The Sounds of State-Kiana Malekzadeh, Renee Ramirez, and Kiersten Sukert

Hello and welcome to another week of The Sounds of State. This week, I interviewed a trio of new KCR DJ’s from our Indie Invasion block. I was late on Wednesday afternoon when we met in the studio and walked out to Campanile and sat right down on the grass in a circle for our discussion. Here’s how it all went down:

Cameron Satterlee: Okay, so I’m here with Kiana, Kiersten, and Renee. Alright so let’s start off with an easy question, so what is your radio show and do you have any DJ names?

Renee Ramirez: You want to start?

Kiersten Sukert: Okay our radio show is called KRK, it’s pretty simple, it just stands for Kiersten, Renee, and Kiana. And we have the title of Indie Invasion, we didn’t come up with that though, that was just given to us. But yeah we basically play genres of indie music, we kinda play EDM-based too.

Kiana Malekzadeh: Alternative, kind of.

KS: Yeah, it’s just very different music.

CS: Okay, and your show is when?

KS: It’s on Wednesdays at 4, so listen.

RR: 4 to 5.

CS: 4 to 5 alright, yeah yeah the Indie Invasion block I think is for everyone who has shows at that time of the week. So you said you play indie music but also a bit of EDM, do you all personally sort of have your own niches that you like to play?

RR: I don’t play that much EDM.

KS: That’s kinda my thing. I wouldn’t really categorize it as EDM though.

KM: It’s really hard to describe.

RR: EDM-indie, is that a thing?

KS: Yeah if I had to describe it in one way it would be EDM indie.

RR: Laid back but still upbeat I guess.

KS: Electronic based indie.

KM: Yeah. Also I feel that you like to put slower songs and then, me, I don’t know, I can be all over the place. I just know that you like the slower, more mellow stuff.

KS: Yeah.

CS: Alright, so I’ve been trying to get into this music, cause I’ve found it more interesting as I’ve been in college and I guess exposed to new things, so that’s a more recent interest for me. But what’s the back story for the three of you, how did you get into this sort of music?

RR: I just started to listen to it my senior year, that’s when I got into indie because I started going to more concerts. Because they were cheap tickets, they were fifteen dollars, twenty dollars, and my friends would be like “let’s go see it” and I don’t know who they are but okay. And then as I went to more shows, on Spotify, I put them in the radio section, I would type in Young the Giant and I would see all these related artists and new songs would come up and it kind of just filled my playlists. And that’s how I started liking it.

KM: For me, I guess I’ve just had an interest in bands my whole life, just from my parents too. And I remember in fourth grade I liked bands, that was my thing. But then as I got older, I’ve always been prone to trying to find new stuff to listen to, it’s just fun, cause I get sick of skipping songs and you want to find new stuff. So Spotify definitely helped me too, plus it’s updated now, you can go and discover and things like that. And me and my friends from back home have the same taste in music too and we’d go to shows as we got older and could drive. You’d end up liking the opening band and stuff like that. Yeah, it just grows and grows I guess, I would say.

KS: Am I doing this one too?

CS: Yeah, sure.

KS: Okay. I think it started when I found my parent’s vinyl collection. They had a lot of 80’s, so I started getting slowly into the 80’s, and I think I kind of just worked up the decades. And I kind of realized that when I met people who liked the same music as I did, we had the same or similar personality traits. And it’s kind of like its own culture within society. You know you meet cool people, you listen to the same music.

RR: That’s how we met.

KS: That’s how we met. Yeah and these girls are awesome.

CS: Great! That’s sort of a Segway to my next question, I’m interested how the three of you partnered up at KCR.

RR: It was very random.

KS: We were just talking about that.

RR: We all just went in solo, we just wanted to make friends, wanted to get involved in school, I’m a freshman and they’re both sophomores and so I was like “KCR, might as well get involved”. And they were like “yeah get involved now” and then I met Kiana first, the very first night they were signing up for what show you wanted to do and she actually thought I didn’t like her first. Because I was in a rush to go somewhere and she was trying to get to know me and I was like “yeah where’s the paper, where’s the pen, let’s sign up, let’s go”. And then, the next day, we meet Kiersten the next day randomly and she’s like “what kind of show are you guys doing” and we say indie and that’s how music brought us together because she was like “oh I listen to that too, we should all be cohosts together” and I was like “okay I guess three makes it easier if I had to back out on one day” (all laugh).

KS: (laughs) You were thinking about backing out?

RR: No I just was thinking if I couldn’t make it to a show (all laugh). But yeah it was fate.

KM: Yeah.

CS: Alright anyone can answer this question, would you say that you have good chemistry on the air.

