SHOW OF THE WEEK – Hijos del Sol
by Maia Sauer and Caleb Green on December 5, 2019
Posted in: Uncategorized
We’ve been super excited about Kaitlyn Velazquez’ show this semester. Maia and C sat down with her to talk about family, new experiences, and possible zombie apocalypses.
KV: Okay, I’m Kai Velazquez. She/her pronouns. And then, I’m a first year. And my favorite fruit? I used to eat mangoes every day in AP English class. But then I also ate grapes every day in class, too. So—
MS: —all in class?
KV: Always in class, like, I always had a mango and ate it like a heart.
C Green: [laughs] That’s the first thing I think about when I think about how to eat fruit.
MS: Gives you such an edge.
CG: “I eat it like I eat hearts.”
MS: We’re super pumped to see first years getting involved with WRMC. So, we’re wondering what got you interested in radio.
KV: Since April, I’ve been listening to WRMC. It’s gonna sound cheesy, but I was really inspired by Pitch Perfect, because [of] the whole radio show aspect of it. I was like, “Oh my god, Becca—you are me.” And my teachers were all like, “Oh yeah, I used to play jazz at 3am.” My teachers are all really artsy and have experiences in radio. And so I felt like, okay, I don’t know if I’m going to belong anywhere else on campus. I feel like this is the one place I’m going to meet incredible people. And going to the first [gen board] meeting I was like, all right, this is it.
CG: Yeah, that’s really cool. I guess I didn’t know about radio before I came to college, and I didn’t start until my sophomore year.
MS: I also heard about it from people that I thought were generally just creative, cool people. Yeah, I think it attracts an interesting group.
CG: So, what is your show? Can you tell us about it? When is it?
MS: Give us the pitch.
KV: The pitch. Okay, so it’s called “Hijos del Sol,” so it’s like “Children of the Sun.” It’s based on the song “Blessing It” with Nujabes and Substantial, and they talk about, like, “Children of the sun / Look out here we come.” I just really love those two lines. The blurb for the show is “songs that make you feel alive,” because I feel like when you listen to Avicii or something, I’m like [gasps], this overwhelming feeling of just being real. I feel myself being lost in the music. I just see myself going super speed, like, [gasps]. I just love that feeling, and I love replicating that feeling, every Friday night from nine to ten pm. It just splashes, like, I feel like I dump buckets of water through the radio. My grandma listens to it, my mom listens to it, my aunts do. It’s nice. Once someone from Skidmore called me to tell me that I was doing a really good job. I was like, “Oh my god. Thank you.”
CG: Maybe a follow up to that: do you talk during your show? Is it all music, [or] do you talk some? You talked about the feeling that the music gives you—is there a [specific] kind of music?
KV: The first playlist that I played [had] this artist, she’s Bolivian, and she sings in Quechua. I want to use this as a platform to [play] artists from different genres and different niches, so you don’t have a picture of what [all] music in Spanish looks like. It’s not just, you know, Bad Bunny. It’s deeper and more. There are also different throwbacks. I think a lot about throwbacks that my mom would listen to. So I always ask her for recommendations to see how I can balance it out.
In terms of talking on the radio, I used to talk a little more, but then someone said that I sounded really nervous, and so I stopped. I’ve been a little bit self-conscious to talk again, but my grandma called me, and she was like, “I listen to the radio show for you, not for the music!” So, tonight I might talk more.
MS: Yeah. What music have you been listening to lately?
KV: I’ve just been listening to Hamilton back to back. [laughs] Like, catch me another week. But this week, I was so stressed, I was like, let’s just bring it back to Hamilton, you know?
MS: What about three of your go-to bands?
KV: Okay. I don’t know, the one thing that’s coming to mind is Twenty One Pilots, because in, like, ninth grade, it was the first time listening to them, and my parents were also going through a really rough time, so I would just listen to Twenty One Pilots as loud as I could to, like, zone out everything. And so that’s a go-to band.
I can’t think of any others, can I pull up my [phone]?
CG: Maybe while you do that—the reason I had such a reaction was because Twenty One Pilots is also the first band that, when I was making my own music taste for the first time, I listened to. Like, I had a Twenty One Pilots blog, their show that I went to in New York was, like, my favorite night of my life for a very long time. And, similarly, I had like a group of really depressed friends, and we would all listen to them. I have a very intense, emotional relationship with them.
KV: Okay, another band that I lean back on is Asian Kung Fu Generation. Have you listened to them? I love them so much. I was watching this anime, and [it had] 30 seconds of one of their songs. It’s also a [band] that makes me feel alive. I don’t know my musical instruments, but I just know that whatever I’m hearing is so good, and I listen to it when I’m walking. And you said another band?
MS: If you’ve got one!
KV: Los Angeles Azules. My family would drag me to parties, right? I’d have church school the next day, and they’d be up until like 3am, 4am, and I’m like, “Are y’all gonna come to church with me tomorrow? No?” [laughs] But we would sit there and they would play songs from Los Angeles Azules. It’s like a lot of dancing and a lot of cumbia, and it’s so beautiful to hear—not at 3am, but, like, when you’re in your own home and you learn how to dance to it. I’m an adequate dancer, so, like, I may be behind in five different classes, but it’s okay, because this [band] is still bringing me back to how it feels to be human and alive.
CG: You sort of already kind of touched on this, but we wanted to ask how your first semester is going and how you’re experiencing Middlebury College.
