Johnny Maxwell INTERVIEW w/ RIZ AKA RSD 4.17.18

Johnny Maxwell stops by 88.1FM KZSC Santa Cruz College Radio for an exclusive interview with DJ RIZ AKA RSD on 4.17.18. In this interview, the two talk about: his debut EP, X Factor, National Television, remixes, secrets behind his name, Show & Prove, connecting with Rexx Life, DMP Fest, and artists he’s willing to work with! Check it out.

Johnny Maxwell – Show & Prove

Cop his debut EP – Just So We’re Clear
Available on all digital outlets.

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KZSC interviews: Steve Morse

Formed in the early 70’s, the Dixie Dregs bent the genre boundaries of rock, jazz, country and classical.  Fusing unique instrumentals, the Dixie Dregs challenged the listener to expand beyond the industry standard typically fed to the masses as pop music.  This uniqueness became the demise of their marketability. However, forty one years later—as the original members of the Dregs have reunited for their Dawn of the Dregs tour—the massive response and fan support is proving that notion to be obsolete

Carol from KZSC’s Test of Time spoke with Steve Morse, guitarist and founding member of the Dixie Dregs about his early influences, work ethics and the band’s reunion tour.

Steve also talks about his career with Deep Purple, sharing his first experience as the band’s guitarist and how Deep Purple and its music has retained his attention for 24 years.


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Xslapz (SOB X RBE official DJ) interview w/ RIZ AKA RSD

Born Xavier Patton, Xslapz is a 19-year-old DJ residing from Vallejo, CA but lived in every part of Vallejo. After his father realized that he is a social and popular kid in high school, his mother bought him a DJ turntable set. He linked up with SOB X RBE because Yhung T.O. and he went to Jesse M. Bethel High School together. After that, Xslapz self-taught himself how to DJ, produce, mixing, and mastering & is now the official DJ for SOB X RBE. Check out the interview below as RIZ AKA RSD chops it up with his childhood friend. We talked about the current tour, the growth since their first ever show, Oracle Arena, relations to prolific Bay Area talent, being a hoop star in high school & his upcoming projects.

If you haven’t seen Xslapz 1st interview with RIZ AKA RSD, check it out below!

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written by: Rizal Aliga & Andrea Baldrias

COLUMN: Pussy Riot Invites Santa Cruz to Protest… and Santa Cruz Fails to Show Up

UPDATES:  12 April 2018, 11:20 a.m.: This article was updated with new reporting and additional analysis.

When Pussy Riot, Russia’s premiere feminist art collective known for its rotating and balaclava-clad cast of political performers, announced a gig in Santa Cruz, I bought a ticket and readied myself for something historic.

Night of, I dressed for both punk show and politically rally, but I couldn’t have prepared for what was ultimately delivered: a total letdown.

Tickets cost $25, and Pussy Riot, which on Tuesday was just Nadya Tolokonnikova and another unidentified DJ, played an underwhelming 40 minute set. Surrounding the evening was a hailstorm of misinformation regarding scheduled times for doors and music, and some late-comers, perhaps expecting an opening act, arrived at the venue as Pussy Riot left the stage, missing the performance completely. Ranging from disappointed, to angry, to perplexed, many sought out Catalyst staff, wanting their money back.

Pussy Riot failed to meet our expectations, varied as they were, but as I peeled back the layers of my disappointment, what I found was not a laundry list of injustices committed by an artist I did not know well, but Santa Cruz, my city and my home.

The aftermath of the show was a total flip from the excitement that kicked off the evening, when Tolokonnikova, under the bright wash of white strobe lights, took the stage with “Make America Great Again.” More pop than punk, the track asserts that the U.S.A might be great if it learned to listen to women and stop killing black children. It’s participatory in that it asks its listeners to envision a better future: “What do you want your world to look like? What do you want it to be?”

Maybe it was that the crowd hadn’t been warmed up, or perhaps attendees were expecting something undeliverable, but there seemed to be a disconnect between the performers and the crowd. Some danced, others stared at Tolokonnikova, whose erratic movements mirrored the chaos of the videos projected behind her, through the screens of their iPhones.

Pussy Riot performed just two more songs before leaving the stage for an intermission.

While the duo was away, black and white line drawings of churches flashed across the screen. Written over the pictures in red letters were lyrics from Pussy Riot’s infamous Punk Prayer: “Virgin Mary please become a feminist. Virgin Mary please get rid of Putin.”

In 2012, members of the collective were arrested after performing an iteration of this song in Moscow’s largest cathedral. The action, which lasted fewer than 60 seconds, landed Tolokonnikova and her co-conspirator, Maria Alyokhina, in a Russian penal colony, where they served twenty-one month sentences for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” An amnesty initiated by President Putin ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics, freed the duo in the final weeks of 2013.

