Be sure to tune into KPFK radio tomorrow when Amoeba Hollywood's own Rick Frystak will spin a special two hour set of some of what the ever knowledgeable Amoeba buyer, avid music collector, musician, composer, DJ, and Amoeblogger promises will be a mix of his "favorite internationalist esoterica along with a bit of obscure holiday sounds and greetings." Frystak, who hosts the weekend morning KPFK show Roots and Beyond every second Saturday, will be filling in for Derek Rath's on The Global Village tomorrow Monday, December 24th from 11am to 1pm.
One of the go-to buyers at Amoeba Rick Frystak, who helped open the Amoeba Hollywood store eleven years ago, is a four-decade strong music business veteran who lives and breathes music. Hence he makes for the perfect radio DJ in a setting like Pacifica's KPFK that's not restricted by rigid formats but rather allows its DJs the freedom to program their own shows and take them into whatever direction they see fit during each live broadcast. Today I caught up with Rick Frystak, who also DJ's party gigs - most notably a string of year-end parties for the World Arts and Culture Department of UCLA, to ask him about his approach to putting together music sets, and what to expect during tomorrow's show on KPFK.
Amoeblog: Who are some of the artists you will be playing?
Rick Frystak: Some of the artists I’ll be playing are Claudette Soares, Issa Bagayogo, Arve Henriksen, Orlando Julius, Marilyn Mazur, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Idir, Towa Tei, Egberto Gismonti, Hector Zazou, Bau, Ali Akbar Khan, Ariana Savall, Joey Pastrana, and many others.
Amoeblog: Given that it is December 24th (aka Christmas Eve) will you be playing any seasonal music?
Rick Frystak: I’ll be dropping in a few Christmas pieces here and there, but mostly taped holiday greetings from music notables from record label promo LPs. The show after mine [Maggie LePique] will be 2 hours of Christmas music, so I’m playing just a few tracks, like Don Patterson with Pat Martino and some Peruvian harps.
Amoeblog: Will you be playing off MP3s, CDs, vinyl, or tapes or all of the above?
Rick Frystak: I’ll be playing a mixture of vinyl and CD only. I have a huge collection of these formats, and because of their superior sound quality I always use only those on the air. I like to have the LPs and CDs with the tracks I’m playing in my hands as I load the decks in the moment, rather than clicking some files on a laptop or pre-loading a set on a computer or CD-R. It feels much more like a performance that can’t exactly be repeated, and is much more gratifying in the end.
Amoeblog: When you DJ, doing radio shows or parties or mixes of music, do you tend to segue songs based on such things as BPM, musical genre, lyrical content, instrumentation, or other defining factors?
Rick Frystak: I consider many factors when putting a set together, including the tempo of the track, what key it’s in and the keys of the previous and following tracks, whether it’s vocal versus instrumental, what country or genre style the track is from, and the intensity of the instruments and arrangement. Then I can design the listeners “trip” by putting tracks together that compliment or work together with each other to take the listener on a specific journey that I hear in my head.
Amoeblog: From working at Amoeba and been a life long music fanatic are you constantly hearing songs and thinking of their connections to other songs?
Rick Frystak: I have a “radio station” going in my head 24/7. I am constantly hearing connections to other tracks when I hear songs I could play on the air. It just hits me from somewhere in the psyche that “…this piece would go perfectly with…”. Sometimes the tracks I’m hearing turn out to be in the same key! That’s Kismet.
----------------Tune into Amoeba Hollywood's Rick Frystak on KPFK Monday December 24th 11am to 1pm (PST) on KPFK 90.7FM in the LA area and 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara and online everywhere at KPFK.org when he guest DJs for Derek Rath on The Global Village, and check out his regular KPFK show Roots and Beyond 6-8am, every second Saturday of the month. And read Rick's Amoeblog The Choice Bin.