Every year at KZSC we have to say goodbye to graduating Djs. In this interview Djs Null (Glass Castle II), Elbo (Got Rapps?) and Syd the Kyd (No Pasa Nada) reminisce about some of their favorite memories and experiences from the past few years at the station.
What is the origin of your DJ name?
Null: I have a lil null symbol tattooed on my ankle so my DJ name came from that.
Dj Elbo: Elbo evolved from Elz which was a terrible name that had to go.
Syd the Kyd: Syd the Kyd was a childhood nickname, and along with my friends, I was eventually Syd Vicious, or Syd-Fishous, to play wit my last name Fishman. When I started DJing at our local radio station in Garberville, KMUD Community Radio, I played tracks by Syd Tha Kyd of The Internet and got into Odd Future’s mix tapes. This only helped my idea that my DJ name should be Syd the Kyd.
How many different shows have you done/how long has your career at KZSC been?
Null: I started my first show Fall 2014, so… 3 years I guess? I’ve done a lot of shows and collectives over the years which makes putting a number on it difficult.
Dj Elbo: Been affiliated for 3 years, have had 3 shows.
Syd the Kyd: I’ve been at KZSC for about 3 years, including my first quarter of mentorship with Brianna Diane on her show Lights On, and I covered a mix of electronic, rock, hip-hop, and my personal favorite-international music shows. The first winter quarter of my term at KZSC I started a show called Mumbai Melodics, covering classical music from regions of India, and featuring Bollywood music. I also started Revolutions Per Minute, a show that focused on a different genre each week that pertained to revolutionary music and protests from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and so on. I also started out the year helping out with This Just In From Outdoors, a weekly environmental news collective that was started by broadcast advisor and mentor Keith. Other shows include; Sunny Side of the Street, Eclectic Avenue, Turtle Island and Free Verse. And this Summer, I’m finishing up my last couple months at KZSC with No Pasa Nada, a variety of world music that focuses on new indie from Mexico, South America, and Spain. (Basically, everything around the world too.)
What is your favorite memory of KZSC?
Null: It’s really hard to have a favorite KZSC memory in particular but UCRN at KALX/KXLU are both stand out memories for sure. Or going to literally any house show and ending up in a corner of the party with other KZSC staffers.
Dj Elbo: One favorite memory was having the south county money boys in the station
Syd the Kyd: I’d have to say, one of my favorite memories was the first time we did Secret Santa. We started Secret Santa back in December of 2015, I received my mentor Brianna’s mix tape, and starting jammin’ to my new favorite R&B and Electronic tracks for the rest of the Winter.
How did you originally get involved with KZSC?
Null: The first week of my Freshman year, Lennon, I’m pretty sure Nairi (Firey Nairi), and I all went to volunteer. It’s actually really funny I have a photo on my Instagram of that exact day too!
Syd the Kyd: I wanted to be involved with KZSC ever since I started at UCSC. I was a part of a community radio station in high school, so being a college DJ was a small dream of mine. I just tried to be friendly, I met a lot of new DJ’s, and started interviewing musicians with them as soon as I got to the station. And when DJ’s welcomed me in, I knew I wanted to be a part of the KZSC Radio Community.
What advice would you want to give to new programmers starting at the station?
Null: Do a late night show! My first show was 12-2am and it was so great being able to experiment w/ ranging styles/sounds/mediums with little to no pressure of fucking up too bad. It really honed my confidence on air and I urge all new programmers to do it! Also, swear words!
Dj Elbo: Be more open to other people’s tastes. It super easy to be a music snob, push yourself to not be one.
Syd the Kyd: The first thing I’d like to give advice on, is don’t feel intimidated by the people at the station. Most likely or not, they were just as nervous when they first started on the air. If you approach them, everyone is very welcoming. Follow your passion at the station, if you see that you’re interested in news or interviews, go for it! Don’t feel like you need to be a long time DJ to get involved with new things. If you’re interested in shows and festivals, do concert reviews for KZSC! Represent the station like it’s your home (which it will be). Don’t feel intimidated to get out there and represent KZSC to the community. You’re only in college for a short amount of time. And the people you meet and the memories you make at KZSC, will be more memorable than the classes you took or the grades you got. So have fun with it. Also save everything from the station! Build your portfolio. If you’d like to enter radio after college, you’ll have a portfolio ready to show to employers.
What are your plans upon leaving the station?
Null: I’m not sure really. I still want to pursue a career in public broadcasting because I fervently believe that public/non-commercial broadcasting can be a radical tool in social justice/anti-capitalist work.
Dj Elbo: Try to continue non commercial radio
Syd the Kyd: I just graduated in June, and I have started a summer internship at a local radio station KSCO. I help them do news writing and recording interviews in Santa Cruz County. It has helped me get a general perspective on what local news is like in a small community. In September I will be moving back home and applying for graduate programs in journalism. I am hoping to receive a Masters of Arts in Journalism, and if I can, I’d to apply to some internship and fellowship programs at news organizations like This American Life or Democracy Now!. If I don’t receive internships, I plan to teach in Journalism Studies or World Literature Studies.
Any final thoughts/ things you want to share?
Null: KZSC is the reason I graduated college. Straight up. Without this community of weirdos I am not sure I would have been able to push myself to graduate when I was at my lowest. I owe KZSC a debt of gratitude that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to re-pay.
Also shout out: DJ’s Compost, Brickfrog, Cowboy Neal, Justin Credible, Marles Barkley, Drought, Harvey, Henny D, and Brianna Diane for being older programmers that I could look up to! Viva KZSC!
Syd the Kyd: I owe so much to KZSC because doing the music and news shows there showed me how much passion I have for journalism and how I’d like to pursue it in my future. Without KZSC, I am not sure If my degree at UC Santa Cruz would have the same meaning to me.