The group performed a few more songs in Russian and English, ending with “Straight Outta Vagina” from their 2016 EP, xxx. Despite its intentions, the song has received backlash for its genital-centric construction of womanhood, which in more progressive circles is recognized as a trans-exclusionary brand of feminism.

And if the lyrics weren’t enough to prove this critique valid, for a brief encore, Pussy Riot came out waving the Transgender Pride Flag. Written on it, the slogan: “Pussy is the new dick.” This strange spectacle was greeted with cheers and the blinking of many cameras.

After the show I caught up with David Anton Savage, General Manager of the Rio Theatre and host of the long-running KZSC program Unfiltered Camels. He reported that Pussy Riot’s 40 minute set was, according to the sound guy, the second shortest show in the venue’s history.

While we talked, Savage was approached by a ruffled fan, who asked if we worked at the venue. When Savage said no, the man began to vent.

“My girlfriend and I drove down from San Francisco, spent two hundred dollars on a hotel. We came here for nothing.” A passerby recommended he leave a bad Yelp review. “For who?” he replied in earnest. “No one even cares about Yelp anymore.”

UCSC student Belle Holder, who’s followed the group since she was in middle school, expected a Pussy Riot show to be heavy on politics, not what she described as “old Russian club music.”

In the past year we’ve watched enough artists fall from their graces to know what disappointment feels like. It was easy to recognize its palpability amongst the crowd as it poured out onto Pacific Avenue.

But some attendees, like Tomás Lamar González, were more understanding. “In light of the fact that three of them were kidnapped a month ago,” he said, “I wasn’t surprised or disappointed.”

González was referring to reports that multiple members of the group, including Maria Alyokhina, were detained upon entering Russian-annexed Crimea on March 18. Alyokhina has not performed with Pussy Riot since speaking with reporters about her romantic relationship with Dmitry Enteo, a founding member of the ultra-orthodox, anti-LGBT Russian political group God’s Will.

Irony of this nature doesn’t sit well with many Santa Cruzians, who prefer to believe that the industries they support reflect their values. The cultural diet of the region is not so different. People here want to know that the art they consume is produced by those they wouldn’t be embarrassed to go to a protest with.

It is fair to say that Pussy Riot hasn’t always passed this litmus test. But what if, by asking these women to be our artists and our activists, we’ve set the bar impossibly high.

A society asks its creatives to represent both its deepest and most banal desires. Live the starving artist trope until, if you’re very lucky, or privileged, or both, it sustains you. We ask even more, and with higher stakes, of our social justice activists: just fight our heaviest battles for us. We’ll stand over here.

Current archetypes for this phenomenon are Emma Gonzales and David Hogg, who, with furrowed brows and powerful oratory, transition from civilian to generational spokesperson at the flash of a camera. In the shadows is their classmate, Samantha Fuentes, addled with PTSD after being hit in the face by bullet spray at Stoneman Douglas High School. On March 24th she took the stage at the March for Our Lives rally in D.C., and mid-sentence, as the world watched, vomited into her own hand.

Our culture is one that disproportionately applauds activists who, despite long hours, little pay, and immeasurable stress, suffer privately and not in public. But like Fuentes, Tolokonnikova’s foray into activism was result of injustices unimaginable to most Americans. She is under enough personal and political pressure to deserve the benefit of the doubt from a crowd that boasts as many privileges as the one gathered in Santa Cruz on March 27.

Not one-sided, disappointment is a relation between multiple parties. A crowd is nourished by the energy of its performers, and vice versa. But in some cases, when the relationship is more parasitic than reciprocal, a performer can appear drained by an audience. As was the case between Tolokonnikova and her iPhone-wielding, expectant Santa Cruz audience. The brevity of the show seemed to suggest that the disappointment was mutual.

In a very important sense, Pussy Riot did deliver last week. They set the stage for their fans to engage with ideas of political utopia, and when they posed the questions, “What do you want your world to like? What do you want it to be?” they challenged us to imagine it for ourselves.

They even offered some solutions. “Matriarchy now,” they had written on the screen during one song, and later, “God is woman and she’s bad and she’s queer.”

In one video projected behind the performers, a television anchor announced wish fulfillment news: “Donald Trump has been impeached. Five criminal cases have been brought against him.” And minutes into the next song, another news anchor, this time reporting from the Russia: “Vladamir Putin has escaped Russia during protests against him.”

“Anybody can be Pussy Riot,” Tolokonnikova said, her final words of the evening. “You can make your own band and start a concert.”

Pussy Riot, from the opening lines of their first song, invited us to take action. They created a space for us to organize, provided the soundtrack and lyrics to our protest, and from the first song, challenged us to envision a borderless, international community that brought corrupt leaders and institutions to justice.

Tolokonnikova has faced a lifetime of violence over the past decade, and was asking us, explicitly, to carry some of that weight. It was as though we’d left her to march alone.

