By Teddy Farkas ’16
Names: Carolyn Frey Ten Eyck and Kraig Richard Davis ’18
Show: “KC Funk Explosion” on Saturdays 10-11am EST
Carolyn Ten Eyck: Framingham, MA (“The biggest ‘town’ in the United States. It should be a city, but it’s not. Also it’s the original home of the Staples enterprise”)
Kraig Davis: Dry Tavern, PA (“But if you want to send me things, you have to send it to Rices Landing [PA] because Dry Tavern has, like, three inhabitants.”)
CTE: English, with a music minor
KD: Music and Modern Languages, double major.
You guys are the KC Funk Explosion, would you care to explain the name of your show?
CTE: Well, KC is our initials.
KD: We were batting around the idea of CK but…
CTE: …but that just seemed derivative of…
CTE+KD: …Louis CK.
CTE: Also, it just doesn’t roll off the tongue. We tried calling it the CK Funk Explosion and then we just kept forgetting and calling it the KC Funk Explosion.
Plus it means the Kenyon College Funk Explosion!
KD: Exactly. It originated because last year we had this idea to start a band where we played showtunes, where Carolyn sang and also played trombone and I played piano and sang.
CTE: I’m sad it never came to be.
KD: It never came to be, but we did write a song though –
CTE: – about deconstructed sushi at Peirce.
KD: It was supposed to be extra credit for our [music] theory class.
CTE: It was a banger but we never turned it in.
KD: [In making it,] we were like, what do we call ourselves? Well, I don’t know…
CTE: I guess the KC Funk Explosion.
KD: So that’s how it kind of came to be and we were like, instead of a band, let’s have a radio show, that’s more feasible.
CTE: We’re good.
What kind of music do you play on your show generally?
CTE: We play a broad mix.
KD: We’re eclectic.
CTE: We’re eclectic, yeah, we don’t really have themes. We play a lot of modern stuff like punk or whatever.
KD: If we hear something from the Horn [Gallery, Kenyon’s student-run music and arts space] we’ll play it. If we think the Horn would bring the band in, we play them. That’s it, that’s the way we do it. Then we’re both big in the classical world of music.
CTE: We’re classical giants.
KD: So, we toss in a classical work every week.
CTE: Classical and jazz.
KD: Jazz, Carolyn’s big on jazz.
CTE: And funk!
KD: We also like to do segments, like –
CTE: Right, like we do the “Ten Seconds of All Star” [wherein they play ten seconds of the Smash Mouth hit song “All Star” each week, working their way to the end of the song over the course of the semester].
KD: So that kind of determines where our music’s going. It’s sort of just like, “Hey, we like this song, let’s play it!”
CTE: Yeah, there’s not really a rhyme or reason to it.
What are each of your favorite shows that you have been to?
CTE: It’s hard because people always ask “what was your first real concert?” but both [of] my parents are performers on the side so I always went to orchestra concerts and stuff. I went to a Watsky concert my junior year of high school and I was like “wow.” But in terms of the Horn, PWR BTTM was probably my favorite.
This could be anywhere!
CTE: Anywhere…well I haven’t been to a lot of big shows. I saw Tower of Power once in Boston, that was pretty neat. [They’re] a big funk band.
KD: I have three shows that are tied. One is definitely PWR BTTM. That was a really good show for me just because I started listening to their music and was like “Wow, this is relatable and beautiful and I like them a lot and they’re fun.” They’re fun. They seem. Maybe not behind the scenes, but at least up front they’re fun. Then the Mitski show [at The Horn Gallery] was, honestly, so great. I really like her more after reading about what she says about music and I follow her on Twitter. She’s a very intelligent person, as most musicians are, but I really like hearing her opinions. They’re very unique. The other show would be the first show I ever went to. I don’t know who played. It was just the first Horn show of the year my freshman year, so last year. I don’t know who played but I remember going and that’s how I met Lane [Yates ’18] and Casey [Harner ’18].
