The Sounds of State-Clint Beachwood

Two weeks ago it was my birthday and before I went off to celebrate with friends and family I had to take a test and go to work. But much more fun and interesting to me was the interview I conducted preceding those two events. Clint Beachwood contacted me way back last semester wanting to do an interview for The Sounds of State. My docket was already full so he had to roll over to this year, but he more than made up for the delay imposed upon him. We met up at the KCR studio and went upstairs to an abandoned room shoved into the corner of Hepner Hall. Clint is the second KCR alum I have interviewed after Joe Shrin, and like Joe he was one of the most engaging and interesting interviewees I’ve ever had on this blog. I like to let the DJ’s talk for themselves so without further ado let’s get right to it. As always, I edit for grammar in a sense that does not detract from the flow of the conversation as it actually happened, we are radio DJ’s after all.

Cameron Satterlee: Hello everybody! I am sitting here with Clint Beachwood, and thanks for joining me. So let’s just kick it off with the regular stuff, what is your radio slot?

Clint Beachwood: I’m on Thursday from 3 to 5 pm, and I’ve had the Thursday slot probably since 2001 except for about a year’s hiatus there about two or three years ago.

CS: So I guess like you mentioned you’ve been here for a while so it goes without saying that you’re a distinguished KCR alum. It’s great to have another one to interview. So you’re a music show yeah?

CB: I am a music show.

CS: So what kind of music do you play?

CB: I strictly play instrumental surf music. Well that’s not true, my show from 2001 up until a year ago was strictly surf instrumental music. This is not The Beach Boys cause The Beach Boys obviously sing. All the music I play doesn’t have any words, it’s all instrumental. And then to sort of expound on that instrumental approach about a year or two ago I changed the name of the show from A Day at the Beach, which it was all along, to Instrumentals Only. The first hour I just play an eclectic mix of instrumentals from all different genres and the second hour is strictly surf instrumentals. So I’ve changed it up just a little bit in the past couple of years.

CS: But you’re still keeping your surf roots.

CB: It definitely has a surfy feel to it and there are still no lyrics to sing along with.

CS: That’s a real cool idea for a show man, I mean that’s pretty out there. That’s kinda what we like here at college radio stations, just for people to do their own thing.

CB: It’s been a nice niche. You don’t see this style obviously on commercial radio and hardly anywhere. It’s usually all about the lead singer and about how egotistical they are and how they like to take over the band and my show is basically all about the music that the bands produce.

CS: And so why did you settle on surf rock?

CB: Interesting. So I grew up, I’m a little on the older side, I turned 60 just a little while ago, and I remember growing up in the early 60’s how the sport of surfing was quite popular and along with this new surfing craze there were surf movies and everything else and it included music. There was a surf style of music that went with the sport of surfing which was a real wet, drippy sound, Dick Dale was very good at that and he used a lot of reverb in his music and that sort of stuck with the sport of surfing. I grew up during that era and I recall that time as being very happy times in my life and I associate a lot of friends and fun things, even though I was just 10-12 years old, but still a lot of good times growing up in the LA area to this surfing craze and this great music. Which included The Beach Boys back at the time so it was very fun music and we were all very into it. And I always, for whatever reason, enjoyed the instrumental aspect of songs, I really like the guitar solo in the middle of songs and just the background type instrumentals more than I did with vocals. I don’t know why that is, just a glitch in my thinking or whatever. Not that I don’t like vocal songs, I do, but I really took a liking to instrumentals and it has just carried off into my adulthood.

CS: And so now that you’ve expanded your show into an ‘instrumental other’ category as opposed to a surf instrumental, is there anything in particular you play in this other category?

CB: I play a lot of Memphis soul like Booker T. and the MG’s and some other groups like that, I really enjoy that sound, but for the most part no it’s just all over the board. A lot of—like Alan Parsons does a lot of instrumentals—so a little bit of a progressive rock kind of feel. The roots really go back to surf music.

CS: Alright so this has been a great story so far, because you obviously didn’t graduate into KCR and become an alumni that way, how did you come back to us?

