This summer, our Freeform Portland DJs took time to reflect on what the radio station has meant to them. Here’s what they said (and drew)…
Sweet Jane Every day we find ourselves just inundated with noise, and FreeForm Portland has become my haven from the static. The DJs here put so much time and thought into the music they bring to our community, and their love for the station can be felt on every show. We are so lucky to have this station to tune into rather than yet another thing to tune out.
Random Citizen (she/her) This image was created not long after putting together songs I wanted to play on a future show. It also shows the accessibility of hearing Freeform Portland from your laptop. While technology changes, there’s still something awesome about coming across a song you didn’t know you needed to hear. It’s one of the reasons I love being part of the Freeform Portland fam. There’s no must-play list from a corporate headquarters — the songs you hear on different shows are selected by that DJ. Every time you tune in to Freeform Portland, you increase the chance of hearing your new favorite song.
Dj Aquatina I love listening to Freeform because there is always something on that’s new and funky! Discovering new music and not the same old 50 songs from 2007. Thanks for helping me discover and grow my love of music! Keep bringing the jams!
Ansible Some music inspires active listening. It may make you want to burst grin giggle bliss skip jump and sing and shout. It could be provocative, unsettling, unnerving, or challenging. It might make you think and feel. It isn’t always easy. Other music is more passive. You’ll put it on in the background as a pleasant hum during your busy day. It doesn’t distract. It lets you focus. Comforting. Present. Some music is immersive. You want to sink into it like a warm bath, a cozy bed, a luxurious rug. Freeform surprises with the unexpected. You’ll hear things you didn’t know you wanted to hear, that you didn’t know existed. You’ll discover new songs, new artists, new genres. You’ll hear strange and familiar voices, like your own, a new friend, or a long-lost love. Freeform isn’t formulaic. We’re for you. We’re here for your many moods, interests, passions, and curiosities. Kick off your shoes. Stretch out on the rug. Put on those headphones and tune in. We got you.
Dr. Axolotl Freeform is a warm, welcoming brain-bath I always turn to when I want to swim in ideas. In my car or the hammock, when the mix gets especially good, the air thickens, the light turns to wine, and my secret gills unfurl to breathe in the weird, wondrous sounds. Since I found Freeform Portland, I can’t imagine going back to water…
Noah Fence When I was very young, Radio was music. Completely. All music came from the radio. To my post-infant brain, the radio was magic. All the sounds and the noises and the voices combined to create this incredible feeling of joy and happiness. Without knowing why I would crack a smile and involuntarily tap my foot. I made no distinctions between what I heard, all the songs just came from the radio and I absorbed them all. But growing older, we develop opinions, likes and dislikes, we learn to separate one thing from other things, we put things into genres, types, label things as “happy”, “sad”, “good’’, “Bad”, etc onto a near-endless number of possible of categories and boxes into which we can organize our overtaxed little brains. We lose some of our best infantile qualities, and we lie to ourselves calling it “growing up”, pretending it is okay. I listen to Freeform Portland because it has returned to me the magic of radio. Switching it on at any time of day or night, you can never know exactly what sort of music you are going to hear, and what exactly the DJ might play next. But it seems to always be good, well-selected and driven by a human element, the DJ. Even though there are a limited number of notes and chords, music seems to offer up an infinite number of possible combinations of sounds, and Freeform Portland seems to make a concerted effort to play as many of them as possible. When I listen to Freeform Portland I can let my guard down, and listen with a child’s mind frame. I can envelop myself in the security blanket of sound that is the magic of radio.
Odd Monster Music is an escape for when we are trapped in our houses, our cars, our jobs, our bodies. Music is an energy, passed between us in song and dance, and fuels our lives. Music was one of the earliest things invented by humans, and it is the most fluid form of communication there is. When music is shared with honesty it can change and save lives. Help support the love of music by supporting Freeform Portland. We have no advertisements, no talk radio, just blissful music, 24/7/365. Enrich your life and maybe help share the love with others.
dj lonelygirl15 for me, listening to music is a combination of escaping reality and a re-imagining of my lived experience. freeform is a place where i can sonically express all of the things i’ve always wanted to be without fear. this little ipod is a remembered past – the things that i loved to blast into my ears, the intimacy between my heart and a bumping track, and the beginning of a freeform dj’s story.
