The Sounds of State-KC Stanfield

Two weeks ago, only a couple of hours after I interviewed Camelle Sison for my post last week, I sat down with KC Stanfield for this week’s version. I could tell that he really loved music thanks to the massive headphones around his neck, and he was about to prove it to me in our interview. Let’s get right to it:

Cameron Satterlee: Hi KC, thanks for joining me here.

KC Stanfield: Oh no problem, thanks for having me.

CS: Yeah alright, well let’s get to it. What’s your radio slot?

KC: My radio slot is the lovely time of Saturday at ten pm to eleven pm.

CS: Wow.

KC: I know, it’s late.

CS: I’ve had a few Saturday morning people because that’s the alumni shows, but I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed someone who has a weekend night.

KC: It’s pretty horrible, I mean cause usually you put your weekend on pause. Especially at the night cause everyone goes out and does stuff.

CS: Oh yeah.

KC: My friends will be like “Hey KC wanna go to a bar?” And I’m like “after my radio show I will.”

CS: Oh man. I think I might know the answer to this but how long have you been with KCR?

KC: Well actually I blogged for them last semester, about the music that I actually play now. I don’t have any time to blog anymore. It’s quicker to have a one hour radio show, prepare for that, and then do everything else I need to do. So I still want to be with KCR and talk and or play music that I like, it’s just different.

CS: But so this semester is your first semester on air?

KC: Yeah it is.

CS: Yeah I think the newbies get the weekend nights for the most part.

KC: Oh yeah they do.

CS: But you blogged before so that’s cool. What was your blog by the way?

KC: I just covered some concerts that I went to, predominately, sometimes I covered underground hardcore bands or metal bands that not many people know. On top of it being metal and no one knows it to begin with. So that’s what I did. I covered some hardcore concerts and wrote about some albums. Basically I was a metal blogger.

CS: Alright well you sort of answered my question but what kind of music do you play?

KC: Metal.

CS: Metal.

KC: Yep.

CS: Saturday night metal alright.

KC: I know right? It’ll keep you awake.

CS: Get the blood flowing.

KC: Ruin a party too, if you play KCR as your background music.

CS: Yeah. Yeah I thought the scheduling blocks were supposed to put the EDM DJ’s like on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

KC: They’re after me.

CS: Alright, but you got your metal show. Clashes a bit, probably. But maybe next semester you’ll get a slot more in tune with metal.

KC: Maybe. Well actually probably not since I’m graduating.

CS: Oh, alright well never mind. I’m glad I got this interview to document this.

KS: Right?

CS: So, why metal? Why is that your scene?

KC: I dunno, I kinda got into it at an early age. I was, it’s probably not the best comparison, metal is really like drugs. You start off with some of the easier stuff, I started off with some Avenged Sevenfold, some Metallica, Disturbed. Some light hearted metal.

CS: (Laughing) my mom wouldn’t call Metallica lighthearted.

KC: And then in high school I slowly got more into metalcore stuff, post-hardcore stuff like A Day to Remember, the Devil Wears Prada, Parkway Drive. And then now, I still listen to all of that old stuff, but what I can withstand or enjoy, is a lot heavier than what I did four years ago.

CS: Oh that’s such a metal thing to say, the music you listen to is the stuff you can withstand. That’s so amusing.

KC: I know right? That’s how everyone else is, I’ll play some Whitechapel and people will just stare and me and say “you listen to this?” Because I don’t have long hair or are covered in tattoos, I don’t look really like the general metalhead so it kinda throws people off at the beginning. And a lot of them are like “oh my god this stuff uhhh ahhh” but it does grow on you. Especially my roommate, he’s gotten used to it.

CS: Alright, yeah. I know you probably wouldn’t play anything else on your show cause that wouldn’t flow together, but do you listen to any other genres of music, or mostly metal? Or different kinds of metal I guess.

KC: Yes to both. I listen to stuff you’d expect like rock, because it’s an offshoot of metal. I also listen to more indie and alternative stuff like Interpol or Modest Mouse. I listen to rap too, like Nas. I like the political stuff more, Hopsin’s pretty cool. So I listen to a little bit of everything, I listen to techno. Not so much country, can’t stand that stuff, don’t know why.

CS: You and every other DJ I’ve ever interviewed. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any metal fan have the gall to say that rock is an offshoot of metal.

KC: Well technically metal is an offshoot of rock.

CS: Yeah they’re related, but rock came first.