CB: Let me back up with the surf music thing, because it all starts back with my love of surf music. When The Beatles came along and the British Invasion came along, surf music basically died out. Everything was about The Beatles and then it got into the psychedelic thing. And so you heard very little, all these surf bands just sort of folded up cause they weren’t making any money and they weren’t popular anymore. The Beatles were popular. But sometime around the late 80’s, there were a few surf bands that kinda started up in this resurgent genre of surf music. But then it really kinda kicked off in the 90’s with the movie Pulp Fiction. Tarantino put several surf songs in the soundtrack and it really started another big interest in surf music. Around that same time, I was sorta enlightened to surf music again. It was part of my childhood, I never forgot it cause I always liked that music, but it really took off again in the mid-90’s. And I discovered these surf bands were playing, modern surf bands, were playing at the Del Mar fair. I heard a surf band playing surf music and I was blown away, and I go “this is great!” And the more I researched it, started looking on the internet, well we didn’t have the internet back then, but went into the used record stores and things like that and I saw all these old surf bands and I collected more and more surf music. My love of surf music was sort of reborn back in the mid-90’s. So at that point, I had been associated with Joe Shrin, I had listened to Joe’s show in the early 80’s. My wife and I just got married, we moved to Poway, we could pull up KCR through our color television connection to our stereo. I think it was 98.6 or something like that. And every Saturday morning I would turn on his show because he played some great oldies, a lot of instrumentals and he had no commercials and that’s really what I liked about it was the fact that you could listen to an entire four hours of oldies without any commercials. Except for his goofy commercials that he plays. And so anyway I became friends with him over the years, I would call, make requests, I would call, talk about the music, and I started going to school here and I would go to the studio. So we became good friends and I was sitting in the studio one time and I was looking at the student schedule, the DJ schedule on the board, and it was half filled. There were holes everywhere, and I asked him, cause I had started to accumulate quite a collection of surf music, probably 50 to 100 cd’s of surf music, and I ask him “what would it take to get a slot here? I graduated from San Diego State a few years back, I’m an alumni, what would it take?” And so we looked into it and long story short I got a gig and I’ve been here ever since.

CS: Wow that’s awesome.

CB: That’s my story.

CS: It seems like Joe’s had quite an impact. Yeah I interviewed him a couple of months ago and he was full of interesting information.

CB: Yeah I read that. Joe, he loves this station and it really shows with his show, and his dedication.

CS: And so, you said you’ve been here since 2001, KCR as you said before was a lot more of an open space where you could do whatever you want. But it’s developed over the years, especially recently. How have you seen the changes that have gone on?

CB: Right, it was fun because back in the summertime it was pretty much Joe and I were the only ones doing a show. Being an alum and living in San Diego, we would come in every week regardless of whether school was in session or not. At the time since we didn’t have preprogrammed music to put on after our show if no DJ replaced us, like in the summertime for example. When I would leave the studio I would put on old recordings of Joe’s show and let it play until he came in on Saturday mornings and when he got done he would put on my shows and would play over and over until Thursday when I came in. So it was kind of funny that people heard a lot of Joe and Clint in those days. But now it’s nice to have this whole mix of music, and much better programed music I think with the way things are set up now. The station is run right now the best I’ve ever seen it in my 14 years that I’ve been here. It’s impressive what the student managers have done with the station in the last few years.

CS: Yeah we’ve undergone quite a change. I’ve only been here for three years and you can tell that we’re moving towards great content all the time instead of having great DJ’s like you but once a week. Which is fun for you guys, but we gotta fill out the 24 hours 7 days a week, man. So you play older records almost exclusively but is there anything that’s been grabbing your attention recently? It could be old songs that you just haven’t heard of before or newer stuff.

CB: Surf music is as popular now worldwide than it has ever been. There are bands literally from around the world that play surf music. One of the nice things about it is that since they’re all instrumentals you don’t have a language barrier. So there are bands in Japan and Europe and South America and even Russia. All over the world there are instrumental surf bands, and I will get cd’s from them constantly. I’ve gotten a few from Spain just recently and I wish I could remember the name of this on band that I just heard this week, for the first time and it just blew me away how good they are. It’s something that has continued to keep my interest. A lot of people who have listened to surf music without a real trained ear, without really getting into the genre, think it all sounds the same because it’s mainly drums and guitar and bass. Sometimes an organ will be thrown in, some bands will throw in a few horns. But a lot of people think it all sounds the same, but to me, and I know the difference between a lot of these bands, I can hear stuff that is really, really good. And those are modern surf bands that are just coming out, playing live right now.

CS: It’d be nice to hear some of them so if you send me the links I’d be happy to throw them up on the blog. So final question, I always like to end with this one, and I think you’ll have a very interesting answer since you’ve been here for so long, you’ve had a lot of time to hone your craft, but what would be a perfect show to your high standards? What would make you go from the studio and just say “man I just nailed that one!”?

CB: Well it’s funny because when we were in the other studio over where the associated student building is, back in the old Aztec Center it was a bigger studio and I could have live bands play and I did have a lot of band come in from around the world. I had a band from Japan, I’ve had a band from Spain, Belgium, a lot from the United States. I probably had about 20 band play live at one point or another. And having a live band play during the show is probably my favorite because it’s spontaneous, it’s live music happening right now going over the internet and it’s all generating from this little studio in KCR at San Diego State. Other than that a normal show now consists of me playing songs and trying to pronounce the names of the bands correctly especially if they’re in Spanish or something like that because my foreign language skills are atrocious. I strive to do a good show, I strive to cut the mistakes down to a minimum but I’m not a perfectionist say like Joe Shrin, who really, really strives for a good show every week. I realize that my listeners are fairly loyal, they’re those who like surf music as a nice little niche. Since you don’t get surf music everywhere, there are few stations who will play it consistently, I try to be there every week, I try to start on time and have everything ready to go and just a clean, smooth, and mistake free as possible show.