KV: It’s going better than anticipated. I really thought I was just gonna crash and burn by now. I feel like I’ve had a really supportive group, because I’m part of the scholarship program with Posse, so it really helps me out a lot to lean on them and have friends already. This first semester has been about how to be a friend for other people and how to, like, be accepting of other people’s friendships. I’m learning how to be a little bit more interactive with people. It has been stressful, just not really having the time to process that I’m not back home, and like I’ve just been dropped into this alternate universe.
MS: I think it says a lot about you that you’re already thinking, though, about the community here—like, feeding you and also figuring out how you can feed it, which is kind of the coolest thing you can do, honestly. That’s something I’ve been working on, too, is just being as balanced and complete a person as I can, here. It’s really easy to fall out of that.
CG: Well, I guess these are two connected questions. Can you tell us about about where you’re from? And then, I’m also interested in who you call family—or, what does family mean to you, and how has being at college affected those things?
KV: Yeah, so, I’m from New York City—from Queens, Astoria.
That’s always been home to me. I lived like a block away from the Museum of Moving Images, [which] opened when I was in fourth grade. So it’s crazy to see how my whole life has been stationed there. I still have vivid memories of everything around there. I had to move out [when] it got really expensive. My dad had to work three jobs, because he was a super—that’s why we were able to live there, because he was the one taking out the trash and cleaning and answering people, basically being a plumber and everything all in one. He was also a doorman and an Uber slash Lyft driver. So, he ended up in a really dark place, because it was so much stress. Luckily, we were able to find a house in New Jersey. We live closer to the city, but we had to move out of the place that we all really loved and cared for. So, I mean that’s my home and my family.
My immediate family has always been really wonderful, like, that’s why I’m really bummed that I can’t go [see them] as soon as possible. They’re like being at my radio show—[they] remind me of how to be alive and how to really treasure the things around you, instead of just treasuring this, like, one paper, this one assignment. I’m really excited to experience that soon. Also, my friends here have been my family, and my teachers have been family. In high school I had incredible teachers who would be father figures and mother figures when my mom and dad couldn’t be my mom and dad. I feel like friendship is kind of turning into family now, so that’s really nice.
MS: What do you feel like you’re looking forward to?
KV: Oh my god. I’m looking forward to the moment where I’m out of college, in my own building or apartment. I just see myself in a room, and it’s, like, soft lighting, and I’m painting, and I have to get ready for a class tomorrow, because I’m teaching somewhere. I’m painting, and I’ll be like, “Jimmy threw up in class again today. I just hope nothing happens tomorrow!” [laughs] And so, I just imagine myself in this really Zen moment in time. Just painting. Maybe Brooklyn, like where my aunts live, near the beach.
CG: Do you paint now, or do you do visual art stuff?
KV: In middle and high school, I had no art class. In high school I had an art therapy class, but it was mostly about feelings, and I never really paid attention to the art. But now that I’m taking art, I’m actually like, “Damn, I might have to minor in this!” I was telling my friends today, I thought I had to do economics or, like, international politics. As someone who was on Model UN and debate in high school, it was something I felt like I had to do, but I was never happy doing it, except in tiny sliver-like moments. But now, I just feel like I have to be out there digging my hands in the dirt and living a life that people may not say is successful, or like, “Oh, why’d you even go to Middlebury College?” But going to Middlebury has allowed me to see where I want to go. I feel like if I went anywhere else, it would have been like, “Okay, this degree. And then there.” I don’t know how you’re gonna translate any of this. [laughs]
MS: You are talking to the right people. [laughs] I feel like half of our conversations are about, like, “What the heck am I doing here?” I think doing art at a place like this is super valuable, but it’s something that feels like you sometimes kind of have to prove has meaning. I’m a joint Dance-English major.
CG: And I’m a Theater and Dance major.
MS: So, we want to talk about art at Middlebury. Please. So, what’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
KV: The first thing I do is dread. I don’t get enough sleep. And I feel cold. But then I see it’s five minutes before class! So it’s dread for three minutes, and the next two minutes debate if I should brush my teeth here or brush my teeth in the bathroom of whichever building I have to go to. So then I just end up grabbing the toothbrush and toothpaste, and I leave. Do you guys do that? Do you brush your teeth in the building where you have class?
CG: No, [laughs] I’ve never heard that.
MS: I love that.
CG: I’ll try it now.
MS: Rapid-fire question time! And you can explain if you want, or you can just give the answer straight.
KV: It has to be fast?
MS: [laughs] No.
CG: Why is it rapid-fire?
MS: Because it’s intense! Pancakes or waffles?
CG: Vans or Converse?
MS: Trap or mumble rap?
KV: Uhh…Mumble rap.
MS: Sunrise or sunset?
CG: Pregame or party? Which one feels more like the space you enjoy?
KV: Party. But it has to be my party.
MS: Like, you’re hosting?
KV: Like, it can’t just be any old party. It has to be a party party. I’m actually having a dance party today!
CG: Davis or Axinn?
KV: Both really stressful.
KV: Davis. In Davis, I like the long tables.
MS: Worms or ladybugs?
KV: Worms. Ladybugs are so scary—like every time I pick one up, it secretes this weird thing on me, and I get so scared it’s toxic. I’ve seen so many ladybugs here.
CG: Also, worms are very important.
MS: So important.
CG: Unicorns or zombies?
KV: Zombies. I don’t know anything about unicorns, but I know that zombies scare me the most. I just daydream about the zombie apocalypse. I remember I was in the meditation room in Davis, and I just thought, “Oh my god, what if a zombie came right now and bit my leg?”
CG: I do constantly think about how under-prepared we all are for that situation.
KV: Also, what if a zombie were to come in here? Sometimes I just close the door, because I don’t want anything coming in.
MS: Well, that’s all I’ve got.
CG: Thank you!