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Exclusive Internview with General Manager Sam Pickup Aka Two Ham Sam

Miranda here! Read along as I pick our General Managers brain and learn about topics such as pop-punk angst, his unique start at KCSC, and his advice to interns at the station.

Me: Let’s start with the basics, DJ name and Show name?

Sam: DJ Two Ham Sam, and Sam’s Soapbox. It was originally called the hour where Sam talks about his feelings and favorite movies, but that was too long, so I just stuck to feelings thing, so basically I just play some really angsty music, then jump on the mic and talk about things that annoy me. (Sounds like some good stress relief)

Me: Is the commentary thought out and scripted, or do you speak whatever is on your mind?

Sam: Well it’s on Sunday so I can just see all the bullsh*t that happens during the week, probably some of that will set me off. The music I play is also pretty representative of my feelings at the time. Not to mention the angsty pop-punk music fits well into my stressful schedule.

Me: What is your favorite genre, pop punk?

Sam: I really like all music but I would say it is heavily pop-punk, and before that it just emo music, before that is was hip-hop. Not to mention there is a really big pop-punk scene in Chico, and I’m pretty familiar with them and play a lot of their music.

Me: Oh so do you also go to the freaky metal shows at Monstros?

Sam: I have gone to some of those, Monstros is a cool place, it doesn’t even feel real, kind of like you’re walking into an episode of the twilight zone.

Me: How did you get into music, do you play instruments?

Sam: No, but I grew up in a household where we all were connected by the music we would listen to, and would all talk about the music we listened to. My dad for instance was always really into the pop music he would listen to, like David Bowie and Elton John, and so we have always really bonded over that. Even though no one in my family played instruments, we all listened to music and have always really appreciated it.

Me: What was one of your favorite live shows?

Sam: Kaytranada – I saw him at the Observatory in Orange County. I like that he has a unique sound, and is not like other DJ’s. He has a funky sound that is great for vibing to at shows, because I’m not into the mega high energy, loud, bass in your face, but I like the whole vibey sound. He also had some trippy visuals, and had some sick dance moves while he was up there. For one of his songs, he had three beats in a row and he dabbed perfectly with each one of them, and it was the perfect triple dab.

Me: Do you have any funny stories from the radio station you would want to share?

Sam: The story of how I joined the station is pretty funny, it was my freshmen year and just my second day of going to Chico, and I saw the table, and they were playing this Outkast song I was really into at time, and I walked up to them, and said “Hey this is a great song” and they said “Hey if you like this music you should join the radio station.” So now three years later, here I am in charge of it. (6 semesters strong at KCSC!)

Me: What has been the best part of interning at KCSC, and best part of now being the manager?

Sam: The best part really is the strong community of people, if you get involved you know that you become friends with all the interns, and you know you always have friends at the station. As a manger I love being able to facilitate that kind of emotion, because that’s how you get people to work harder, and put in more effort into what the do.

Me: I agree, I always thought it was unique when I first began at KCSC how I would walk into the radio station, and a people would always be hanging out on the couches and conversing.

Sam: The only problem with that is that it can feel a little cliquey, like it is the group of people who is in charge, but that has been one thing I have been trying to fix this semester so that every feels included, and its not just the directors, but this is your space too, and you can hang out here.

Me: Building on that, do you have any visions for the radio station?

Sam: Right now one of our visions is to become a little bigger in the local music scene, and be able to facilitate our own shows. We want to be able to help local artists. For example hosting shows at the Naked Lounge.

Me: What do you think KCSC has taught you in your time here?

Sam: KCSC has taught me a lot about maturity because I am still younger than a lot of the interns at the station, but I am the manager. So theres a lot of learning as I go, and growing up. I had a lot of proving of myself to do because I went straight from a normal intern to the General Manager, rather than first holding a board position. It can also be hard to manage your friends, because you don’t want to come down on them, but you have to sometimes.

Me: So after the radio station and graduation in a year, at this point where would you like to go?

Sam: I am a media arts major, and I am trying to figure where I would fit best. I have been getting a lot of radio offers already, I have already been asked to fill the DJ spot at 103 fm. And a lot of Alumni have gotten good positions at radio stations after KCSC, because it is really good real world experience. So I may end up in radio, but my biggest goal is to end up on the visual side. I want to be on TV on day.

Me: Words of wisdom for future KCSC DJ’s?

Sam: Enjoy it while you can. Take it seriously, but remember there are a lot of learning experience and it is for fun. You need to do your job, and be good at what you do, but take every opportunity you get, because we do give you a lot of opportunities here at KCSC.

Interview by: Miranda Moog, DJ Moog of Barbie & Friends.

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Purusa – Soundtrack EP

With their name deriving from Hindu sacred texts that mean both soul and man, Purusa has been making music from Portland since late 1999. Combining elements of rock and roll, soul, blues and alternative, you get the four piece band Purusa. With the Soundtrack EP only consisting of 3 tracks, you really only get a taste of who Purusa is, but definitely want more after a few listens. Luckily this is their third studio album, so if need be, there’s more listening material just a few clicks away.

