Show Spotlight: Riff Haven

Riff Haven

The Riff. A short repeated phrase or pattern of notes, frequently played. Whether it be a guitar lick, a bass groove, or a drum fill, it is that succession of rhythm that compels your attention, pulls you in and drags you irresistibly along with it. Although DJ Dan deLion has an emphasis on stoner rock, psychedelic rock, and shoegaze – Riff Haven is an exploration not truly defined by the genres but the Riffs themselves. Catch it every Tuesday evening from 9-11 p.m. or on archive.

What can you not stop listening to these days?

Late December, early January is always a really interesting time to ask me that question.  It is the time of year where I, like all the DJs at Radio Boise, go back and identify my favorite ten albums. Thus, I have been spending a good deal of time rediscovering my enjoyment of The Black Angel’s “Death Songs,” Sasquatch’s “Maneuvers,” and Monolord’s “Rust.” However, it is also the time of year where I look at others’ favorites lists and discover some great records that I missed. For example, Telekinetic Yeti released a self-titled debut album back in March that I am only now discovering as a result of going through other year-end lists.

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

Obviously, there is substantial excitement with the first wave of announcements for the Treefort Music Festival. So, like many, I am currently reviewing the first wave of artists while awaiting the second and third. I was very excited that Kinski was in the first wave of announcements. I am also pretty excited about the fact that 1000mods, a favorite band of mine from Greece, is embarking on their first-ever American tour and identified Boise as one of their stops in February. That is just one of many national and international bands that have come to the Treasure Valley as of late. To me that is a testament to not just how vibrant our music scene here is, but how our reputation for such is becoming known beyond Idaho. Where that leads is something I am truly excited about.

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

It is funny – I recently met someone who expressed this preconception that, as a DJ for a radio show that plays predominantly psychedelic and “stoner” rock genres, sets are created in this fog of smoke in a room thick with incense. Because radio has been said to be the “theater of the mind,” I think I will allow that preconception to continue rather than destroy it with words such as pajama pants, hoodies, and cheese dip.

How long have you been doing Riff Haven? What drew you to take on this show?

I started Riff Häven in November of 2016. The show gives me the opportunity to do what I think is particularly special about community radio. Because the station does not need to push a particular musical product or sell commercial product to push additional music product, the music doesn’t have to be packaged into 3 to 4 minutes. Rather, the songs can be, as I often say, as long as it needs to be. I mean, I haven’t played Sleep’s hour-long single song, “Dopesmoker,” or its fifty-minute revision titled, “Jerusalem” …yet…but…

For those who may not be familiar with your show, how would you describe Riff Haven’s sound?

It is certainly fair to classify it as a show focused on the more psychedelic, cosmic, stoney and shoe-gazey side of music and I won’t shy away from that characterization. However, to me, it isn’t so much about the genre, but that the tying thread is the featuring of songs that have that “riff”, that series of notes, that musical phrase that has your head bobbing and for better or worse (I think better) repeats in your head in the days that follow.

How did you discover Radio Boise?

A good friend of mine from my yoga classes class, and still is, a pretty active volunteer at the Radio Boise. She knew of my passion for music, told me about the station and how it was filled with like-minded individuals passionate about music. I tuned in and, as a result of her welcomed persistence, in no time was not only an avid listener but became actively involved in activities to support the station.

What other Radio Boise shows do you listen to?

I am a big fan of the blues block on Monday that starts with Norman Davis’ Juke Joint and Mojo Mike’s Blue’s Revue. I also listen to Strange Feeling, Smoke and Mirrors, Range Life, It’s Now Right Now, Sonic Mushroom Cloud, and High Wild & Free.

What other kinds of things keep you busy outside of radio?

Playing music, yoga, running and, lately, mountain biking. Oh…and piracy.

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

It is not just “community” radio, it is our community radio.  It is driven by the people around us. It is a forum that is responsive to the passions, wants, and needs of the people around us. At its most basic, we have two options really.  We can direct what we want to foster and support around us or we can have that directed at us. I’ll always choose the former. Thus, I’ll always support community radio.

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