Matt Mount Each and every show on Freeform Portland has at least one new discovery. There are mysterious seashells to find in the endless span of sand, there are new birds that no ornithologist has ever seen, there are moments and memories that come rushing back like a brand new past. The sounds seem familiar, but what is happening is that we’re discovering it together for the 1st time. Freeform Portland invites vulnerable egoless ears to really listen, to be curious, to fall in love, and to be heartbroken in the healthiest way.
DJ Alice Wonder Music can come into your life from unlikely places. I’ve found my favorite bands from my older sister, best friends, total enemies, math teachers, convenience store cashiers and of course community radio! Freeform has great tracks day and night, things I’ve never heard anywhere else, even after my many years of obsessively searching out the most obscure music. You never know where you’re going to find the next song you’ll fall in love with- sometimes squirrels have the best tunes!!
With a surprising lack of hoopla or fanfare, the new E.P. “Cure for Love” by Des Demonas was put up for presale on the In The Red Records website, followed by a few discreet mentions on social media sites.
This is a record for which I have been long waiting, not just because their debut album is an instant classic, its urgent performance demands repeated listening, but because the release of this new E.P. has been delayed by the global pandemic.
With seven songs the new E.P. might be mistaken for being a full length LP, but the songs all clock in at less than 3 minutes each, making the total running time squarely & accurately designated as an E.P.
The sound of the band might by some be described as “Garage Punk”. Instrumentally the band consists of Guitar, Organ, bass, drums, with vocals sloganistically shouted or spoken. One might cite influences such as Question mark & The Mysterions, The Monks, Lyres, The Stooges, The Fall, The Scientists and Jonathan Fire eater. And while that might work as a casual referral from one person to another, to peak the other person’s interest, I think it falls short of what makes the band unique.
To my ears what separates Des Demonas from other garage rock or garage punk bands is their rhythmic approach to their music. All the instruments feel lockstepped to the rhythm of each song. The band feels like five drummers who happen to be playing organ, guitar, bass and singing.
There is a scene in the James Brown biopic starring Chadwick Boseman, when his character halts a practice session when one of the musicians does not understand the rhythm that James Brown is attempting to achieve, and he goes around the room, pointing to each instrument, asking the name of the instrument, and every time, James Brown corrects the musician and states that the instrument to which he is pointing is a drum, no matter what the instrument might in fact be.
I think that same mentality might be at work in the band, Des Demonas. They charge through their songs on this E.P. with names like “Immigaration Song”, “Control”, “Forest Fire” “Black Orpheus Blues” & “Ballad Of Ike & Tina” with a pounding fury and extremely pleasing punctuated vocals.
I’m not a musician myself, and I can not emphatically state that the band hits on the “one”, but they do seem to hit that pocket that makes you want to listen to this E.P. “Cure For Love” over and over, and seek out other music by Des Demonas. They are that good. Rock n’ roll, noise with a beat.
February 12, 2021 marks a new Asian Lunar calendar year for the Year of the Ox. The corresponding element for 2021 is Metal and many fortune tellers predict this year will be lucky for financial opportunities and relationships.
The Ox represents a year of hard work and overcoming challenges where financial prosperity will be rewarded to individuals who have the capacity, resources and health to face their challenges. Yin energy is relative to Oxen where 2021 will be an antagonistic year, beginning with the full weight of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing economic crises that is causing pestilence and strife for us all.
To lessen the burden or Tai Sui in the Year of the Metal Ox, believers in the Chinese zodiac can wear yellow and green plus metal accessories, which, according to Feng Shui theory, attract prosperity and luck.
