Jessy Damon came to KBOO in December of 2011, to use her skills in audio engineering, and to make connections in the Portland music industry.
She found out about KBOO when a friend from the church she attended heard about her struggle to find a job in the music business. He suggested KBOO was always looking for new volunteers, and suggested that volunteering would be a good way to get her foot in the door. Jessy checked out the KBOO website to get a better idea of what volunteers did at the station, and decided to come in for a volunteer orientation. She attended the orientation, and immediately became a volunteer. She quickly took all of the audio classes that were offered, and began using her considerable skills in the engineering department. Reflecting on how she felt when she started to get involved, Jessy said, “I was really intrigued by how many opportunities there were to get involved, and how welcoming KBOO was to get people excited about community radio, so I decided to give it a go!”
While Jessy was new to community radio, she came to KBOO with great experience in audio engineering. She went to college for audio engineering and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Digital Media Arts. Jessy had recorded bands in studio for CD production during her free time, and was also a part of an all-female audio project about women in the music industry. Also, prior to moving to Portland, she was in charge of the sound ministry team at her church, where she helped to run sound for Sunday service. Jessy says that she draws from all of these experiences to help her with volunteer opportunities she enjoys at KBOO.
Although Jessy has only been at KBOO about 16 months, she has filled a good number of roles. As you might expect, she has focused on audio engineering and music mixing. Not only does she engineer live music from the KBOO studios, Jessy has also helped to train new volunteers. Along with volunteers Jon Wohlfert and Nick Swartz, Jessy teaches the “Live Music Mixology” workshop. She also helps the engineering crew with live remotes and was the lead engineer for parts of our live broadcast from the Waterfront Park Blues Festival last summer, and many others, including the celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, produced by the World Arts Foundation, and the Illahee lecture series. Jessy also helps out with the membership drives, answering phones and taking pledges of support from our listeners, and takes a weekly shift at our front desk, greeting people and directing traffic every Friday afternoon.
So far, mixing music is the thing that she enjoys the most as a KBOO volunteer. “I really enjoy the live music I get to [mix and] record while at KBOO. It exposes me to so many different genres of music, and I just love the interaction I get to have with these amazing musicians.” In the future though, she is interested in joining a collectively produced music show! She enjoyed the experience she had producing an eclectic music show at her college radio station several years ago. “Who knows, someday my voice may be 'on the air'!”
I asked Jessy to tell us about her most memorable experience with KBOO to date, and this is what she shared:
“Definitely a funny and memorable moment I will always remember, was during one of the first live music gigs I assisted with in studio. We were setting up microphones for this young punk band and trying to manage their entourage, which was funny in itself. As the setup went on though, one of the band members brought in a plastic kiddie pool and asks if we can mic it for him! Both myself and the other engineer thought, "Is he serious??" But he was serious! He proceeded to put the kiddie pool down, sit inside it (without water, thankfully), and began to beat on the edge of it with some drumsticks. After scratching our heads for a bit, we placed a microphone on a stand near the pool and hoped for the best! That was probably the oddest thing I have ever had to mic for a band in all of my experiences as an engineer.”
When she is not at KBOO, Jessy still enjoys assisting with live music events in the Portland area, as well as running sound for bands that she has gotten to know through working with them at KBOO.
In the future, Jessy hopes to use all of her audio training and experience to help bands/musicians get their music out to the public. She and her husband want to build a recording studio in their home and use it as an opportunity for people “to record something great, and not have to fork out the big bucks that a large studio may charge. I have been blessed with the experiences I've had, and want to share that with others.”
I want to profoundly thank Jessy for sharing her training and skills with KBOO!