Five Tips For When You’re Setting Up Backstage

Let’s face it, we all like to compare and contrast. For me working backstage at a rock concert is the place to be! I love the fast-paced energy of putting up all of the equipment and making sure everything is running smoothly before the crowds arrive. If you’re like me, then you would like to get more than just one gig. Here are a few things that helped me when I was just starting out. For the record, I still have a lot to learn.

  1. Avoid feedback

  • The mic and the speaker that is amplifying that signal should never touch. Furthermore, they should not be pointed towards each other at all! An easy way to avoid this is to make sure that the mics always stay behind the speakers. If you are going to use a wireless mic, then this problem is a lot more likely to occur. Make sure you warn whoever is wielding that mic.  
  1. Check the line

  • Many times we are setting up for a show and all of the sudden equipment that has worked before seems to be broken. Before you go out and spend money on a new piece check all of the cables that are sending the signal. Connect them to equipment that you know works and see if the signal carries. If not, then you may only need to replace the cable.
  1. Drop your gains

  • If you are connecting multiple instruments to a single mixer it is important to keep the sliders or gain knobs down and bring up the levels slowly. This will help you avoid feedback and large booms. Also, if you have all of your instruments sounding good but there is one that sounds like it is clipping or warped, the trick there is to bring the rest of the levels down to match rather then taking one level up to match. 
  1. It doesn’t sound cool it sounds warped

  • This is more of a pet peeve. Sometimes when I hear a DJ playing pop hits, they decide to turn up the mids or blast the low end. I’m talking about those three knobs on the mixer, High, Mid, and Low. When working with music that doesn’t belong to you, you only want to turn these knobs a little bit or not at all! For example, Dr. Dre sounds good with a little low-end boost but not so far that it sounds like the speakers will break. Because you are controlling it, oftentimes one may think that they are a remix lord. But to everyone else, you’re really just making their favorite songs sound weird and bad.
  1. Get to know an expert

  • Now, I’m no expert. I would, however, be happy to do my part to ensure that we can all enjoy our entertainment to the fullest of our abilities. Many people share my passion and would be more than willing to give advice on how to make things run smoothly. Don’t be afraid to do some research or to find an opportunity to learn from those that are more experienced than you. Experience and knowledge are like a pie chart. Just because someone doesn’t know differential calculus they could still know why your five hundred thousand dollar set up seems to be virtually on fire, saving you all kinds of trouble in the future. So, I just try to respect everyone on this principle. Because, if you disrespect the wrong person then they will let you fail. You can learn a thing or two from these old folks. They survived. You could still die young.  

Nothing short of a contract can guarantee a job in this world. Above all else, I recommend finding something that you love to do and finding a way to do it every day. Because if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life.



Women of K-UTE

Happy International Women’s Day 2018!

Here at K-UTE, we greatly appreciate the powerhouse women on our team – few though we may be. This year has seen the most female involvement at the station as far as I’m aware and that warrants some recognition. Here are a few of these amazing ladies and what they enjoy most about being involved with the radio station.

Click on each person’s name for a link to their Instagram page!

Sage Holt

Sage is one of our freshman DJ’s and wasted no time in getting involved with our station. She doesn’t quite know what she wants to pursue as a degree, but she’s thinking of testing out music production to see if that’s what she’d like most. When I asked her what her favourite part of K-UTE is, she said “I LOVE that K-UTE radio has given me a family on campus.” She then continued by saying “It’s people like you who make it what it is and I can’t imagine my life without you. You’ve already made my college experience with memories I’ll never forget … also I love you.” She was trying to make me blush with that last bit, but I return those sentiments wholeheartedly. She also writes blogs! Check out her first year reflection here.

Tomey Fox

Tomey (seen here with her boyfriend Sterling) is a freshman and hopes to major in civil engineering. You can often catch her drawing in her sketchbook while in the studio between choosing phenomenal songs to play. Her favourite thing about K-UTE is “all the opportunities you can take advantage of just by reaching out.” She makes a good point with that – there are tons of concerts, conferences, positions, and friends all available if you ask. We aren’t a part of the station just to say we’re involved with something. We’re a part of the station to be involved and get the most out of our time here.