No further catastrophic events are predicted for 2021, and there is a favorable forecast for economic recovery and attaining a global health equilibrium, if discipline and work focusing on problems are tackled in an organized effort.
“In the middle of chaos lies opportunity.” – Bruce Lee
Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy New Year) from Weekend Family Music Hour! We wish you all safety, health, luck and love in The Year of the Metal Ox. Please enjoy 5 of our favorite Asian music artists to start off the New Asian Lunar Year.
“Fireworks” by Sanullim
Sanullim or Sanulrim was a Korean psychedelic, fuzz/folk, experimental and prog rock band formed in 1977 by brothers Kim Chang Wan (1954-), Kim Chang-hoon (1956-) and Kim Chang-ik (1958-2008). The brothers started Sanullim while they were attending university and they never envisioned they would attain the musical commercial success that they did.
Their first album Vol. 1 Already Now (1977) burst onto the Korean music scene, stewarding a new sound of psychedelic hard rock and folk fuzz produced by the brothers. Sanullim’s debut re-energized the Korean music scene which was publicly sullied at the time, following several rock musicians arrests for cannabis-related offenses in the 1970s.
Sanullim released over 10 albums between 1977-1984 and were also session players for other musicians. With the resurgence of the K-pop boom in the 1990s, all of their albums were reissued, along with a tribute album commemorating the band. They performed in Seoul on July 5th and 6th, 2007 for their 30th anniversary tribute and had plans to release their Vol. 14 album that year. But due to unfortunate circumstances, drummer Kim Chang-ik was killed in a traffic accident on Jan 29, 2008 while driving a forklift in heavy snow in Vancouver, Canada. Kim Chang-wan announced the disbandment of Sanullim after his brother’s death (wiki).
快樂的人 (Happy People) by Teresa Teng
Teng Li-Chun aka Teresa Teng (1953-1995) was a Taiwanese singer, musician and actor who was also known as the “Queen of Mandopop.” She began after dropping out of high school to pursue a career as a singer and was signed in 1968 at the age of fifteen. Teng’s vocal abilities to synthesize pop, jazz and traditional folk pushed her to the forefront as an entertainer in Mandarin language music, and within the next two decades, she rose to superstardom in the Chinese language world. With her ability to sing in other languages, she quickly became an entertainment icon throughout Asia.
Teng’s huge success grated on Chinese authorities, especially since her family fled the Communist regime after the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese government would often criticize Teng’s music for containing pornographic and degenerate messaging. Her songs were always a jab to the Party chairman, ‘Deng’ Xiaoping whose family name she shared. In China there was a popular saying: by day people had to listen to “old Deng” but at night people listened to “little Teng” because they wanted to. Teng passed away from asthma complications in Thailand but she continues to live on through her entertainment career (Hsu, 2015, The New Yorker).
高凌風 夏天的浪花 (Last Train to London) by Frankie Kao
Ko Yuan-Cheng (1950-2014) aka Frankie Kao and Kao Ling-feng was a Taiwanese singer, actor and television show host. He was given the moniker The Frog Prince by his friend and comedian, Ni Min-jan. Kao starred in 14 films and released 11 albums, plus participated in many live events, singing, dancing and showcasing his unique fashion and adaptability in music/entertainment styles.
Kao lived his life to the fullest, marrying three times in his life and prospering with 6 children. He continued to perform until his demise at the age of 63 from leukemia (wiki).
“Private Eyes” by Sam Hui
Samuel Hui Koon-kit born Sept 6, 1948, aka Sam Hui or The God of Song is a major superstar in the Cantopop world. Hui is a musician, actor and songwriter who popularized Western style songs with his colloquial Cantonese over vernacular traditional Chinese to advocate and contrast his positionality to support socially equitable change for working class people. Hui was born in Guangzhou, China and his family fled to Hong Kong in 1950 as refugees where he attended university. He began his singing career in 1967 and was signed to Diamond Records. Hui began his television career as a youth music television host on TVB and then hosted a show with his brother, Michael Hui on the Hui Brothers Show in 1971.
