The Sounds of State-Jasmine Ho and Nathan Yick

It was a sunny Friday morning in March when I sat down with Jasmine and Nathan for the latest edition of The Sounds of State. I met Jasmine outside the studio and we talked for a few minutes before being joined by her cohost. This was one of the longest interviews I’ve ever done for the KCR blog, so I’m just going to let the two of them speak for themselves. I’m sure you’ll be as impressed with their passion and dedication to their show and with KCR as I was.

Cameron Satterlee: Alright I am sitting down with Jasmine and Nathan on this beautiful Friday morning, welcome. So let’s begin by having you guys say your radio slot and if you have any DJ names.

Jasmine Ho: Well our show is called Sunset Vibrations and we’re on every Wednesday night from 9 to 10, and I’m known as Jazzy-Fe.

Nathan Yick: And I’m known as Yick.

CS: I guess you already told me earlier Jasmine, but how long have the both of you been with KCR?

JH: Well I’m a freshman so I started first semester of this year.

NY: Yeah same here, but last semester we had different shows. Last semester I had a talk show before I got into DJing with Jasmine. It was pretty interesting going through that transition, but I definitely like DJing better. I don’t know, it’s easier you know? Last semester for my talk show I’d always find myself and my cohost improving the whole thing because you never had a set strategy. Cause it’s really hard coming up with an hour’s worth of content for just talking.

CS: Oh I know what you mean. Yeah DJing is a lot easier and it can be a lot more fun. So what kind of music do you play?

NY: We play electronic music but I guess me and Jasmine determined it was more alternative.

JH: It’s kind of chill, mellow, mid-tempo music. So not quite like EDM you’d hear at big raves. I mean first semester that’s what I’d play when I had a show with other people but this semester I wanted to change it up because I was kinda getting bored of mainstream electronic music. So yeah our show is really chill, I mean it’s called Sunset Vibrations so we try to find music that you’d want to listen to when watching sunsets or something.

NY: Definitely.

CS: Well you’ve got a whole theme going, that’s cool.

JH: Really laid back and chill and relaxed.

CS: Awesome. Yeah I really dig that stuff right now, but not that much of it. Maybe I should listen to your show!

JH: You should!

CS: So I guess you kind of answered this question already, but if you want to go deeper that’s also cool. So why did you get into this kind of music specifically?

JH: Well I’ve always been into electronic music. I started out listening when I was in seventh grade and that progressed into me becoming a little raver in high school. At the time not a lot of my friends were into it, but I was so into it that I kind of converted all of my friends into liking EDM.

NY: Oh yeah, you sure did,

JH: And then I’d go to raves with my friends and then now my taste in electronic music has progressed. I like new sounds which is why I like the genre we play because it’s really trendy right now. All the artists who are making music and in the genre are that we play, they use really new sounds. It sounds unlike anything I’ve heard before and that’s what I like about it.

NY: The music we play is so unique, there’s no set trend, cause every song we play is so dynamic, so different. Because that’s the beauty of alternative EDM, but it still maintains that consistent theme of being chill and danceable yeah.

JH: It’s still danceable and steady and rhythmic.

NY: They use sounds that mainstream DJ’s don’t normally use, and they really explore the horizon of sounds across the board and it’s just really interesting because you never know what they’ll come up with next.

JH: And I think what’s also great with the genre is that there’s so many new artists that are coming out, making music in this genre,  every time I go on Soundcloud or something I discover somebody new. There seems to be no end to all the people who make it. I guess most of the music we play we would consider future—I think that’s what it’s called, I think people refer to it as future music, future bass, future chill. It’s kind of got really super electronic sounds and yeah there’s so many new artists that I’ve never heard before but they all make really good music and that’s what I like about it. We’re always discovering new people.

CS: So you could go the entire semester without playing the same person twice?

NY: Yeah, definitely. We’ve been doing that so far.

JH: Yeah it’s been so diverse.

CS: Wow. Alright so I guess this is sort of a related question but why is this music important to you? Or important to play in general?

JH: I think it’s a step away from the really popular electro-house music that’s all over the radio nowadays. I feel like the electronic music that’s really popular right now is really repetitive and predictable. It’s like build up, drop, build up, drop. But with the music that we’ve been playing, they cater to a wide range of emotions. And that’s why I call it alternative, cause when you listen to alternative rock music it’s kind of like you can get a whole range of emotions like happy, uplifting songs to really sad songs. It’s the same way with the music that we play, not just party music. Music that you can actually enjoy just listening to on a daily basis.

NY: Yeah pretty similar to her. I think with the stuff we play it’s a breath of fresh air. I feel like with the mainstream medium genre it’s really easy to get burnt out and get sick of the same drop. It’s pretty predictable you know? But with alternative EDM it’s like what Jasmine said, it caters to a whole wider range of emotions. You surprise yourself with the music, and then some songs, they’re so dynamic that it sounds like you’re listening to electronic for the first time. Every single week when we make our own mixes for our shows there have been moments where me and Jasmine have been like “woah this song is so good”. A new song each week.

JH: Yeah if a song catches up off guard we’ll be like “woah that was really cool”, we totally did not see what the artist did there, we did not see that coming.

