Sonic Diet

Get to Know Your WMSE DJ — Era

WMSE loves free-form radio. Our format’s complete and genuine freedom allows our DJs to explore an insane number of genres — music without limitations! It’s a fact that each WMSE show has its own community within the larger, more inclusive WMSE community; diverse radio programming is rewarded with a loyal listenership like no other.

But because the WMSE DJs are only on the air for three hours each week, you the listener might not get to know them quite as well as you might like, so to give you all a bit more insight, we’re proud to introduce the Get To Know Your WMSE DJ series. Each WMSE DJ gets the same five questions, and just like our free-form format, they choose to answer however they want: short or long, intense or humorously…we ask, they answer, we post.

Sonic Diet will be posting a new addition to the biweekly series on Mondays and the first batch of WMSE DJs featured will be those whose show falls within the 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. show slots. Now up:

DJ: Era

Show Name: The Blues Drive

Day/Time: Mondays, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

How do you spend your days and nights when not hosting your radio show?

When I’m not at WMSE, I work supporting the fantastic, diverse productions at Alverno Presents as Theatre Operations Assistant. I also use much of my time for plotting or crafting my musical or artistic pieces, which at the time of your reading, consists of (in order of time spent this last weekend, from most to least): ambient glitch-kitsch music (maccacoon), photography/film, poetry, zine-making, gothic folk music, journalistic writings, collaborations and painting. Also, I tried Zumba tonight, so there’s that…

If you’re interested in what I’m working on, stay tuned to Sonic Diet for news of my Blue Book and Radio Show Show — a combined project of print and media about the blues, culminating in an exhibition, inspired by the experience of being a DJ of blues music at WMSE.

Do you remember what band, album or song took you from being a casual music listener, to a passionate music lover? Is there a memory associated with that experience?

When I was a kid, music wasn’t statedly a big part of family life. In the car, driving around London, pop made an impression on me — Little Richard, Annie Lennox. Also, the words and melodies of Les Miserables became seared into my mind, before I even know how to spell my full name. When we moved to America, to the suburbs of New York, my dad had his own study, complete with dark mahogany wood furniture, all his toy soldiers from the early 50’s lined up perfectly in a glass case. When he played from his vinyl collection, it was often the Beach Boys, or the soundtrack of The Big Chill, Jimmy Reed, that really got me wiggling and jiving. I’d ask him to take a dance break, until I was too old and embarrassed. I remember the first time music gave me chills was listening to he Indigo Girls, “Virginia Woolf” with my big sister in a red convertible. I was seven, and the swells of music went along, somehow, with the curves in the road, and both of our hair flying, and the sun shining. Another important musical influence was the through-the-wall seepage of my brother’s taste for Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead.

What band have you heard or discovered in the past six months that reminded you why you want to continue being a WMSE DJ?

Charles Bradley. That guy is so raw. I suspect he may have partly learned how to sing by doing impersonations of James Brown, since that was his gig before, but I think that only goes to show that listening and creating are part of the same thing. It’s all style-making. It’s fun to think about how now, people listen to Bradley’s music, sing along, and it’s allowing them to find their voices, too.

Who is your favorite non-you WMSe DJ and why?

I really enjoy having my show framed by Faux Eyes’ and Buzz’s Garage. One thing that makes me have a good day in radio is when Buzz tells me that he was thinking of playing something that I played on my show…but then can’t…because I already did. Faux Eyes/Bill and Jules are hipper than I could ever be, and Bill does awesome things like bring people together for fun community events. I appreciate when being a DJ is a natural outgrowth of the various things a person is interested in, so programs are curations of sounds and backdrops for experiences. Like Dori Zori, who’s always showing up to the party to play great music for people. Dori plays at these great parties, because she IS a great party. There are some amazing non-WMSE DJs in the community with lots of this kind of momentum. Heck, maybe I could convince some of them, like DJ Frank Frank from Circle A to guest-program on my show.

But back to WMSE. I have so much respect for Sonia. I hope to take her class on the blues sometime. She’s such a valuable presence, rooting WMSE’s tradition of blues right into history. Tom Crawford has seen a lot, too, and is often a champion of music that terrifies and excites me. I’m pleased also to be some kind of compatriot to Hal Rammel. Alternating Currents had the Chicago Underground Duo at Woodland Pattern pretty soon after I moved to Milwaukee, and that concert sealed the deal. I walked out of that place and that show glowing with excitement about what other pockets could be found here.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A dancer. And a really good drummer.

This entry was published on March 5, 2012 at 10:00 am. It’s filed under Get To Know Your WMSE DJ's and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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