of growth and passion, brought Fish to where he is today.

In this exclusive interview with Fish to celebrate a decade (not entirely under the influence *wink wink*) and his time with idobi Radio, we dive into his personal journey entering the radio industry, honing in on his passion for music and entertainment, the brands and events that he’s launched around himself including the illustrious annual The Fishmas Spectacular, his evolution from intern to Assistant Program Director, and his invaluable contributions to the idobi Radio family and beyond.

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Additionally, Fish will be celebrating live on the air with idobi Radio’s CEO and co-host Eddie Barella, and special guests Gunz of The Gunz Show, Sébastien Lefebvre of Simple Plan, Ryan Hunter of Envy On The Coast, and This Is All Now/Nevrlands calling in. You can tune in to Gone Fishkin’s live celebration today, Thursday, November 9, at 9 PM ET here.

So, join us as we celebrate Fish’s incredible career and learn from the experiences of idobi Radio’s very own on his 10-year on-air anniversary.

How did you first become interested in the music entertainment industry?

I got interested in the music industry probably around 17 or 18 years old when I realized being in a band wasn’t going to end up working out for me. So, I started to enjoy doing more behind-the-scenes stuff for 2 or 3 bands rather than being in a band. I learned from Myspace how to network and just talk to people to pass along good music to as well and realized I definitely got more joy out of that than writing music of my own. 

What inspired you to pursue radio?

Sucking at “tour managing,” “merch,” and really loving music. [Laughs.] I was helping out and, evidently, semi-producing Gunz’s show out of my own bedroom almost every Wednesday and Sunday in high school. It never really felt like work—ever, it was just cause I loved finding new music and the scene. I was always grabbing leaks of new music or making sure I was there at doors for shows to see openers.

One day, it clicked that radio would be awesome to do when I was in college. I was failing my Astronomy class, and the teacher asked if anyone wanted to start a rock show on the campus AM station. So, I said I’d do it (so I’d pass the class, which I did). After a few shows helping them out by saying about 10-15 words on air, they thought it’d be great to give me the show on my own. I did that for about a year under programming called Retro Mix, where I’d play all songs chosen by the program director from 20-90s, and they aired me at 4 AM, and about six people listened.

Take us back to your first time working with idobi Radio—how did you get involved with the company?

My first time working for idobi at large would probably be at idobi Meltdown in March of 2013—around the first time I got my show. The first time I had an idobi assignment was getting Gunz from New York City to Silver Springs where Meltdown was happening. I helped out on some random stuff that weekend, but in all honesty just drank Jack Daniel’s all weekend with my newly acquired fake ID at the time (idobi found out about five years later I was definitely not 21 at the time [Laughs.]).

Then, after meeting the staff there, I kept in touch with Eddie and a few others and got a friend’s band on a CMJ showcase idobi was doing and helped out with that. With the showcase, I ended up interviewing Braverman (a friend’s band) for my first interview we did it on Garageband with one mic and 12 different takes (started from the beginning every time), and then it got posted on idobi’s site. The first time on-air, I was filling in for Gunz when he was at Riot Fest. I had just come from The Giants home opener, and it wouldn’t connect to the server. I went on 45 minutes late and ended up staying on entirely too long. Luckily, everyone liked me, and then Eddie offered me Gone Fishkin a few weeks later! 

[Fish’s forearm tattoo reading 11/9/2013 to celebrate his first episode of Gone Fishkin]
After interning with Gunz for The Gunz Show, how did you move forward with your show? What was the original concept, and how did you plan to execute it?

Honestly, it was never the plan to have my own show or anything. It was all accidental and happened cause Gunz was bad at scheduling himself (thank God, love you Gunzy). He had to air an important interview, and idobi didn’t have a pre-recording set up. So I asked Tom if I could fill in via AIM, and he said, “Yes, get Eddie to show you how to go live.” I sat with Eddie for hours figuring it out, then went live, and after the second time filling in for Gunz, I ended up getting offered, Gone Fishkin.

We did a few pilot episodes then they put me on the site! In my first few shows, especially when filling in for Gunz, I tried to keep it like his show but with less talking cause I was scared as shit to be on air. When the show was only an hour at first, it was very much: Play ten songs, intro/outro, and one interview that was probably really long or really short, but either way never too good on my end. I basically just wanted a cool place to play all my friend’s music. 

[Fish and Gunz of The Gunz Show the night before the premiere episode of Gone Fishkin]
Where did the show title—Gone Fishkin—come from? What was the inspiration behind it?