[I think the band was] Rozwell Kid.
KD: Rozwell Kid?
They were a punk band, right?
KD: It was punk. It was a banger. There was a lot of moshing. It was red. I remember the room being red and I was just like, “Is this concerts? Is this music?” and I was like, “I want to do this now” and that was a great thing.
CTE: I feel like neither of us had seen a lot of live music before coming to Kenyon.
KD: Yeah, the only live band I saw was Huey Lewis and the News.
CTE: Yeah, I saw a lot of live jazz and classical music but in terms of punk, that just wasn’t really something I’d experienced until Kenyon, which was super cool.
How did your home lives influence each of your musical tastes and how has that changed since you’ve been at college?
CTE: Well, both my parents are super musical, so I was exposed to a lot of jazz and classical but my dad also just has good taste in music in general. My sophomore year of high school, I dug out my mom’s old record player and I just started playing her old Simon and Garfunkel albums. I got very deeply into Paul Simon for like a year. I just listened to Graceland every day. I listened to a lot of 60’s folk and modern folk. That’s a lot of what I listened to in high school as well as jazz and that sort of thing.
KD: So I come from rural Pennsylvania, so for the early part of my life, I only listened to country music, and then I became a teenager and hated everything that my parents liked. So I had to find something that could be something else so I listened to orchestral music and there were a few bands I listened to just from being on the internet and being a kid of the internet. So I listened to Panic! at the Disco a lot. I listened to Never Shout Never in ninth grade, all year.
KD: It’s awful. It’s the human condition. That’s the human condition. But I never had a broad range. There were probably ten bands I consistently listened to throughout high school. Since I was always involved in music, I never listened to music just while I was doing homework or going to a football game because I was in band. I never listened to music while on the road like a lot of people did. I don’t know why. I think it’s just because I was always playing music so I cherished the moments where I didn’t have to listen. Then when I came to Kenyon, I became friends with a lot of people who have very strong opinions on music. So I just was like, “I’ll listen to what they’re listening to. I’ll listen to what the Horn is bringing in. I’ll go on Spotify and get related artists.” So that’s how Kenyon really changed every aspect of my music listening experience.
CTE: Ooh, I have an anecdote. I vividly remember in sixth grade, my middle school was across the street from the library. So I went to the library and I was looking through the CDs and I secretly checked out an Avril Lavigne CD. I hid it in my backpack and then listened to it in my CD player with the volume turned down really low. [laughs] I don’t know why. My parent’s wouldn’t have cared, I just felt so guilty about it.
How has the radio affected your time at Kenyon?
CTE: It’s definitely challenged me to actively seek out more new music, which I like a lot because I would just let music sort of fall into whatever I was listening to. But now, I go on Pitchfork and dig around on Spotify and Bandcamp and stuff. I don’t know, it just made listening to music a more active part of my life. We’re both performers so I think music definitely wasn’t something we consciously sought out before, it was just sort of brought to us.
CTE: But yeah, there’s been a really nice transition into me actively finding music I enjoy.
KD: Yeah, I agree with that. Also I don’t know, it’s made me think about why I listen to the music I’m listening to, which is weird to say because a lot of the time you don’t know why you like a song necessarily. It’s really hard to codify music in that sense. But it’s made me think about, “What am I listening to? What would I play on air? Why would I play this on air?” which I think is interesting. The radio has just sort of been this stable thing in my life that’s not like going to class or anything.
CTE: Yeah, I think it was a really nice escape for both of us because we were both sort of looking for new things to do and this is a really nice way to start our weekend –
KD: And you get involved with cool new people. You see a lot of radio people at the Horn and you see them at these places and so you know them but you don’t know them in the same way as when you go to [WKCO] exec staff meetings and stuff like that, that are really fun. It really is like another social organization with a much more musical aspect, which is what we’re looking for in life as musicians.
If you want to listen in to the “KC Funk Explosion,” tune into WKCO on Saturdays from 10-11am on 91.9FM or wkco.org!