For The Record, for the record

November 30th 2023

Essential fixtures of FBi Radio for close to a decade now, Dan Gordon and Maia Bilyk’s impact has been further reaching than perhaps even they would realise. They’ve been selectors of the music you hear each week, radio presenters, program producers & interim directors, membership coordinators, DJs, management committee members. But most importantly of all, they’ve been tremendous friends to anyone in the community who’s had the pleasure of knowing them.

For The Record, FBi’s weekly dedicated albums program wraps up this week, and with it, the (for now) broadcasting journey of two of the best friends I ever made at Sydney’s institution for music, arts and culture.

Reflecting back on the show’s six year journey has been bittersweet. The records, the guests, the independent labels and the joy of uncovering all of them has been such a privilege. I myself had the great fortune of taking over from Kyle Fensom and producing For The Record alongside Dan and Maia over the lockdown years, stitching together songs and voice recordings taken from a make-shift studio in their home laundry. A labour of love, the passion I got to absorb each and every week was something that I really looked forward to during that time and helped form a feeling of connection when our reality was anything but.

Even since then lockdowns have lifted, people are back together again, but the feeling of connection Dan and Maia offered to listeners through exploring these recorded works is as palpable as ever. Dan Gordon and Maia Bilyk love records, and they’ve only ever wished to share that love with anyone else who does too. After six years of asking the questions and digging into the answers, it’s only fitting that just once, the script gets flipped onto them and their journey. I sat down with the duo one last time to do just that.


Dan, some listeners may not realise that you actually kicked for the record off alongside Thursday Arvos host Tommy Codling all those years ago. Winding the clock back to then, to the very genesis of the concept of For The Record, why was an album show important to you?

Dan: Ever since I started what I would consider to be really listening to music – I don’t know, when I was like 14 or 15 and I discovered the kind of more of what I listen to now – I really enjoyed the idea of listening to something start to finish. Just because it felt more true to what that person was trying to do.

The whole Spotify skip culture is what it is, but I don’t really subscribe to it. If someone spent you know, two, three, four years on a project, it’s kind of nice if you can give it the due diligence and listen to it the way they wanted it to be listened to.

Doing that on the radio – I don’t want to say hadn’t been done because I’m sure someone’s done it before – but at the very least, that I knew of in Sydney or wherever, it didn’t really exist at the time. So getting the chance to do that back in 2017 was pretty cool.

Maia: When we first met, Dan told me he’d always had this idea. And apparently Caro [former FBi Radio Program Director, Caroline Gates]  had the program pitch safe in her back pocket.

Dan: Which is funny because Caro came up to me and was like, “Dan, I’ve got this idea for a show and I think you’d be a great host.” And then she told me and I was like “Caro, I pitched this to you like six months ago.”


Maia, tell me what you were thinking when you got the call to co-host.

Maia: Well, I actually came on initially as a guest.

Dan: Damn, yeah, that’s true! I totally forgot about that. Wow, yeah, it was for – what was the record?

Maia: It was Ali Barter, Girlie Bits.

Dan: Wow. That’s crazy.

Maia: I don’t think Dan or Tommy really thought much about the album. But it just so happened that I was a long-term fan of hers and kind of schooled the two of them.

So then, yeah, we kind of eventually came to the decision. What Dan didn’t know was that I was stalling because I had a feeling he would ask me and I felt really scared actually to like come on and try and match his knowledge. At that point I was still pretty green at FBi, a lot of my taste was completely different to what it is now. Also I think Dan was still trying to figure out what he wanted to do with the show and how he wanted to do it. I was a bit scared of having to try and match those ideas.

Which is just so stupid because like, I ended up having some good ideas!

Dan: Like I’m not like a top-secret scientist.


That’s a good segue to my next question. I know that when I got the call up to produce I was very excited to be a part of one of my favourite shows on air. Thinking back to all the records that we covered together, along with independent label showcases and things like that, there is a tremendously long list of standout moments. All the records you’ve covered have been special, of course, but have there been any in particular that really stand out, or you really can’t believe you got to play on air in full to all of Sydney?

Dan: I’ll say the Wilco episode, only because I know that dad rock and Wilco aren’t necessarily the coolest thing in the world. Not that FBi only strictly plays the coolest thing or whatever, but I know that that sound doesn’t particularly have much of a space here anymore. So getting the chance to play one of my favourite albums and also to talk to Bart Denaro about it.

Maia: Who’s also a massive Wilco fan. He matched Dan’s energy.

Dan: Oh and then some! I truly didn’t really know what I was in for when I asked him. He came at me with all these facts. I thought I knew a lot about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and then he just started spitting things at me. I was like, “oh okay.”