Hui later signed with Polydor and released his first single in English, “April Lady.” He performed English songs in the United States and the United Kingdom. He released his album, Game Gamblers Play as a soundtrack to the movie with the same name that was directed by his brother.
Hui’s popularity helped influence the Cantopop genre where his messages advocating for working class people resonated with many Hong Kongese, satirizing Hong Kong society and culture. His soundtrack to Private Eyes from 1976 cemented his stance as the God of Song. Hui’s life work includes 27 albums and 23 films. He continues to reside in Hong Kong and is a loving grandfather and father (wiki).
Many Chinese actors and singers have purported Hui to be an inspiration for them to pursue singing and acting. This includes the late great Leslie Cheung, the prolific queer entertainer who completed suicide by jumping from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong on Aprils Fools Day 2003. Cheung’s death sent shockwaves throughout Asia and helped bring awareness to the stigmas surrounding mental health struggles that LGBTQ Chinese people continue to face in a hetetronormative society.
“Band on The Run” by The Wynners
Fans of the Cantopop genre are aware of popular English cover songs sung in English, Cantonese or Hong Kongese. Hong Kong was under British rule from 1841 to 1997 in a peace deal to end the first Opium War. It became a prosperous democracy for the British Empire and a cultural melting pot where Western music was embraced by many.
The Wynners are a Hong Kong band that was formed in the 1970s with members, Alan Tam (lead vocals), Kenny Bee (lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards), Bennett Pang (lead guitar), Danny Yip (bass) and Anthony Chan (drums). The Wynners were assembled by manager Pato Leung out of an earlier carnation of the band, The Loosers.
The Wynners became one of the most popular teen idol bands in Hong Kong because they covered many Western hits including, “Sha-La-La-La” by The Walkers, “Save Your Kisses for Me” by Brotherhood of Man and “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. The Wynners commercial success was supported with their own show on TVB, The Wynners Specials (1975) plus three feature films that are musical dramas Let’s Rock (1975), Gonna Get You (1976) and Making It (1978).
Never formally disbanded, Alan Tam and Kenny Bee went on to pursue solo careers and were popular in Hong Kong in the 1980s. The Wynners continue to reunite every five years to sold-out crowds, such as playing at benefitting events to support tsunami victims in Japan April 2011, Love Beyond Borders organized by Jackie Chan. Plus a benefit concert Nov, 2014 at the Oracle Arena where proceeds went to Family Bridges a non-profit organization in Oakland, CA that supports newly migrated Asian seniors and families to the United States (wiki).
Weekend Family Music Hour has been with Freeform Portland since the station was established. As a family we have grown with the station & feel so privileged to have an affordable family activity that brings us together with your family’s lives, letting us share our musical household tastes. We love reciting Chinese horoscope predictions for Asian Lunar New Year, playing our Moog on Halloween, selecting songs based on politics or societal challenges and holidays! Check out our seasonal shows! Mostly ethnic; folk, rock, synth, disco, soul, hip hop, experimental and jazz/tongue jazz.
Like any good little millennial, the first obligation I had when I heard that my co-host and I were given a show on Freeform Portland last year was to create an Instagram.
With our measly 50ish followers, we don’t have much reach, but given the current state of the nation (awful) and a growing desire to use our radio platform for more than just the same Clairo/Phoebe Bridgers/etc. on repeat, we decided to put out a call to our small group for truly independent musicians to send us music so that we could play them on our show.
With any call to action online, you’re bound to get a few weirdos and/or nudes.
Luckily, I got neither! We ended up with an artist we like, who deserves to be heard and known, and kindly granted us an interview – our first one ever! Needless to say, I’m excited the whole process went much more smoothly than I thought it would, but I’m also very excited to introduce the artist: Wolfgang, AKA Three Headed Elephant.