Sophia Chartrand

Sophia is a sophomore going for a major in writing and dwells mostly in the land of the W.A.R. Room – K-UTE’s EDM time block. One thing that she enjoys about being a DJ is “being able to play whatever I want for everyone… and I’ve met some dope people while doing it!”


Sarah Bischoff

Sarah is a senior and English Literature major who exists  within K-UTE as a valuable member of The Booket List. She shared that the podcast “gives me the ability to argue with an audience about what I love … it’s a highlight of my academic experience.” She’s involved in other organisations on campus such as the English Student Enrichment Association and writing resource center. We will also soon be publishing pieces together under the title of “Morahnic Satire” wherein we shall satirise anything and everything. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is real. Nihilism.

Jessica Sandrock

Jessica is also a senior and English Literature major. As one of our front desk / secretary people, she has come in clutch many times by printing off assignments for me to pick up while running to class. Her favourite thing about K-UTE is the people. “It’s great to be affiliated with a group of passionate music lovers. I’ve had a blast blogging about concerts and hanging out at the Twilight Concert Series.”

Ellen Lewis

Ellen is a senior and double majoring in Film & Media Arts and Gender Studies in addition to being one of our DJ’s and a member of Studio200. Her favourite thing about K-UTE is “a tie between (1) getting to talk to other music lovers on campus about our favorite artists and (2) forcing everyone tuning in to listen to French pop music from the early 1960s.” When she’s not hard at work on something cool/artsy, she’s probably haunting estate sales. Speaking of her cool/artsy endeavors, mark your calendars and schedule time to get to her art show opening reception!

Morgan Parent

Finally, here’s me! I’m a junior and am getting a degree in Communication, Strategic Communication to be exact. I’ve been involved with K-UTE since January 2017 and I’ve been the Social Media Manager all this time. I’ve also been a DJ on the Midday Mix, conducted in-person & phone interviews, and written blogs (my first one can be found here). My favourite parts about this organisation are the people I’ve met, events I’ve attended, and opportunities I’ve found.


It’s an honour to work alongside these angels, but my goal for next year is to get even more women involved! We all have different backgrounds and parts in the organisation but are alike in our ambition and love of music. There is a place for anyone in K-UTE and that’s another reason why it’s so great.

Some other phenomenal gals on our team that weren’t featured include:

  • Allison Allred – another essential member of The Booket List
  • Elena Payne – one of the best front desk people known to humankind
  • Elly Smith – impending blog writer and barista extraordinaire
  • Helen Finch – a new name in the station who is in training to do a podcast

Follow my grrrl gang anthems playlist on Spotify to keep the girl power going!

Tune-Yards’ Musical and Political Journey

In the beginning…

I first met Tune-Yards (tUnE-yArDs) in May 2014. I was in Bend, Oregon seeing one of my all-time favorite bands, The National. Because there isn’t much to do in Bend, I showed up at the outdoor amphitheater hours before they opened the gates. The venue was located along the banks of the Deschutes River and the Oregon May weather couldn’t have provided a better evening for an outdoor concert. I was about the 10th person in line which led to me standing front row dead-center.

When Merrill Garbus of opening act Tune-Yards took the stage, I fell in love. Flamboyantly dressed, with an asymmetrical haircut, and paint on her face, she was so unapologetically herself that it was hard not to. Her music matched her quirky style with such uniqueness that I had never heard the likes of. On stage, she played with a loop-pedal, a ukulele, and various percussion instruments. Rounding out the band was bassist Nate Brenner, back-up singers, and another percussionist.

Hailing from New England, Tune-Yards’ music is characterized as Art-Pop, Alternative-Dance, or Lo-Fi Indie. I still remember hearing songs such as “Gangsta”, “Bizness”, and “Water Fountain” for the first time. I have now heard them hundreds of times and they’re still awesome.

The music continues

On January 19th, 2018, Tune-Yards released their fourth album I can feel you creep into my private life. While I was slightly disappointed with this album, compared to their earlier work including W H O K I L L (2011), there are still several songs that capture my attention. Opening track “Heart Attack” is solid and starts the album off strong.

