DJ Spotlight: Jack Cochran (DJ Spooky)

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, we’re getting to know Jack Cochran, also known by his on-air alias, DJ Spooky! Jack is from Dana Point, California and is a sophomore majoring in Media Studies. He was recently hired as the new training coordinator for KWVA, and he’s stoked about being more involved with the station. Jack spends his free time listening to music, reading, playing guitar and camping. His show, “The Twilight Zones,” airs on KWVA on Monday afternoons, from 1-2 pm.

KWVA: Why did you get involved in KWVA/when?

Jack: I got involved with KWVA fall term during my freshman year. My grandpa owned a radio station in Little Rock, Arkansas back in the 1970s and he took it upon himself to ensure I grew up listening to all his favorites–The Beatles, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin–so music has always been an important part of my life. When I heard about KWVA during Introducktion, I knew I had to find a way to get involved. The idea of being able to share the music I love with an audience was very appealing to me, especially music that may not be well known to others. After going a bit overboard on the application, I was able to land a position as a DJ, which has recently evolved into me being the new Training Coordinator for the station.

KWVA: How did you decide on your DJ/show name?

J: I ended up choosing my show name when I found out that my original show time was going to be on air from 2-4 am on Wednesday nights/Thursday mornings. It was such a strange, surreal time for me to be awake that I decided to play around with the idea of liminality; crossing a threshold to discover something new, and I felt “Twilight Zones” embodied that perfectly. It’s not a consistent theme, but I try to play music that sounds as if it’s being broadcasted from another dimension, anything from jazz and psychedelic rock to doo-wop, blues, and punk. My DJ name, DJ Spooky, followed naturally after that, as I am fascinated with mystical, supernatural, and otherworldly phenomena in general. When my show was moved to Monday afternoons from 1-2 pm, I decided to stick with the theme, as it pushes me to constantly discover new music to share.

KWVA: Is there a particular album you listened to a lot over spring break?

J: Three albums I found myself listening to on repeat this spring break were Zuma by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Modern Lovers by The Modern Lovers and Weirdo Shrine by La Luz. They all have such unique sounds that they’re hard to compare to anything else. That being said, though, they all share some qualities that epitomize springtime for me. Whether it’s the sun-drenched vocals of La Luz’ “I Can’t Speak”, the humid excitement of The Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner”, or the breezy solo in Neil Young’s “Barstool Blues,” all of these albums put me in the mood to get outside and enjoy the radiant springtime weather.

Over the break, I flew home to Dana Point, California to surprise my sister, as she was running the Los Angeles Marathon through a program called Students Run L.A. I had done the same program when I was her age, so I was more than happy to fly down and cheer her on at the finish line!

KWVA: Favorite artist to play on the air and why?

J: Currently, one of my favorite artists to play is Thee Oh Sees, a San Francisco-based garage and psych-rock band led by John Dwyer. They’ve been around since the late 90s, so there is an endless amount of music to sift through. Their sound has changed a few times over the course of their career, but their output is so high-energy that it’s impossible for me to listen to them without wanting to speed down an open highway at obscenely fast speeds.

KWVA: Favorite KWVA memory?

J: My favorite KWVA memory was probably when I was doing the hands-on training session with DJ Reggae Rob before having a show of my own. I had been very antsy to get on the air leading up to the training session, so finally being able to use the board was exciting in itself. I had a great time playing tunes from 12-2 am, but what made it my favorite memory was the number of people who called into the station that late at night just to tell me that I was doing a great job and that they loved all the music I was playing. It was such a cool feeling knowing that people enjoyed listening to my show as much as I enjoyed airing it. I was hooked on radio almost immediately afterwards.

KWVA: What do you love most about KWVA?           

J: The thing I love most about KWVA is the community it fosters on campus. Being able to find other people who are as passionate about music as I am definitely made the transition from high school to college a lot easier. I also really appreciate KWVA’s mission to share songs and artists that you would not ordinarily hear on commercial radio stations. There’s something really special about being able to turn other people on to what you’ve been jamming to, especially if they wouldn’t have heard that song or artist otherwise.

KWVA: What do you hope to do when you graduate?

J: After I graduate, I hope to get a job doing something creative, whether it involves the production of music, photography, writing or illustrations. I have a few passion project ideas in the back of my head that would be a good excuse to get out and do a few cross-country road trips before I really get serious about a career.

One of these ideas is a photo-essay on the history and cultural significance of neon signs and other mid-century Americana as it relates to the development of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System. I think this is worth documenting because the American landscape is changing so rapidly, and I believe it is more important than ever to realize the freedom, opportunity and sense of community provided by the open road, and capture the signs that represent these ideas, as they will not be around forever.

KWVA: Dream guest to have on your show, dead or alive?

J: If I could have anybody on my show, dead or alive, my dream guest would be Ty Segall. I am such a huge fan of his that I could spend hours picking his brain about his musical influences, what recording equipment he uses, growing up in Laguna Beach, and his many, many prolific bands and side-projects.

Thanks so much, Jack!