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Grabinski delves into the shadow land on KDIC

Thomas Grabinski ’15 checks out some vinyl in the KDIC studio. Photo by Jun Taek Lee
Thomas Grabinski ’15 checks out some vinyl in the KDIC studio. Photo by Jun Taek Lee

Since returning from London nearly a year ago, Thomas Grabinski ’15 has spent his Monday nights from 10 to 11 p.m. broadcasting “The Shadow McClintock Hour” on KDIC. The inspiration for the name stems from a combination of his first pet, Shadow, and a street right near his childhood home in Arizona.

Grabinski had his first taste of DJing for KDIC his first semester of first year when he co-hosted a show called “Radio on the Radio.”

“We were both really into that band ‘TV On The Radio’ and we both just f*cking liked guitar bands, so we just played some indie rock for two hours and just talked. It was fun,” Grabinski said.

“Radio on the Radio” was on the radio for a year and a half before Grabinski’s co-host grew exhausted with it. During his third year, Grabinski served as a U.K. correspondent for KDIC, writing about shows he saw in and around London during his semester abroad. When he came back to Grinnell, he continued writing for KDIC and started his own show, “The Shadow McClintock Hour.” This year, he keeps up with his own show in addition to managing a staff of writers and delegating music features and album reviews for the KDIC website. Each week, Grabinski compiles a playlist of songs that he thinks his listeners will connect to on an emotional level, using his show as a way to find music that inspires a visceral reaction.

“I don’t think you can totally understand the relationship between music and emotion and that’s part of what’s so exciting about it. It’s elusive, it’s something you can’t quite pinpoint,” he said.

Grabinski also considers the music that Grinnell students tend to like as well as what they might not have heard before.

“I feel like a lot of people at Grinnell really sort of like pop music and electronic music and rap,” Grabinski said. “But I’m surprised at how few people listen to a lot of guitar music and so I kinda try to bring that with my show.”

Grabinski also likes to add small anecdotes about the music he’s playing, in an effort to keep his show relevant. For example, after Canadian musician Mac DeMarco was arrested at UC Santa Barbara after drunkenly climbing up into the rafters, Grabinski opened his show with Mac DeMarco’s album “Run the Jewels 2.” According to Grabinski, “A big part of what got Mac Demarco in trouble at his show was f*ckboys in the crowd … and ‘Run the Jewels 2’ is all about keeping f*ckboys out of your stuff.”

Most weeks, Grabinski spends a few hours curating and compiling a set based on band recommendations obtained via social media.

Last year, in an English seminar that included musical components, Grabinski hit it off with guest artist Scott Hocking, who helped with students’ installations. “[Hocking] and I hit it off when we were working on mine, and he agreed to come on my show,” Grabinski said. “So we had a couple of beers beforehand, and then we just went and talked about art and Detroit. [We] put a playlist together of music he liked and music I liked and it was nice and we both loved the new War on Drugs record so that was a common ground.”

Another highlight of “The Shadow McClintock Hour” for Grabinski was having his sister on as a guest co-host when she was home from Norway.

“We just played Norwegian pop music, ‘Take On Me’ by ‘A-ha’ being Norway’s biggest pop export,” Grabinski said.

Though Grabinski said he knows his days with KDIC will end when he graduates, he would like to keep working with music. He hopes to continue to inspire emotion by placing music in films. Regardless of his career path, however, Grabinski’s work on KDIC will stick with him as he continues to surround himself with new music.

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  • Nov 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    My type of dude! So chill!