NY: Yeah and then adding onto catering to different emotions, this music makes you feel a certain way. It puts you in certain settings and then we talk about on our show, some of the EDM we play really has Asian/oriental chime-y sounds, you just feel like you’re in Japan or something. So I think that’s really unique mainstream media doesn’t do a good job of doing.

JH: Yeah our genre has a really diverse set of sounds. The artists are always inventing new computerized sounds to add into their songs. It’s a fun genre to listen to.

CS: Always something different.

JH: Yeah.

CS: That’s cool. So I guess you already answered this question but I wonder if I can get any DJ names out from you. Is there anybody specifically that’s just awesome in your opinion?

JH: I want to say that probably the most famous person that fits into our category is Flume, I think a lot of people know him. Um maybe Giraffage, he’s a big one.

NY: Yeah those are pretty much the two top guys.

JH: Honestly we listen to so many different artists it’s hard to pick out one.

CS: Yeah that’s fine.

JH: But Flume, Giraffage, Glass Animals has been my favorite recently.

NY: ODESZA has been pretty classic for alternative EDM. Djemba Djemba is pretty good, he’s been rising recently. I don’t know this music is just so unique.

JH: Yeah that’s pretty good.

NY: It’s funny because all these DJ’s are from what we would consider the same genre, but if you break down their music and compare technicalities it’s completely different.

JH: Yeah with a lot of these artists it’s really hard to describe what their music even is like. You can’t place them in a category.

CS: Alright thanks, I’ll ask you for some links later to put up. So you weren’t cohosts last year, what made you want to partner up?

JH: Well last year Nathan was doing a totally different thing. I was doing music but he was doing a talk show. So our show categories weren’t really together.

NY: Two different things yeah.

JH: So I I ended up partnering up with people I had just met only through KCR and that was nice cause they were chill and it was fun, but when we have to start off partnering up with people we don’t know, I kind of realized that my tastes in music and what I wanted to play didn’t really line up with what my cohosts wanted to play on the air all the time. So I was like “I kinda want to make my show my own and I know Nathan has really similar music tastes as me” and we’ve been friends since middle school so I know he was a guy I’d want to have a show with. And it’s been working out really well. I really like all the music that we play.

NY: I think that yeah that’s the big thing, I think we’re both lucky to have each other be on the same page with music tastes, so you can actually take the show seriously. And we have been actually this semester and it’s been really good. It’s been going pretty good.

JH: Yeah I’ve definitely been doing a lot more work trying to publicize our show, getting us out there on social media and stuff.

NY: I’m just excited to see where we go cause I feel like our show has so much potential. The genre has so much potential.

JH: I feel like my first semester was my practice with it, to just see what having a show was like, figuring out exactly what I wanted to do. And then this semester I know what I want to do and we’ve been doing it.

CS: Yeah, I mean you could probably even do a two hour show next semester.

JH: I would. I was considering it for this semester but with school and work it’s hard to make time for it. One hour definitely does go by pretty quick but in the future when we have more time for it.

NY: Yeah in the future when we have more time for it then definitely.

CS: Alright, so how would a perfect show go for you?

JH: My ideal show. I love the shows where we do giveaways, especially big giveaways. We recently just did a giveaway for CRSSD Festival and we had so many people calling in trying to win it. We try to be really smooth with our transitions, fading in and out of songs. I don’t know, our perfect show would have a really good playlist that flows and really flows well with emotions and sound after each other. And we always talk on our show, every one or two songs we’ll take a break or pause to tell everybody what we just played and what’s coming up next. If we have guests we’ll have a one or two minute convo with them in the middle.

NY: Yeah to spice up the show.

JH: Yeah we’d ask them about the music we’re playing and see what they think.

NY: Offer a new perspective.

JH: Talk about just random stuff. If we do a giveaway, the last giveaway we chose a specific song on our playlist, we told everybody what the song was and when it came on, we didn’t tell them when it would come on in our hour, but when it came on—

NY: That was their time period to call in.

JH: And the first one that called in got it. I don’t know why it’s so fun for us to do. We don’t know who’s gonna call in, they don’t know. We’re excited to make somebody a winner.

NY: And then before the giveaway on last week’s show we hyped it up, told them about the song to look out for, and then we also made fliers too for the giveaway.

JH: Yeah we made fliers and passed them out around campus to people walking.

NY: It really paid off. We had a lot of callers.

JH: Yeah usually we don’t expect that many people are listening but we had a surprising amount of callers. Not even when they were supposed to call, people we just calling in. There were probably a lot of people listening in.

NY: Yeah and that was the most we’ve had, not gonna lie. So yeah I mean I guess that would be a perfect show.

JH: If we had lots of listeners, people calling in. We put people on air too, maybe give a shout out, say a few words. Cause the last person we put on air really complemented our show and that was sweet.

CS: Yeah well that sounds awesome. So I guess you’ve only been doing this show for a few weeks but sounds like you’ve all got it down. That’s awesome. Alright well thanks for joining me, this has been a great interview.

Both: Thank you.

I had to run back to get ready to head out to Mission Bay, so I couldn’t chat too long. Later on, they sent me files of their recorded shows so you can listen to them any time! Check out their mixes and be sure to check out their regular show Wednesday nights from 9-10, only on KCR radio, the Sound of State.