The opening song on the album called “Soundtrack” already shows the listener where this EP is headed. Sounding very reminiscent of The Fray and Kings of Leon, Purusa provides lots of reverberated guitar, light smooth vocals, and very airy swells that carry throughout the track. The second track “Fall Behind” has similar aspects to the first song, but takes a different stylistic approach, almost sounding like a mixture of Band of Horses and The Black Keys. It’s a very blues/rock and roll inspired track, and you can really feel the grittiness in it. The chemistry between the band can really be heard throughout the entire EP, and it’s easily distinguishable that they work extremely well together.

To most, a three track EP is just an appetizer, and will not satisfy the hunger for good new music, but Purusa demonstrates that they have what it takes to make a good project, and listening to their past work, they show just what they have in store for the future. With their last full length album released a few years ago, hopefully they will continue to grow and develop as a group and release a full length project in the near future. Definitely a band to keep an eye out for.

By: Terren Husges

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Festival Review: Escape Halloween 2016

escape-halloweenYes, I know its December and no longer October, but Countdown NYE is just around the corner! So here is my review on Escape Psycho Circus to get you pumped and ready for Insomniac’s next event. Not only will I be providing you with my in depth experience while I attended this event, but some tips just in case you are new to the rave scene.

Escape is held at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino, CA. This event is rising in popularity since it is the last Halloween musical festival in California. Due to the positive responses of the past year, Pasquale Rotella the CEO of Insomniac Events, decided to bring back the theme of Psycho Circus for their 2016 festival. For the very first time they created an actual haunted house, that I unfortunately did not get a chance to experience.

Insomniac cares about their guests more than what most would expect and so here is what I have learned about them from my experience. Insomniac allows their guests to dress up, but does have a dress code that prohibits cultural appropriation. In my opinion that is fantastic that they are taking the time to be activists as well! Insomniac is one of the few event organizers who have begun to allow organizations, who inform event goers or better known by the rave scene as headliners, about drug use and some even offer testing kits. They are not encouraging drug use, but are trying to prevent individuals from taking stuff that is not what they bought or from overdosing. Insomniac as well, offers other safety and wellness services such as medical tents, free hydration stations, and Group Control. Group Control is a team of individuals wearing purple shirts and fanny packs; they walk around making sure people are okay and hydrated. There is a strong stigma that you need to be on drugs in order to enjoy these events, and instead of creating more restrictions or cancelling the events all together; they provide services to help people. This is part of what is known as the PLUR culture which I will get into later.

The minute I stepped into Escape, I felt like I was in wonderland! There were hundreds of thousands of people dressed in costumes surrounded by bright colorful lights and a beautiful lake in the middle of the event. There were carnival games, rides, food, and even a Ferris wheel. There were actors everywhere dressed in costumes in regards to theme of Psycho Circus. Wherever you were people were smiling and even checking up on strangers who seemed to be lost or ill. That was the beauty of PLUR culture, which stands for peace, love, unity, and respect. At these events you let go of everything and just enjoy the music and people. People wear bracelets known as Kandi, and trade them at these events. There is a specific set of hand gestures in regards to the acronym PLUR and after completing it you each trade a bracelet, necklace, mask, or any piece of jewelry you crafted out of colorful beads.

The stages were massive and the crowds were so large that I am not even sure how I managed to make it to the front of the main stage when I saw the Chainsmokers and Hardwell. If you were standing near the front of the stage, you were able to capture the musician who seemed like a spec on the stage and the performers infront of you dancing in Halloween costumes. If you were towards the back you were able to enjoy the visuals from the lights and the hand crafted totem poles in the crowd. You as well could jump in on the shuffle circles that were always seen towards the back. There was honestly no bad spot to stand and enjoy the performances. The music would just consume you and if you took a moment to look around you within the crowd you could see the pure joy and peace on others faces. There was no sense of judgment at all and it was very cool to see individuals expressing themselves outside of the gender binary. By that I mean men were dressed in what society would consider feminine attire or vice versa for women and instead of being ridiculed EVERYONE embraced them! That day was probably the greatest day of my life and I wish I could relive it over and over. I was able to see Armin Van Buuren, Benny Benassi, Borgore, Boombox Cartel, the Chainsmokers, Eric Prydz, Hardwell, Jauz, Martin Solveig, Zomboy, and my favorite Tchami! Festivals are seen to the public as places where people go just to do drugs, but it is so much more than that. It is a place where you can be yourself, people are kind no matter what, and everyone there is attending for the same reasons as you! TO ENJOY THE MUSIC! I highly encourage attending one of these events. It is life changing.

Here are some tips I gathered from asking other headliners and my own knowledge:

-Stay Hydrated! I highly suggest buying a water backpack.
-Take breaks! It gets very hot within those crowds and it is a full two day event.
-Have a meet up spot just in case ya’ll split up. Phones typically don’t get service.
-Carry a fanny pack to put your phone, keys, and wallet in.
-Make kandi and get into the PLUR culture! Tell people it is your first time!
-Make new friends and enjoy the music!!

I hope you all enjoyed this review and these tips. Make sure to check out my review next fall because I will be attending EDC Las Vegas! Keep it PLUR!

Reviewed By Justin Torres

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