Lyrically this album is very political. Garbus explores what it means to be a white woman in our society, primarily the privileges she experiences because of her race. In recent years, she has engrossed herself in an anti-racist curriculum attending workshops and joining activist groups including Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). She seems to experience a tremendous amount of white guilt which is evident through the lyrics.

In the song “Coast to Coast”, Garbus sings, “the seeds are sown in small acts of violence… we let freedom ring, but whose freedom?” In “ABC 123” the theme continues, “I want so badly to be liked…I ask myself, ‘What should I do?’ but all I know is white centrality.” Of the song “Colonizer”, Garbus said, “I cringed all the way through making that song…I cried a lot too…I heard my voice speaking to a friend about this experience that I had in Kenya. A lot of people think that I’m making fun of another white woman in ‘Colonizer.’ No. This is me.” She sings, “I comb my white woman’s hair with a comb made especially, generally for me…I smell the blood in my voice.”

What white people listen to

In our society, essentially every music genre was pioneered by black Americans or influenced by music of the same roots. Some white musicians choose to completely ignore this as they sweep over fellow musicians collecting paychecks and Grammies. Other bands, like Tune-Yards, use their platform to highlight problems in society. While dance music might not be the greatest platform for these issues, it is what white people listen to.

Tune-Yards will be coming to Salt Lake on April 25th. They are playing live at the Depot with guest Brightest Diamond. The show is 21 and up and doors open at 7. Years after first hearing them, I am excited to re-experience Tune-Yards. This time headlining and performing in my home-state.



Reflections of a K-UTE Freshman

Starting a new year at the U

Geoff & Sage (me)

Hello! My Name is Sage Holt, I am a brand new Freshman here at the University of Utah.  And I would love to share my experience working for K-UTE Radio as DJ Bug Bite. Before I jump into it, I feel you should know a little bit about me. Just like many of the incoming students, I was nervous, terrified, and also excited to start college. Like many others, I had little to no friends at the U,  I did what any logical person would do trying to make friends; I signed up to rush. (a choice i’d soon regret). 

DJ Dum Dum Boy

Here Comes K-UTE

Not even halfway through rushing I got sick and had to leave thereby excluding me from being able to join. But little did I know I already had a family on campus, I had just yet to realize it. As a kid I remember my mom always telling me that the friends you make in college are the friends you keep for life. And as a freshman new to the scene of the college radio station, I was meeting people left and right, each one kind in nature with a character all their own.

Gary Potter & Father Cactus

People who would help me and guide me, as if they were my family. Brothers who would protect me and sisters who would lend a shoulder if needed.  Working for the radio has also given me a voice to be heard in the college community, a voice to share my thoughts, ideas and perspectives with my fellow students. Due to K-UTE Radio, I will not be just another student in the classroom. I will have left my mark on this campus as all of us should. Little by little I have come to see that these people have become so much more than my producers, managers and interns; they are some of the greatest friends, giving me memories to last a lifetime.

Show Review: STRFKR at the Depot

Get to know the band STRFKR

 Now before you rack your brain for a possible acronym that these six letters could possibly stand for I will confide in you, it is pronounced exactly as you think. There are few bands that can promote a name so outlandish and strange, while being able to stay true to those same claims. This Portland based band is one of those few.  STRFKR took the stage in one of Salt Lake’s most cherished venues, The Depot presented by S & S and K-UTE Radio!

The show opened with a set by Reptaliens whose musical genre was much of the indie, electronica, and pop we know so well from STRFKR. However, it was not just the music of Reptaliens that caught the audience’s attention. Throughout their set, a woman dressed in a skin-tight body suit continued to make appearances. A new outfit dressed this mystery woman every song. Close to the end of their set, she was accompanied by what looked like extra extremities. Equipped with about 5-foot-long extensions for arms she danced rhythmically with the music. Creating a kind of hypnotic trance that added perfectly to the psychedelic ambiance and psyching out the crowd.  Unfortunately, the trance soon ended, and the audience sat quietly waiting for the main act to appear.