KM: Yeah. I can stumble on my words but for the most part they make me feel more comfortable by talking as if I was talking to anyone else.

KS: We’ve got our own movement too, Kiana’s always usually on the laptop playing songs and she usually introduces them too. And Renee and I switch off controlling the laptop and talking. But we usually do the intro or closing. We have our own system going (“yeah”’s all around).

RR: “Kiana, what song’s next?” (laughs).

KM: And we try to talk about upcoming shows with artists who are playing and stuff like that.

KS: Right now our big thing is Coachella.

KM: Cause it’s in a month.

CS: Alright, so are there any songs or bands or albums that you really like to play on the air right now? What’s the new big deal for the three of you?

KS: I don’t know. We don’t have a specific person that we always play.

KM: We played a few alt-J songs, I’ve noticed. I’m the one that puts the songs on so I can remember more than you guys.

RR: Oh yeah.

KM: But definitely alt-J, I’m trying to think.

RR: San Cisco.

KS: I’ve seen a lot of Glass Animals.

KM: Oh yeah, definitely.

RR: But I guess with indie, there are so many indie bands that we don’t really stick to one artist.

CS: Alright, so last question, I always think it’s a fun one to end with, I want to know how your perfect show would go. Just if everything was awesome and you left the studio just thinking ah yeah we nailed it! How would that be?

KS: Honestly, we talk a lot while our music is playing.

KM: On accident.

KS: No I mean about our personal lives, and you can definitely tell we each have a different personality. And I feel if we put that personality on air that would be a perfect show. Just be comfortable in the studio and talk with each other like we normally do.

RR: Well we don’t really talk much on our show because it’s music so I don’t know if the audience really gets to see our personality. Cause we just kind of introduce a song and talk a little bit about the artist or their show, so I guess they don’t really know our personalities yet. And I don’t want to talk too much cause it’s a music show.

KS: We kind of established that in the beginning too, to not talk that much.

KM: But the perfect show would just be us not messing up. We get some technical difficulties sometimes.

KS: We’ll be giving away tickets and getting the people who call on the air is hard.

CS: Oh, we’ve all been there. Alright well, thanks, this has been a great interview.

All: Thanks.

Afterwards, I had to go do my own radio show so I stayed in the studio for that while the girls walked off, hopefully to reward themselves for a job well done. Kiana later messaged me a few songs to give you readers a sampling of what they play on their show, check them out:

Spoon-Do You

ODESZA-Say My Name

Blind Pilot-One Red Thread

Bahamas-All The Time

If you liked any of those songs, be sure to check out KRK, Wednesdays from 4-5 pm on KCR Radio, the Sound of State.

(Also maybe stick around till 6pm cause that’s when I’m on air!)

Sounds of State-Joey Bautista and Bridget Rickman

Hello everybody. I’m Cameron Satterlee and I’m introducing a new series for the KCR blog. You might remember my series from last semester called The Goldmine, in which I profiled a classic rock album every week. For this and hopefully next semester I’ll be going into a different direction. My new series is called Sounds of State and I’ll be interviewing our amazing DJ’s here at KCR College Radio. I was aiming for 5 minutes but likely they’ll go longer than that. I’ll be posting a slightly edited transcript, removing the pauses, and the “likes” and “ums” that we all have. But otherwise I’ll maintain the interview as recorded so as to not alter the message and cadence of those speaking. That means that it’s not very grammatically correct, but you’re reading this on the internet so you should be used to this. Without further ado, here is Sounds of State!

Last Thursday I went to the KCR Turn Up event at the Farmer’s Market to meet up with Joey Bautista and Bridget Rickman and take up my first interview for Sounds of State. It was a fantastic fall day in San Diego so of course I was sweating through my black Giants t-shirt. Our featured artist at the Turn Up was D. Focis, a rapper out of Detroit spitting his game and talking about how us college students should take advantage of our opportunities and get an education in between songs. Joey came up early to meet me so we chatted for a bit while waiting for Bridget to arrive. I was scribbling furiously in the shade because I didn’t have my questions formulated for my first interview. Joey seemed content to listen to the music on the steps facing D. Focis. He wandered off to grab some food, Pad Thai by my reckoning, at the Farmers Market and ate it while enjoying the music and the day.

Bridget showed up about ten minutes before the hour with her cousin, who would be privy to our interview in the studio. The four of us made our way to the Communications building as Bridget and Joey had their show at 1. We got settled and were also joined by Brendan Price, one of the most important cogs in our student organization. Brendan made conversation with Joey and Bridget as they set up their laptops in preparation for the music to begin. Once on air, they introduced themselves as Skull Kid (Joey) and Taco Belle (Bridget). They let their playlist spin and then granted me a gracious interview in the middle of their show.

