KDHX Volunteer Spotlight
KDHX Volunteer Spotlight: Mark

Host of The Crooked Spire
Wednesday, 5-7 a.m.

Show Description: 
Ambient, drone, kosmische, vaporwave, sound art and everything else that can be listened to while slowly waking up. Or busy making the world a better place.

What would would you like to share with KDHX listeners and readers about yourself?
I'm British (so if you've ever thought "what's that nonsense?" when listening to a DJ speak, it was probably me). I love computer driving games, although I'm not very good at them. I'm a fan of cheesy B-movies, and for the first year of lockdown would host a Tuesday night viewing of one of my favorites, via Facebook Watch (RIP) or Twitch. I've lived in the US for seven years. I just started wearing glasses, which has been odd. I feel like I'm in disguise.

Please describe the inspiration for your show.
The name came from a former DJ (so, thanks to them) - it's the local name for our famous church, which had a spire built in the 1350s which has, over the centuries, slowly twisted to its present beautiful shape. 

I wasn't hearing the sort of music I liked on the radio, really. There's a thriving community of ambient music, vaporwave, and experimental music in general; but the huge majority of what I heard was dead music, stuff that was either a hit before my father was born, or music that closely aped those styles. Enjoyable to some people, obviously, but it felt very samey to me. 

When I saw the call go out for new volunteers, I jumped at the chance. There's so much incredibly good, interesting music being made right now, that uses technology and instruments in weird and wonderful ways, that I wanted to share it. My thought was to provide a soundtrack to either studying or waking up  - it's something you can play while you're doing other things, although it almost always rewards a close listen too.

Why does being a KDHX DJ matter to you?

It's the most fun part of my week, and I get why it generates so many strong emotions. Being a DJ is brilliant! I get to listen to new music, obscure old music, and long-term favorites, and craft a show out of them every week. Then, I get to talk about and introduce people to that new music, or to occasionally play them a classic they've probably not heard for years. This is "classic" by my definition, you understand, I'm not dropping many top 10 hits on my show. 

I understand how incredibly lucky I am to get to do this. There's only a handful of us in St Louis, and we've been given all this freedom to play pretty much whatever we like. That's incredible! When you listen to commercial stations with their microscopic playlists, I get to dig things out that might never have been played on the radio anywhere before. I really hope my passion for this comes across to listeners, and that they discover something new, or just appreciate that there's a place where a quiet Englishman can play 20-minute drone soundscapes to early birds, students finishing off their papers, parents trying to calm a crying baby, all those groups and more.

Why is KDHX important to you and to your community?
I'm not sure I represent a community, and wouldn't want to speak as if I did. We have many wonderful new DJs who are giving voice to people who've been historically under-served in many ways. 

KDHX is important to me because I want to stand in the tradition of people who’ve tried to popularize the sort of music I love, and KDHX not only allows me to do that, they encourage me. I know when I listen to other shows that they’re getting the same encouragement, and that’s wonderful. 

What are some of your favorite KDHX shows?

Rocket 88 - the sort of show I'd love to do, Darren plays such a great and carefully selected range of music.

Thick As Thieves - it's the show where my wife's tastes and mine most overlap, so we have fun listening to it if we're able. 

Time Travelling My Way - G.Wiz and Lady Jock are fantastic hosts, I only wish to have command of the airwaves like they do, one day. 

Global Grooves - Jan is so good and her playlists are very well-selected. 

Serious Journalism - I am normally asleep when it comes on, but I try and keep up with it. A force of nature. 

What record do you think everyone should have in their music library?
"Spiderland" by Slint. One of those records I wouldn't change a millisecond of, everything sounds perfect, like it was always there, waiting to be discovered. I know it sounds over the top to say about a rock record, but it's art. It should be treated like Rothko or Hirst.

Favorite thing you are listening to at the moment?
A subgenre called "ambient country." Pedal steel guitars on ambient tracks, slow and meditative country music, and everything in between. There's some really interesting musicians operating in this space, and I'm trying to listen to as much of it as possible. 

KDHX DJs do what algorithms can't, create music playlists with a human touch. Check out our updated show schedule and make your next musical discovery today.

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