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.

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.

A Review of Disney’s Cinderella (Yes, the 2015 One)

This week I was fortunate enough to score some tickets to an advanced screening of Disney’s newest live-action retelling of the classic, Cinderella. Though Cinderella is not my favorite OG Disney princess (shout out to Princess Jasmine), this rendition of the beloved film was spectacular. Cinderella is truly amazing: it’s family-friendly, features more details about the characters, and has a very handsome Prince (whoever casted him seriously deserves an award). My only criticism is that I wish they had incorporated some of the Grimm brothers’ version, Aschenputtel. In their action-packed version, the evil stepsisters chop off their toes and heels to fit the glass slipper, and have their eyes pecked out by doves at the end. Oh, the drama.

Now, for the review. *SPOILER ALERT*

Cinderella starts out with beautiful little Ella happily frolicking about in the countryside with her family, which is of course torn apart in the first fifteen minutes because her mom gets sick and dies. I don’t understand why Disney feels the need to have their protagonists either lose their parents or their only living relative; maybe they figure the orphan-ness makes you want to cry just enough to reel you in.

The storyline essentially parallels the original version. What you see in the 2015 version is more of Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella being extra rude to Ella. It’s mildly uncomfortable to watch because Cate Blanchett’s laugh and demeanor is so evil, but at the same time, you can’t help but appreciate how striking and fierce she is. It’s ironic because you’d think her daughters would try to emulate that, but they’re pretty much the female equivalents to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Despite Ella’s efforts to live by her mother’s last words, “have courage and be kind,” she cracks and apparently copes with her feelings of despair by venturing to the woods on horseback. There, she meets the Prince, who is on a quest to hunt a majestic stag with his army of trusty knights. Right when we see his perfectly coiffed hair, we are also shown more of the Prince’s character. After all, he’s more than just a pretty face. Upon their accidental yet destined meeting, he introduces himself as a royal apprentice named “Kit,” in hopes that he’ll be able to interact with her as a normal guy. Their horses literally prance in a circle for about five minutes before she finally runs off, without even saying her name.

It’s love at first sight for both of those hopeless romantics. But there’s just one problem: the King will only let him marry an eligible Princess, meaning someone who can add treasure and land to the Kingdom. Oh yeah, and the King is also dying (what is with this movie and death?). Kit’s solution was to agree to this, but only if he’s allowed to open the traditionally elite ball to the public. His secret goal is to have his father meet the charming girl he met in the woods, which would force him to have a change of heart because she’s so great.

Word reaches Lady Tremaine, who of course forbids Ella from attending the ball. Ella is heartbroken because she has no interest in the Prince; she only wanted to see the apprentice from the woods again. Ella’s tears are the queue for her fairy godmother to show up for once, and she grants Ella’s wish to be able to go to the ball—but in style. Equipped with a special spell to protect her from being noticed by her jealous stepmother, Ella also gets a golden pumpkin carriage with mousy horses, lizardy henchman, and a goosey coachman. The dress was magnificent, and the effects made it feel like it was going to pop off the screen and whip you in the face with fairy dust, butterflies, and yards of tool.

She arrives fashionably late to the ball, and enchants the whole ballroom with her grace, beauty, and fabulous dress. She reunites with Kit, now revealed as the Prince, and has a jolly old time on a swing in his secret royal garden until the clock tragically strikes midnight. She dashes off, and he fails once again to get her name. Classic Kit.

A search for this mysterious beauty begins, but not before Lady Tremaine gets to the Grand Duke and blackmails him into only letting her daughters try on the glass slipper. He agrees because he’s a horrible person, and almost succeeds in hiding her from his team. Kit tagged along because he didn’t trust him (his instinct was right– the Duke was #fake), and he hears Ella upstairs despite Lady Tremaine’s attempts to disguise her angelic song. Ella tries on her own glass slipper which obviously fits her, and she and Kit live happily ever after while the Duke, Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia are banned from the Kingdom.

I would give Cinderella five out of five stars. This movie was amazing. I don’t know how I was planning to wait to see it until the release date.

*Princely gasp*

Prince-in-Cinderella-2015