Dani Kinnison's Posts
|I'm music lover and currently the Journalism Intern for KDHX.|
Every Monday 7-10 a.m. Central on 88.1 KDHX, Cat Pick hosts “Emotional Rescue,” a wide-ranging mix of pop, rock, R&B and so much more.
I chatted with the award-winning DJ (the Riverfront Times named “Emotional Rescue” Best Rock Radio Show in 2009) about her history with KDHX, her early discovery of music and what keeps her going as a volunteer on the radio.
Dani Kinnison: How did you get started at KDHX?
Cat Pick: Well, I started with my first husband and we started volunteering in like 1988 maybe, so it’s been a long time. We did music library stuff, so of course we wanted a show and put our application in. Then we got a show near the end of 1988 and that was a Saturday night into Sunday morning, 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. We had that for quite some time.
How do you pick stuff for Emotional Rescue?
In the past, I think it was different when we started because it was just so important to play certain things that nobody knew about. That was before [the Internet] and everybody knows everything now, you can find it in a second. Our first show was called “Left of the Dial,” because we loved the Replacements so much, and normal people didn’t know about the Replacements.
And I think now, the older I get and the longer I’ve done it, it’s kind of just what sounds good that day. And I do the birthdays, so that’s kind of a starting point every week, things that I’ve never heard before necessarily, so it’s fun. But I think it’s less, the way music is now, it doesn’t feel so like “Oh my god, everybody must love every single thing I play because it’s so important” you know what I mean? It’s way more, “I wanna play this song so I’m going to play it.”
Does your own personal music taste overlap with your show?
Absolutely. I think it’s pretty clear. People tease me about things that I’m obsessed with that I’ll play a lot. I started my show with Elbow a lot, for probably more than a year, and now I don’t do it very often anymore, but that’s what people say to me. So yeah, definitely my own tastes absolutely come through, but I do play a lot of stuff off the new shelf. We don’t rule out something necessarily just because it’s popular on regular radio. But a lot of people who listen to KDHX don’t listen to regular radio so they don’t hear it.
Do you have a certain format for “Emotional Rescue”?
I probably have about half of my show done beforehand. I do playlists on my computer, probably about an hour and a half’s worth, and the rest is just whatever. So that works out. I like having that so I know if something happens I don’t freak out and I’ll have something there to play.
Some people are very planned with their shows, down to the minute. I can’t even imagine that. It just seems to work out. After you do it for such a long time, I mean I haven’t done it solidly since I’ve started, but for the most part, I think you just get the rhythm down and you just know. I don’t even think about it.
‘It was just pretty much chaos and all hell breaking loose every night’ A pre-LouFest interview with Girl Talk
Electronic musician and dance-party captain Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis, returns to St. Louis this summer for LouFest.
Here’s what Gillis has to say about playing festivals, how he makes music and who he’s looking forward to seeing play at the festival.
Dani Kinnison: You’re headlining LouFest this year. Do you think there’s a difference between playing festivals versus club shows?
Gregg Gillis: It’s hard to say what’s better or worse. I always love the festival because I like to see the other bands and hang out outside of the actual show. I love hanging outside, and I like going to watch music outside during the summer. When I play festivals, it can be special for the large mass of people to all be singing and dancing outside in the summer time. I love the summer festivals.
It seems like you must spend a lot of time cataloging music. Do you have a specific routine when you gather music?
Even though it’s been a couple years since my last album, I cut up samples every day. When I’m on the road sometimes I won’t get around to it, but when I have a day off I’ll spend the bulk of my day isolating samples, and I have a list of songs that I want to get to and that list is ever-growing. I’m always excited to be able to sit down and chop things up and go through the process of trial and error. I’m always developing new material for the show, and that material could eventually be on an album.
Does material from your live show drive the album, or does the album drive the show?
After “Night Ripper” when I went and did those shows, I didn’t want to sit down and just go through that album. I want it to relate to what I’ve done, but if possible, then take it a step further. When I’m trying new material out live, that’s the greatest place to get feedback. Sometimes the response of the crowd won’t entirely determine whether it’s going to make it onto an album, but it definitely can influence it. So I’m definitely always trying out bits and pieces and seeing how it’s going over, seeing what people relate to.
What bands are you looking forward to seeing at LouFest?
The Flaming Lips. I just love their approach and I think they’re a band that really puts a lot of thought and effort into their live show and kind of took it somewhere entirely new, especially when you compare them to other contemporary rock bands. I think they’ve just gone extremely far with it and it’s rad.
I know at LouFest, Dinosaur Jr.’s playing and they’re one of my favorite bands ever, so it’s really cool to be able to check out stuff like that.
What can people expect to see from your set at LouFest this summer?