Maia: I’ve got two as well. The first one, I can’t believe we got away with it, is Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia. Second is definitely The OC Soundtrack. Eeeeeeveryone messaged me about it.

Dan: For context, Maia and I are massive OC heads. Like I’m talking like a once a year rewatch, seasons one to four (don’t even worry about watching season five). I’m constantly saying to people that The OC is partially, if not wholly responsible, for whatever taste I had as a teenager. Like I discovered so many bands watching The OC.

Maia: It’s also such a significant record, just in the music business. Like, as weird as that sounds, it essentially started a whole industry. It created a whole new stream for artists to get their music out. The Killers, they’re the best example; they’re literally about to be dropped from their label, ready to flop, and ‘Mr Brightside’ features [on the soundtrack] and it just goes crazy.


Have there been any guests that have stood out for you, either for their warmth, generosity, their honesty, the things they reveal or perhaps for another reason entirely?

Maia: For me, because Dan let me do it by myself and it was during quarantine, Danny L Harle.

Dan: Oh true!

Maia: Yeah, we just so happened to have a connection with his UK publicist, who loosely filled him in on the show format. And at that point, he was a really on-demand artist. He was basically doing, like, top-tier looks only. But he instantly responded, like “yep, super keen, when do you want to chat?” He was so warm and giving, like we could kind of take the mickey a bit about the hyperpop scene and his place in it. He was just really giving and generous with his time, which is probably the overarching sentiment for the people that have been memorable for us.

Dan: The obvious one for me is probably Adrianne Lenker. It was such a good interview as well. It was surprising that we got to interview her at that time at all, because it was immediately after Big Thief’s first 2019 release, U.F.O.F [released in March]. She was like, “oh, you know, we’re just working on a few things,” secretly having a whole other brand new album ready to release [Two Hands, released in October], unbeknownst to us.

It was really cool to get to speak to this person who I was a massive, massive fan. It was peak Big Thief – like it felt like they were really, really at the peak of their powers and she was really, really kind and sweet. We had a cup of tea together and she spent, I don’t know, an hour and a half with us. Which completely flew by.

Maia: Another notable one is when we interviewed Matty Healy from The 1975. Either the tour manager or the publicist was kind of gesturing to him in the studio, like “come on, wrap it up, we’ve got other places to go to.” And then she came in and was like, “sorry, we’ve gotta kind of go,” and he, I remember not in a rude way, he was kind of like, “sorry, I’m really enjoying talking.”

Dan: He was like “no, we’ll finish when I’m ready” but in a way that was like, “I’m really enjoying this, like I want to talk more with these guys.” I was thinking, “that’s so cool.” It’s nice that he was actually really engaged in the conversation.

It kind of sucks because it feels bad to be singling out a few interviews. I genuinely don’t think that we’ve really had a bad interview, or at least one where I left it going like, “they weren’t very nice.”


I think that’s a testament to you guys.
Have there been any records where your opinion has changed specifically after digging into it for For The Record?

Maia: Almost all of them. Because you learn something different every time. You spend so much time just playing it back to back, doing a lot of research and a lot of prep, talking about it.

I think maybe the clearest one for me, recently, would be, honestly, the Turnstile album [Glow On]. Dan had shown me one song and I was like, “oh okay, I can get behind this.” And I remember then going and playing ‘Mystery’ on Mornings [with Maia Bilyk] and just sitting there thinking, “okay, this, I can actually really get behind this!” Initially I had been like, alright I’ll throw Dan a bone with this one, maybe let him lead the episode. But I was going through it and I was like, no, this is actually fucking good.

Also, honourable mentions from me to the Marie Davidson album [Working Class Woman] and also when we did our Royal Headache [High] episode with you, Josh.

Dan: I’m a massive Nicolas Jaar fan and I liked Sirens a lot when it came out. Kyle Fensom was producing, and he was like, “oh cool, so you’re going to do the bonus album right? The one with the bonus tracks?” And I was like, “what??? what are you talking about?”

Maia: Bear in mind this is the only time I have ever seen someone – and I mean this in the least douchey way – actually show Dan something for the first time. I could see his mind just like fully combust hearing this song. Not knowing that he was also kinda pissed that he didn’t know about it. And then freaking out about how it sounded. I think it was probably the one moment that Kyle holds closest to his heart.

Dan: I was like, what are you talking about bonus tracks? Sirens is Sirens. We were halfway through the episode, he was insisting, “no, there’s pretty much like a whole other album. He released it after the fact and there’s three or four extra songs. And they’re all really good, it’s a different album.” And I was like, “what!?” We went and listened to these bonus songs, and they’re all really good. But the standout, definitely is ‘A Coin in Nine Hands’, which is to this day probably my favourite Nicholas Jaar song. That song is unbelievable and I had no idea it existed until we were recording the show.

