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“I always appreciate someone in the morning putting you in a better mood”
NTS Radio DJ Flo Dill welcomes us into her East London home where she discusses her responsibility as a breakfast show host, community and where she feels at home.
In conversation with Flo Dill
“It doesn't feel like a typical sanctuary home. I think when people think of that they think of soft white furnishings and minimalist dreams. But it is a sanctuary to me because it has everything that I love” Flo Dill says of her home. It’s true, her East London home is far from sparse, but the well-loved space feels peaceful in a way.

“I love stuff,” she explains. “Just objects, trinkets and things that come from your past or things that remind you of stuff that you did.” In her front room, one wall takes the bulk of this. Floor-to-ceiling shelves are filled with books, records and artwork, with plants and lamps nestled in the space that’s left.

“One time someone came over and said it felt like a jumble sale,” she says of the feature. “I thought it was rude, though I guess it kind of is. But I love jumble sales.”
A jumble sale feels like an unfair comparison. Everything is placed with intent, often accompanied by a story that reminds Dill of “a cool thing that I did or a person that I love.” Or, in the case of a framed portrait of a cat hanging by the door, a pet. “My friend did it. I think she finds it embarrassing,” says Dill of its prime location. “I love it. She captured his essence.”

Some objects tell others’ stories, like the artworks sourced from house clearances. The collector she buys them from offers her insight into the previous owners. One painting, an impressionist-style portrait of a man, was found “in the house of a widow of a journalist who had travelled the world. It was in an envelope tucked away in all her stuff.”

“He held back these watercolours for me,” she says in reference to two framed paintings behind her sofa. “He told me they came from the house of a lady who was in punk bands,” she explains.

“I love being able to see stuff. I'm not a minimalist person at all. I love things and stuff and history and objects. And I like being able to see everything all at once.” For Dill, this is what makes a house a home.
In conversation with Flo Dill
In conversation with Flo Dill
Flo Dill, born and raised in London, is the host of NTS’s breakfast show on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. She’s worked in radio for most of her career, including a brief stint at an online station in Berlin while studying before returning to London to start at NTS.

She recorded her show just before we met. Listening back, she opens by apologising for being late, discussing her frantic morning, but takes a deep breath on hearing the opening bars of the first track. It’s Intimate Friends by Eddie Kendricks, a subtly rousing R&B track with intimate lyrics over a lazy tempo. The show’s tagline is “breakfast, in Flo motion”, an apt description for two hours of radio meant “to start your day, get you up, ease you into it” as Dill puts it.

“I feel very respectful of the job that I'm doing. And I want to do a good job because I'm flattered and happy that people listen and enjoy the show.”

Guiding people through those first moments is a role she takes seriously. “I've grown up listening to radio in all different forms and I always appreciate someone in the morning putting you in a better mood.”

“I'm actually hyper-conscious of that when I do the show. When you do any sort of appointment-based radio, it serves a purpose tied to the time it’s on – you can't avoid it.

“I feel very lucky to be that person for people. To make people have a better day than maybe they would have if they didn't listen. Putting people in a good mood, even if it's just for those two hours.”

One recurring feature, Matters of the Heart, is emblematic of this compassionate approach. In this agony aunt style feature, listeners share problems on the NTS chatroom for Dill and others to advise on.

“Sometimes I wonder why people want my advice – it’s not good,” she says of the section. “But that's not why people submit. People do it because anyone who's had a similar experience shares it in the chat room and offers support. People feel like they’ve had a cathartic experience.”

The feature is so loved, she’s even been gifted a taxidermy moth (Matters of the Heart is often abbreviated to MOTH) by a listener. “He said his parents had this huge collection. They were getting rid of them and no one wanted them so do I want one? I said ‘100%, yes’.” It sits pride of place in the centre of her bookcase.
In conversation with Flo Dill
In conversation with Flo Dill
While discussing what makes a home, Dill notes that “being in the studio so often, it becomes a sort of second home.” This isn’t a typical “living at the office” sentiment. “It's somewhere I feel safe and happy,” she explains. “There's something about a room being solely used for music.”

Her work is hardly typical, and NTS often feels more like a community than an employer, it’s unsurprising that homely feelings have crept in. “NTS generally as a station and a place, and also as a community, is very much my home and my people,” Dill asserts. “I feel very strongly about everyone that I work with.”

She gives an example of the point in the day when she leaves and the next host arrives. It can be chaotic, done over the course of a song, but the anticipation of handing over the mic to someone new is a humbling reminder that “even though it's your show, you're part of a much bigger thing, made up of loads of brilliant hosts who bring something different to the station. It's a nice feeling,” she explains.

The NTS studio is located on a town square in Dalston, the former site of a car park, flanked by jazz clubs, that was transformed into an urban area for public use in the early 2000s. Nowadays, it acts as a blank canvas for community events and food trucks, and the jazz bars that predate the renovation are still going strong. “The square is very much like a home for me now as well,” Dill tells me. “East London doesn't feel more like home than anywhere else. I feel at home in the whole city – it's just baked into me.”

Of all the spots Dill calls home, one stands out for her: her family home in South West London, where she was born and her parents still live today. “But that's because it's tied to family,” she explains. This rings true for much of Dill’s beliefs about home, that they’re spaces filled with community. No one place is home for her, she’s created family in everything she does, from her coworkers at NTS to the square the station is located on to the listeners who share so much of their day – and selves – with her.

“When I think of home, I think of my family. More than I think of a specific home because your home can change. You can move to a new house, but a home is a rooting to your family – whatever that is for you. Whether that's your friends or whatever.”

I come back to the idea that the studio is a second home, curious about how she can carve out space for herself in a shared place. “I take my shoes off”, she tells me when I ask if she has any rituals.

“I take my shoes off, I pull my laptop out and I hit play.”
In conversation with Flo Dill
In conversation with Flo Dill
Listen back to a playlist by Dill, featuring left-field pop, rock and songs to make you happy.

Dill wears new season poplin sleepwear in Willow. Her bedding is percale in Mallow Pink and Mallow Pink stripes.
Art direction by Simon Bøcker Mørch. Videography and stills by Joel Kerr.
Listen back to a playlist by Dill, featuring left-field pop, rock and songs to make you happy.

Dill wears new season poplin sleepwear in Willow. Her bedding is percale in Mallow Pink and Mallow Pink stripes.
Art direction by Simon Bøcker Mørch. Videography and stills by Joel Kerr.
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