WXPN’s own Julian Booker joined Dan Drago on the latest episode of the 25 O’Clock podcast, sitting down to discuss the various ways he’s involved in the Philly music scene: from sound engineering to DJing and occasionally playing in bands. Over the course of an hour, Booker detailed his musical upbringing, his fandom of Steely Dan (he says he knows every single one of their songs), as well as the underrated perception of HD radio, his Sunday morning WXPN show Sleepy Hollow, the uniqueness of Philly’s musical ecosystem, and more.
The conversation was more attune to that of two friends catching up in a classic “long time no see” fashion than that of a formal interview, but it was this familiarity that let them speak so candidly. Both Booker and Drago have spent their careers engulfed in the Philly music scene; and it shows. The two rattled off venue after venue long since closed – Doc Watsons, Deer Park, The Blockley, the list goes on – and how the bands they saw and people they met impacted their lives as budding players in the industry. Booker also gave insight into his background and the path that led him to WXPN, citing his time at Temple University and his dad’s work in radio as major influences, as well as the long family car trips that first introduced him to rock.
Towards the end of the episode, Booker discussed his work as the production manager for Rising Sun Presents and how helping that company get off the ground meant doing things differently and finding his own approachable and welcoming path forward. “I had a rule,” he says. “I’m not wearing stage blacks here, that’s not the vibe, that’s not the way I want to come across to a band.”
Other memorable moments included a discussion of Booker’s band Long Walk Home, his show for the North Carolina public radio station WNCW, Culture Caravan, and how he learned to “turn off my engineer brain” when seeing live music as an audience member.
Listen to the whole 25 O’Clock episode below, and hear Julian booker on Sleepy Hollow every Sunday morning from 8 to 11 a.m..