CS: Alright well sounds great. Thanks for sitting, or I guess we’re standing and doing this interview, it’s been great. Very informative, thanks.

CB: Well thank you Cameron, it’s been a pleasure.

After we were done, Clint and I walked together talking more about surf music, KCR, and his fascinating side projects that spawned from his visibility as one of the lone highly dedicated surf rock DJ’s out there. We had to part ways there as I headed to work.

A few days later Clint sent me a link of that one Spanish band he mentioned in the interview. Check them out here.

Remember to tune in to Clint’s show Instrumentals Only from 3-5 pm on KCR College Radio, the Sound of State.

Sounds of State-Ava Anderson and Caleb Minnick

Friday the 20th I met up with Ava Anderson and her cohost Caleb Minnick for the second interview of the semester. It was late Friday morning and the weather was perfect, we met at the KCR studio and proceeded to an unoccupied classroom to have what turned out to be the longest interview I’ve conducted so far. Ava and Caleb were both very outgoing and talkative, probably why the interview went on so long. You can tell how they come across on air, try to cram as much information about their interest and love for music as possible in between song breaks. In full disclosure, the audio was rather difficult to transcribe because they kept talking over each other in their eagerness to answer my questions. On a couple of occasions they indeed finished each others sentences in an attempt to steer the conversation their way. It made for a very fun interview, but for the sake of legibility I edited this interview a bit more than usual. I did try to keep as much of the banter in tact as possible. With that being said, on to the interview:

Cameron Satterlee: Hello, we are sitting here today for the next radio interview. I am with Ava and Caleb. So what is your radio time in our new semester?

Caleb Minnick: We do it on Mondays from 3 to 5. I just actually had to think about that cause we’ve only done one show so far (laughs). But yes that is correct.

Ava Anderson: Yeah Funday Monday. I guess that’s our new day. We were on Taco Tuesday last semester so we had to make a name for Monday.

CM: Or Manic Monday (laughs)

AA: Manic Monday! I like Manic Monday.

CM: Who does that song?

AA: The Bangels.

CM: Aha. Well anyway.

AA: Yeah let’s get back to the interview.

CS: I can tell this is gonna be fun already. So the two of you have DJ names correct?

CM: Yes. I am DJ Trust Fund.

AA: And I’m the Avacado.

CS: DJ Trust Fund and the Avacado?

CM: Basically I had that name to mock the people that go to these huge EDM concerts to see these DJs that they don’t know anything about. So this DJ name would mock them for their statuses as people on trust funds going to college. Very complicated (laughs)

CS: Well hey it’s part of your radio identity now. It’s good that you have a whole story I think.

AA: My name was my nickname in high school. Out of the many names I had in high school that was really the only one that I actually liked.

CM: Did you have other sinister nicknames or what?

AA: Well people would call me Flava or Ava Ave yeah, or Eva from Wall-E, it got really old. But Avacado, that one I just thought was funny. It was acceptable.

CS: (Laughs) alright well how long have the two of you been with KCR?

CM: Just since the semester before this one.

CS: Oh alright.

AA: Yeah we’re newbies.

CS: Well you’ve had a whole semester though which is nice. So you have an idea about the kind of music you play since you are a music show.

AA (sarcastically): Rap. Just lots and lots of rap.

CM: Yeah I don’t think I’ve played any rap so far. I mostly play indie rock, electronica, just random things I find on the internet. That’s what I go for. And I don’t mean indie like Mumford and Sons, but bands that are actually doing things differently than what you’d normally hear. And Ava, she’s got her own genre.

AA: Well alternative is so generic now. Literally you could have reggae to rock to Mumford and Sons but it’s all under alternative. But really I play alternative, indie, 80’s and 90’s, some 70’s or 60’s depending on if I really like it. So really I just stay away from country I stay away from rap. But most of the time we make our own separate playlists and I would say that they really complement each other on the show.

CM: Ava’s really into soundtracks. Every time she’s got a song it’s from a soundtrack.

AA: I’m a film major what do you expect? I just love film soundtracks, I dunno it’s just different from what you’d hear on a regular cd. It’s kinda hard to explain.

CS: Oh I know what you’re talking about.

AA: It just stirs a different emotion.

CS: Alright so this is a pretty relevant follow up question, so why do you like the kind of music you listen to? Is there any kind of story behind it all for you?

CM: I’d say with me, I’m a huge cynic, so basically when I hear a song on the radio and I think “hmm yeah this sounds pretty good”, but then I question it and go “do I like it or do I like it because some marketing people thought that people in my demographic want to hear this song at this time”. So I don’t want to feel like I’m being manipulated in liking music like that. So that’s why I pretty much don’t listen to any music like that or MTV or radio, I just try to find the music myself. And that’s why I’m into the music that I’m into cause it’s more interesting to me. I mean I’ve listened to a crazy amount of 94x, 94.9 and I’m just totally bored of it by now. So that’s why I have to branch out and find this other stuff yeah.

