Interview – John In The Morning – DJ KEXP 90.3 Seattle

SM: John, you host a morning show for the rarest of creatures, a listener supported radio station free of corporate ownership. Do you think we’ll ever be able to trust a corporation with the sort of format KEXP pro-vides?

JITM: I think you first have to ask, will there every be a “corporation” with our format? I’m guessing no. They have to answer to corporate ownership so that means the DJ will not be given the ability to program their show. If this ever did happen I would trust it as far as I could throw it!

SM: Is it better to know music or own music?

JITM: One must own music to know music.

SM: Ever had someone recognize your voice on the street?

JITM: YES. Many times. Oddly, mostly in the supermarket BUT I do get rather excited when I’m in the frozen food section! I can’t help but raise my voice at the sight of a box of frozen peas!

SM: How much would they have to pay you to come over to the dark side of corporate controlled broadcasting?

JITM: They’ve offered it before. I’ve turned them down. At the end of the day, its how you feel about yourself. You could have a pile of money in front of you but if you don’t feel good about what you accomplished at the end of the day who cares how much cash is at your feet. Of course if it were a MILLION dollars I could probably buy that kind of feeling.

SM: When was the last time an album really, really got to you?

JITM: Happens all the time. It happened last week with the new Veils, new Delays and the new Keane releases. So if its a question of when the last time THREE albums got to me, that’s the answer.

SM: Sound, to the best of my knowledge, is the result of changes in air pressure. Does it strike you as odd that you spend your mornings orchestrating changes in pressure to trigger brain reactions in other human beings around the globe?

JITM: I think you’re asking me if I change tires for a living but I can’t be sure. It is odd that I am using my brain at that hour, that I know.

SM: You spend the better part of your day immersed in sound. What’s your first reaction when you encounter complete silence?

JITM: Sleep.

SM: Some internet radio stations are allowing their listeners to rate songs in a way that what they hear relies on artificial intelligence, making choices based on what they rate highly. Do you think human DJ’s will ever be an antiquity?

JITM: Please. That’s like asking if computers will replace artists, musicians, people who create….which they might, but that’s not a world worth living in. How do you break new music if I have to wait for someone to vote for it? I love getting feedback and need it to do a good show but I think if you replace a person-ality and the human touch, life gets really boring really quick.

SM: You make choices that affect a lot of people, in real time. Do you try to keep a structured format, or do you take a more liquid, fly by the seat of your pants apporach?

JITM: I try pouring liquid through the fly in my pants.

SM: My friend says everyone has an ABBA- a band you may enjoy, but the enjoyment of which you wouldn’t necessarily advertise- mine is rod stewart. Got any musical skeletons in your closet?

JITM: Rod Stewart? Man, that’s tough to beat but I’m pretty sure “Mr Roboto” from Styx is one of the greatest songs ever made.