We’re always fine tuning it. Musically, the set is always kind of shifting. I always try to reference certain elements from records from the past that people know and like. But in general the set’s constantly moving forward and constantly kind of experimenting with new material.
How many laptops have you gone through since you started Girl Talk?
“I haven’t truly broken one in a couple of years. I think that’s just gone hand in hand with the shows being more organized, but there was that era when the show was based around me getting on stage and just allowing the crowd to go crazy. So during that era I would say I broke probably somewhere around six or seven laptops. It was just pretty much chaos and all hell breaking loose every night.”
What’s your favorite part of playing a show?
I always really look forward to trying out the new material every night. I’m able to play it in front of a lot of people and they react to it, that really gets me excited. And the newer material’s always more difficult for me to play because I’m not as used to playing it. I’m triggering every sample by hand, and so when there’s new material sometimes it’s difficult. That’s where I’m most likely to make mistakes. It’s like the higher-risk part of the set, both in the response from the crowd and me actually executing it. It’s definitely the most exciting part for me.
How many samples do you have catalogued since you’ve been playing as Girl Talk?
I actually don’t have any idea what that number could be. I’ve been cutting up stuff since the year 2000. I would love to eventually share the catalogue in some way, I don’t know from where, but it’s like an endless supply of drum loops and samples and stuff I think people would be interested in.
Girl Talk performs live at LouFest on Saturday, August 25. 88.1 KDHX is a media cosponsor of LouFest 2012.
‘Keep challenging the listener and keep pushing the boundaries’ An interview with the Great Grandfathers
If you were to ask Luke Prize who his bandmates were three weeks prior to the Great Grandfathers‘ album release show, he wouldn’t have known the answer.
“There was no real band,” Prize — who sings, plays guitar and writes songs for the band — explains. “There was just friends donating their time, volunteering their skills and thoughts to the cause — and then the record’s done and we need band.”
What started out as a stripped-down record of what Luke calls “pieces of older thoughts, like B-side songs that nothing really happened to,” permeated into a lo-fi, pop album with equal parts rock and grooving soul.
“Every song has something going in every single part, and it’s just layered and layered and layered,” Luke says. The tracks originally began as mostly acoustic and stripped-down songs.
“I’m glad it took the turn it did because I feel like it’s challenging now and it’s pushed boundaries. I don’t know, it’s just different. I feel like as a musician you’re responsible to keep challenging the listener and keep pushing the boundaries.”
The now-formed band includes Luke’s brother Trevor on keys, guitar and percussion, along with Ryan Adams on drums, Andy Prinster on bass guitar, Rebecca Prinster on vocals and flute, Eric Enger on vocals, guitar and mandolin, as well as Andrea Walker on vocals.
With many of the Great Great Grandfathers’ members having been in other bands or currently working on other musical projects, the juxtaposition of time and talent available from the start of recording in January 2011 to the record’s completion seems to have worked in the band’s favor.
“Everybody put in the work and got everything together,” Ryan Adams says. “The culminations of years’ worth of off-and-on again effort and it was really cool to see it come together into a stage show that people were excited about and had a good time at. I got a kick out of that.”
“Saint Anthony’s Fire” is not a typical indie rock album. It’s adorned with jangling keys, ricocheting guitar melodies and wafting vocals over its 10-track span. It’s a toss in quite a different direction from what Luke imagined it beginning as, but there are no complaints.
“I don’t know if it’s the case for most musicians or artists who make an album, but I definitely didn’t see it coming together like it did,” Luke says. “To see it all come together in front of your eyes and feel like you have total control, or as much control as you could ever have, it’s really neat.”
With a freshly-pressed album under its belt and a couple of shows done to boot, the Great Grandfathers seem to be taking everything in stride, playing a couple of shows in the near future and letting “Saint Anthony’s Fire” be digested by listeners.
“I’m a big fan of the thought of taking [things] in on your own time,” Luke says. “No pressure, just digest, just let it work on you.”
Listen to the band’s recent live session recorded at KDHX.
Every early Tuesday morning, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Central, valis guides 88.1 KDHX listeners through the netherworlds of psychedelic music on “Trip Inside This House.”
In this interview, valis and I chat about his history with KDHX, his passion for psychedelic sounds and the obsessions of being a DJ.
Dani Kinnison: How did you get started DJing at KDHX?
valis: I didn’t volunteer. I was strictly a listener, a longtime listener. We moved back to St. Louis in 2005 I think, and in July 2008 I went to the orientation at the urging of a good friend and my wife. So I went and had a great time at the orientation, and emailed Andy [Coco, Production Manager] the next day and said, “Here’s the track I want,” the DJ track, and I think I went in a few days later and got through that portion of it.