It’s truly crazy what the Internet is capable of…
Sometimes kindness, sometimes awful, always mesmerizing.
You can check out one of our new favorite Toronto musicians’ music here:
And read what Wolfgang of Three Headed Elephant has to say about the creative process below…
Ducky: Tell me about your artist name and how you came up with it…
Wolfgang: I’m Wolfgang also known as Three Headed Elephant. The name Three Headed Elephant was inspired by Buddhism imagery.
Ducky: Where are you located?
Wolfgang: I’m from Toronto, Ontario.
Ducky: What/Who inspired you to make music?
Wolfgang: My father is an accordion player so I grew up always listening to music and surrounded by music always… I think subconsciously this is what inspired me to make music at a very young age.
Ducky: How would you describe the music you typically create and gravitate toward?
Wolfgang: I would say my music is blues/folk/soul/funk… it jumps from genre to genre. I don’t want to limit myself to one thing…
Ducky: I listened to “So Happy” first since you sent it to me and loved the way it captured the emotion you must have been feeling when you wrote it and feels like it nicely captures an exact moment in time. Definitely a great song for summer and spending time outside with the guitar riffs! Your sound reminded me of Eef Barzelay/Clem Snide mixed with lofi (obviously)/surf indie. Is that a totally inaccurate depiction? 😂
Wolfgang: I really love what you said about “So Happy” it definitely has a beach chill type vibe to it so that is funny you said surf indie.
Ducky: What would you say the process is and inspirations are for your songwriting?
Wolfgang: I just write… My process is very simple. Whenever I feel inspired by anything I write about it and then I try to find ways to sing about that particular thing.
Ducky: If you could play on a stage at any festival, which one would you choose?
Wolfang: I would love to perform at Osheaga one day.
Ducky: How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business? (Good or bad?)
Wolfgang: I think the internet has impacted the music industry in a wonderful way because now anyone can put their music out there and the sense of community on social media is heartwarming, to say the least.
Ducky: Speaking of the internet… Are you a vinyl/cd/tape or digital/streaming listener?
Wolfgang: I have a vinyl collection… but I mostly listen to stuff online these days.
Ducky: Which famous musicians do you admire and why?
Wolfgang: Some of my inspirations are Ian Curtis, Florence Welch, David Bowie and Brittany Howard. I really love Florence Welch and her energy. The way she dances on stage and sings, she is very captivating to watch. I also really admire Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, the way she sings, you can tell she is singing straight from her soul… she really tugs on my heartstrings every time I listen to her.
Ducky: Do you have any hobbies or creative passions outside of music-making that you like to use to help you in your creative process?
Wolfgang: I love to dance. That definitely helps me in my creative process… lol
Ducky: And finally, what’s one song that changed your life?
Wolfgang: One song that changed my life… that is tough because I feel that there are so many songs that have really changed my life but one particular song I always seem to gravitate back to is “Giving Up” by Donny Hathaway.
This song, along with all others on the debut, have the ability to both transfix and calm the listener in their sheer simplicity. While there are lofi vibes and folksy lyrics throughout the entire debut (which a lofi lovin’ girl like me adores), “Let Me Carry Something for You” is the song that spoke to me most. It’s refreshing to hear something so bare bones and raw which reminds me of the indie folk artists in the DFW area I often listened to in college. And that raw emotion speaks to Three Headed Elephant’s desire to tap into those blues and soul inspirations. This song in particular has such a powerful emotional element in its uncomplicated lyrics and speaks to the true heart of a rock solid relationship – the willingness and longing to be a backbone and solid foundation for another human being, even when you have your own shit to carry.
Let Me Carry Something for You takes a cliche relational notion and turns it into a beautiful portrait of that longing you feel when you empathize and sensitize to the plight of those around you. And I couldn’t think of a better song for the world today.
DJ Ducky and her co host DJ Petrie are the amateurs behind Invasion of the Indiesauruses | Fridays 6-8am.