KC: But if you compare—I’m trying to think of a rock band—Nirvana.

CS: Yeah they were influenced by metal.

KC: If you compare them to—any metal band, I’m trying to think—Parkway Drive, it sounds nothing alike. Anything that screams, it just doesn’t sound like rock anymore, it just sounds like metal.

CS: Oh yeah they’re totally related but not close.

KC: They’re oceans apart now. It’s like the continental drift of music. That is the nerdiest thing I could have said, too.

CS: Hey whatever, that’s fine. So I guess you sorta explained it, but I kinda wanted to go a bit deeper. You grew up listening to metal, but I know people who did that and sorta phased out of it, but it seems like you went deeper into it. So I assume the music is pretty important to you, why it that?

KC: Well I do like quicker tempo music to begin with, and that’s metal right there. It’s always fast. And the thing I love about metal is that there’s usually just a ton of passion into it. I mean these people are screaming their voices out, they’re breaking their vocals essentially because they love the genre. They’re not getting paid much, it’s metal, they’re not making—well some of them are—but most of them aren’t making millions and millions of dollars. They’re doing it because they love the music. What more can you ask when it comes to music because they’re artists who are passionate about the music and just about the music.

CS: Yeah, that’s a great response. So is there any new metal band out there that you’ve been listening to lately? Or an old one that you just discovered?

KC: Yeah, I mentioned this on my last week’s show but the band is called Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza. Deathcore. I know that is the most ridiculous name for a metal band in the world and I love it so much just because it’s so ridiculous and out there.

CS: I think I’ve actually heard about them once or twice in high school. Just cause of the name probably.

KC: And I’m waiting for new stuff from a band, probably not many people know them, they’re called My Heart to Fear. They’re really metalcore if you want to define them exactly but they sorta have their own unique sound. They scream to be heard rather than to be loud. So you can understand them a bit better and the lyrics are really well written.

CS: Alright, so I always like to end on this one, what would be your ideal show? The perfect show for you.

KC: I don’t know that would have to be an all day festival of just bands that I love just back to back to back. Because there’s so many bands that I’d love to see live.

CS: Oh no I mean your radio show, your one hour block, like if you could do it really well how would that go? My bad I didn’t word it well.

KC: I do it when my iPod didn’t have technical difficulties. I have a lot of music on this, I have over 8,000 songs on the now discontinued 160 gig iPod. So it froze on me one show!

CS: Oh no!

KC: Oh my god. So I was just trying to ramble and restart it and come up with a story because I totally didn’t expect this since I’m new and didn’t have a set story like “oh technical difficulties, here’s a little bit about me.” Because no one wants to listen to that, when I listen to the radio I always hate when the DJ talks too much. So they’ll explain a little bit about the band or an upcoming concert or a new album and then go straight into the music. I hate when they just talk and talk and talk.

CS: Yeah.

KC: I don’t listen to radio for AM like programming.

Cs: Yeah when your iPod fails you that’s something you don’t plan on.

KC: Oh it was fun, it was a fun day.

CS: So I usually end on the last question, but I want to know, Black Sabbath, are they metal?

KC: They’re like the founders of metal.

CS: Alright but they’re not fast though and you said that was a core component of metal.

KC: True, but I am of the mind that if it was metal it still is, for the most part unless it’s a new album then it’s more rock. But they basically founded it, because Led Zeppelin was kinda like the transitioning period. I think Black Sabbath was the definitive “these guys: metal, yes” band. And I still think that is because think of some of the 80’s music, a lot of it was metal but now it’s classic rock. So our standards of genres have changed and that somehow changed what they were but I still consider them, what they were originally meant to be. That’s just me.

CS: Well thank for sitting down with me, it was a great interview.

KC: No problem.

After the interview, we chatted for a few more minutes, but unfortunately my small metal knowledge was rapidly running dry. I had to get to work so we parted ways soon after. Be sure to check out KC’s show every Saturday from 10-11 pm, only on KCR College Radio, the Sound of State.

The Sounds of State-Danielle Stuht

Hello readers! Welcome back to The Sounds of State. This week I interviewed Danielle Stuht, who you may know by her DJ handle Daniellica.

I met up with Danielle last Monday at West Commons. She showed up early and told me to just look for the pink computer and purple hair. Lo and behold I found her in that exact condition. We chatted for a bit at a table, the one closest to the corner by the building. I wish I could have picked her brain even longer, but I was dressed up coming from work and needed to eat before setting off to class. Danielle struck me as a knowledgeable and dedicated DJ, I could tell when interviewing her that she was very involved in her show and her music. I think you readers will have the same impression.

