Mayoral Playlist with Jon Baliles, by WRIR 97.3 FM's DJ Sean Lovelace

Music. It makes the people come together, mixes the bourgeoisie with the rebel, and is an undeniable part of the Richmond narrative. So, in a mayoral race with such varied personalties, I wanted to explore deeper than the songs the candidates came out to at the Mayorathon. While we should not offer up our votes blindly to a candidate with similar tastes in tunes, it refreshing to hear them open up about what they enjoy both while getting hype or relaxing. For me, music is a great way to gain insight about a person. I dare say you can learn what someone is like from what they like and how they go about sharing those answers. With that in mind, I present you the answers received by Don Harrison as he interviewed the various candidates for Open Source RVA.

Up first is 1st district councilman Jon Baliles:

What music are you currently listening to?

Not enough. I love to listen to music, I love to go to shows. If I had to pin it down some of it is Pandora, some of it is podcasts. I try and listen to every day KRCW Morning Becomes Electric it’s where I get a lot of the new music. I Listen to WNRN a lot and KEXP Music That Matters podcast.

Any local artists that you are enjoying?

God Bless. There’s so much local talent and I’ve been involved in the music scene forever. And it feels like the last couple of years on Council I’ve unfortunately gotten out of it. But you know there are so many good groups. There’s Reggie and No BS Brass and unfortunately we lost DJ Williams to LA recently this summer.  Lobo Marino, they’re great. One of my favorites, it’s not a band necessarily but its Classical Incarnations at Balliceaux.  I think that’s a really neat series that everybody should go out and check out once a month.

What song or artist do you put on to get pumped?

Depends on what I need to get pumped about. When I used to run, I quit running because it was killing my knees. I used to run and I had this great playlist that had everything from Rolling Stones “Loving Cup” because it fit my pace, to one of the great local bands that I used to love that was around was Throttlerod. And they had a great song that was perfect to run to and followed that up with N.W.A. Whatever my pace needed, I found songs that fit my pace. Some of that stuff is still on my iPod and iPhone

And what do you listen to when you want to relax?

Mellow stuff. I’ve got some mellow podcasts, I’ve got some mellow channels on Pandora. One of the things that sometimes calms me down when you are dealing with stuff, I have a great channel on Pandora that’s choirs of Westminster Cathedral, which is really interesting. You know just stuff like that. It just depends on what kind of level you need to be brought down to and calmed down to. 

When you win the election, what band is going to play your inauguration party?

Well can’t there be more than one? One would be Yarn from Brooklyn, my buddies who play here a lot. When they first started coming to Richmond about ten years ago they stayed at my house and crashed on the floor on the pull out couch and all that stuff. I think I’d have to get my buddy Reggie Pace from No BS Brass in there. There are a couple of others I would get in there. I know Ed Trask has reformed Kepone but I think they might be a little harder for the inauguration ceremony, but who knows? Maybe they can do the pre-party or the after party.

What’s the role of music and arts programming to you in public education?

It’s essential. Not just music, but all the arts are so essential to education. From Minds in Motion at the Ballet teaching young children, to painting to arts to music. All of that stuff needs to be broadened. I would love to be a mayor that would try to be that, would bring a lot of energy into all the great arts community organizations that we have here, and get them fully into the schools in so many ways. We have so many volunteers from churches and other organizations that mentor kids, that teach kids, that read to kids. I would love to see a more robust effort on the arts community part even more than we've got today and really take it to the next level.

Do you play an instrument?

I can’t play a note of anything. I have no musical talent other than enjoying what others produce and make.

What radio station is your car receiver tuned to?

WRIR of course. I love Mike Rutz and Activate. He’s been a part of the scene for such a long time promoting local bands and venues. It’s really good to hear what’s coming even though some of it is over the top in my personal taste. Tt’s great to be able to find out all the variety and diversity of music that’s coming here. He puts it all in there, doesn’t matter, and that’s a great thing for the community. 


Questions and article by Sean Lovelace, WRIR 97.3 FM DJ, Cosmic Slop                             Interview by Don Harrison, WRIR 97.3 FM Host of Open Source RVA                                        Edited by Melissa Vaughn