Insistent keys and snare coupled with guitar riffs and grooving bass built up as music group La Luz began playing “Cicada,” one of the songs from their upcoming album, Floating Features. Guitarist Shana Cleveland’s voice wasn’t alone in lyrics for long; other band members Marian Li Pino, Alice Sandahl, and Lena Simon soon joined, cementing the layered harmonies and robust sound by which the group has come to be known.
This surf rock band, stopping to play The Loft at UCSD on their current tour, initially came together in Seattle, but moved down to Los Angeles when writing their newest album. Compared to previous projects, Floating Features was the first to be recorded in a large studio setting with the majority of the material prepared fully before. “We’ve been waiting for this record to come out for a really long time,” says Cleveland, “We recorded it a year and a half ago and we’ve been playing two or three of the songs live for a long time… on this tour we’ll play mostly the new album.”
Sanjay John was already at the radio station by the time I strolled in after my chem class. He was leaning in the doorway to the recording studio, chatting with other frequenters of the station lobby in between long classes. This radio station has been a place of discovery for me; from learning about audio to exploring new music to being introduced to some of the best people I’ve met, KSDT radio here at UCSD has been one of the best things to happen to me.
I first saw Sanjay perform at a KSDT-hosted open mic night back in November. At the time, I knew a limited selection of the radio station folks—I didn’t even have an official show slot yet. But I was there, sitting in on the soundboard when I saw the group go up. By the reactions from the crowd, I immediately knew it was a station-associated group, but I never caught any names.
They broke out into upbeat music, bright melodies that immediately induced foot-tapping and unconscious dancing. Sanjay, whom I had yet to meet at the time, faced the microphone right at the front. Until that moment, I hadn’t witnessed such energy and fearlessness from a group of college kids. Part of me didn’t think it was possible, solely projecting my own consciousness of being unapologetically immersed in performing for a crowd. I’ve always been a little scared to put on a show, so the energy I felt ebbing from these people blew me away. After that open mic, I slowly started to mix in more with people from the radio station (in fact, I’ve become “a person from the radio station”), and I finally met Sanjay through further station-associated interactions. Continue reading