In this installment, Swintronix interviews fellow Freeform Portland DJ zen_hound of the weekly show Whoa This Is Heavy.
How did you hear about Freeform Portland?
I first heard about Freeform through Jeff Simmons, a founder of XRAY FM, on twitter. XRAY was new but going strong, and I was doing some volunteering and digging the community nature of it. Then I hear Jeff’s working with people on ANOTHER community station, this one all music all day, and it only increased my excitement for how things were going musically in Portland. Listening to my friend Ben do his show Cities in Dust made me finally get off my butt and apply for a show.
How’d you come up with your DJ name?
My DJ name actually came from when I was trying to think of a twitter handle. I was reading about Irish mythology at the time, and there’s the story of how the hero Cúchulainn got his name: he killed the guard dog of Culann the smith in self-defense, then offered to take the dog’s place until a new one could be reared. So a druid who just happened to be nearby named him Cúchulainn, “the Hound of Culann”.
I’m also pretty into zen.
Since my show can veer between doom and grindcore without much notice, I think the name is fairly appropriate.
The underscore is because @zenhound is already owned by someone on twitter who really seems to like greyhounds but hasn’t posted anything since 2014… not that I’m feeling petty or anything.
You have a Friday afternoon show, but you fill-in on a lot of late-night timeslots. How are your fill-in shows different from your regular shows?
My regular show follows a pretty straightforward formula, where I look at the shows happening in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, etc through the week, and I construct a playlist based on those bills, as well as newly released records from northwest bands and labels. I treat it as an aural event calendar.
But while that gives me a lot to work with, it’s very based on what’s happening right now – current regional bands and brand new releases – putting a good deal of my record collection at a disadvantage, with all the defunct or non-local bands I’d love to be able to play on a more regular basis. So when it comes to filling in for another DJ (usually at 2am), everything’s on the table. The noisiest and weirdest stuff, as well as the most explicit material endemic to the genres I tend to feature, only possible during Safe Harbor hours. It makes for a show that’s less methodical and intentional, more brutal and stream-of-consciousness. Powerviolence meditation.
Also, I’m usually pretty tired at 2 in the morning, so it’s less stressful to grab a bunch of records I haven’t listened to in a while and just let the fates decide. Freeform indeed!
What band(s) did you think you would play the most on your show and what band(s) do you actually play the most?
I went in thinking I’d mostly be playing YOB, Thou, Great Falls, Old Man Gloom and Cloud Rat.
Looking over my playlists since I started broadcasting last October, that turned out to be absolutely correct.
In addition to YOB and Great Falls, other northwest favorites that get lots of play from me are Drunk Dad, Rabbits, Serial Hawk and He Whose Ox Is Gored. This region is just so rich in talent it makes me crazy.
What are some shows you like on Freeform Portland?
I’d have to say my Friday neighbors The Softer Side of Doom and ghostpunkwasteland, 12pm on alternating weeks, are my favorite programs to listen to on Freeform. Their shows complement the stuff I play and listen to so well, and it’s great to be able to gush over YOB and Crowhurst with Uva Ursula and dj catlord. That sort of thing really makes it a community radio station.
Stay tuned for more “5 Questions” interviews coming soon!