It comes from the Popeye water ride in Universal Florida, where it says “No Line Fishk’in.” So the show was originally called “Gone Fishk’in,” and then I ditched the “ ‘ “ on it. I thought it’d be funny to build on that pun and make it instead of Gone Fishin. I also used it in a fantasy baseball league when I was 19 and 20—the logo was bad. [Laughs.]

Fish 10 years logo
[The original “Gone Fishk’in logo from 2013]
Your first show aired on November 9, 2013, while you were still living in Long Island, NY. Who were your guests, and are there any standout moments of that first show that made you think, “Yes, this is the right fit for me”?

My first guest was the band This Is All Now, who are now called Nevrlands with basically the same members. They say on my bed and basically were quiet the whole time except when we were doing the interview. I remember feeling cool as shit shouting out homies who were texting me and playing all my favorite underrated songs. And I also really enjoyed saying “fuck” at every opportunity I could because I wasn’t on AM radio anymore and was free to do what I wanted. I won’t lie, I didn’t think it was for me till a few years ago.

For the longest time, I thought it was all a fluke and just good luck and, by chance, happening. I wish 21-year-old me would have been able to dream of this, but I’m so lucky to say that the last ten years of the show (crazy to say ten years, even) has far exceeded any expectation I had and far exceeded my wildest kid dreams. 

[Fish with the band Nevrlands (formerly This Is All Now) after his debut episode of Gone Fishkin]
After starting officially with idobi Radio and getting your own show off the ground, things started moving pretty quickly for you. You were on Warped Tour 2014-2018 and then again for Kevin Lyman’s showcase shows in Cleveland, Atlantic City, and California. How did you make all of that happen?

idobi Warped Radio was one of my favorite things I’ve been able to do. I wasn’t a part of the initial planning or talks of it. One day, I got an email from Eddie asking if I’d wanna do it, basically saying I’m going to be doing this. The next day, I got an email from Matt Flyzik about booking my flights out to Warped and starting it. 

It was definitely a team effort from idobi writers and staff on a lot of prepping, Eddie on the planning and programming, but I went around the 2014 Warped with a mixer (about 20 pounds), two laptops, and maybe three friends on the tour interviewing about 30ish artists over the course of 5 days to get all the content we needed for the summer in those few days I was able to ride on busses. I was on a production bus the first year with 18 people. It broke down the first night, and I went into another bus’ front lounge from Houston to Dallas. (It was miserable).

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In the next few years, I had the honor of riding on Bus 1. Throughout the years, I got to know and know most of the people going on the tour. The 2019 shows were so special. I remember Steph Mirsky and Kevin Lyman basically telling me just to stop interviewing bands and actually stop and enjoy the moment—that was one of the highlights of my career hearing that. idobi Warped Radio was the first programming that Eddie really taught me how to use the backend and programming on the server. I definitely would say I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I didn’t do idobi Warped Radio, from the friends I made to the learning experiences.

You finally took the plunge and moved to Los Angeles in 2015. What made you realize that you’d be better off living in LA versus staying close to New York City?

I’d been out of college a few years, and I just wasn’t loving New York anymore—I always had more of a laid-back vibe. I was fortunate enough to be young when idobi was opening up our first office here in LA, and nothing was really tying me down to living in New York. A lot of my friends growing up had moved out here already, and after doing idobi Warped Radio 2014 and 15, I had plenty of friends to hang with. So, the move honestly felt like I was just going to college with all my friends. 

You’ve done over 100 events, including your own event, Fishmas, each year since starting with idobi Radio. What has inspired you to continue to push beyond the radio limits?

I always loved getting everyone together and being the one to throw parties. When I was younger, I always saw my Dad inviting like 25 of his friends over for Christmas Eve, Tyson fights, Super Bowls, or basically anything he could, and I always loved having that around me. I used to always throw house parties when my parents were away and call it Fishapollozza. The parties were always insane.

I kinda fell ass-backward into DJing when a friend needed someone last minute. I showed up with Spotify without the cool fades on, and the bar just loved my taste in music. Then, I started “DJing” there basically every weekend for six months from September 2016. It was such a cool feeling seeing people dancing to the songs that I’d play on my show but not normally get to see a reaction to. It was awesome doing a bunch of after-parties for bands, then it just somehow became this second job that I love doing and somehow convinced people and myself I’m a DJ at this point. [Laughs.] I’m closing in on 100 times DJing at On The Rox, which I consider like a second home at this point. It’s so cool seeing the people who’ve come through, hired me, or recognized me from stuff like that. 

