KDIC erases boundaries every Wednesday night

Photo+by+Tela+Ebersole

Photo by Tela Ebersole

By Kelly Pyzik, pyzikkel@grinnell.edu
An engaging mix of excellent music and exclusive artist interviews, third year Daniel Kisslinger’s “Erasing Boundaries” works to create big musical connections in small-town Iowa.
“Erasing Boundaries,” airing from 10:00-11:00 p.m. on Wednesday nights, seeks to dissolve barriers between genres of music that would usually be considered very different of music and show connections. The show features an interview with a new artist every week, with that artist’s work played between interview clips, ending with music by other artists that bear a connection.
“That’s the opportunity to really erase boundaries – to go from a folk song to Charles Mingus playing a jazz song to hip hop with some kind of link between them,” Kisslinger said. “That’s me actually doing the erasing.”
The inspiration for the show’s name came from an interview freshman year with Abraham Inc. “I feel like we’re really erasing boundaries between music,” the trombonist, Fred Wesley, said of his band’s unusual style and composition.
“That really stuck out to me,” Kisslinger said. “You’re not breaking boundaries, you’re literally just getting rid of them.”
In the past few years, Kisslinger has interviewed a lot of big names including Lupe Fiasco, Big K.R.I.T, Asher Roth and Big Sean. All of these shows are available on the KDIC website as podcasts.
“There’s kind of this idea that people who have a certain amount of stature in music or the arts are up there and we’re down here,” Kisslinger said. “The fact is, those people’s influence and popularity is 100% dependent on how we interact with them. It’s in their interest that someone like me reach out to them and connect.”
When he hears that a certain artist will be coming through Iowa, Kisslinger finds contact information for their manager or publicist and begins the networking and email correspondence necessary to arrange a live interview.
“It’s a fair amount of online digging and legwork, but the information is out there,” Kisslinger said.
Kisslinger believes he has crafted the perfect introductory email that makes clear his professionalism, experience with other performers of similar status, and musical savvy.
“I’ve learned the difference between having a phone number and having someone pick up the phone when you call, and what that comes down to is professionalism,” he said.
For interviews, Kisslinger often travels to concerts in Des Moines and Iowa City or uses KDIC technology to record phone interviews with musicians he cannot meet in person, as well as interviewing artists while home in New York.
“It allows me to get into shows for free, which is the definition of an added perk. I’ve paid for maybe two or three shows in the past two years and I’ve gone to tons of concerts. It has been just a blast,” Kisslinger said.
Kisslinger’s KDIC career began two weeks into his freshman year with a show he called “Bulkin’, Bop and Biggie: The Basics” – an hour of eclectic music tied together by a weekly theme. He then began interviewing student musicians and professionals who came to campus through Grinnell Concerts or other organizations.
“Something that I think is highly underrated is the quantity and quality of live music we have on this campus. It really makes a difference in what it’s like to live in this place,” Kisslinger said.
As his experience with radio continued, Kisslinger began to combine his interest in journalism with his love of music, centering his show more around interviews with musicians and branching out to performers beyond campus. His first big interview was over the phone with Lupe Fiasco in October of 2010, his first month into radio. Kisslinger sent an email from which he did not expect to hear back, but the interview opportunity came as an exciting surprise. This interview especially meant a lot to him, as Lupe Fiasco has been a very important musical influence for a long time in his life.
“The conversation went well, but it wasn’t even really about that,” Kisslinger said. “It was the opportunity to have the conversation in the first place.”
By sophomore year, he had developed his current format, but the interviews ranged through all different genres, whereas “Erasing Boundaries” mostly focuses on hip-hop artists.
“The show that I have at the end of the year is usually a completely different show than I started with at the beginning,” Kisslinger said.
Another proud moment for Kissingler was the show featuring an interview Big K.R.I.T.

Photo by Tela Ebersole

“After putting together the entire show, I looked at it, somewhat objectively, and thought, ‘This is a really well-put together show. If someone came across this and didn’t know anything about me or anything about the show, they would be impressed by the quality of this. This is me doing this at a really high level,’” Kisslinger said.
After leaving Grinnell, Kisslinger intends to continue working in the music industry in some way.
“One of the beautiful things about the music industry is you can wear many hats, as long as you wear them well and don’t have conflicts of interest,” Kisslinger said.
Kisslinger loves that with KDIC, he can work with radio and be around live music, but thinks it will be more difficult to do both when working for a station where responsibilities are a bit more defined.
“At this point, I know I have to be around music, I can’t not be around music,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to figure out a way to feed myself and my family while doing it.”