June Genre DJ of the Month:

Erika Bass

Chainsaw Director, WKNC 88.1 FM Raleigh

Tell us about WKNC. How did it get started and how did you first hear about it?

WKNC is a college radio station at NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. This year is WKNC’s 75th anniversary of continual broadcasting. WKNC got it’s start in 1921-1922, when Assistant Professor Major George C. Cox and his electrical engineering students began constructing a “radiotelephone transmitting apparatus.” In August of 1922, WLAC (We Lead All Colleges), at North Carolina State College became the first radio station in eastern North Carolina and the third to be licensed in the entire state. We are one of NC State’s most unique organizations because of all the activities and work that we do. Here at WKNC, we broadcast 4 main genres of music: Daytime Rock (Indie Rock), Afterhours (Electronic), Underground (Rap/Hip-Hop), and Chainsaw Rock (Heavy Metal). I first heard about WKNC from my dad! I was playing metal music in the living room and he told me that I should be a DJ. I didn’t know that “Metal DJs” were really a thing until my dad told me that the university I was going to attend had a radio station that played metal. When I went to Freshman Orientation, I got information about WKNC and soon applied to become a DJ!

How long have you been at WKNC? What is your history there?

I have been at WKNC for 3 years. I have been DJ-ing for WKNC for 3 years as a Chainsaw Rock DJ, the Chainsaw Music Director for 2 years, and I am now one of WKNC’s Content Creators (blogging, podcasting, etc.). I host a show on WKNC called The Saw’s Butcher Shop. I am known as The Saw, the Master Butcher. My show is divided into two time-slots: The Bone Cruncher on Friday’s from noon-1pm where I play local North Carolina metal bands, and The House of Horrors on Friday night’s from 6-8pm where I play all genres of metal (metalcore, deathcore, hardcore, death metal, black metal, and djent metal, etc.). I just started creating podcasts called The Saw’s Electric Chair, where I put my guest’s in the hot seat. I talk to musicians, photographers, producers, and promoters, etc. about their involvement within their music scene and everything in-between!

Your station calls your Heavy programming Chainsaw Rock. How do you decide what music to choose for that programming?

There are three things I look for when programming music for Chainsaw Rock: it has to be heavy, vocals must be (primarily) gutturals, and the drumming must utilize blast beats and double base kicks. I enjoy adding new music because it allows me to find new bands to play on my show and also new music to listen to in general.

What has been your favorite release of 2019 thus far?

The Valley, by Whitechapel. They are by far one of my favorite bands, and their latest album is one of their bests in my opinion. I think they really showcase their talent on this record and push themselves, and the listener, to evolve.

Do you have a favorite artist or album you never get tired of listening to?

I have a few albums that I could listen to over and over again. Hartford County Misery by Boundaries, Korn by Korn, Dirt by Alice in Chains, Hard 2 Kill by I Am, and Dear Desolation by Thy Art is Murder.

Which artist/band has put on the best show you’ve ever seen live?

Probably Wage War when they played in Greensboro in 2017. It was a sold out show and no one in the venue was standing still. They always put on a great show, I would highly suggest that everyone go and see them once. For bands that are able to put a lot of money into their stage show, I would have to say Metallica`s 2018-19 tour, and King Diamond’s present tour (a haunted house!).

Who is an artist or band outside the realm of Heavy (metal/loud rock) radio that people might be surprised to know you love?

Flow State, by Tash Sultana. This album is different than what I usually listen to but it’s absolutely amazing! She plays all the instruments herself, which is really cool!

What is your best childhood memory?

My best childhood memory would have to be when I saw Amon Amarth; I was 12. I saw them in a tiny club in Raleigh, North Carolina with my parents and I was standing on a bench in front of the sound booth headbanging and singing the songs. After the show, the sound guy gave me an Amon Amarth backstage pass and a sticker. It was my first backstage pass, ever, and it was laminated!!

What event in your life would you say has shaped you the most as a person?

Warped Tour 2015. I was 16 at the time, and this was the first show that I was going to by myself. Going to this show by myself helped me learn how to trust and depend on myself. The experience of going alone to a show has helped me while trying to adapt to college and adulthood. I learned how to rely on myself and how to be confident, strong, and independent.

If you could choose, what time period in the past would you most want to travel back to and visit?

The ‘90s Grunge period in Seattle because my favorite type of music is grunge and I would love to see Alice in Chains in the early days. Layne Staley is one of my favorite vocalists of all time and I would have loved to be able to see him perform.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in town that you always make sure to take guests/visitors to?

Applebees!! It is by far my favorite restaurant and I have no idea why people hate on it so much. Everyone should try their boneless buffalo chicken wings and Caesar salad combo. It’s delicious.

What in your life brings you the most joy?

Going to metal shows brings me the most joy. Although the shows (and the music) are nothing but chaos, I get a sense of serenity and solidarity. Going to these shows is a type of stress reliever for me. It seems as if nothing else matters (no pun intended, get it? Because Metallica?). I have met so many amazing people and have made some of my closest friends because of the music. Metal music has done so much for me, and I will do anything to give back to it.

Lightning Round:

Dog or Cat?  Dogs, but I do like cats.
Coffee or Tea?  Does an iced latte count?
Morning Person or Night Owl?  It depends. When I wake up early, I can EASILY fall back to sleep, but if I get up, I will stay up. Likewise, I love staying up late, but I will fall asleep in a minute. It depends on what I have going on.
City or Country?  Country for sure.
Watch TV or Read A Book?  I like reading because there are more details that a movie or a show won’t give you. But I love binge watching tv shows and movies.
Sunny or Rainy?  Sunny! Nice weather always puts me in good mood!
Dine or Delivery?  It depends, I like going out and eating food while it’s there, but I love delivery and just relaxing at home.
Beard or Clean Shaven?  I like a man with a good scruff.
Pants or Shorts?  You can never go wrong with some black jeans

Do you have any current favorite TV show obsessions?

Sons of Anarchy and That 70s Show.

Finally, and most importantly: Cilantro… incredibly tasty addition to your meal or devil weed?

Devil Weed, it sounds more metal.