Here come the techies

Anticipation and longing was all that could be felt in the sea of an impatient audience. With teasers of the bands logo’s appearing then disappearing and musical technicians walking on and off the stage, the audience grew restless and dispersed around the venue. Until… someone else walked on. The audience looked at the stage with excitement. They  dismissed this new figure thinking them to be yet another techie fidgeting with yet another musical instrument. Although when the mystery figure sat in front of the keyboard, a pink, bowl-cut, wig gleamed in the light catching many eyes as well as my own. At this moment the electric keyboard came to life as this thought-to-be-“techie” drew screaming fans from every corner of the venue. Fans rushed towards the stage jumping, screaming, coming to the realization that this was  Josh Hodges. STRFKR‘s keyboardist. sometimes guitarist, and lead singer, played as his fellow band members joined him on stage.

The main act from outer space 

The band enchanted the audience with new hits from their latest release, Vault Vol. 3, such as “Amiee” and “Alaska” but also blessed us with some old favorites like “Rawnald Gregory The Second” and “While I’m Alive”. A few astronauts jumping with the music and a human sized bunny shooting streamers through the air accompanied the band onstage. Audience members where periodically picked up by friends and fellow music lovers to crowd surf on a rhythmically moving audience. This concert was one of joy, enchantment, and “good vibes” as my fellow millennials will agree. For those of you who were not able to attend this sold out show, do not fret. They will be sure to come back to our beloved Salt Lake. Once again they will fill a small venue with the “Golden Light” this Portland’s STRFKR is known for. 

Hidden Gems of SLC: Faultline Gardens

On “Hidden Gems”, we discuss some of our favorite locales you may have overlooked in the Salt Lake City area, as well as name a song that fits the place best. Today I’m looking Faultline Gardens, a cozy park with a wonderful view.

Located at 1033 East and 400 South, Faultline Gardens isn’t exactly in the most obvious location; if you’re going eastward on 400 South the road takes a bend at 1000 East and turns into 500 South. Thus, if you want to get to the park, you’ll want to approach it from the East or North. In addition, there’s no easy way to spot the park from a distance; it’s hardly a fraction of the size of Lindsey Gardens of Liberty Park, nor is there any obvious signage pointing to its location. Only when you arrive at its address will you see a sign, facing westward and nestled between some rocks and bushes.

Once you are there, get ready for a treat. They key to this park’s appeal comes in two parts. The first is the simplicity of it; there’s a table to sit at, two swings, and a slide (albeit a very small one). Your options are limited, but that can be a relief when so many parks offer more of the same. If the swings and table are occupied, you can always take a breather and lie down on the grass (depending on the weather of course).

Two Paths Diverge

Whichever option you take, you’ll be able to partake in the park’s second appeal, which is the view. Neither too uphill nor too far away from the city, Faultline Gardens offers an excellent view of the metropolitan area, as well as the Greater Avenues and immediately surrounding hills. It’s the kind of view that reminds why I love this city so much; here you can see both the bustle of city life and the majesty of (and the proximity of) the outdoors.

To have two such elements in tandem requires a unique song. Thus, when deliberating on a song I thought fit Faultline Gardens best, I chose Björk’s arrangement of “Like Someone in Love”. Written by Jimmy Van Heusen, the song was originally popularized by a rendition by Frank Sinatra. Björk’s take brings the song into a modern, urban context; you can hear the sound of passing cars as she sings aside ethereal melodies played on the harp. The result is grounded yet surreal, capturing the mood Faultline Gardens so easily conveys.

Dancing the Night Away with Passion Pit

Every so often I need a night of dancing, pressed against 1000 sweaty bodies, screaming lyrics into the air. You can imagine my excitement when I heard Passion Pit was playing at The Depot. I was in for a such a night and a memorable one at that.

Opening band Courtship did little to entice me. As soon as they took the stage I leaned over to a friend and whispered, “I’m probably not going to like this band.” I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it was just so tempting. Hailing from Hollywood, they were the embodiment of LA hipsters. 4 good-looking boys played unoriginal indie-pop, dressed in designer clothes made to look like they came from a thrift store.