AA: And then with me, probably around middle school is when I got into alternative and rock and when I started to pursue wanting to be a film maker. Whenever I watched movies I always thought about the music and how it effects what you get out of a film. I’m not just talking about scores, I’m talking about actual–like if you’re listening to Breakfast Club, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Donnie Darko, or 500 Days of Summer, those are really good soundtracks and you want to think about what that does when you’re watching something. What else am I trying to say? Well whenever I listen to a song that I really like, I think about what I’m imagining or what is something that I could create that could go along with this song and I did that a lot in high school. I remember I was in a video productions class and we’d have to do these journalistic type pieces and I never followed the format, I always just filmed random sports clips and edited them to Angels and Airwaves or something. I like to edit to music and whenever I think about films I think about what music I can use.

CM: When did they start putting in songs like popular music, into movies?

AA: Well The Graduate…

CM: The Graduate that’s what I was gonna say.

AA: Yeah The Graduate is one of my favorite movies.

CM: That’s the earliest I can think of, cause you never hear that in films from the 50’s. Just when a song starts playing.

AA: If I could tell people to watch a movie for the soundtrack aspect I’d say watch The Graduate.

CM: Yeah that was the first one that incorporated popular music into the soundtrack. I think, I dunno, there’s probably other examples.

AA: We’re rambling a lot.

CM: Yeah we do that on the show.

CS: No it’s good.

AA: Yeah we just talk like this.

CM: We waste forever just talking about random stuff.

CS: You’re music DJs but you can’t stop talking.

CM: Well we tie it in to what we’re playing.

AA: We don’t bore.

CM: You know what I hate on these terrestrial stations is the morning guy they go on yahoo news and see a funny story and blah blah blah blah and who cares?

AA: I dunno, a lot of our show is improved to be honest.

CM: No I know but what I’m saying is (what they’re saying) has nothing to do with music or anything. And me I’m really into politics and if they wanted to have a discussion of Middle East politics but they’re not, they’re discussing a cat that got stuck in a tree and a guy fell and it’s worse than a waste of time.

AA: Well what I like to do too is that I’ve been to a bunch of concerts and talking about my experiences with the music that I play or something interesting about that band that people might not know. He knows about it.

CM: Yeah I like to brag about all the concerts I’ve been to, you know it makes me feel big (laughs).

AA: Yeah and then you get to go to all the ones I can’t.

CM: Yeah cause she’s not even 21 so she can’t go to them, and those are the best venues. Can you even go to Viejas?

AA: Yeah I can go to Viejas, I’ve seen some good concerts.

CM: What about Rimac? You can go there right? That’s at UCSD.

AA: Yeah I can go to that. I think. I don’t know, I’ve never gone there.

CS: Alright well so what would you say is the latest and greatest for the two of you? What’s the new song or the new band or album that you’ve been listening to?

AA: Don’t look at me.

CM: Well I’ve been going first this whole time I was gonna give you a chance.

AA: Ok well I’m thinking. I dunno. One band that I really recently just started to like was Arcade Fire. I saw them in concert in August. I had a few of their songs and their cd but after that concert I got everything. So I guess that’s my recent new favorite. Really I can only think of Arcade Fire.

CM: Well here I’ll talk about mine. There’s this one band, I just played it one the radio this week, there’s this band called Mr. Twin Sister. Where are they from? I’m not sure where they’re from. But it’s dream pop, that’s sort of what it’s called cause there are these real chill soundscapes to it. It’s really awesome stuff. You said it was a good track when I played it, and the track is called Sensitive, which is the good one from them right now. That album just came out at the end of last year so it’s pretty new. Something that actually just came out is this guy called Venture X, he makes I guess you’d call it house music. It’s French house like Daft Punk, well not the last Daft Punk album, but the other Daft Punk stuff. He just put out an album in January. Discotheque, which is really good, he’s from Chicago, which is a pretty big house music scene. That’s the stuff I’ve been listening to right now that I think is on the cutting edge. As they say.

AA: Well ok so are you talking about new artists that are up and coming?

CS: Oh just what you’ve been listening to lately.

AA: Ok that makes it a lot easier.

CS: So Arcade Fire is fine if you just wanted to go with that.

AA: Well just what I always listen to is Arcade Fire, Angels & Airwaves, M83, The Killers, and 30 Seconds to Mars. That’s my top 5. I think it’s my top 5.

CM: Tenative top 5.

AA: So those are the 5 I listen to the most, and I’m always looking for new music too. Not the stuff that they overly blast on the radio. If I hear something that is always blasted on the radio I’ll check out their album. So Kongos, they don’t just sing Come With Me Now, they have other songs. So I use the radio like Wikipedia, like a starting point, and then I move on from there.

CS: We’ve all been there. Alright so this is not a music related question, but it is related to KCR stuff. It’s a two parter, so how did the two of you become cohosts and do you think you have good chemistry on the radio?

CM: (Laughs) no it’s terrible.

AA: Nah it’s awesome.

CM: No we met just at the KCR meeting that they do at the beginning of the semester, last semester. And we had to find a buddy, so to say, they wanted everybody to have a cohost.

