DJ Quandry, aka Eriq Robinson, is a sophomore at Wesleyan University. We’ve decided to profile him somewhat arbitrarily, but also because he’s a rad dude. This is our first of what we hope will be a monthly feature, “On the Spot,” where we spring on unsuspecting WESU DJs and interview them.
I caught up with DJ Quandry at our a cappella rehearsal.
WESU: Surprise! You’ve just been put ON THE SPOT. So, what’s your show called?
DJ Quandry: Okay. My show’s called “Shelf Life.”
W: What’s the format?
Q: It’s an electronic music show. I find random albums off the shelf and play ‘em.
W: Groovy. When is your show?
Q: Every second and fourth Wednesday, 11pm – 12:30am.
W: When did you join WESU?
Q: I joined freshman year – first semester I went through training, second semester I had my first show: “Flight 881 with Captain Q.” It was a world music show, where I went to a different country every week. You know: “Flight 881. Buckle up!”
Then I moved to “Shelf Life,” and that’s probably going to be the format I stick with for the rest of my time at WESU.
W: What music have you recently come across doing “Shelf Life?”
Q: Peace Orchestra, which is pretty trippy. One of my friends told me about Four Tet – and KH, who is also Four Tet – and a track called something like “Play that song that you always play… that I like…” – or something – it’s really cool.
W: Do you get calls on your show?
Q: This one time. I was playing Purity Ring, and this dude called in, and he just kept going on and on about how he loves the show, and how he loves WESU – he wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise – and he was so into Purity Ring, and he said, “That was so deep, and I was so into it, and I’m just at the gas station getting some s***, and that song was so deep, and I love you guys.” And I said “thanks,” and then he said, “Alright, I gotta go.” I was like, “Whoa.”
W: Were you involved with radio before WESU?
Q: No, but… I’ve always listened to a bunch of podcasts: This American Life, Radiolab, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, most of the Death Squad podcasts. And that vamped up story one…like Prairie Home Companion. The Truth! That’s what I’m thinking of. They’ll be at that conference you’re going to.
W: I’m not going to that. They gave us like one ticket.
W: Have you ever had to hit the dump button?
Q: No, because I have control over what I say. And I don’t see why people use it – or why people don’t use it.
W: Good answer. So what’s your favorite part about being a DJ?
Q: The way my show’s set up, I’m constantly listening to new music that I haven’t heard before. So it would be this new method of music discovery – especially because it’s bringing things that aren’t to anyone’s attention.
W: We get some weird music sent to us, don’t we?
Q: Yeah. This one time I put on a record – ‘cause I was feeling cool. So I was like, “yo, let me put on this thing from the experimental section,” ‘cause I thought it was going to be a weirder version of electronic. But it’s not; it’s totally its own beast. So this record featured a bunch of girls, one of whom was saying repeatedly, “No. Not again. No…” and it went on for fourteen minutes, and saying some really messed up stuff – it was possibly the same girl doing different voices – and seven minutes in I stopped it, because I was getting freaked out, and I didn’t want to freak my listeners out.
I’ve played some really bad songs, but that’s part of the process. And I enjoy it.
W: And you get to discover some good stuff, too. Right? Like Purity Ring; I assume you discovered them?
Q: Yes, I dubbed them “Purity Ring” … in a weird English ceremony. No, usually on Shelf Life I do feature one artist. So if things suddenly start going down the tube… like, last show I said, “I don’t know what to do anymore…BJÖRK.”
W: Have you ever hosted anyone on your show?
Q: Only interns. I love interns – fun to talk to, shoot the breeze with. I’m usually in there solo dolo, but otherwise it’s fun to have a second body. But I don’t normally want to relinquish any of my control.
W: So you wouldn’t want to co-host a show?
Q: Oh, dear God, no. It has to be all mine.
W: What would be your ideal time slot?
Q: The one I have right now is a real catch. If I could, I would have it from 11pm to 1am.
W: Why’s that?
Q: Well, when my show was an hour, it didn’t feel too quick, but when it’s an hour and a half, then around song 10 is when I really start getting into the rhythm of exploring everything. So it would give me more time to know where I’m going.
I don’t want to lose minutes. “Oh, I wish I hadn’t played this horrorporn from the experimental shelf.” That was a bummer.
W: Thanks for this! Quick, nearly last question: What do you like best about WESU?
Q: The fact that it is freeform radio. I didn’t even know that was a thing, and now that I know that’s a thing, I notice when other stations are not the thing. Also, I love the fact that we play uncensored music after 10pm. Most other stations are kind of boring…they’re not taking any risks. And my thing is…not taking risks, exactly, but…
W: Kind of a risk, no?
Q: But it’s not like I risk losing tons of listeners.
W: Yeah, but you could lose our license if you keep playing horrorporn.
Q: I don’t think I’m going to dig into the experimental section anymore.
W: Any last words?
Q: Dude. WESU. All that’s left.