WAMH Dj and E-Board Member Emma Strawbridge ’25 is interviewed by Quinn Nelson ’25. Keep reading for their thoughts on public radio, genre, a good Spotify Discover Weekly, and the song they’d want played at their funeral!
Quinn: All right, hi Emma. My first question is, what kind of music do you play on your show?
Emma: I kind of go through a variety. I usually try to have a theme, generally, for my songs. I do some music, and I do some talking. So it’s kind of all over the place. I had one week where I just did, like, throwback songs from middle school. There’s a lot of, you know, sad, 13 year old emo music on there, which is generic. Sometimes I have a playlist that I’m trying to put together, and it’s all just country music. And then I have a lot of stuff in between. Obviously, I can’t play any explicit songs because of the FCC, so that limits some stuff, but I like to do a lot of… a lot of everything. And sometimes it all matches up, and sometimes I get a text saying, “well, did you really have a theme for the show?” Sometimes I just don’t have one. And so it’s a little all over the place.
Quinn: Yeah, sometimes having no theme is the best theme. How did the music you listened to as a child/the music that your parents exposed you to as a kid influence the music you listen to today?
Emma: We were a big radio family. I don’t know if… I don’t think that’s like a unique thing…but I remember when I was really little, my parents decided that the best music for children to listen to that wasn’t like, drugs, sex, women was country music. So we grew up listening to 92.5 WXTU, which is our local country station. And I grew up listening to a lot of that. I remember listening to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift in the car, obviously a great song, and my mom turns around after the song’s over and she’s like, “listen, guys, this is a great song.” But you know, the part where [Taylor Swift] is like, “I got tired of waiting?” She’s like, “You do not wait for anybody! You need to get over that. And you need to move on do something yourself.” So I think I grew up listening to a lot of that. And then my parents listened to like, music of their time, I guess, which was, you know, late 70s, 80s. We listened to a lot of Beatles. My dad was a really big Grateful Dead fan. My mom is not, so that was often vetoed. What else? Oh, when we were doing road trips to places, there were a couple of albums that we listened to on repeat every single time. So Paul Simon’s Graceland…
Quinn: That’s a great album.
Emma: I love that album. We listened to that multiple times. And Moby plays…I don’t even know what the album is called. I think it’s his 1995 album maybe? I could be completely wrong, but we listened to a lot of that. So yeah, it was a lot of all over the place. But I think I probably grew up on country music and classic rock.
Quinn: Country music and classic rock. And do you still listen to a lot of that today?
Emma: I still listen to classic rock. I think a lot of country music now is bad.
Emma: Because we’re heading into bro country where there’s some attempt at rapping and that’s really horrible. But every now and then I just really want some overproduced songs about like trucks. So I think there’s always a time for country music, you just have to have the right stuff.
Quinn: I agree, I agree. I’ve been getting more into country music this semester too, kind of an underrated…
Emma: Yeah, I really think there’s a lot of nostalgia that goes with that. And it’s just like, it’s a good feeling, you know?
Quinn: Sort of relating to that question, but what was the first song you remember discovering on your own apart from your parents?
Emma: Oh… okay, wait I gotta think back…it’s… I bet I could find it somewhere…wait, no, I actually know what it is. I’m pretty sure that it is… that I discovered like completely on my own nobody told me about it. Okay. Yeah, I definitely know what this is it’s…”Didn’t Know You” by Karmin. I haven’t listened to any of her other music, I just remember…I don’t know, finding that song somewhere and listening to it on repeat. And… I need to find the artist… “Sovereign Light Cafe” by Keane and Afrojack. And then I immediately transferred to listening to a lot of my friend’s music, which is like Panic at the Disco and Twenty One Pilots as you can assume. A classic right? [They’ve] aged…fine. Like some of the songs still are good but not all of them. But I think those two songs were the first songs that I found.
Quinn: Do you remember how? Like what platform did you use to listen to…
Emma: So “I Didn’t Know You” I heard on a YouTube ad, I think. And I have been using, I always use, Spotify. So all of that was all in Spotify. So that’s how I found everything else through a lot of like, “if you like these songs” and the suggestion things. And Discover Weekly, I’m very passionate about that. Although the past three weeks, it’s been really bad.
Quinn: It’s hit or miss.
Emma: I’m really upset. I would sell, like, all of my personal data. Just to have Discover Weekly be good. So I hope Spotify is taking hints.