I found Joey and Bridget to both be very friendly and open with great senses of humor. I may not have been used to interviewing people but they seemed to be pros at answering my questions. Some were pretty simple, but my more interpretive questions were handled with ease. Their answers at point approached the realm of the profound, which I consider a huge victory for my first ever interview. But all the credit goes to them for allowing me their time and being fantastic interviewees.

Here’s how it went:

 

Cameron Satterlee: Alright so looks like we’re recording. I am in the KCR studio with Joey and Bridget. Now, what is your radio slot? I’m just gonna go over the easy questions first.

Joey Bautista: For sure.

CS: Alright, just for the record.

JB: For the record.

Bridget Rickman: Alright, we are Thursdays from 1 to 3, we’re in the Indie Invasion radio block.

CS: Alright cool. So how long have the two of you been with KCR?

JB: This is my second semester here, so yeah just still getting my feet wet metaphorically.

CS: Cool.

BR: Yeah and this is my first semester here at KCR. I was a guest DJ a couple of times last semester, but this is my first official semester.

CS: Cool cool, welcome. So how did the two of you become cohosts?

BR: I met Joey on the freshman Facebook page. We were talking about music. He posted about music and I was like the only one that commented.

JB: I posted the lineup for this festival called Burgerama, it’s this garage rock festival that’s in Santa Ana. And that lineup got announced the same time as Coachella. And I posted the Burgerama lineup in the freshman Facebook page thinking that “hey I can make friends this semester this way.” But the first response was “WHO CARES ABOUT THAT, let’s talk about Coachella” and it got six likes on its comment and I’m like “Man I’m just gonna delete this” and then this girl comments and is like “Why not both? Both lineups are awesome!” And that turned out to be Bridget so yeah.

BR: We just bonded musically over that and became cohosts.

CS: Cool.

JB: Yeah.

CS: Alright so would you two say you have good chemistry as cohosts?

JB: Would we?

BR: (laughing) I think we have really good chemistry. We’re both a little awkward at times but I think that together it works out.

JB: Yeah we’re just awkward people.

BR: Yeah.

JB: So it balances out kind of.

CS: Alright cool, yeah that works. So what music do you play?

BR: Joey and I both make separate hour playlists, and we play a little bit [of each]. It’s the same kind of music but it has our own flair on each playlist. I play a little more garage rock and sometimes a little pop punk, and Joey can talk about what he plays.

JB: I know last semester when I had my own shows I’d play mostly indie pop and garage rock and punk. But this semester I’m focusing a lot more on lo-fi pop music. I don’t want to say I’ve outgrown garage rock, but it’s just not that big a part of my life anymore. So there’s that.

BR: His music taste has surpassed mine. To put it that way (laughs).

CS: Alright. So you say you do the Indie Invasion but you got a bit more specific in genre so thank you that was going to be one of my follow up questions. This one is sort of playing off that also. So why do you like these specific genres?

JB: I mean with lo-fi pop for me, I like a lot of bands like Elvis Depressedly and Alex G and Teen Suicide. And I think the appeal to those kinds of bands for me is and that genre as a whole, is that lyrically it’s really sincere. They get lumped into this kind of stereotype or trope of being overly sad, and I don’t think sadness is something that they glorify, and I don’t think sadness is something that should be glorified. But just the honesty and sincerity of it is really what appeals to me. And it’s really catchy so there’s that too.

BR: My music, since I play a lot of surf punk, garage rock, it’s just a little more upbeat and easy to listen to no matter what you’re doing. I like catchy tunes also. And I like upbeat, I really really like upbeat sounds that I can kinda like dance around to.

CS: Alright great, those were fantastic responses, thank you. So are there any other genres that you’re interested in or is this just your main focus?

BR: For my show this is my main focus cause I kinda like to stick to general sound but I listen to mostly everything. I like pop music and I listen to EDM and all that fun stuff. But for my show this is kinda the genre I stick to.

JB: I’d say about the same. In terms of I stick to my guns when I come to our show, but I listen to everything as well. I especially love Insane Clown Posse (laughs) and Nickelback. Those kinds of bands. I’m really into-

CS: Are you being serious?

BR: (laughs)

JB: I mean you can put that in italics (laughs).

CS: I just had to ask cause I wasn’t sure.

JB: To be totally honest, while Insane Clown Posse and Nickelback both hold very special places in my heart…I listen to a lot of hip hop as well. I think if I wasn’t doing a show on Indie Invasion I’d definitely be doing a hip hop show instead.

CS: Alright. Yeah when I type this up I don’t think the sarcasm or jokes are going to go over as well.

BR: Sorry.

JB: (laughs) I just had to get it in there.