Maia: It was honestly such a perfect radio moment. You could literally capture Dan’s intense first impressions.

Dan: And Kyle was right, he was like, “oh dude, you’re gonna lose your mind.” And I distinctly remember thinking like, “alright I’m sure it’s not that good. If it’s so good, why didn’t he put it on the actual album?” And then, literally just like, jaw to the floor, what the fuck is this!?



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A post shared by Maia Bilyk (@majybajy)

So then, to someone reading this interview right now, who is maybe just getting into collecting records, or listening to full records back to front, what tips would you give them?

Dan: You need to be in the right space and also allow yourself time. The world is so hyperactive, it’s just like everyone’s moving at like 20,000 miles a second to get everything done. That’s why you know, we’re in this Spotify world of playlist shuffle, daily recommendations or whatever… which is fine, I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with that, I think It’s a time and a place thing. But allowing yourself that hour, when you come home from school, when you finish work, or when you’re at home on a Sunday, to give an album a bit of grace to go through.

Dan: I guess that is the advantage of vinyl, you kind of can’t really skip. Don’t skip a record. Also, if I’m really trying to gauge an album for the first time, moving around and having it as background music while doing something else doesn’t really do it. You can miss so many nuances that this artist has spent two to three years trying to put into this thing. If you’re moving around, having conversations, doing something else, you’re just not going to hear it.

Maia: But also, if the thought of trying to listen to something in full for the first time is a bit intimidating, or you want to expose yourself to music you wouldn’t maybe necessarily go out of your way to listen to, go to the places that you trust. Whether it’s quite literally coming to FBi, or places like record stores, blogs… you just need to ask someone.


Dan and Maia, how big is your record collection?

Maia: Oh god.

Dan: We’ve had to stop buying records. And genuinely only because records are becoming unattainable price-wise. It’s wild. When I first started buying records in 2010, I was paying $25 for an album? Which is just – you literally can’t get that anymore. There’s no way. I was buying records at a time where they were way, way cheaper than they are right now.

Plus, I was living at home. I had a job at a record store. I wasn’t really going out and partying that much. So I had all this expendable income, I wasn’t earning that much money, but I had this money where I hadn’t had it before. So I was filtering all of my money every week, more or less, back into the record store. I would get this staff discount, so I was buying – it sounds ridiculous… it was ridiculous – but I was buying 13, 14, 15 records every single week, and coming back home with $20 in my bank account.

At the moment, I don’t know exactly what number we have. Maia and I have combined our record collection now. It’s probably, I want to say, 900-1000 strong.

Maia: Put it this way – when I first saw Dan’s record collection I fell to the floor because I was like, oh god.

Dan: Coincidentally, when I kind of settled down and was like, “alright, I’m gonna buy one record a year, or maybe a few more-”

Maia: -I started working at a record store and I was also picking up DJing at the same time.

Dan: Basically the same sort of thing as when I first started. It was genuinely kind of like I had passed on the baton.

Maia: We’ve chilled out though now. Very much the attitude is for me “okay, something I feel like will stand the test of time and is an asset for my music collection?” When I last popped into the record store I saw Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly and I went and picked it right up. There are moments like that when you go into a record store and you’re like, alright, well I have to get that. You know, I can’t, I can’t leave without getting that.

We have been putting off getting home and contents insurance.

Dan: Yeah, it’s really bad. No one burn down our house please, because we would be fucked.


It’s been made clear to me that some people still, even today, think you’re joking when you say you’ve actually been a couple this entire time. Could I get one final confirmation for anyone that’s still a non-believer?

Maia: Okay, put it this way. We’ll never forget when we interviewed Jared from 100 (long may they reign, that band) and a couple days later we ran into him at a gig and realised we hadn’t connected the dots that his partner was another mutual friend of ours. We were just chatting, you know, “it was nice to catch up” or whatever, “you should just swing by sometime, we’d love to just hang out, be friends” blah blah blah. And I will never forget, in the middle of the Lansdowne, Jared being like, “oh, oh! I just thought you guys were really good friends or like, housemates!”

That feels like the For The Record story – I just thought you guys were really good friends.

Dan: So yeah, mic drop, Maia and I have been dating the whole time.

Maia: Look, show aside, FBi is definitely pivotal to many Dan and Maia moments, let’s just say that.

Dan: That’s the other nice thing about For The Record, that Maia and I met at FBi. To meet the person that you love at a place like this… that is really, really cool and only adds another layer to how much FBi means to us. It’s the place we met.

Maia: Happy 20th birthday FBi Radio!

Dan: Yeah, bless.

The For The Record megalist

Assembled below is a Spotify playlist featuring one song from every record Dan and Maia have covered on the show, from 2017-2023.


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