The music was pompously poppy and portrayed the sense that everything is happy and magical. Songs seemed to lack depth and complexity. The crowd went crazy as they covered “Hey Ya” by Outkast. The guitarist, who was essentially a glorified hype man, told a story about seeing Passion Pit years ago and how it was a dream come true to open for them just one year after forming a band. Dreams aside, I couldn’t wait for them to finish their set and Passion Pit to take the stage.

When Passion Pit front man Michael Angelakos stepped into the light I knew we were in for a show. He has a tremendous amount of swag in his shirt and tie, casually undone and untucked. He is confident and relaxed with the crowd that is looking to unwind themselves. Eager anticipation sweeps over the audience as they wait for the music to begin. Passion Pit jumps into “I’ll Be Alright” and the crowd erupts. They know every word and boogie with the music.

Passion Pit is currently touring following the 2017 release of their fourth studio album Tremendous Sea of Love. Formed in 2007, the indietronica band from Cambridge, Massachusetts has known moderate success. Manners (2009) and Gossamer (2012) performed well both critically and commercially. While their most recent albums have been less well received, Passion Pit continues to make their mark in the electropop world.

The crowd helped carry the concert and made it special. Due to Angelakos’ singing style, the vocals are fairly quiet. The voices of 1000 others singing along amplify the music and fill the room. Their love and help is appreciated and expressed by Angelakos. He jokes that his voice was never that strong, but the always energetic crowds of Salt Lake do the work for him. Passion Pit played the hits for around 70 minutes, including, “Sleepyhead”, “Carried Away”, and “Lifted Up (1985)”. After a brief exit and chanting from the crowd, Passion Pit returned to the stage to play “Talk a Walk”, the cherry on top of the sundae.

Passion Pit put on a marvelous concert. Michael Angelakos was entertaining and got the crowd involved. The dance-heavy show didn’t drag on and tire out the fans. The sound quality at The Depot is always top-notch. At the end of the day there is nothing better than live music, especially when it’s as good as Passion Pit.

What’s on My Playlist?

It’s important for me to find new releases to listen to, especially when a new semester is underway. Sometimes, however, I like to look back at the older tunes that inspire me, or those I never gave a proper chance. The following playlist includes a little bit of all three.

“House of Woodcock” by Jonny Greenwood

Jonny Greenwood just received a nomination for Best Original Score for his work on Phantom Thread, and it’s not hard to see why. “House of Woodcock” gives a small but beautiful sample of the soundtrack, with luscious arrangements of strings building atop a rubato piano line. The result is both stirring and decadent, a perfect match for the film.


“Coyote” by Joni Mitchell

Joni’s music has been around for a while, it was only in the last month that I committed to diving into her discography. Hejira was my first stop, and from the moment the first track “Coyote” played I was hooked. Subtley is the key here, as Joni masterfully uses her voice to weave around a cyclical groove, sustained by Jaco Pastorious’ mesmerizing bass work. For any of those looking to ponder the meaningful-meaningless of the snow (or lack thereof), look no further than the unabashed glaze of this album.

“Repeater” by Fugazi

Unlike Joni Mitchell, Fugazi carries their subtleties in a much more present manner. So, where does one begin with their discography? Look no further than their (ironically) titled, and first formal album, Repeater. The title track “Repeater” in particular sets a precedent for the unrelenting pace of the album, with screeching guitars and sticky-sweet bass grooves playing over a rolling drum line.


“Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying” by Belle and Sebastian

The wistful nature at the core of Belle and Sebastian’s music has always given their work a weight that puts it above the average selection of jangle-pop. Nowhere is this better exemplified than on “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying”. Coming off the band’s second LP If You’re Feeling Sinister, the song slowly builds upon Murdoch’s graceful melodies and acoustic guitar with bass, percussion, and trumpet until reaching a crescendo both stately and emotionally resonant.

“Jesus, etc.” by Wilco

How do you take influences of the western contemporary, ranging from country to folk, and recontextualize them for a suitable, modern musical context? Look no further than Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. This is an album that thrives on brutal honesty, poetic semantics, and the inevitable washed-out heritage of the 21st century American. The resulting tracks, like “Jesus, etc.”, both surprise and reward in ways few songs can.


Looking for more music to start your week off right? Check out my other playlist here.