CS: No that’s you. It’s just that I type up “when I asked what kind of music you listen to, Joey said Insane Clown Posse” so that’s what it’s gonna be like.

JB: They fall under hip hop, so you can cancel it out by saying Insane Clown Posse…and Kanye West!

CS: Alright sorry we got a bit off track a little bit.

JB: (laughs)

CS: No it’s cool, I like where this is going. You’ve been very helpful so far.

JB: Thank you.

CS: I mean the worst thing would be if you answered “I like music it’s cool” and I would just have nothing to work with. But you’ve been very helpful. I’ve got a few more reaching questions but you’ve had some really good answers so far so I’m hoping these will also be pretty good. So why is music important to you personally?

JB: You want to go first.

BR: Yeah yeah, I’ll go first. It’s a tough question cause as big of a part as music is in my life I don’t think about it too much it just comes easily. I listen to what I listen to and if I like it I listen to it. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like music. Music is just a huge part of everyone’s lives no matter what you listen to. Music is important to me cause I mean music can make people happy no matter what, no matter you’re listening to.

JB: Any way, for me music is something that I attach a lot of memories to and it’s something that I can measure in time. Like when I was a freshman I had my Beatles phase. When I was sixth to eighth grade I had my “I only listen to underground hip hop” phase. When I was fourth to sixth grade I was like “I like pop punk” and Fall Out Boy and all that. So I think music as like a benchmark for periods in your life is definitely something that I believe in. And apart from listening to music I also make music. I play in a band. And I feel that-this is the obvious answer but playing in a band and making music, just writing songs, is just a great way of getting your ideas and your feelings into something tangible. Like I write a song and then I see that as an achievement. Like for sports people they have their trophies and their medals and all that. I have a song that I can write and then I hold it up as a trophy for myself. Like “oh hey I learned to forgive someone that I never thought that I could” or “hey I got through a really bad depression…a really long bad depression” or something like that. So just using music as points in my life to look back on and to look forward to. For me that’s what it means to me.

CS: Wow. (Laughs) Thank you. That was very great for the two of you thank you. This is a bit less of an esoteric question. Is there anything you’ve been listening to or obsessing about lately? A band, an album, or a single song.

BR: I kind of like to obsess over anything I’ve been listening to at the moment. I’m really into The Frights right now which are a local San Diego band. They kinda play surf punk, dirty doo wop, that’s what they categorize themselves as. And it’s just really fun and upbeat music and the guys are all really cool so I like to play their music no matter what I’m doing at the moment.

JB: For me what I’m obsessing over right now is everyone on the record label called Orchid Tapes. They put out a bunch of lo-fi pop stuff which is what I’m into obviously. But singled out from all those artists is a band-or two projects-called Elvis Depressedly and Coma Cinema. Which are both fronted by this man named Mathew Lee Cothran. And I’d say that lately that for at least the past half a year he’s been my main inspiration. Not just for writing music but in terms of philosophy and everything. And just the ideas he puts into his music and across all his projects each release has left me feeling more inspired than I’ve ever been in my entire life. And that’s not just in terms of writing music but in creating and maintaining the relationships I have in my life. So I look up to him not only as someone whose music I enjoy but as a person.

CS: Alright thank you. I think that just about does it for us. I’ve got one more question, this is kinda a fun one you can answer really quick. Describe a perfect show for the two of you.

BR: One where I wouldn’t be saying “um” every other word maybe, or not looking to Joey for some help because that happens sometimes.

JB: I think a perfect show would be where we don’t stutter once.

BR: Yeah, happens quite a bit. Especially when you’re just doing improv.

JB: Yeah, we don’t plan these things out. The only thing we plan is our playlist.

BR: Yeah.

CS: Alright, thank you. I think that just about wraps it up for us. You know it was eleven minutes so that’s pretty long.

It turned out to be longer than the 5 minutes or so I originally planned, but I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I’m thinking that most of them will run longer than 5 minutes. Not wanting to take up more of their air time, I shook hand with the duo and bade them goodbye. I got about as far as the bike path on Campanile when Joey ran me down telling me that I forgot to take a picture of them to put on the blog. Backtracking to the studio, I snapped a few photos and thanked the duo profusely once more before leaving once again.

Joey and Bridget both sent me some songs to put on the blog in case any of you listeners are curious about what they’ve been talking about.

Joey’s songs are: Her Sinking Sun by Coma Cinema, Harvey by Alex G, Give Me Back to the Sky by Teen Suicide, and Weird Honey by Elvis Depressedly.

Bridget’s songs are: High School Girl and Kids by The Frights.

So that was the first interview for Sounds of State. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Be sure to listen to Bridget and Joey from 1 to 3 on Thursdays on KCR College Radio, the Sound of State.