A person wearing headphones
Ross Koeberl in the Radio K DJ booth.

Tell me a little about the playlist you are working on.

Describing playlists is hard! It's got a lot of different, unique flavors, fun ideas here and there, and all together paints a pretty organic picture that I think ties well to the theme of identity. Not too electronic, not too funky, just present and thoughtful. I've enjoyed making it, it's given me so much to think about!

There are many elements that go into curating runway music: the tempo of the models, the ambiance, the outfits. How do you plan to mold all these elements into your music selection?

I'm manipulating and editing all these tunes in the hopes that I can prevent any gaps or weird tempo shifts during the runway portion, keep things at a steady walking pace somewhere between 100 to 125 beats per minute, which is what the internet told me would be appropriate for a runway show. I'm that much more excited, then, to show up for the run-through and tweak my music to the outfits, the walking order, the space, things like that, and to move from the runway to providing a nice ambiance for the crowd gathered. If I don't distract from that stuff, I've done the job well, and if I compliment it, even better. To that end, I've picked a lot of artists who have a strong sense of identity in the music they make, so exploring different aspects of that through curation is a thrill.

The theme of this year's design showcase is identity. As a DJ, how do you see music as a way to represent and define yourself?

Getting this question is funny for me as a graduating senior preparing for my final radio shift in now less than a month. I started volunteering at Radio K immediately upon enrolling at the U of M, and I've actually been looking over our playlist archives to see how much my music selection has changed over the past four years. I can trace all these different versions of myself and the way I was feeling to what I was playing at the time. Even then, there's a song I threw on my playlist for this event that I just realized I played during my first-ever radio shift ("Make the Road by Walking" by Menahan Street Band), so who's to say how much I've really changed? Taking all that, mixing it together, and sharing it with others as a reflection of myself is what can make DJing really satisfying, and getting people to groove along with the music is a close second.

Check out Ross' WAM Likeness playlist here!