Continuing on from last week, here's Pandemonium Tom's final installment of his interview with DJ Valkyrie.
Q: When and why did you decide to make the jump from dedicated music fan to being part of the music scene?
Most of us know that regular radio today plays same stuff over and over again, and it’s very rare to be introduced to a new band or hear someone that does not have backing to get played in this way.
Growing up with a brother that played guitar and was in metal band in St. Louis, I never really lacked for finding killer music. I relocated to Nashville TN in 1991, because I did not really know anyone that was into the same music I was, and it was even more difficult to discover it in this new place. I called my brother and he would tell me the bands to check, out so I was not totally lost. In a way, a part of me was dying though because I did not get to go to many shows. Metal music for me is a need, a passion; I’ve got to have it, because it’s part of what makes me feel alive!!!
I had a friend in my list that was a DJ and we started talking. He told me that I had a good ear for music and how would I like to learn to be a DJ? I thought, what a great way to help these bands more, but also in the back of my mind was ‘would I be good at it, what would I say, can I do this???’ Some of the bands had already become really good friends at this point and they told me you can do anything you want to do, I would be great at it, they would support me as I was doing for them. So I thought well why the heck not give it a try and so in January 2007, DJ Valkyrie and Beyond the Blaze radio show was born.
In 2006, a girl I knew said “why don’t you start a myspace page? You will find so many bands on there.” I was hesitant at first as I was not much into the online world; in fact I never really got on a computer until then. I broke down and did it and wow; did I start to find so many awesome bands, even though what damn hole was I in!! I could not help but think I would really like to see these bands get more known. I was sure there were people out there the same as me, needing their metal. I started posting things about these bands on my page just the ‘hey check these guys out’ sort of thing.
Q: Which was your favourite station to work for?
A: I started on Dark Cloud Radio and I left because the owner seemed to go flaky after I been there a year. There was a time she didn’t pay for the stream and I even offered to cover the expense, but it got worse and worse. So, because I wanted to know if I could do a show or not, I decided it was time to move on.
I moved to Hard Rock Radio Live and I was there for 5 years until February 2013, when the owner said that he was shutting it down. I was happy there as I hosted my show and felt I was making some sort of difference for the bands. After he shut it though was many a rumour that most of listener counts were faked and I still don’t know what is true. All I know that is I am honest and did the best that I could, although now, he has reopened it, but with no DJs.
When I found out about the site closing, as there had been much mutual appreciation between my show and Jim Beerman’s, I contacted him as to interview him about Beermageddon. During the conversation, I told him my situation and he said ‘damn Valky I’ll let you come on my radio but I won’t always be around to let you on’. Well I knew if it was same principle as it was on my past experiences, I should be able to stream and when I dropped off, it would go back to him or his auto. He said well let’s try and we did and Valky was right! So, on my first show on Top Rock Radio, I interviewed Jim on his own radio; that was funny as hell! That show, so many of Jim's listeners showed up and many of them said you should stay right here. I was so, like, humbled about that. Jim had told me just to come on till I found where I needed to be. He never intended to have other DJ's on his radio but he even told me if I ever left I always have a home on TRR. I really loved it there and I love all those asked me stay; that day was even more special to come UK and meet most of those from there.
One of the hardest choices I have made to date, I think was when I decided right before Beermageddon that as much as I loved TRR, my show was not doing as well as I thought it could maybe. I knew that this radio Metal Nation Radio had opened before mine closed, in fact the owners are 2 guys in the UK that were DJs on Hard Rock Radio Live and DJ & Manager, which was in Canada. Maybe I should have gone to MNR right after the closure, but I just felt that maybe I was not wanted or they’d ask me! Well they asked me why I never filled out the application and I said ‘well..... I thought you guys would have asked me you wanted me’ (I guess this is where you see my insecurities about whether my show is good enough). So, I thought hard about what was best for the bands before I decided. Lots of people that were listening me before when I was HRRL were listening on MNR now. I have some that listen to me no matter where I am but it seemed as I lose some when I leave a station, for instance I felt that I had Jim's listeners on his radio station.
I talked to Jim and we both agreed that if I did not see what would happen on MNR I would always wonder. I know he hated to see me leave hell I was torn in a million pieces. I have seen improvement for my show on Metal Nation Radio and I still see people tuned in from TRR including Jim when he is at home.
Q: Any others worthy of a mention?
A: Pandemonium Club Alan Stubbs, Colin Stubbs and yourself Tom. I met Alan through Regina Mitchell he started showing me bands from UK and getting them in my show for airplay and sometimes interviews. P club was the spark that ignited me coming over there in a way!!
A: I have gone to Santiago Chile, Brasilia, Rio, & Sao Paolo Brazil 2010 Beermageddon UK & Germany 2013 I did all this to see & meet some bands I support meet my metal brothers and sisters that listen my show. Some people ask me why travel so far? I laugh and say if I had more money I would go meet more and see them play live. Life to short you only live once so why not with horns held high banging my head to awesome music with my friends beside me!!
Beyond The Blaze with DJ Valkyrie is every Friday, 12:00 - 15:00 EST in USA / 17:00 - 21:00 GMT on www.metalnationradio.com.
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Article written by Pandemonium Tom, November 2013