How did your annual Fishmas event come about?

The Fishmas Spectacular started in 2013 as an air special for Gone Fishkin. I think it was originally just the #MerryFishmas Special. When I moved out to California, I decided to have Fishmas at a bar in NYC just to get my friends together and make a call Snapchat filter at the time. Somehow, a bunch of friends loved them, so I did it in July, too, and even more friends came. 

When I started DJing, I decided that’d be a cool thing to do at a bar in LA, so I did one there, which was packed completely. So, the next year, I wanted to make it a show. I hit up Set It Off, Rad Horror, and Nekokat, and we did it at Los Globos in the Silver Lake area. It was a ton of fun but definitely not 100% the vibe I was going for because just a show was weird and not what I was used to.

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So, the next year, I believe, I got the formula down! I had a few friends play acoustic, two bands, and a few DJs at a bar in Hollywood called Madam Siam. Little did I know 600 people would show up, and it was one of the wildest nights of my life. I took all my learning from all those events and figured out that The Fishmas Spectacular was going to be a party to celebrate my friends and every one I get to work with throughout the year. I’ve made it private and an invite-only event so I can get everyone together one last time before we break for the holidays. 

Fishmas 2014
[The official flyer for Gone Fishkin #MerryFishmas Holiday Special on idobi Radio 2014]
What do you think has been your biggest contribution to idobi Radio over the past decade?

Oh man, I’m not gonna lie this is a phone a phone-a-friend question! From what people have told me, it’s always been about me giving everyone a chance to hop on the show or help get them into rotation. 

Eddie Barella: Fish brings an infectious passion for the scene and is able to connect with literally anyone in it. The way he networks and moves about, all while preaching about the awesome work the team at idobi is doing, has been amazing to see over the years. He’s blossomed and taken his position to unimaginable heights, and it has been inspiring to watch him grow.

Fish idobi Radio 2013
[Eddie and Fish’s Top 50 of 2013 for idobi Radio]
You’ve interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of artists over the last decade. Who has been one of your favorite artists? Were there any artists or bands who were bucket list interviews that you landed in your career?

This one is hard to answer. Honestly, every interview I do is a bucket list interview because, growing up, I didn’t think any bands would ever think I was cool enough. Some off the top of my head of bands I grew up listening to that I’ve been lucky enough to talk to are Simple Plan, Ryan Hunter of Envy On The Coast, The Starting Line, Taking Back Sunday, Fat Mike, the Goo Goo Dolls, MxPx, John Feldmann, and so many more. I honestly have been nerding out over the newer artists I’ve been able to interview recently, like Teddy Swims, Knox, John Harvie, Charlotte Sands, Jaden Hossler, Magnolia Park, and Games We Play. New artists like them keep me super inspired. 

Out of all of the interviews and events over the years, what stands out as being your favorite or the best?

Going live from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Simple Plan and countless others at the last Warped in Cleveland, OH, is definitely an on-air stand-out moment. Truly legendary. 

idobi was able to do that, and I got to be a part of it. Also, the last Warped kickoff party we were live from. When We Were Young this year, felt like a big reunion of friends, and it was cool to make a lot of interviews happen organically. My favorite DJ sets were probably opening for All Time Low’s ‘Nothing Personal’ 10-year shows, Green Day’s Hella Mega Tour Kick Off, my 90s set on the Warped Cruise during Emo Nite, and 2021 Fishmas. 

2021 Fishmas was one of the first times I was able to get my friends together post-COVID. It was also The Summer Set’s third show back, so the energy was unmatched that night. I had it to capacity at Bardot in Hollywood, and the 7K open bar I had was gone in about 45 minutes somehow. To add onto that, I did an after-party at On The Rox till 2 AM, and that was somehow fully at capacity. 

Fish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
[Fish photographed in Cleveland, OH at Warped Tour 2019 at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame]
For anyone who is interested in working in the music industry or radio industry, what advice would you give them?

Be genuine. People can hear when you’re smiling while talking on air, and they can definitely hear when you’re not being genuine. If you’re not 100% in love with what you’re doing, you’re going to fail. As much as it is a business, music is a passion project. You have to have the passion to succeed and realize you probably won’t make the money you want every single time, but it’s culture over currency.

Cheers to 10 years, Fish!!

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