Behind the Mic: Ahmad Dixon, Peter Swan & Joseph Hoang

This week, I interviewed Ahmad Dixon, Peter Swan and Joseph Hoang about their show, “The Diner is Always Open,” for another Behind the Mic. They asked if they could each be interviewed separately. Of course, I obliged.

The first person I talked to was Ahmad. He is a second year history major. While Peter and Joseph sat on top of a dumpster, Ahmad gave a detailed explanation of what he thought their show was about.

He said their show is, “An eclectic mix of comedy and surrealist diatribes about nothing in particular. It’s a show about nothing, like Seinfeld except, not as well put together as Seinfeld. It is like public broadcasting at its finest because it’s very amateur and it doesn’t take itself very seriously. It also changes from week to week because it has no plan.”

Their most recent show was themed. They were broadcasting from the Soviet Union into a gulag. They talked about “Twin Peaks” (the movie), and the David Lynch song and “The David Lynch Show.” And at the end of the hour, they did an improvised song.

Ahmad said that he named the show “The Diner is Always Open” because a diner is always open, it’s comfy and anyone is invited. He said that being in a diner is an experience because there is always a lot going on, and that’s what he wants his show to be. Since he was a little kid, Ahmad wanted to do college radio. Now, he has been in KCR for a year.

Next, I interviewed Peter, who is majoring in English and is also a second year. When describing what he thought their show was about, he said that there is not much continuity from week to week. He explained that the show is basically them improvising everything, trying to bounce off each other, and just having fun with whatever they do.

Peter then told me how he met Ahmad and Joseph. He said that he didn’t know anyone when he joined KCR. So, he approached Ahmad and Joseph, who knew each other, and asked if he could join their group. After making fun of his shirt, they told him that he could join their group. The next day, was orientation for KCR, where one of them came up with their show name.

After that, Peter described his favorite things that they have done on the show. The first thing he mentioned was that they always bring former KCR General Manager, Matt Hoffman, into everything they talked about. However, his absolute favorite thing they’ve done is make covers of songs at the end of the show. The first year, he said they covered Taylor Swift songs, and now they cover Lorde. He explained that the covers of the songs are not really any of the artists’ songs. It’s really just the three hosts making random music and making up a song as they go.

The last person I talked to was Joseph. He is a fourth year, majoring in history. When I asked him what their show was about, he said, “It’s about the music, yet we slowly have not played music in the past few weeks.”

I also asked him about the name of their show, to which Joseph answered, “I think Ahmad came up with it, but I don’t know what they said.”

His favorite thing that they have done was doing a whole show on reading the old comments on the CDs in the studio. He explained that some CDs in the studio have comments on tracks that people recommend listening to. However, others had comments that were funny to read on the show. He also mentioned that they always talk about Matt Hoffman because they love him. And, that Thomas Torres is frequently on their show because he gets them.

Joseph told me that he’s heard from a lot of people that he is the Ringo Star of the group, not the best out of the three but the most lovable one. Outside of KCR, he records music on his Tascam Analog Set Recorder and is in a band.

If you want to check out their show, tune into “The Diner is Always Open,” every Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Aztecs Defeat Cowboys

On Friday, Nov. 17 our San Diego State Aztecs took on the McNeese State Cowboys in what ended up being quite a blowout. The Aztecs took the game 83-52. It was a good bounce back win after losing to Arizona State this past Tuesday.

Junior transfer Devin Watson led the team with 20 points on 8/14 shooting and added 8 assists before leaving the game with what appeared to be a leg cramp. Senior forward Malik Pope also had a solid night adding 16 points and 9 rebounds to the winning effort. The Aztecs shot a respectable 50 percent from the field, which is not something we have been used to seeing from them in recent years.

As in previous years, the Aztecs’ defense was the strongest part of their game. They held the Cowboys to 31 percent shooting from the field and only 15 percent from beyond the arc.