AA: And I was thinking “oh my god I need to go out of my way to ask people”.

CM: Yeah I know and I hate that the most in classes, finding a group or a partner. Everybody’s in their own little cliques and I’m just thinking “oh my god I’ve been left in the dust again”. But anyway yeah so that’s what happened, we were deer in the headlights. I talked to a bunch of people and somehow I found her.

AA: Well I know I asked you what music do you like and I thought “okay” cause everyone else was just “no””no””no”.

CM: Yeah there were people who were like “yeah I want to do an EDM show”.

AA: Yeah and I’m like “no EDM for me”.

CM: Or and all classic rock show which I think is totally boring. Or a country show, whatever, and I’m just like “ehh”.

AA: Top 40, nope.

CM: And so we decided yeah we could go together pretty well. We were talking about The Smiths or something, we found a bunch of bands that we really liked so we figured we’d team up, you know, a dynamic duo on the airwaves. As far as our chemistry…sure. Of course I’m biased for myself, but we have good chemistry, good banter.

AA: Yeah we do banter a lot, but it’s not aggressive, ugly banter.

CM: We’re not just complimenting each other either, we do disagree on a lot of stuff. So we make our arguments.

AA: Yeah we’re both very big mouthed people but it works.

CM: As you can tell we’re taking like ten times too long to answer these questions. This is what we tend to do on the radio too.

CS: Hey we’ll it’s your style and it’ll show through in the interview. So I’ve got a last question, I always want to finish with this cause I think it’s fun, so how would your perfect show go?

CM: I dunno, I think pretty much the way we do it now is pretty much the way I want it. Actually it’s something she mentioned, but we could make promos.

AA: Yeah throughout our show. Cause I could edit stuff for it.

CM: Yeah she’s a film editor, so you know how to edit films or whatever.

AA: So that’s one revolutionary idea we’re thinking of for our show.

CM: But looking big we could have guests.

AA: Yeah bands coming in.

CM: Yeah let’s have Brandon Flowers on the show. Bob Dylan (laughs).

AA: Bob Dylan?

CM: If we’re just shooting for the star here yeah. So yeah a show where we can play awesome music. You know what would be really great is if we could get the station on terrestrial radio.

AA: Yeah on real radio that would be really ideal. But then again I think it is cool that we just have a radio station.

CM: Yeah I like it.

AA: When I tell my friends that I DJ for a radio station they’re like “WHAT no way”.

CM: I put it on an internship application and they were like “wow you’re a DJ”.

AA: I just really like what we’re doing right now. Like I said, one day if we’re on actual radio and it would be super cool if we had guests that would be pretty awesome.

CM: Yeah and if I got lots of sponsorships. I could totally sell out and get rich (laughs).

CS: Boy this has been a real interesting interview. Well thanks for joining me, it’s been a good fun time.

CM: No problem.

On that note we concluded the interview and walked back to the studio where I snapped a picture of the duo at the controls. We chatted a bit about music and film, the Oscars were still coming up and Ava was pulling for The Grand Budapest Hotel. I had to get going to class so I bid them farewell. If you want to hear more of Ava and Caleb’s music check out the links I posted and definitely try to catch them Mondady from 3-5 on KCR Radio, The Sound of State.

Ava wanted me to link a couple more songs from bands she didn’t mention.

U2-Zooropa

Garbage-Control

The Killers-Mr. Brightside (Jasques Lu Cont’s T.W. Duke Remix)

Jane’s Addiction-Twisted Tales

The Temper Trap-Sweet Disposition

Metric-Help I’m Alive

Caleb also sent me another song when messaging me about Jethro Tull. See if you can figure out why.

JEFF the Brotherhood-Black Cherry Pie

The Sounds of State-Thomas Torres

Hello there readers. It’s been a long layaway for the KCR blog but we are back with a vengeance! I’m happy to announce that I’m returning to do The Sounds of State for another semester. There are so many more DJ’s out on KCR putting great stuff over the airwaves. I’ve got a great interview for you all today. For the first interview of the semester, I profiled Thomas Torres, who’s out there sifting through the music that makes alternative seem mainstream.

Thomas was quick to respond to my messages and we scheduled a time very quickly. I met him last Tuesday outside the KCR studio and we walked outside behind the communication building where we sat down. February in San Diego is perfect for being outdoors, and that day was no different. So here goes the interview:

Cameron Satterlee: We are now officially rolling! I am sitting here for my first interview of the semester with Thomas Torres. How are you doing, man?

Thomas Torres: I’m doing good, I’m doing good.

CS: Thanks for sitting down with me. So when is your radio slot, and do you have a DJ name we can go with?

TT: So my radio slot used to be Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m. and it used to be a two hour show. It still is a two hour show but I’m not Monday from 2 to 3 p.m. and Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. It still technically is a two hour show but now it’s split into two different things.

CS: Wow that’s cool. I haven’t heard of a two hour show split between two different days, so you’re making it work with your schedule.

TT: Yes, and for my DJ name, I go by DJ Box.

