DJ Sessions: The Sounds Of College | KCUR

DJ Sessions: The Sounds Of College

Feb 12, 2014

Time for another installment of the DJ Sessions. This week, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson goes back to college with Taylor Jones, aka DJ Tesla, who hosts the show “Pop Rocks and Coke” on KWVA, University of Oregon’s campus radio station.

He shares some songs on his playlists — ranging from garage rock and punk to glam rock.

Songs from the segment

Ex-Cult “Young Trash”

Bass Drum of Death “GB City”

Smith Westerns, “Idol”


Smith Westerns, “Varsity”

Yuck, “Rebirth”


  • Taylor Jones, DJ at KWVA, University of Oregon’s campus radio station.
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It's HERE AND NOW. And it's time now for the HERE AND NOW DJ Sessions.


TOM PETTY: (Singing) There goes the last DJ.


JAMIE FOXX: (Singing) DJ, won't you play this girl a love song?


NICE CESTER: (Singing) Dance, little DJ, come on.


RIHANNA: (Singing) Come, Mr. DJ, song pon de replay. Come, Mr. DJ, won't you turn the music up?

HOBSON: Today, we've got a college DJ, Taylor Jones, aka DJ Tesla. He hosts the show "Pop Rocks and Coke" on KWVA. That's University of Oregon campus radio in Eugene. Taylor, welcome.

TAYLOR JONES, BYLINE: Hey. Thanks for having me, Jeremy.

HOBSON: Well, first of all, describe the kind of music that you play on your show.

JONES: Well, it kind of revolves around garage rock, punk, psychedelic stuff. You know, I usually start out with a couple of songs in mind and then just kind of see where it goes in an hour.

HOBSON: Well, let's take a listen to one song so people can get an idea of what we're talking about here. This is the Memphis punk group Ex-Cult. The song is "Young Trash."


HOBSON: Now, Taylor, this music might not be for everybody, but tell us about what this is and why you like it.

JONES: I mean, exactly for what you just said, it's not for everybody. I love that they just kind of - they embrace their trash and their edginess. You know, they're not trying to create that music to sell to, like, a commercial audience or anything. They're just doing it because, you know, they love to make it, and it sounds good to them. So that's all it needs to be.

HOBSON: Well, and Ex-Cult, by the way, has performed at south by Southwest. The music website Pitchfork says their music is full of mid-south grit.

JONES: Yeah. They got - definitely, in the south, there's a lot of really cool garage rock and punk stuff coming out. And a lot of that is influenced by, you know, the older soul in the south. You can hear it to Ex-Cult. They got a really cool kind of like psychedelic element to their punk as well. I hear it in mostly like the female vocalist. When she comes in, it's kind of like - it's like the B-52's and made them like 100 times more, like edgy and trashy and more punk.


HOBSON: Well, let's take a listen to another song. This is also from Ex-Cult. It's called "M.P.D."


HOBSON: Well, it's funny you talk about the south and having a garage band influence because, of course, many of us think of the home of garage band music as your own neck of the woods, the Pacific Northwest.

JONES: Yeah. Definitely, a lot of garage and punk coming out of here, especially, like, I mean, late '80s and the '90s kind of grunge, you know, like Nirvana, of course, being like the forerunner of that movement.

HOBSON: Well, let's get to another song that you have brought us. This is from the Tennessee group Bass Drum of Death. The song is "GB City."


HOBSON: Well, what should we know about "GB City" and Bass Drum of Death?

JONES: Bass Drum of Death is another really cool band from the South. They're from Oxford, Mississippi. And I think a good transition out of Ex-Cult because definitely still have that punk vibe going on and pretty doing whatever they want to do. But it's also a bit more lighthearted than Ex-Cult. You know, it's more upbeat, more melodic. So it could - that's - I think Bass Drum of Death is probably more accessible to a larger audience, but they're still, you know, a very genuine and stick to their musical integrity.

HOBSON: Although a lot of people might just hear a lot of noise.

JONES: That's true. I mean, everybody's kind of got their own opinion. And it's not for everybody, but it's definitely for me.

HOBSON: We're speaking with college DJ Taylor Jones, and you're listening to HERE AND NOW. And, Taylor, I know in your show "Pop Rocks and Coke," you also play some softer music. You call it glam. Let's listen to an example. This is "Idol" by Smith Westerns.


SMITH WESTERNS: (Singing) Always looked up to you for a sun trying to catch a cue. Followed your every move, pretending to be just like you. I never seen you look surprised. I wish I could see your dark side. I held you up to the light...

HOBSON: Kind of an '80s vibe to that, Taylor.

JONES: Most definitely. Yeah, as you said, you know, I play that on my radio show as well. Probably not in the same hour. You know, that would - that'd be a different day, different segment.

HOBSON: Some people might decide to turn up the radio when they hear that.

JONES: Yeah. That's pretty drastic change. But they're the super cool group from Chicago. And when I listen to them, I just think about, you know, real, like, nice, clean cityscapes.

HOBSON: Now, before we let you go, I want to mention that you grew up in Monterey, California. You were tuning in to the college radio station there which is KZSC out of Santa Cruz. What made you want to be a DJ when you were in college?

JONES: Yeah. Mostly just listening to KZSC as a kid. All throughout, like, high school, I would just tune in to KZSC because they were always playing, you know, the cool alternative music that nobody else on the radio was playing. Because college radio, you have the freedom to, you know, pick and choose what you want to play. You don't have to, you know, cater to any kind of commercial audience. So, yeah, so just when I came to college, I mean, before I even got here to Eugene, I knew that, you know, I was going to be a DJ. And I've been doing that since September 2012.

HOBSON: OK. Well, I think we have time for one more piece of music here. This is another example of glam. This is "Rebirth" by the group Yuck.


YUCK: (Singing) Hold me down in the sunlight to sacrifice myself. I want your love. I want you. Sly me down..

HOBSON: Taylor, I hear you're a PR major. What are you going to do when you get out of college?

JONES: I haven't set in stone my plan yet. But, yeah, I'm majoring in PR. I'm getting a minor in arts management. So I'm definitely trying to focus a career in the music industry. Primarily, I would love to be in, you know, the live concert setting, you know, maybe even talent agencies, booking tours for really awesome band.

HOBSON: Well, best of luck to you. And thanks so much for coming on HERE AND NOW and sharing some of your music.

JONES: Thank you very much. Thanks to HERE AND NOW for having me.


HOBSON: Taylor is also known as DJ Tesla. He hosts the show "Pop Rocks and Coke" on KWVA University of Oregon campus radio in Eugene. You can see a full list of his music picks at


We love them. We have a quick correction, Jeremy. Yesterday, we reported on the ongoing water crisis in Charleston, West Virginia. But on our website, we incorrectly called it Charles Town. Turns out there is a Charles Town, West Virginia, and listener Brenda Watt(ph) tells us it's having tourist problems because people are confusing the two. So we just want to set the record straight. Charleston's got the water problem. Charles Town, no problem. From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Robin Young.

HOBSON: I'm Jeremy Hobson. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.