Show Spotlight: Femme Fatale

Jess McPhearson aka: Sadie Mayhem

With Femme Fatale moving to a new time slot at 5pm on Saturdays, we thought it would be a great opportunity to check in with the show’s host, Sadie Mayhem – otherwise known as Jes McPherson, one of the craftiest, hippest super-mamas out there.

What can you not stop listening to these days?

I’m really into Bad Cop/Bad Cop right now, I saw them live and they’re my favorite new all gal punk band. Also bands like Bleached, Camp Cope, and Cayetana are always circulating in my playlist. A surprising new album I love is Paramore’s After Laughter. I’ve never been that into them, but After Laughter is nothing like Paramore’s other releases. It sounds like new wave, but modern. I love it.

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

My little family and I love fall because we like to go to the local corn mazes and pumpkin patches; also there are a few Halloween shows I’d like to see like Rocky Horror Picture Show or Addams Family Musical.

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

Well I only play female artists and mostly female-fronted bands, but I try to do different genres. I always try to add some vintage tracks from the 60’s in there just because I love the way you can play a gritty punk-rock rock song and follow it up with The Shangri-Las.

How long have you been doing Femme Fatale? Why did you start the show?

Femme Fatale will have been on the air for six years this November; I originally started broadcasting on Saturdays at 10pm, now I’m on at 5pm. When I was in college, I always thought it’d be cool to have an all female artist/band segment, but I never had the courage to run with it. College radio all sounded the same and I wanted to be different.

When I moved to Boise from California and started volunteering with Radio Boise, they had just gone live on the air and needed some gaps filled. I figured this was my chance to push Femme Fatale to a station that wanted diversity. It was speculated at first that it might be either too mainstream or I wouldn’t have enough material to make it interesting since I was basically limited to one gender. But as time went on, the show evolved. It also helped that there has been a rise of female fronted bands within the last 10 years. Not since the riot grrrl era have so many bands been formed – it’s been awesome.

How did you Discover Radio Boise?

Partly word of mouth and mostly just tuning in and discovering the local stations. I had moved to Boise only a few months after Radio Boise went live on the airwaves. I heard a PSA that Radio Boise was looking for volunteers and thought it was a good opportunity to get involved. I was a music business major in college, so originally I just wanted to volunteer and see where it led – eventually it lead to Femme Fatale.

What other shows do you listen to?

Right now I’m really digging Smoke and Mirrors and The Daft Manifesto, but I’ve been a long time fan of Guilty Pleasures, Sunday Soul Party, and Black Sheep Farm

What else do you do?

Other than Femme Fatale I’m a part-time barista and a full-time mom. I and my family like to do fun activities like go to shows, play games, and go anywhere there’s a petting zoo. I used to go to a lot of shows around town, and occasionally still do, but now I like to do things that my daughter can do as well.

Why do you believe volunteering for Radio Boise is important?

Non-profits like Radio Boise would not be possible without volunteers. And I think radio stations where you can play music from independent labels and talk about public affairs are very important for our community. Many of us DJs could probably get paid to spin at mainstream radio stations, but then we wouldn’t have the freedom to play what we like and help others discover something they otherwise would have never heard. Not only are stations like Radio Boise good for the community, they are good for the artists that get played. And whether you’re a Radio Boise DJ, data processor, or help out with fundraising, it all matters.

What sounds do you find yourself inexplicably drawn to?

I’ve always been mainly into some or all forms of rock. It evolved in my lifetime from all the way from riot grrrl to indie, and back to folk, new wave, and 60’s girl groups. I love it all.

Overall, I am drawn to garage rock. I don’t know what it is but whatever era it’s from, I’ve always loved that lo-fi gritty sound, especially with female vocals. No offense to male singers, but I seem to be more drawn to female vocalists. I love how women can both convey such emotion and sound raw and edgy, sometimes in the same song. It’s amazing.

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