Off The Mic
DJ: Shane Blair
DJ Name: DJ Shane Train
DJ Shift: Input/Output, Thursdays 8pm to 10pm
Major: Psychology, Applied Behavioral Science
Minor: Psychology Statistic
Favorite Color: Dark green on fabric
Favorite Album Ever Bought: Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
Hobbies: Walking, biking, making music, listening to music, video games (Dark Souls, Smite…), watching anime (Ghost in the Shell)
Three words to describe himself: Pensive. Awkward. Deep.
Flammy Huo: What made you want to join KJ at the first place?
Shane Blair: I was eating at Mrs. E’s by myself, classic me during sophomore year, and KJHK was there doing a promotion. They started playing “The Fire Starts to Burn” by Disclosure, and I was like, “This song was my jam!” Then I realized that it was KJHK, and I thought to myself, “I like music. I want to do that.” Then I immediately went back to my dorm room and sent an application.
FH: That’s funny! What are your major contributions to KJ? Are you on any staff?
SB: I’m also on music staff. My contributions (there) kind of led me to Input Output because during music staff, I would only give reviews to electronic albums, and the higher-ups kinda picked up on that.
FH: How do you like the experience on music staff?
SB: I really enjoy it. It has a lot of perks because I can ask Kayci (current KJHK Music Director) to put in a good word for me and get an album that I want two weeks before it comes out. I got Aphex Twin’s album, his “Syro.” I got that two weeks before it came out and I also got the “Caravan Palace” album that’s on rotation right now. I got that two weeks before it came out. I brag to my friends about it all the time. Me and my friends love “Caravan Palace.” It’s a good perk.
FH: Talking about bands and artists, do you have a favorite?
SB: I have a lot of favorite bands. They’re kind of all over the place. I really like Daft Punk. I really like Squarepusher. I really like Kings of Convenience. I like Radiohead. I like seeing Merdog. I think you could split it into three categories actually. I like folk music a lot and I like the standard electronic music that falls under a certain formula, and then weird music. I also really like tripop. It’s like instrumental hippop. My favorite music, no matter what genre, are the ones that are bold and successful.
FH: So talking about bands, what did you do? What do you play?
SB: I play a lot of instruments. I was in marching band. In grade school, I played the flute, because all of my friends were in band. I wanted to be with all of my friends so I was like “what’s the most ironic instrument I could play? I could play the flute.” I was the only guy in the flute section. As the years went on, everyone kind of left the band, but I stayed. At one point, I was the only flute in the band, so I had to really actually learn how to be good, or else I would just be sticking out as that one really bad guy but then again it’s really hard to hear the flute. Then we kind of turned it into a jazz band. Then my brother got a guitar, and I was like “That’s really cool.” I wanted a guitar too but I didn’t want a guitar because he already took it. I can’t copy him. I was a little kid. That was the ideology.
So I got a bass guitar. I got into a school of rock program at a local music shop and they basically forced us to play a bunch of covers. A bunch of little kids play a bunch of covers that parents love and we just put on little concert for all of our parents. It was fun but that kind of transformed me later on throughout high school, being in various rock bands with a bunch of different people who are very talented. The most of my diversity comes from when I went into marching band and made it a thing, to play as many instruments as I could.
At first I played flute, and the bass guitar for the marching band. Then I realized that our trombone section was lacking so I was like, “Hey, teach, can you just give me one of the trombones and I will be in the trombone section,“ and he was like, “Yeah, thanks.” Then I was in the pit, and I played the vibraphone. That’s the most fun. And then I was the drum major, so I was the conductor of the band. I’m basically mediocre at a million different instruments.
FH: Do you write music too? What kind of music do you write and what motivates you to write?
SB: I think junior year of high school I played a million instruments. I knew I had the potential to write a bunch of songs because I could be a one-man band essentially. So I wanted a way to record music. I picked up a digital audio work station so I could do that. As my taste in electronic music got bigger, I wanted to make a fusion into that. That’s (tripop) kind of what I wanted to produce, very beat oriented, calm, and then sometimes ambient and experimental music. I am my own worst critic.
Also, when I’m making these songs, I realize that I’m not good at using the tools that I have, but I will be five years from now. So what I do is that I come up with a concept for a song. This could be a good song but I’m not smart enough to make it good so I put it in a vault for five years from now. I’m at the stage when I’m finally opening up the vault and put in the ground work for the songs that I’ve been making for a long time.
There’s one song especially that I made junior year of high school that I just rehashed and kind of mastered it to sound pretty good. I want to make an album. I have like three different albums in the works. My computer has a bunch of prepackaged synthesizers that you can customize yourself and a bunch of drum samples. I found a ton of drum samples because I love drums. And you basically put those on a mixer and you can add a bunch of effects to them. Making music is more than a hobby to me. It’s like a part of my lifestyle. I feel like my life is going for the very academic direction but I love music too much. It’s not a hobby. It’s better than a hobby.