Show Spotlight: Ya Know What’s Metal

Ya Know What's Metal on Radio Boise

Matt and Brad have been rocking Radio Boise’s late-night airwaves for 3+ years and are about as metal as it gets: big, tough…and totally sweet. Which, as Matt would say, is probably the most metal of all feelings. Here Matt gives us some background into how he and Brad got started in radio, why Grinker’s is totally metal, and why Metallica is totally not.

What can you not stop listening to these days?

We are really digging the Devil Metal sound right now. Coven, Nunslaughter, Necrophagia, Aeon, Acheron are some of our mainstays. We love to keep it offensive on the airwaves! My absolute favorite band is Crowbar, so they are my go-to when I can’t decide what to listen to. When we started our show, my library had about 15,000 songs. Now, we are right about at 45,000.  It gets tough to pick who to listen to.  

What is going on in the Treasure Valley that you’re excited about?

There are so many awesome people in the heavy metal scene in Boise. Our favorite thing is to work with a local band in any way. We just had Charley Cholo play live during our show and I was the main villain in a Ripchain music video that’s in production. We love playing new music by local bands and getting music from other bands all over the country.

Do you have a ritual surrounding your show? You know, a ritual meal or a certain artist you have to play?  

Years ago at a Necrophagia concert, the singer came out on stage carrying a mannequin head and this weird Y-shaped stick. It was one of the coolest shows ever and Brad and I were cracking up about the dude’s weird stick. We had such a great time at that show and we always laughed about the stick. Months later, I was hiking at Todd Lake in Oregon, one of the most serene and beautiful places I’ve ever been (Google it). Anyway, I found a stick that reminded me of the one at the show and brought it home. We carved a bunch of goofy heavy metal symbols into it and now we bring it to every show. It makes a hell of an air guitar!

Another fun tradition is Brad’s notepad. We’ve done about 162 shows averaging about 30 songs each. Brad writes down the artist and song name for every song for every show and has since Day One. He writes all kinds of cool little notes in there, too. Those notebooks are priceless.

We are huge Hatebreed fans. We try to get them in on just about every show, too. Brad also still has all the vinyl he has bought over the years and sometimes he brings them in. It’s fun to look at 35-year old records that influenced us to become the metalheads we are.

Our other favorite ritual is the weekly contribution our friends, Derek Herzberg and Metal Paul. They contribute a set every week and help us to keep it fresh and innovative. Derek has sent me down the rabbit hole of obscure heavy metal on many occasions.

Ok, last one: we also invented a stupid language that we started on the mic and still use when we’re texting and stuff. We put the word “the” in front of the subject of a sentence and pluralize it.  We love listening to the heavy metals. Yes, we are grown men.

How long have you been doing Ya Know What’s Metal? What drew you to take on this show?

We’ve been doing the show for about three-and-a-half years now. There hasn’t been a single moment where we weren’t having a total blast. It’s truly our favorite part of every week. Brad and I love heavy metal so much, we just wanted something in our lives where we could talk about and listen to the music we love. We couldn’t ask for a better gig.  

For those who may not be familiar with your show, how would you describe Ya Know What’s Metal’s sound?

First and foremost, we have a STRICT “no Metallica” policy. Almost without fail, when we tell people we have a heavy metal show, they say, “Oh, so you play like Metallica, Disturbed, and Slipknot?” After we finish laughing, we tell them that they’ll just have to listen. The best way to describe our show is as a relentless pursuit of the most offensively heavy music on Earth and the absolute antithesis of commercial radio. I’m always trying to push the envelope of heaviness. I know we did a great show when our voices are gone and our necks hurt after two hours in the booth.

How did you discover Radio Boise?

Once Brad and I became friends, we realized we had the personalities and love for music that would translate to great radio. One day, we were at Grinker’s Grand Palace playing old-school stand-up 80’s video games. We were playing Joust, drinking booze, and Slayer was blasting on the stereo system in there. It was like we had died and gone to metal heaven. We started thinking about doing a podcast and then Brad’s buddy told us about Radio Boise. I filled out the online application and was super impatient. I remember coming down to the station in my work costume and asking why we hadn’t been hired yet. I remember Jeff and Wayne looked at me and said, “That was you????” That was a cool day. When we were told we got the gig, we went back to my house and got super drunk.

What other shows do you listen to?

Of course we LOVE “Heavier Than Thou” and “Nightime Asylum.” Chad and Jake bust out the horrifically depressing doom metal and find some of the most obscure, unheard-of music on the planet. They also spin a lot of vinyl, which is metal as hell. They are great on the mic and are awesome dudes all around. Joe Black is all business. He is a student of heavy metal and you can tell how knowledgeable he is by the amount of effort that goes into each show. I consider Brad and I to be top-tier guys when it comes to knowing what’s out there, but Chad, Jake, and Joe are constantly showing us what we’re missing.

I also love “Mother’s Ruin” because of the variety and Steph Coyle RULES on the mic. “The Underground” is a killer show. Robert and Casey are always involving local DJs and they keep it loud in there. They’ve always been cool as hell to us, too. “Sunday Soul Party” is a great show to watch Colby run. All of that vinyl and Southern experience really shows in the quality of that show. I love Jess’ show, “Femme Fatale,” because it’s such a killer concept for a show. She’s one of my favorite people at the station. My ALL TIME favorite show is no longer around – “Punk N’ Pie” was the best show ever. Such great dudes and they were the punk rock MASTERS! I was totally bummed when they hung it up.

What other kinds of things do you do in your life?

Brad is EASILY the most selfless and dedicated family man I’ve ever known. We both coached youth sports for many years and Brad can always be found supporting one of his kids’ or wife’s events. He is the most loyal friend I have. Brad loves doing all things family-related and spends the whole summer BBQing, floating the river, and going to shows. We both love getting new tattoos and spend time hanging out at our buddies’ shop, Inkvision. I’m obsessed with WWII history. I love watching documentaries and reading about [history]. I also love to read about the history of heavy metal and to relax by searching out new music. We are both really busy with our kids and love to get out to Grinker’s every now and then. We love going to shows together and are big fans of the whiskeys.  

Why do you believe in volunteering for community radio is important?

We ABSOLUTELY LOATHE commercial radio and the crap they continue to churn out. The same five songs over and over and over followed by 30 minutes of commercials every hour. Just talking about that crap incenses me. I haven’t listened to commercial radio in 18 years. We also despise all things Hollywood. It’s not fair that some people think the garbage that gets spewed out onto the television and airwaves is all that’s out there. We just strive to be everything that crap could never be. We love the fact that we get to contribute to our community by putting love and effort into a show that we’re passionate about. We’ve met so many great people with this gig. We wouldn’t trade it for the world. Like the late Jeff Hanneman said, “I HATE happy music.” Bruno Mars and Kim Kardashian are the scourge of mankind. Our show is designed to make the world forget them.

What sounds do you find yourself inexplicably drawn to?

For me, the E chord on an electric guitar is what this music is all about. I am a huge connoisseur of guitar and snare drum tone. I think those two things are what is most important on a metal album and will either make or break it for me. We also love angry, loud lyrics and vocals. It’s hard to explain. This music is incredibly therapeutic and relaxing for us and this show is our baby. We are both suckers for a good hardcore breakdown and a great thrash groove. Tune in if Ya Know What’s Metal!

Listen to Ya Know What’s Metal every Saturday night (Sunday morning), 1 – 3 a.m.

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