CS: DJ Box?

TT: Yeah Box, B-O-X.

CS: That’s pretty easy to remember.

TT: Yeah yeah, it’s nice.

CS: Alright so how long have you been with KCR?

TT: So, let’s see, that would be at least 4 semesters now. Yeah 4 semesters cause I signed up when I was a freshman. And that was right in 2014, so it should be at least 4 semesters.

CS: Hey right on, that’s probably just as long as I’ve been here. I think I’m on my fourth semester too. Cool.

TT: Nice, nice, very nice.

CS: So you’re a music show correct? So what do you play specifically?

TT: Ok so I am a music show but I used to do album reviews, and that was the two hour show. The first hour would be the album review with my cohost, but he’s not here anymore. And the second hour would be what I call the super robot playlist, which is kind of just a quirky name I came up with. What it is is basically all my musical tastes, which are very non-mainstream music, all compiled into one. I’ll have things from Bandcamp artists, I’ll have things from recent indie artists, I’ll have things from complete strangers that have sent me stuff, or I’ll have some other unknown type of artist type of thing. And that’s kinda what I go with, is the unknown artist type of deal. More of what I like to call the alternative to alternative type of music. That’s mostly what I play on the radio show now.

CS: Just kind of a random mix of everything?

TT: Yeah it’s a random mix. There’s no real one genre that I’m kind of concerned about. It’s a variety of things. If it’s mainstream I’m not gonna play it, that’s pretty much my only thing.

CS: Yeah well that’s a good way to use KCR. I mean cause if it’s mainstream chances are you’re gonna hear it on regular radio. So on KCR yeah why not promote these alternative artists.

TT: Right.

CS: Yeah so that’s pretty cool. Alright so this might be a bit redundant but I am a bit curious, just to understand how you got to these sort of alternate tastes. Like you said they’re everywhere alternative pretty much. So why do you like these—I guess not specific alternative groups, they’re diverse—but how did you get into them?

TT: So my original cohost Christian, who went by the name DJ Pocket Lint, he and I have been exploring these different musical tastes since middle school, I want to say. Which was 4 years ago. So it grew out of this dislike for mainstream music, and so because of that I branched out into “okay well I don’t like mainstream music, let’s look at classic rock, okay classic rock’s getting boring let’s move out to progressive rock, progressive rock it getting boring, let’s move out to something different: electronic music, let’s move out to video game music, let’s move out to rap music, hip hop”. And that kind of just exploded into a bunch of different artists that no one ever talks about, and hey, these are pretty good artists. And that kinda branched into Bandcamp artists who are just regular people trying to do a lot of art and music and they have some pretty interesting sounds too. So it’s kinda a mix of that and just branching out. All it is is just branching out musical tastes, that’s really all it is.

CS: Just a restless desire to seek out new music.

TT: Yeah.

CS: I like it. Alright I’ve got kind of a follow up question. I’m not precisely sure what you mean by Bandcamp artist, is that a specific genre?

TT: Well it’s not a specific genre. What it is is that there are a lot of artists who post their music online, and there are a lot of artists who use this online platform called Bandcamp. It’s basically just a music hosting website where you can upload your music.

CS: Kinda like Soundcloud?

TT: Kinda like Soundcloud except it’s a lot more formal. It’s a lot more suited towards people who wanna be recognized more as formal artists instead of some user who’s uploading all his music. So a lot of times you’ll have actual bands posting their full EP on Bandcamp. Or you’ll have a single artist posting his LP on Bandcamp. And there’s a lot of really notorious people on Bandcamp, just in general I know Frankie Cosmos, some other people too, who really use Bandcamp for that type of “get it out there” you need to expand more you need to get it out there and that’s one of the best ways. And honestly you have some of the best artists coming from Bandcamp. So it’s really a good source for music and that’s why I like to include it in my radio show.

CS: Alright see yeah now that you mention it, it does remind me in my first interview last semester when I interviewed Joey Bautista and Bridgette Rickman, Joey sent me links from Bandcamp and I’d  never heard of it so thanks for explaining it cause yeah I guess I forgot about it till now. I mean I think that is a good platform like you said for real serious artists not like Soundcloud, who has these sort of serious artists but it’s also got the “check out my mixtape” kinda guys.

TT: Yeah, and I mean there’s nothing wrong with those type of people.

CS: You gotta start somewhere.

TT: Yeah you do, you honestly have to start somewhere. If you play the music, and it’s good, that’s all you need to know.

CS: So this question, I love to ask it to music DJ’s because I always get a very interesting and very different answer cause it’s a personal question, so why is this music important to you? What’s your personal journey with it?