So without further ado, we go to the interview.

Cameron: Alright we are recording. I am here with Danielle. So, Danielle, could you please tell me your radio slot?

Danielle: Yes. So it’s every Tuesday from 2 to 3, and it’s called Local Bands Unleashed and it’s just playing nothing but San Diego bands.

C: Wow that’s really cool, gettin’ all the local action in. How long have you been with KCR?

D: This is my first semester, so I’ve never done any radio before, this is the first time and it’s really really exciting. I love it.

C: Awesome, welcome to KCR. So I guess you answered what you play, but with these San Diego bands is there a specific sphere—musical area—where they, you know, trend towards?

D: So I really try to emphasize all genres of music. I want this to be very equal opportunity. You know it’s just really an outlet for the local musicians to get out and for people to hear their music. But the most love and support I’ve gotten from is from the metal community. They’re really really underrepresented when it comes to music and getting their stuff out, and so I’ve gotten just so much love from them. You know I had an entire metal hour two weeks ago where I had The No Name Gang in studio. And they had a big announcement about their show that was coming up at House of Blues. My show tomorrow I will have the singer from Dark Measure. He’s gonna actually be a guest host with me tomorrow, and they have a new cd that’s coming out Saturday. So I’m really trying to give back the love to the metal community because they’ve just given me so much support and so much love already.

C: Wow that’s awesome. Especially since at KCR we don’t really have a dedicated metal block so yeah they must love getting on your slot.

D: Exactly, I’m kind of hoping that maybe next semester to have nothing but a metal show. You know that way it can hit that genre, that specific audience that doesn’t get to hear that.

C: Alright, cool. So what do you personally like, the music you personally like to play?

D: So I am actually personally more of a rock, pop, reggae—anything like that—I’m a little bit more commercial. You know anything really in the rock genre, that’s how I was raised. My mom was a big metalhead so it’s interesting about the whole metal thing, cause life is pushing me and pulling me in every direction of metal, but it’s just not where my personal love of music is. I more enjoy something I can dance to, you know something I can sing along to and whatnot. But I’m equal opportunity for all music really, other than country, no country.

C: (Laughs)

D: No room for country around here.

C: I know a few people who feel the same way. So this is a bit more of an out there question, but you’ve been very good with answering these so far, so I think you can handle it. Why is music important to you? What made you want to be a DJ? Why is it important in your life?

D: I feel like it’s the one constant in my life. You know I’m a little bit older, almost 28, and you know I’ve seen a lot, I’ve been through a lot, and music is just the one constant that’s always been there. It’s the one thing that hasn’t changed. It’s the one thing that I can really fall back on and know that it will always be there to support me. With radio, I grew up listening to the radio, this was something that I’ve wanted to do my entire life. And you know when people bash on the radio I’m just like “what are you talking about?” This is the first medium was that you were able to hear different kinds of music, and prior to the internet and being able to find these bands. So you know it was radio that paved the way for us to be able to hear different music and different bands and be able to be exposed to it.

C: That’s very true. Yeah I think that’s a great point. I didn’t even think about that before. So is there anything lately that you’ve been listening to in specific that you know is always in your head or obsessing about? Could be a band or an album or just a song.

D: You know The Black Keys are playing in two weeks, and I bought tickets to that six months ago when those tickets went on sale. So it’s just been one of those that I’ve just been waiting and waiting and waiting for those to come up. So I’ve really been listening to a lot of Black Keys, I really love the Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, all of that kind of music which drives my metalhead boyfriend absolutely insane (laughs).

C: Are there any—I’m gonna put these on the show, what I’m I talking about, the blog—any specific song recommendations you’d have for some fans?

D: Oh man. It’s really about the hits, you know what I mean? And what’s played on the radio. You know I don’t really get too far into that. But if I’m gonna recommend that anyone listens to anything I highly recommend listening to the bands that I’m putting out there. If I could tell anyone to listen to anything please just support local music. Cause without it, without local music, these bands don’t have the opportunity to turn into these huge bands like The Black Keys, like The Arctic Monkeys. You know if you’re not supporting them, then how are they ever gonna make it? How are other people gonna be able to be be exposed to it? You know so that’s my suggestion is, you know these big bands are awesome, totally support them and listen to them, but really give your heart and soul to these local bands, and give them your time and give them your attention, because without it they’re never gonna make it. You know it’s all about the love and whatnot.