Pussy Riot self-describes as a fake band. Tolokonnikova is not in it for the music; she’s a performance artist whose guerrilla collaborations with other artists and activists aim to shake the masses from the complicity of their slumber. And at the Catalyst last week, this is exactly what she failed to do.

But part of that wasn’t her fault.

To be disappointed in an artist is to believe they owe you something. To be disappointed in an activist is to idle in the safety of your privilege and offer a critique. It is to spend $25 to be a spectator at a political rally instead of inciting one of your own.

Pussy Riot chose a limited number of cities for its first ever North American tour. Their stop in Santa Cruz was nestled among dates in Los Angeles, Boston and Mexico City, cultural metropolises known for incendiary, if not revolutionary, spirits.

On this night, at least, Santa Cruz failed to provide the fire.

Written By: Robin Estrin (DJ Compost)

Rusko’s Comeback & His “5 New Songs” by Joshua Vargas aka DJ Iehoa

Recovering from his latest battle with cancer last year, Rusko has come back in 2018 with a plan to take over the world. His awaited return began in February where he immediately picked up where he left off with a killer set at Wobbleland the Bay Area’s biggest dubstep/bass festival. Here he played lots of his old killer tracks such as “Hold On” and “Woo Boost”. After his performance at Wobbleland he shorty signed with Circus Records and debuted his single “Hot” which made it clear that he was back for good. Now he has just recently released a full EP titled Has Made 5 New Songs (which also includes “Hot”).

His song “Mind The Gap” captures why he was considered the king with his old-school wobbles. Exactly what seemed to have been missed by the dubstep community. The tracks “High” and “Emotional” explore a more melodic tone with the vocals and sounds that are implemented in the songs. In his 4 artist collab with Dangerous, Fraksure, Simskai “Walalangeleng” is a banger which involves a jungle/reggae/breakbeat style.


There is clearly nothing stopping Rusko from making his mark in 2018. His legacy had been revived this year and you can catch him at many festivals happening in the near future such as Deadrocks, Dancefestopia and Lost Lands.

You can listen to Rusko’s whole EP below!

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Written by: Joshua Vargas aka DJ Iehoa

DJ Fizzi Pop Attends SCMF 2018

Written by Sarah Woolley, a.k.a DJ Fizzi Pop

From March 10-11, 2018, Downtown Santa Cruz experienced the whirlwind that is Santa Cruz Music Festival, featuring 200+ artists of musical and visual talent. A unique part about this festival is that most of the artists featured are fellow Santa Cruzians taking over dance floors located at popular hotspots such as Motiv, the Blue Lagoon, and even San Lorenzo Park!

There were three kinds of passes you could receive for the festival: one-day passes for either Saturday or Sunday, a Local’s Pass which is 21+ and grants access to all the bars and restaurant venues where the local artists played, and a Full-Experience pass, which granted you access to the recently-added Civic Auditorium. Considering all the headliners were playing there, I spent a lot of time in that venue.

Overall, the event was fun and had many different choices of venue and music taste. It’s not what you expect of your average music festival in an open field with monstrous stage builds and camping opportunities, but the downtown feel of it all made it very urban and immersed. It was pretty cool seeing my favorite record store (Streetlight) turn into a concert where I could shop for vinyl while jamming to live music. Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage even held a free concert in San Lorenzo Park, where everyone in the city was able to attend without needing a pass!

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of getting to watch Ghostface Killah’s 45 minute solo set, which was followed by the inspiring 20-year old electronic musician, K?D. He played some of my favorite tracks from him, such as “Fourth Impact”, his infamous collaboration with Rezz.

The visual artistry and laser lights ranked up the performances by a million, considering the Civic Auditorium has a high school gym feel to it. The lightshow definitely added a more entertainingly aesthetic feel to the whole vibe of the night.

Sunday was a much more enjoyable day to explore the other aspects of the festival, giving the atmosphere bit of sun following Saturday’s all-day rain shower. The headliners that day included CharlestheFirst, another young DJ from Tahoe whose alt-psychedelia electronic tunes put most people in the crowd in a musical trance. On the lineup also included Santa Cruz local Oliver Tree, a 24 year-old rapper whose fashionable Dixie cup jumpsuit stole the show along with his Soundcloud hits such as “Alien Boy”.  


Following him was a notable choice of female DJs including French producer CloZee whose heavily-world influenced electronic vibes had a great musical flow; and Mija, a small green-haired girl with a vicious talent for mixing house, rock ‘n’ roll, trance, and other musical elements into a smashing DJ set. To close out the festival was Mr.Carmack, whose famous trap remixes got the crowd to get down as hard as they could for the last set of the night.

This year’s SCMF had blown last year’s out of the water, with better organized venues, a good highlight of local artists, and an equal mix of every genre you could imagine for young and old alike.