My trepidation has always been the technology fear. There’s too many buttons and stuff, and I was afraid I would either hyperventilate or just freeze around all that machinery. Jeff Hess [host of "Afternoon Delight"] allowed me to come on to his show, sit there for two hours watching him do the stuff. He confirmed what Andy told me: that we’ll only use four buttons tops during the two-hour period. A lot of it is just superfluous. That eased my mind and about two and half months later I was offered a show and have been there since.
Do you have any background in music?
I got a guitar in 1991 and bought a guitar book and learned some of the basic chords. At the end of about a month I knew close to 200 songs, but they all rhymed with “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” That’s about the extent of my musical career.
Why psychedelic music?
Well, in the late ’80s when I was in my mid-20s, all my reading was on that kind of stuff. I was very interested in the exploration of it and where it came from, what things push it further, etc., alternate realities, things like that. I was not listening to psychedelic music at all. I had no idea that there was a whole, massive genre dedicated to all those things I was reading about. When we were living in the Grand Canyon in 1991, it’s a musical vacuum there, community wise.
So I probably read a review of Primal Scream’s “Screamadelica” and bought it and put it on rotate the whole night. I don’t think I slept the first night I got that album. It was just an extreme revelation to me that that was music that was matching what I was reading about.
So that’s really the genesis of that. I found music that matched what I was reading about. You could almost say I was a latecomer to it. I’m a latecomer to a lot of things.
‘Even if there’s 10 people in the room, we still give it our best shot’ A pre-LouFest interview with Little Barrie
In this interview, Cadogan gives an update on his band’s newest album, “King of the Waves,” the differences between crowds in the United States and United Kingdom and seeks some advice for what to do with one night in St. Louis.
Dani Kinnison: Your newest album just came out. How has the response been?
Barrie Cadogan: It’s been cool. There’s quite a gap between this album and the last album we released, part of that was due to the way the industry’s changed and we were trying to work in our other projects as well outside of the band. We were sort of ready to get this record right, so we preferred to take the time to work with Edwyn Collins as a producer in his studio, so we waited for that studio to be free so we could go and make the record we really wanted to make.
Does your songwriting process differ with albums? How did you approach writing and recording?
I suppose most of the time, there might be an initial idea or rough demo that I might make, but I’ll bring it to the guys and we’ll work on it together, and start playing through it and get a feel for it. We’ll just start trying different things out, really. I might write the words or make the initial thing, but we’re all quite sort of shaping the songs.
How does everyone’s projects and tastes musically influence the music?
I think sometimes you don’t always know exactly how it influences you, but it definitely does. Because when you’re working with other people, they all work in quite different ways and it’s interesting to see how people pull their ideas or influences together in the studio. Seeing how people work and if they have a slightly different approach gives you a fresh approach to your own work, which is a quite healthy thing in a way, I think.
Have you noticed a difference between playing shows in the UK and the United States?
Yeah, there definitely is. I think some of the British crowds can be quite reserved. I think sometimes they have a fear of what other people will think of them for letting themselves go, but we’ve got some great audiences around the UK. But we find US audiences to be very open.
Concert review and set list: Dum Dum Girls (with the Yowl) find the groove at Off Broadway, Monday, August 6
Even as the openers took the stage shortly after the posted show time, Off Broadway was still a venue half-empty. Not that that mattered to Springfield, Mo.’s the Yowl, as the band served up its punk-influenced rock as a primer for Dum Dum Girls.
When the buzz of the Yowl’s amplifiers died down, a different buzz of anticipation and slight impatience from the crowd grew over the next hour or so while waiting for the headliners.
With each member wearing black attire, Dum Dum Girls took the stage around 10 p.m. and plunged into their 17-song set with “Mine Tonight” and “He Gets Me High,” shifting the ambience from idle to active. Hailing from Los Angeles, Dum Dum Girls brought the frayed, whammy-heavy guitar riffs, breathy vocals and leading bass and drum beats that make their dreamy noise pop so memorable.
Dum Dum Girls shined when they played “Bhang, Bhang, I’m a Burnout,” a song that’s practically made to be sung and danced along to. As guitarist and lead singer Dee Dee sang, “Are you dead? In your head?” and “I’m a burnout, you’re a burnout too” the syncopated apathy seemed to connect with the audience.
The band made little time for banter in between songs, perhaps to make up for the lengthier than usual time lag between them and the openers. No matter the circumstances, once the songs got rolling no one seemed to mind the clock. Songs like “Heartbeat (Take It Away)” and “I Will Be” served as perfect opportunities for the audience to admire drummer Sandy’s backbeats, which blend perfectly with bassist Malia’s sweet and low bass riffs.
Standing onstage, Dee Dee’s black dress and black, patterned tights contrasted with the red curtain behind her and the dreamy vocals she projected to the 120-something bobbing heads staring up at her and the rest of the band.
