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It’s All About the Music with Kyle Bostock

By Lindsey DeRoche; A&E Editor
On October 21, 2017

Bostock inside the WPCR office

For many, radio music is filler noise, meant for the background. They turn on their car’s radio for their morning commute, but never really focus on what the different voices are truly saying, or what the instruments really sound like. This could not be farther from the case with sophomore English major Kyle Bostock.

Bostock gained his first taste of being behind a radio show microphone when he was a senior in high school. For his senior project, he worked with iHeart Radio in Manchester, NH, doing podcasts. So, naturally, when he transitioned to PSU, he found himself behind the WPCR microphone in no time. “I just came to WPCR with the knowledge,” Bostock said.

Bostock has been at WPCR since the third or fourth week of his freshman year. He said that, as a freshman, he was a bit shy, and unsure about joining the team. After tagging along to a meeting with his roommate (who is also now a WPCR DJ), he was hooked.

Now, Bostock is comfortable at the station and greatly enjoys his peers. “I just love this station. It’s so much fun. It’s a great community. It’s a bunch of really nice people, really creative people,” Bostock said. Currently, he is an executive member at WPCR.

The WPCR radio show that Bostock originally had was entitled “Kickback, Jam and Slam,” which he co-hosted with two of his friends, Justin and Sam. “For all of last year, we were really having fun, really testing the waters, and seeing what we wanted to do. But, this year, we kind of have our stuff honed in, which is really fun,” Bostock said.

Now, Bostock says that he and his co-hosts (Justin (“DJ Rocky”) and Sam (“DJ Toolshed”) have a schedule to follow, and know what they want to do. Their new show is called “Alternative Tracks,” and plays from 7-11 p.m. on Saturdays.

“We play music from old genres, from new genres. I like to play my underground stuff, while we go back to [classic rock] later in the night. And we tell stories we’ve heard from around the world,” Bostock said.

And though they love music dearly, the “Alternative Tracks” guys are not merely confined to music during their four-hour time slot. They like to live up to their clever show name, and make up their own “alternative facts,” which has been a buzzword-esque term in the news as of late, while on air.

When they control the airwaves, the trio contrive a myriad of purposely-ridiculous titles for things, as well as their own “alternative facts,” and talk about things that just make them laugh. However, Bostock’s love of music is the core reason for his being a part of the show. His favorite part of being a DJ is that “there’s this buffer between you and your listeners.”

Bostock wants the show to be centered around music, and not just himself. He will not even put his own face in his Instagram account (plymdj_mirage) posts, as he wants to “make it about music,” and the album that he is reviewing receives the photo. Bostock wants to use his platforms to emphasize music, fun, and positivity.

Personally, Bostock sees his presence as high energy and positive. He also enjoys talking with listeners. “My favorite thing [about radio] is having no face, so there’s no bias of what I’m going to do. There’s just what I think is best for the listener, and the best music for the listener,” Bostock said.

Bostock prefers alternative and indie rock. Despite having favorites, what he and his co-hosts play is as eclectic as their musical tastes.

“Depending on the day, I might want to play more heavy rock stuff. Other days, I might want to play some light electronic [music],” Bostock said. “It’s all over the place.” In the past, “Alternative Tracks” has even gone from playing Pink Floyd to a song by actor David Hasselhoff, whose musical career has been widely criticized in the United States, but popular in pockets within Europe.

Bostock’s love of music can be traced back to childhood, and his first album that he ever asked for was “Encore” by Eminem. He enjoyed the song “Like Toy Soldiers” off of the album,  and continued to collect Eminem CDs for years afterwards.

These days, Bostock is more intrigued by his current favorite bands, Foster the People and Tame Impala. He said that he enjoys Foster the People due to “their lyrics and the sound that they produce,” and Tame Impala because of their “psychedelic, electronic feel.”

Bostock even saw Foster the People at the Boston House of Blues back in September. He also cites the band with his favorite album of the year, entitled “Sacred Hearts Club.” He said that the band is “still getting better with time.”

“A lot of their [Foster the People’s] stuff is usually very serious, and very critical on society. And this one’s [“Sacred Hearts Club”] kind of just fun and all over the place. And they introduce a bunch of different genres in there,” Bostock said. And though he does not rank it as highly as “Sacred Hearts Club,” he also said that the six-month-old album “Humanz” by Gorillaz is “fantastic.”

Currently, Bostock is listening to bands such as The Growlers, Rafiki and Glass Animals. “I’m always all over the place,” said Bostock. When searching for new music, Bostock looks to the “Discover Weekly” personalized Spotify playlist, Soundcloud (for underground bands and rappers), surfing YouTube and talking with friends.

And if he could see anyone, dead or alive, in concert, Bostock says that it would be the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Bostock said that the choice is “a very cliche thing to say,” but he would love to see Kurt Cobain’s notorious raw emotion, and the way he processed the world via his performing. “He just seems like a ‘bigger-than-life’ person,” Bostock said.

As far as how he likes to listen to music, Bostock prefers vinyl. When he is on the air, he uses the Spotify app on his phone. But, ideally, he would love to have all of the music he owns on vinyl. He likes the kinks and distortion in the sound from records, and said “it [music from records] just sounds a lot warmer.” At home, he and his roommates constantly play a record player they have, which was made in the 1950s.

Due to Bostock’s reverence for music, he has a certain level of respect for every musician, even if he does not, personally, enjoy their music. “I respect artists for what they do,” he said. On the subject of music in general, Bostock said, “It’s art. Anybody can make it. Anybody can produce it, and put it out there. It’s who responds to it that makes it great.”  

Still, Bostock said that he does tire of the constant “barrage” of Top 40-type music. He said that he feels like many current artists in that category talk about the same cliche themes in their lyrics.

On the subject of what he would like to see more of in music, Bostock said he wants to see “lyrics with more depth.” “I want to be able to look at lyrics and go, ‘Wow, what do they mean by this?’ and really dig into it,” said Bostock.

For Bostock, lyrics can raise the caliber of a song, even if he is not a fan of the sound or composition. For example, he does not like the music of Lady Gaga, but said that she “writes for a lot of people,” and he “respects that.”

“I want to see more lyricists,” said Bostock. “I want to be able to jam, but I also want to be able to go, ‘Holy crap!’”

Tune into “Alternative Tracks” on Saturday nights, from 7-11 p.m., only on 91.7 WPCR! Also, check out Bostock’s Instagram account, plymdj_mirage, for social media-based music reviews.

 

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