TT: I think it’s important cause there’s a guy named Jello Biafra who is the lead singer of the Dead Kennedy’s, it’s a punk band, and he said a quote saying “if you outlaw evolution, only outlaws will evolve” and that speaks to me in the same way that there’s music out there that’s not being talked about. There’s music out there that nobody understands or nobody really cares about. And if you think about it that’s the type of thing that people aren’t paying attention to but because of that they’re free from all the social dogmas or they’re free from the tropes that are out there in music. They don’t have to do autotune, they don’t have to do 4-1-4 chorus, they don’t have to do the regular chord progressions anymore. They can do whatever they want to do, and at the same time it makes for more interesting music I think. You get the sense that once you listen to something, you realize that something is the same, and the same is posted over and over and over again, and you start to realize that a lot of people understand that too. And because they understand that, they’re saying “well let’s try to do something different” and I think that’s what is important in music is trying something different and seeing if it works and if it doesn’t work try again. And I think that’s important for music in general because it makes for more interesting music. I mean if you think about it we’re not like classical music anymore. Music has evolved past classical, past Beethoven, past Mozart. And it’s because of artists in their day, like Mozart and Beethoven who in their day did all that radical stuff that you see in the classical music. And you don’t think about it now, but you think about it back then, their music was radically radically different back then than the music that was at their time. And so I think it’s important that the music today is like that. The music that stands out is the music that is radically different than the stuff we hear today.

CS: And you’re helping to expose people to it.

TT: Yeah, that’s what I like to do. They’re out there, that’s what I like to think.

CS: Alright, well, man that’s a great answer. This is why I do these interviews, you guys always have something interesting to say. Enlightening in this case because I think I agree with you. I do agree with you. I think you’re right, and so I think what you’re doing is important.

TT: Thank you.

CS: It’s great that we have you at KCR. So this is a much more of a lightweight question, is there any song, band, or album that you’re listening to now.

TT: Not in particular. I got most of my music from my cohost recently so I’m still trying to check it out. One thing I do recommend, one artist that I’ve really been listening to is Machine Girl. Machine Girl is the only one I’ve been wanting to say out loud because that’s what I’ve been listening to lately. Anything else? I’ve been listening to the new Father John Misty album, and that was alright, I liked that one. And I’m still waiting for Death Grips’ new album, Jenny Death, part of their two-sided album. So I’m still waiting for that. Other than that not really, I’ve just been checking out a lot of the new music that my cohost has left me.

CS: Alright, right on. So I always finish with this question because I think it’s kinda fun; describe your perfect show, And since you have two one hour shows I’m really interested in what you have to say.

TT: Alright so my perfect show would actually not be a music show. It would be a music show but not like a typical host show. My perfect show would be a scripted almost radio play that combined scripted talking with a story with music, just really Avant Garde, really crazy music. And you’d play it in between and the music helps move the story along just because you have that perfect music. So that would be my perfect show. It’d be a weird combination of those two things and I think that would be like “woah radio has changed forever”. You can’t go back to just plain music and talking. You go to, hey this is story driven radio play with music in it. That would be the perfect radio show I would like to do. Unfortunately that’s just way too much work for me. But hey, who knows? Maybe one day. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage and energy to do it. Right now I gotta focus on other things such as school and not failing any of my classes.

CS: Alright. I sympathize, I know what you mean. Well so Thomas, this has been a great interview, thanks for sitting down with me.

TT: Yeah and thank you thank you Cameron. Thank you, I don’t know what else to say, but thank you.

CS: We can close it there.

TT: And doot-dootle-oot-doo.

We concluded the interview and unfortunately I had to run back to work. Thomas has so far been one of my favorite DJ’s that I’ve interviewed and I wish I had the time to talk to him more. His unique show and ideas are what I think help set KCR apart from the other radio stations. College Radio is an opportunity for us to innovate and run our own shows to essentially our own standards. Thomas appears to be taking this to heart as he spreads he eclectic and very unique content out into the world.

The Sounds of State-Jini Shim

On Wednesday I caught the trolley, a bit delirious from typing essays the night before, but eager to see my latest DJ to interview. Jini Shim is KCR’s resident K-pop DJ, that’s Korean pop music, to the uninitiated. We decided to schedule the interview about half an hour before her radio slot at 11 am. It gave us plenty of time to chat and give you all a great interview. Check it out.

Cameron Satterlee: Alright, I am sitting down in the KCR studio with Jini. And thank you for joining me with this interview.

Jini Shim: Yeah, thanks Cameron for doing this.

CS: Hey, no problem. It’s what I do now. So you’ve been with KCR for how long exactly?

JS: Well this is my first semester, yes.

CS: Alright! Well, welcome to KCR.

JS: Thank you.

CS: So what is your radio slot?

JS: It’s on Wednesdays from eleven to twelve pm and I do an hour of Korean music—K-pop songs.

CS: Alright well that was my question so that works. So how come you play K-pop?

JS: I am Korean. I have a lot of interest in the Korean culture so I guess that makes me listen to Korean music and keep up with it, even if I don’t like it sometimes. So then I just want to promote it to other people in case they are interested and I think K-pop is rather more known now compared to maybe five years ago. So I also play for those who like K-pop out there.

