Behind the Mic: Moonlit Mayhem

Just like the moon’s gravitational pull causes the rise and fall of ocean tides, Moonlit Mayhem aims to create similar passion-filled sound waves.

Mario Sutka is the host of Moonlit Mayhem, which airs Thursdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. The music show, now on its fourth season, is free-flowing and listeners never know what they’re going to get— just the way Mario likes it.

“It’s experimental to a degree,” said Mario. “Not the music that I play, but just the formatting. Really, it’s just whatever I’m feeling off the top of my head.”

And he’s not just trying to supply his audience with new songs. He’s offering them a range of emotions packaged up as melody and lyrics. How do you form a human connection when there’s air waves between two people? Mario’s on a mission to find out.

During the show’s first season, Mario and his co-host at the time used to plan the music in advance and save the last five minutes for songs they chose on the spot. He soon realized that he favored the freedom and flexibility of picking the music while the show was happening.

The music began mirroring his mood in real time and almost acted as a radio diary of what his emotions were during a given show. His aim, however, isn’t to archive his own feelings. It’s to expose good music and wavy vibes.

“Once in a while, I’ll interview my friends that are in bands around San Diego. It’s really the DIY rock scene in San Diego, but I do listen to everything,” he said. “There’s a bunch of people I got to know when I went to community college and now I have a platform to promote their stuff.”

In between songs, you won’t hear Mario getting into lengthy discussions. He prefers to let the music do most of the talking. The self-proclaimed music nerd plays a healthy mix of pump-up jams and chill songs in order to produce a balance for his listeners.

“To me, a piece of music is wonderful because ignite a fire in you or calm you.”

Mario being Mario

Mario from Moonlight Mayhem

Mario is the marketing director of KCR, in charge of the radio station’s social media and Music on the Mesa (MotM).

MotM is hosted Thursdays at the farmers’ market. A KCR booth is set up from noon to 1 p.m. and staff members play music, give away concert tickets and talk to inquisitive minds about what opportunities they can find at KCR. It’s how Mario first found out about the radio station.

He is now in charge of running the event, and though it is one more responsibility he is committed to, he doesn’t see it as a burden. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“I like my alone time but I like being around people. I need a good blend and Music on the Mesa gave me that.”

Mario is all in when it comes to KCR. He hosts Moonlit Mayhem, a two-hour show every week and did a season in the summer. He’s on the board of directors and the face of the organization on Thursdays in the farmers’ market. Mario could be considered, by all means, a college radio superstar.

However, it wasn’t always this way. He used to be a division 1 swimmer at California State University, Bakersfield and had grown accustomed to seeing himself as a swimmer first, anything else second.

He sustained a career-ending injury during his freshman year and his world seemingly began spinning off its axis. The identity he’d built for more than 10 years was suddenly gone.

“I thought I’d just cut my losses and come back home,” he said about the life-altering event.

The transition was onerous and at times, discouraging, as most students who have had to return to community college after attending a university can relate to.

Mario chose to focus his perspective on the silver linings that came with returning to his hometown of San Diego, such as attending SDSU and being clearer with his goals before graduation.

“I just kind of want to use my show, crazy enough as it sounds, as a beacon where it’s ‘Hey, somebody’s out there.’ Not to be a super emotional water sign or whatever, but it doesn’t have to suck. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

So how does someone alone in a studio generate a bond with listeners they don’t get to see? Mario’s still trying to figure it out, but he knows music has the power to do it.

Be sure to listen to his show, chat him up at Music on the Mesa and follow KCR College Radio on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Since he’s, you know, in charge of the accounts now.

Moonlight Mayhem babe

Happy Mario

What does he miss most about being in elementary school?

The childlike wonderment he had about everything and the optimism about what was yet to come.

 

Written by: Monica Vigil

Local Music Faves

Most people discover music through Youtube or Pandora, but I’m here to tell you that great music can be discovered right under our noses, right here in southern Cali. It’s quite gratifying to go to a local show and realize that woah, you actually really like the music being played. Then, you’re at home, on their Facebook page, trying to figure out what song you fell in love with. Let me make it easy for you. Below are my favorite songs from bands that are from SoCal.

Alone Today – Neutral Shirt

A band that just toured across the country, Neutral Shirt got its roots from right here in San Diego. Initially getting their start playing at the Che Cafe, the band has maintained their lo-fi sound — applying their focus on the lyrics. Having an alternative sound, Neutral Shirt’s song Alone Today is perfect for lying in bed staring at the ceiling (which is precisely what I did last night).

I Work For The City – Mandarin Dynasty

Mandarin Dynasty is a band that originally got its foot into the music world by playing shows around San Diego. With it’s high-quality production, the album Perpendicular Crosstalk includes 11 songs that are all equally beautiful. It involves beautiful harmonies, a couple weird (a good type of weird) instruments, and thoughtful and poetic lyrics.

Carey finds herself (with a new fascination) – California’s Bellow

With catchy lyrics, bass-riffs, and beats, California’s Bellow is a Los Angeles based singer. All the songs and lyrics created are credited to Ben Levinson, the main singer and producer.  His music mainly features two fictional(?) characters by the names of Harri and Carey. The song “Carey finds herself” offers ~cool~ synth noises and a bass-riff that you won’t be able to get out of your head!

Condensate – T.Rexico

T.Rexico is a band based out of San Diego (more specifically, Chula Vista). The band includes 3 young pups who are seriously still in high school. Their music involves a heavily reverb-ed guitar and a surf-punk/rock sound. The difference between T.Rexico and the many other surf-punk bands in San Diego is that they have such high skill levels in the individual instruments that they play. They mostly play here in San Diego, so keep an eye out for them! Their live shows are always awesome.

Yuri Yuri Flex (ft. Mangaboy Jun) – Digi-Gurl

For those who are into hip hop, I suggest taking a listen to Digi-Gurl. Also a pretty young pup, his music suggests absolutely nothing about his age. His music radiates a new level of “coolness” that is definitely hard to have. If you’re looking for some fun tracks to blast in your car with your friends, his music is p e r f e c t for it.

That’s all I have for now! Tune in to my music show today at 11 pm!

Ashley Bajet, signing out.