The girls took a few breaks from their more energized songs to play some slower tunes. “Coming Down” is hauntingly down-tempo throughout the six-and-a-half-minute length and leaves room for Dee Dee’s vocals to stand out against the frazzled guitar melodies and soft bass-drum kicks. She exuded the feeling of a defeating crash: “I close my eyes to conjure up something/but it’s just a faint taste in my mouth/I think I’m coming down.”
Picking up the momentum and lightening the mood once again, the band churned out “Wasted Away,” which, like most of the set, came off of the 2011 album, “Only in Dreams.” The band did play songs from past albums, including “I Will Be” and “Jail La La” among others, making the set well-rounded in terms of discography.
After doing a splendid cover of the Pale Saints’ “Sight of You,” the girls came back for an encore of “Coming Down,” ending their performance and, in a way, leaving the audience gently, if not reluctantly.
He Gets Me High
I Will Be
Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout
Heartbeat (Take It Away)
Hold Your Hand
Rest of Our Lives
Jail La La
Teardrops on My Pillow
I Got Nothing
Sight of You (Pale Saints cover)
Concert review and set list: Kishi Bashi (with Tall Tall Trees) loops in fans at Off Broadway, Saturday, August 4
While Tall Tall Trees delighted the audience with his electric five-stringed banjo grooving tunes, Kishi Bashi (aka K Ishibashi) appeared here and there incognito in the crowd, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.
But when he took the stage, to a lively and eager crowd, Ishibashi was outfitted in a tuxedo jacket complete with a striped bow tie, a white shirt and a black ostrich feather tucked in his pocket. His attire contrasted his music as he opened his set with “Turn Up the Radio. “I’m glad it was a casual affair,” he sang, though he appeared anything but casual. The song is by Jupiter One, a New York indie band to which he also belongs.
The audience, packed in on the floor and upper level of Off Broadway, shouted out its appreciation. Kishi Bashi, who has also toured with of Montreal and Regina Spektor, must have also become increasingly enamored with the crowd as the show progressed. By the end of his fourth song, he was impressed by the audience’s clapping work during “Wonder Woman, Wonder Me” and joked, “You guys are in the band now.”
Watching Ishibashi perform onstage is pleasurably unnerving. It’s easy to follow him at first, as he makes his first round of loops, whether it be violins, vocals or hums. But as the loops begin to intermix and create a school of sound, it becomes difficult to distinguish when Kishi Bashi is looping or simply playing. It’s mystifying to see him on stage, in every sense of the word.
When he plays on stage, every sound counts. That’s why the performer had to politely pause during “It All Began With a Burst.” The reason? Too much clapping. “I really hate to put this on you guys, but you gotta stop clapping; I can’t concentrate!” he joked apologetically. “Let me make you a good beat,” he said. “You guys are musicians, I get it,” he laughed with the audience as he started up the song again.
Concert review and set list: Crosby, Stills and Nash fill the Fabulous Fox with harmonies, Thursday, August 2
For most bands, a standing ovation comes after a stellar performance. However, if that band is Crosby, Stills and Nash, the first standing ovation comes, already earned, before a note has been played — and such ovations reappear throughout the concert.
Crosby, Stills and Nash also needs no opening act. They take up the entire bill in the greatest way, having nearly filled the red velvet seats of the Fabulous Fox Theatre for their performance. And, if the introductory standing ovation was any indication, the audience only had ears for Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Opening the 22-song set with “Carry On/Questions,” it’s automatically clear that CSN is not progressing through this year’s tour on the banks of nostalgia and reminiscence. The group is not merely counting on the memories of an audience who has seen the trio perform before to carry them through the night. Rather, the band is here to play, and play well. Stephen Stills’ guitar playing during “Carry On” alone was enough to dispel any doubts.
It would be impossible to calculate the number of performances played between the men since the ’60s, especially given their individual musical involvements in other acts: the Byrds (David Crosby), Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills) and the Hollies (Graham Nash). It’s easy, however, to see and hear their ongoing musical compatibility onstage, beneath the projection of the band’s CSN insignia on the stage’s wall.
Long known for their ability to harmonize, Crosby, Stills and Nash did not disappoint the audience or falter on their harmonies, which were especially impressive when they played “Long Time Gone” and “Lay Me Down.” Additionally, there was a nary a song where Stills didn’t one-up his own impeccable guitar skills from the song before.
It’s no secret that the relationships within the band haven’t always been the most congenial throughout the years, but the almost boyishly energetic banter between the men on stage was welcome, notably when Crosby joked about ill-fitting pants on his “avocado-shaped body” and the friendly pokes between all three.
“It’s Stephen’s job to write fantastic rock ‘n’ roll like that,” Crosby said, after they played “Bluebird,” from Still’s days in Buffalo Springfield. “And it’s my job to write the weird shit. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it — and I like it,” Crosby continued with a mischievous grin, before launching into “Déjà Vu.”