CS: Yeah that’s awesome. Yeah it’s definitely gotten a lot more exposure in the last few years. I mean you said about five years ago, yeah five years ago I probably never heard about it, but now you know I know about it and there are a lot of people who are aware of it so that’s cool that you’re promoting it as part of your heritage. That’s awesome actually.

JS: Thanks, it’s fun.

CS: Yeah I don’t do anything like that.

JS: (Laughs)

CS: K-pop, is it like other genres of music? I mean, it’s pop music so you’ve said there’s some good and some bad, is it similar to other stuff we have circulating around the globe?

JS: Right. So a lot of the mainstream K-pop that you hear, if you were to maybe Google K-pop and the few videos or music that would come up, if you listen to it you would probably think it’s really similar to Euro-pop. A lot of people also refer to Euro-pop when they compare it. So yeah I could compare it to that, but then some people, they say whatever song—music that comes from Korea—would be considered K-pop. But those that know more about what K-pop is like would disagree, because there are fans of Korean hip hop that would say “no, do not associate Korean hip hop with K-pop,” and there’s all the different genre lovers and they wanna claim their type of music.

CS: Yeah, I mean that would be saying that there’s just an American music or a French music style.

JS: Right, exactly.

CS: I know what you’re sayin’. Yeah I mean there’s always a rock band out there that doesn’t want to be labeled pop music.

JS: Exactly.

CS: Yeah. So are there any other genres you like to play sometimes or is it pretty much just K-pop?

JS: Right, right, so I do promote the newest and the hottest K-pop songs, but from time to time I would even do throwbacks. So let’s go back into the nineties and see what K-pop sounded like back then. Or some indie bands that are coming out from Korea, so some acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter type music that I would play sometimes. Sometimes even some really old-style Trot, I don’t know if you know that genre, I would play those. So an eclectic mix.

CS: Alright, cool. Yeah I mean I think at KCR you’ve got the market cornered so you can do whatever you want if it’s from Korea. So you kind of already answered this question because it’s part of your heritage but I just wonder if you want to go a little bit deeper into that so why is this music important to you?

JS: K-pop is important to me because I was born in Korea, I lived there for a few years before moving to California. It brings me back to my roots just to keep up with the music. I think if I weren’t doing this show I myself wouldn’t be listening to a lot of K-pop actually. I wouldn’t take the time to go into it I guess it’s by an artist that I really really like. I do it for myself I guess, for my own good, for me to keep up with it. And I like spreading multicultural, international music through this great station on campus. So I might as well use this opportunity to promote diversity and bring in different flavors to KCR and SDSU.

CS: That’s awesome. I know what you mean, definitely having a sports show is what keeps me up to date with sports when otherwise I’d be way too busy to follow it. And I mean sports isn’t as important as your cultural heritage because that seems really important to you so that’s great. Alright so hit me with some artists or an album or a song, what’s the hottest in K-pop right now? I’ll put a link up or two to the blog.

JS: Alright, there are a lot of girl bands, I would rather say groups because it’s not really a band, they don’t play instruments. They just sing, look pretty, and dance well (laughs).

CS: Yeah like a boy band pretty much.

JS: Yeah. So I can name a few girl groups because there have been a lot of them that have been doing really well and a lot of new groups. A few of my friends made song requests today so one of them I’m going to play today is by a group called AOA and also Girl’s Day, so those two groups I can mention. For some boy bands: Super Junior is a group name that I play often on the station, they have about TEN members in the group, so it’s a big group, and they are very famous, especially in Europe. Yeah so those are a few names.

CS: Alright cool. Well I’ll link those up to the blog. So I always like to finish with this question, how would a perfect show go for you? An ideal show.

JS: Ah a perfect show. I would say I would play, like I say I do, the show is about playing latest and the hottest Korean music. So playing a few of those, and being able to play really the latest, so I have the latest scoop and update for the listeners. And then having a few of the oldies, playing a few independent label songs and also maybe having a guest. A friend or another fellow Aztec who likes K-pop, and I would invite him or her share a few of their favorites of K-pop and maybe talk a little bit about why they like it. And of course if I get a ton of requests which means I have a ton of listeners right? So I guess that would be an ideal one hour.

CS: Alright cool. Well thanks for sitting down with me, it’s been a great interview.

JS: Yeah thank you, this was great because it also makes me think back to why do I want to do this and what do I learn from it, so great questions.

CS: Hey, well thanks.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been complimented on my questioning ability so that was nice. I still need to work on my transition game, but practice makes perfect. Jini and I sat and talked until her show went to air. We were actually joined in the studio by Joey Bautista, KCR’s secret sessions man, who was also half of my first interview. Once Jini got to work on her show I left so she could do her thing. I really enjoyed interviewing Jini, she was my first DJ I’ve sat down with who plays music that isn’t native to the United States culturally. I perhaps didn’t articulate it well during my responses but I think that it’s fantastic that she is spreading the culture she loves to SDSU while at the same time helping to preserve it for herself. Dedicated DJ’s like her are what keep KCR going strong. Be sure to check out her Wednesday show next week, it’s the last week of broadcasting for the semester!

Thanks for reading!