All in all, this was a good win for the Aztecs, but one that should have been expected. Even with it being an easy win, the game was somewhat of a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Aztecs outscored the Cowboys 46-19. In the second, it was a lot closer at 37-33. It’s easy to look at this and be upset, but during the second half most of the starters were sitting.

Going forward, they are going to have to build off the positives from this game if they want to accomplish anything serious this season.

Private Island’s Electric Whisper

Once again Private Island found themselves gracing San Diego’s House of Blues. Musical acts Mating Ritual and Creature Canyon joined them. On Saturday, Nov. 11 the band came out onto the shared space to an antsy crowd. Instantly, the room was filled with beachy vibes as the band started their performance.

As a surprise to most, Private Island threw things back and switched it up by performing their rendition of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” In the band’s own fashion they brought a fresh and vibrant twist to the classic while still remaining true to the source material. Something about the band’s version of the song brought a cohesive energy to their live show that most bands seem to miss out on. At this point during this song, the whole crowd was moving and singing along. Private Island’s bassist Tommy Knickerson and lead guitarist Cameron Anderson couldn’t help shaking it as well.

With a slight change up in instrumentation, female vocalist Michelle Guerrero provided the synths and keys for the night while Roger Mawer played rhythm guitar. The band was able to exude the L.A. ‘indie-pop’ sound that they’ve been known for, while bringing the dark melodical R’n’B tones that come across in their new songs. Private Island seems to have found the sweet spot with playing their new songs live. The performance gave the audience a chance soak up all the nuances of the darker grooves of the new singles.

Lead vocalist, Christian Lum took the wheel that night and left the audience with their arms waving out the windows, all the lit up faces were entranced with Lum’s vocals and way with words. Drummer Timothy Barbour provided the backbone for the whole night. Truly talented and a presence all on his own, Barbour kept the beats grooving and the people moving.

Next time Private Island rolls through to San Diego or to your respective city, be sure to jump on the bus and jam out with L.A.’s freshest indie band. They’ll continue their tour all the way through December 7, with their last stop in Phoenix, AZ, where they’ll be playing the Valley Bar.

Living with Demons 101

As someone who has never had the pleasure of enjoying their own room, I feel it is safe to say that I am somewhat of an expert on living with roommates. Just in the past three years alone, I have had a grand total of eleven different roommates. At one point, there were three of us in a room smaller than your average Taco Bell public restroom. While some of these roomies became in friends, a lot more of them fueled anger and passive aggressive sticky notes.

Here are my top three tips to survive those roommate nightmares.

Tip #1: Good Headphones

Sometimes, you get real unlucky and end up rooming with someone who snores like your dad after a really good Thanksgiving meal. Like a broken lawnmower, like twenty airplanes starting up at once, like a gentle avalanche amplified a million times. Now, there’s nothing you can really do, unless you feel like a daredevil and actually want to break the news to your roommate that you hate them because their snoring kept you up all night. So, my big tip here is headphones and a good white noise playlist. My favorite so far can be found here.  .

Tip #2: Voice Your Complaints

If you don’t speak up for yourself, no one else will, duh! If you are like me, and avoid confrontation at all costs, try voicing your complaint through a nice little sticky note. Last semester, I had this problem where someone kept taking my sponges from the kitchen. One day, I could wash my dishes, and the next, I couldn’t. After I had lost four sponges to this monster, I left a bright pink note that said “please stop stealing my sponges” with a cute little sad face. Just like magic, my sponges never disappeared again.

Tip #3: Don’t Be Small

When the going gets rough, the tough doesn’t roll up into a ball and let demons step all over them. Or however that saying is supposed to go. Either way, you get the sentiment. Do not make yourself small just to accommodate others, and do not let them walk all over you. Because, they will if you let them. This is the most important tip to living with demons. Also life in general, which is full of other types of monsters.

Here’s to hoping you never get stuck with any demons. If you do, just remember that a lot of us have been there. And if you decide you don’t like my tips, just hang out with a friend, where you can both complain about your own monsters.

Featured Image: Retrieved from here.