C: Alright, yeah. So just pick and choose among a wide variety?

D: Yeah, for instance The No Name Gang, they’re metal but they’re really listenable metal. You know what I mean? They’re not that cookie monster, growl-y, anything. They’ve got two amazing guitarists, a really great drummer, really great bassist, and their singer has such a stage presence that you don’t have to be a metal fan. But you’re totally rocking out to it, getting’ with it, so check out The No Name Gang. They are going to be huge.

C: Alright, cool. So last question, this is a bit of an easy one to finish off on. Can you please describe your perfect show, how it would go?

D: Oh man, my perfect show. Well I would say the most perfect part would be that I don’t have any extra time left over, and that all the songs actually get to play full through. That’s one of the first ones, I’m really really working on, on getting that full hour of you know not cutting any music off or anything. But if I had the perfect show it would just really showcase a different band from a different genre and everyone. You know what I mean? I would like to have a metal band, and then I’d like to have an indie rock band, you know and then a harder band like Gunner Gunner. They’re local and they’re rock but they’re really easily listenable. And they you know maybe some kind of reggae thing like Slightly Stoopid, you know they’ve made it but there are other bands like that out there. So if I could just have one show that was super eclectic, that I think is the ultimate show for me. And that’s what I’m striving for, to make it like that.

C: Okay, thank you for taking the time out of your day to be interviewed for this spot. I’ll have this up soon.

D: Yeah absolutely, thank you.

Danielle and I talked for another minute or two before we had to part. I snapped a photo for the blog than had to be on my way. Remember kids, listen to your local bands. Who knows, maybe someday they’ll make it big and recall your die hard support.

Thanks for reading The Sounds of State.

Underappreciated Hardcore Band of the Week: My Heart To Fear

My Heart To Fear is a Christian metalcore band from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, as well as the the band that inspired this weekly article. They’ve released two albums, Into the Maelstorm and Algorithm and are currently signed to Solid State Records.

Very few bands have the ability to make me fall in love with their music instantly the way My Heart To Fear did. For most bands, I’ll lose interest quickly, unless they grow on me over time. However, after hearing, what I still think is their best song, 4th Dimensional Opera House, they quickly became a favorite of mine for the past year. It’s definitely accurate to say they’re a band that sticks out in a stale genre.

The first thing that stands out about My Heart To Fear might be their most dividing element. I’m talking about the vocals. I can understand if someone doesn’t like them because Trevor Pool does have an interesting vocal style, to say the least. Instead of trying to sound as heavy as possible, which he can do if Pack Up, We’re Moving is any indication, Pool’s screams are meant to be understood. This results in style that distinguishes him apart from every other band.

The second part of My Heart To Fear that stands out are the instruments and how they’re composed in their songs. Everything from the guitars, bass and drums are outstanding. However, what sets them from other talented bands is how they make them stand out. The guitars will usually be tapped quickly, but My Heart To Fear isn’t afraid of throwing a bass solo into a few songs. They also understand how to incorporate slow parts into songs, so the quick and heavy parts can be truly appreciated.

As far as they’re lyrics are considered, it”s more appropriate to call it poetry. They do have a Christian theme in their songs (worry not because songs like Angst and Blood Money do criticize some aspects of churches), but almost every song is thought provoking and brimming with passion and emotion. It’s an incredibly difficult to strike a balance of being heavily critical with just enough hope to keep the average person from being turned off. It’s safe to say My Heart To Fear is in the highest tier of metal song writers.

My Heart To Fear deserves way more recognition than what they currently have. Give them a like on their Facebook to help support them. I await with bated breath until I can see them in concert.

The Goldmine-Killers by Iron Maiden

Today we are going back to 1981 to our second foray into the metal scene. Between when they helped start the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with Iron Maiden in 1980 and when they gave the genre it’s defining works with the trio of The Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, and Powerslave in 1982-84, Iron Maiden released Killers. The sometimes overlooked and underrated album was the second and last to feature vocalist Paul Di’Anno, who would be booted out following their tour supporting the album because of unreliability and drug use. Adrian Smith, who would team up with Maiden’s other guitarist Dave Murray to record some of heavy metal’s best songs, debuted on the record.

