Off The Mic
Name: Connor Janzen
DJ Name: CJ
Status at KU: Transitional Graduate Student
Favorite Color: Charcoal
Name: Josh Gaston
DJ Name: Judge Dredd
Status at KU: Graduate student
Major: Teaching English as Second Language (TESL)
Favorite Color: All shades of blue
DJ Shift: Malicious Intent, Saturday at 10pm-12am
Flammy Huo: First up, why did you guys choose to join KJHK?
Connor Janzen: There had been an elapsed period when the Malicious Intent program had not actually been running. So Jake Waters, my friend from high school, was Programming Director here at the time and he said “Hey, no one’s hosting this program and I know that you love metal music. So why don’t you come and host the program?” I was drawn to KJ just because there’s a really open-minded community here. They kinda let you play the music that you enjoy the most, and I think that’s really cool.
Josh Gaston: I was born and raised in Lawrence, actually. So I started listening to KJHK randomly one night and Malicious Intent was playing. It was probably when I was 14 years old and I was like, “Woah, there’s metal music on the radio. This is insane.” So I just continued my listening to KJHK, mostly Malicious Intent, until one of my best friends in high school started hosting the show. KJHK has been a big part of Lawrence’s history and KU’s history for a while now. Malicious Intent has been a part of that as well.
FH: It sounds like you both have a history with KJ. So do you guys just DJ or are you involved in other parts of the station?
CJ: Last year, I joined the content staff, so I publish articles on the website as well. I’m still doing that this year. My schedule’s very hectic and unpredictable. I spend a lot of time just with my degree, and they’ll all of a sudden say, “Hey, you probably need to spend ten hours to work on your project between like Monday to Wednesday, so go ahead and do that.” I actually do like the content staff because I work in web development and stuff like that. Last year I worked with John Dillingham, he was the Content Director then. Now it’s Mason, who I was also in high school with, so that is really cool. I’m still writing articles that are focused primarily on metal music and stuff to do with our show. Just this last week, we published an article of a reunion show with a lot of past Malicious Intent DJs. I had a lot of fun doing that.
JG: I work with Arts and Culture staff, so I just finished a restaurant review of Hank Charcuterie, the local butcher shop. Now I might start writing a piece on local entrepreneurs,who are making their own products and selling them.
FH: I know both of you are not professionally in the media or journalism field. What made you want to be a DJ? Just because you guys enjoy music?
CJ: That’s pretty much it, I think. I’ve probably listened to at least six hours of music a day since I was in elementary school. Music is a huge part of my life. Being able to come here and play the stuff I like for people, that’s really a big draw for sure.
JG: I have a really difficult time with silence. I also listen to a lot of music. I’ve been listening to metal since I was probably 12 or 13 years old and I’ve been listening to other styles of music for varied periods of time. It’s just a passion of mine.
FH: What brought you both into metal music?
JG: I remember very specifically sitting in my dad’s car, at the gas station, Philip 66, on the corner of the sixth street. It was specifically at this spot that I heard Metallica on the radio, and it was one of their older tracks that was really heavy, a song called, “One.” I was blown away. I was like, “What is this? This is insane.” I just like the way that metal kind of explores the darker side of the human experience, and how it can sound other-worldly and transcendental, but also other bands sound very visceral and very real. So there’s kind of a wide variety of sounds that you can hear and that’s another thing that I really appreciate about metal.
CJ: For me personally, it was around the same age. I always listen to rock music and stuff that was slightly more aggressive that you can sort of get access to on radio. By the time when I was 12 or 13, I really started to take guitar playing seriously. I would stay up really late at night to watch Headbangers Ball on MTV because the musicianship was really impressive to me. I didn’t really like the raspy or growling vocal at first, because it can be really intense, and my parents didn’t like it either. I had to sort of hide that for a while. But what I remember was sort of seeing the musicianship at work. When I can see that, I become inspired to improve myself as a musician. Going forward, I started to listen to more and more aggressive bands. To a lot of people, it all sounds the same. But to someone who grew into the genre, I think you become accustomed to all the tiny little nuisances. So something that was important to me was that the music grew with me.
FH: It really seems like you both love music a lot. What kind of a role does music play in your life and how does it impact you?
JG: It’s the soundtrack to my life. Whatever style of music I’m listening to, you can match a mood that you’re feeling. It’s kind of therapeutic in a way. If you’re having a crappy day then you can listen to music that will make you feel happy but you can also listen to music that will help you explore why you feel crappy. I don’t know, there’s something about the power of music that brings people together but also allows you to explore yourself. I find that particularly intriguing and magnetizing.
CJ: Similar answer. If I’m going from one place to another, whether be walking, riding a bus or driving, music is on all the time. When I’m at home, music is on all the time. So those are things for me that allow me to focus, that allow me to channel different emotions. Sometimes I literally shut the lights off in my bedroom, turn on the soul-sucking black metal album, and just lose myself in it, because believe it or not, it’s really meditative. It allows you to sort of sink into yourself and understand who you are. If I didn’t always have it in the background of everything I was doing, I think I would feel emptier. It’s been so important to me for any rough stretch that I’ve had, or even for any super great, happy or successful stretch of my life that I’ve had, there’s been something there for me at every turn and that’s really irreplaceable in my life.
FH: What are your quests?
JG: Beside seeking the Holy Grail, my quest is to experience as much of the world as I can and to hopefully teach people. I’ve been teaching abroad for a few years and I want to continue doing that. It’d be nice to inspire people inside and outside of the classroom.
CJ: Since the Holy Grail was elusive, I will revert to some of my passions. So since I’m studying architecture, I got into that by being interested in the aesthetic and spatial relationship between people and buildings. That’s actually morphed into an idea about helping people. I’ve been doing some non-profit work for the last four and half years of my life. My best buddy and I founded a non-profit last year and we spent sometime in the summer over in Nepal, volunteering at a school. I guess that’s just one example of how I found myself being fulfilled by helping other people.