Quinn: What song got you through quarantine? If you can pick one. I know it’s gonna be hard. Or two.
Emma: Okay, well, I remember listening to “Heat Waves” every single morning as I was driving to… so this was the… first summer of quarantine. It was like the end of the summer. I remember listening to “Heat Waves” as I was driving to my morning rowing practice. Every single morning. That and like… what’s this one song called? I have to look in Liked Songs… “Heat Waves” is definitely the first one I thought of and then there’s also “Lonely” by Solomonophonic. Yeah, that and country music.
Quinn: Is there a specific song or artist you can think of that got you through your teenage years?
Emma: Yeah, Panic at the Disco for sure. I went to a bunch of concerts. I mean, I think… this is my, you know, extreme 13 year old self, so take this with a grain of salt…please don’t think of me as this person…but I think that after Vices and Virtues, it kind of went downhill. I love that album… I love Pretty Odd, a lot of people didn’t because it was too weird, but it was very like, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band vibes, which I really liked. But the High Hopes Album is objectively like…it’s not that good. Death of a Bachelor was fine. There was some good stuff there…but there wasn’t really a lot of feeling, I was like, it doesn’t seem like you care. And then I like some of the stuff that Dallon wrote on Too Weird to Live Too Rare to Die, but I didn’t love the music as much. So I like a lot of their older stuff better. But those were the concerts I went to and that was my biggest music fan moment.
Quinn: Do you remember… I guess sort of like almost discovering an artist or getting to know an artist earlier and then watching as they blew up more?
Emma: Yeah, I remember…this is such an obnoxious thing to say, but I remember listening to Billie Eilish back when she had like three songs on Spotify. And I paid $15 For pit tickets at World Cafe Live in…2017? I think it was still before her first album came out or like right as it came out. And I got to meet her after the show and was like… from here to the door away from her, it was crazy.
Quinn: That’s…wow. Yeah, that’s like right before she got super big.
Emma: Yeah I was really lucky. And I remember not being sure if I was gonna go to the show, I was like, “well, I don’t know…” And then I went and it was great. And then, more recently, I remember discovering Remi Wolf, and her music, which I absolutely love. Her stuff is just insanely good. I have not seen her in concert but she’s really really cool. But definitely Billie Eilish is my claim to fame.
Quinn: Why did you want to get involved with student radio?
Emma: Okay, so there’s two reasons and both of them are entirely superficial and ridiculous. One is that in middle school, my friends and I went through a period where we watched Pitch Perfect at every single sleepover…
Quinn: Oh I went through that phase too.
Emma: Becca, as you know, works on the radio and she has her little radio show… videos like Empire Records and movies like that where it’s like, people working in radio, and producing music, I was like, that has to be me, I have to do that. And then the other thing, which I have recently discovered, is that you have so much power. Everyone has to listen to your Spotify playlist, and they cannot skip any song. They can turn off the radio, but they can’t skip. It’s such a cool thing to be able to do. To have all the stuff in here, it’s such a cool space to be in. And to be able to plan out your little show, and then like, plan out the stuff that you’re talking about, I think it’s just really fun.
Quinn: Yeah, yeah. I also remember Pitch Perfect as the genesis for my radio show. That was definitely a turning-point movie.
Emma: Oh, wait, I actually do have a third reason. My dad and I watch a lot of hockey. And I can’t watch hockey with him anymore, because he’s obviously not here. So now I’ll talk about hockey on my show, and he’ll just text me the whole time, so it’s just really fun. I have to figure out how to get the phone working, so he can actually call in, instead of me just calling him out every time he says something. So that’s just been really cool.
Quinn: Yeah, that’s super cool. Have you ever thought about talking about sports? Do you talk about sports on your show pretty consistently?
Emma: Yeah I talk about hockey every show. So that’s just been kinda cool to just be able to do that from a distance.
Quinn: Aww, that’s really sweet. Okay, last question. What song do you want played at your funeral? If you can think of one.
Emma: Ok…oh, either “Buzz Cut Season” by Lorde, or…now I have to find the artist because I absolutely can never remember…”God Must be Doing Cocaine” by Charlotte Lawrence. I just really like that song, I think it’s hilarious. I mean, it’s kind of like a sad song about like, oh, everyone’s like…everything sucks…but I just think it’s funny.