Iron Maiden’s second album begins with the short instrumental song The Ides of March. The song establishes the band’s sound for the rest of the album. The recording quality has improved since their debut record but the harsh edge can still be heard in the guitar tone.

The second track on the album has also proved to be the most enduring hit. Short for Iron Maiden fare, Wrathchild shows off perfectly the transition that the band was undertaking in the Killers album. As I mentioned before with the changing tone, the band was moving away from the biting punk-metal sound into a more conventional heavy metal tone that would define their most famous work. It only became conventional because Iron Maiden made it the standard for the rest of Heavy Metal to follow. Wrathchild was written years before its inclusion on the album, dating back at least to 1979 when it was on the very first Metal for Muthas compilation.

The third track, Murders in the Rue Morgue, is another one of the few songs written before the Killers album session. Murders is based off of the same titled poem by Edgar Allen Poe and features similar thematic material in the writing. Iron Maiden has very frequently written songs inspired by old books, poems, films, and television shows including some of their best work.

The fourth track on Killers is the short and rushing Another Life. Featuring one of the fiercest guitar solos on the album, another life is one of the perfect examples for highlighting the importance of including Adrian Smith in the Iron Maiden double guitar assault. Every great Maiden album since has always included him and Murray teamed up.

Following up Another Life is Genghis Khan. The song itself is notable for being the second instrumental on the album, no other Iron Maiden album had more than one, and after 1984 the band would not release another. There is perhaps no other song that illustrates the influence that Progressive Rock had on Iron Maiden with its instrument harmonizing and studio explorations. It is the pinnacle of this form of creativity for Maiden, who would slowly adapt themselves for the longer more lyrically oriented era that would dawn following the album.

Steve Harris’ thumping bass guitar starts off the relatively slow paced Innocent Exile. Despite the slower playing speed, the song takes its power from the interplay of the bass and electric guitars, as Harris, Murray, and Smith weave in and out of lead and rhythm sections to provide the song with the signature Iron Maiden dynamism.

Already we reach the seventh and title track of the album. The song Killers begins with an agile bass and drum intro that slowly builds over a minute and crashes into the verse. Like much of their early work, the song and the album were controversial among more the conservative (or at least more sensitive) areas of the British press. The song itself tells of a serial compulsive thrill murderer who hunts his victims down in the dead of night. One of the most intense tracks on the album, it features some of drummer Clive Burr’s finest recorded work. Killers is the only song written for the album that has a co-writing credit Paul Di’Anno. Bassist Steve Harris wrote every other song written specifically for Killers.

What I mean by this is that, depending on what version of the album you listen to, a song by the name of Twilight Zone (written by Harris and Murray) is included. Twilight Zone was written as a single and not originally meant to be on the album. It isn’t on the British release, but follows the song Killers on the American and Canadian editions. It follows Purgatory as the tenth song on the CD reissue. For a metal song, it has an impressive beat and showcases Di’Anno’s vocal range.

Hey everybody, it’s a song on a metal record with acoustic guitar! Some may say blasphemy, but quite often the bands that define a genre break that genre’s rules. Prodigal Son is the longest song on the album at six minutes and twelve seconds. This makes it the shortest ‘longest song’ on any album, as Maiden usually has at least one track that pushes the eight minute mark, with a few going over ten.

Purgatory is the rushing and furious penultimate track, featuring rapid-fire lyrical delivery and instrumentation. This was the fourth and final song written before the Killers album sessions.

Drifters is the final song on the album and closes it with a bang. Containing just enough pop sensibility within a thunderous armor, it’s a catchy yet completely metal rush of a track. Once again, Iron Maiden’s progressive side exposes itself with a short slow then fast interlude in the middle of the song. The track ends with the crashing of cymbals and a lashing howl of Paul Di’Anno, the last we would hear of him as the singer of Iron Maiden. But in his wake we would meet perhaps the greatest metal singer of all time, the legendary Bruce Dickinson, who would be the final piece in the puzzle and usher the band into metal superstardom.

In all, Killers is a very different beast than the band that Iron Maiden would develop into. It is very much a transitional work, but still much more reflective of their early career than the band they would develop to be. Like I mentioned before, their initial self-titled album, and their following few releases are much better known when compared to Killers. Nevertheless, Killers is an album that would do you well if you’ve never listened to it. It draws from a variety of styles (rare for metal) and represents the most legendary metal band of all time still attempting to discover their unifying sound, and lineup for that matter.