DJ Spotlight: Emily Mason (DJ Drama Queen)

DJ spotlights are a great way for you to meet the awesome students and community members behind the voices you hear on KWVA each day. Stay tuned for a DJ Spotlight every few weeks, and if you’re a DJ who’d like to be featured, email Sophie. 🙂

This week, I’ll be highlighting Emily Mason, AKA DJ Drama Queen! She hosts “Left of the Dial” every Saturday from 8-10 pm. She studied planning, public policy and management at UO, and now works full-time at the library while finishing her thesis. She moved from Portland to Eugene in 2014 where she’s now settled comfortably with her cat, Al.

KWVA: What made you want to become a DJ on KWVA?

Emily: I got involved my junior year in 2016. I always knew UO had a campus radio and thought it was really cool. One of my coworkers had a show and encouraged me to apply – and since this was over summer break, KWVA wasn’t so flooded with applications.

KWVA: What’s the story behind your DJ name/show name?

E: I chose my name, “DJ Drama Queen,” purely because I liked its alliteration. I can’t remember exactly how I came up with it, but once I’d said it out loud I knew it was the one. My show’s name is the title of a Replacements track. It’s actually gone through a number of iterations – the “Witching Hour,” “Ice Cream Social” last summer, but I’ve finally decided to keep this one.

KWVA: Favorite artist to play on the air?

E: This is so hard to choose! But what immediately comes to mind is John Maus. I play him almost weekly and yet I literally never listen to him at home or outside of the studio. I think I’ve listened to most of his songs piecemeal and played a lot of them, but I’m not sure I’ve ever sat down to consume an entire album. I’ve also been playing a lot of Love recently, which I find fun because I just got really into them within the past year and I think they’re a bit forgotten about outside of music nerd circles. I also love to play weird girl pop – like Kitty, Uffie, Grimes, or Slayyyter. I’m a poptimist at heart, but I don’t feel like KWVA is the station people tune to when they want to listen to Ariana Grande – I kind of assume our listeners want something more out there or avant-garde. So I find stuff that’s unique enough to satisfy listeners seeking something new, but poppy enough for me to jam along in the studio.

KWVA: Favorite KWVA memories?

E: My favorite memories are probably getting to know the DJs who had a show before and after me – I could make a long list because I’ve been here a long while, but shout out to the current guys with those time slots, ExtraThicc and Trott! Both of them put out great shows. DJ ZILF played before me for multiple terms and always had super interesting shows. I loved coming into the studio to hear whatever he was playing at the end, and I would probably never have listened to Sun Ra without him. A specific memory that comes to mind is playing Sonic Youth’s Dirty for album hours, and having a DJ I’d shadowed and really admired post about it in the DJs’ Facebook group. I was very flattered.

KWVA: What is one word you would use to describe your KWVA experience?

E: Eclectic

DJ Drama Queen

KWVA: Favorite album(s) of 2018?

E: To be terribly honest, I had to Google “best albums in 2018” because I have the memory of a goldfish, and because I don’t really keep track of “new” music that isn’t an Ariana Grande single. I wasn’t overwhelmed by anything in particular, but I did enjoy the Grapetooth album and Father John Misty’s God’s Favorite Customer. He’s probably my favorite songwriter right now. Also, Trust Fund’s Bringing the Backline.

KWVA: Do you have any advice for new DJs?

E: Do whatever you want within FCC limits! It will probably take you a full term to get into your groove – you just need to relax. Radio is live, imperfect, and extremely fun. That’s why we do it. I would add: I once saw a quote like, “every DJ wants to outsmart their listeners.” Unless you’re a total vinylhead, this probably won’t happen, so just play what you like and what you think is cool without worrying about others.

KWVA: If you could have any artist, dead or alive, perform a private concert for you, who would it be and why?

E: Another tough one! Because I’m on a kick right now, I’ll probably go with Tim Buckley. I’ll go even further and say: Tim and Jeff Buckley. They’re both extremely talented musicians with melancholic stories, who moved on before their time. Jeff Buckley was incredible live, and Tim was also such a beautiful singer and guitarist. Of course, now that I’ve typed this, I’m thinking: wait, dead beautiful singer and guitarist…. should I go with Elliott Smith?

Thanks, Emily 🙂