Show Spotlight: Sonic Mushroom Cloud

DJ Joe Black of Sonic Mushroom Cloud in the booth

Prepare for a cataclysmic blast of Electro, Post-Punk, Industrial and scores of other strange sounds weekly on Sonic Mushroom Cloud. Host Joe Black fills in the pieces of what’s missing on Radio Boise with his multi-dimensional puzzle. We caught up with Joe to see what keeps him whole.

(Sonic Mushroom Cloud airs live every Saturday night from 9 – 11 PM or listen anytime on Radio Free America’s archive.)

How long have you been hosting Sonic Mushroom Cloud? What drew you to take on this show?

Noticing that there was an absence of Hardcore Punk, Doom and Grindcore (extreme Metal in general) at the station, I started the Nightime Asylum in May 2014. When Tiger (Stardust Lounge host) left for [Washington] DC and Wendy Fox (of Tennis Court Disco) moved to that vacated Thursday slot, I approached [Programmer Director] Wayne Birt about hosting a fun party night themed, multi-genre Saturday night show. It became the Sonic Mushroom Cloud in September 2017.

For those who may not be familiar with your show, how would you describe its sound?

I love just about all types of music from Electronic to Outlaw Country, Grindcore to Hip-Hop, Jazz to Industrial, gimme it all! I am drawn to driving beats and killer hooks first and foremost. If it has something that makes it unusual or unique whether aesthetically or artistically, it pulls me right in. Each show is designed as an auditory arc from Guilty Pleasures all the way into The Underground featuring locals, new releases and highlighting upcoming shows and events.

Do you have a ritual surrounding your show? You know, a ritual meal or a certain artist you have to play?

I am always looking for new releases throughout the week to present Saturday night. As far as a show food ritual…. I’m a choco-holic and always bring treats for while I am on-air.

How did you discover Radio Boise?

I have always wanted to be a radio jock since I was a little kid. When we moved away from Boise to Pocatello in 2009 for school, I co-hosted a Punk show called The Rat’s Nest on KISU with my buddy Henry Stench.

During our time away I had heard about KRBX and wanted to move back to get involved. In 2013 we returned to Boise and I started volunteering at the station right away.

What can you not stop listening to these days?

Local music! There are so many great new releases this year that are in regular rotation at my house as well as on Sonic Mushroom Cloud.

What is going on in the Treasure Valley that you’re excited about?

The music community and seeing how it has grown since I moved here in the mid-90’s. Recently, a local promoter lost his PA system due to a fire in an adjacent business and local musicians from our scene crowdfunded a replacement in under two days. That type of thinking and passion are why Radio Boise and Treefort exist in our community.

What other Radio Boise shows do you listen to?

I listen to the station often and usually catch most of the shows at some point. Some of my favorites are Guilty Pleasures, Femme Fatale, Spoonful, Smoke & Mirrors, All Ages Punk & Hardcore, High, Wild & Free, It’s Now Right Now, Daft Manifesto, Event Horizon Boogie, Midway Mix and Riff Haven. I miss The Earthpig and Big Chunks of Plastic, that was a really great show.

What other kinds of things keep you busy outside of radio?

My wife and I are foodies and our kitchen is the center of our home. I enjoy working in industrial automation and electronic controls for my career. In my free time, I drum and play guitar in a band with my friends.

Why do you believe volunteering for community radio is important?

In this digital age of streaming, on demand programming and social networks sucking the life out of everyone, it’s really great to have a community-funded, volunteer-driven media source that can inform and be informed from the roots up. I love how many music lovers I have met and became friends with through volunteering with Radio Boise.

I also enjoy seeing seeds of ideas and projects starting small that grow into a larger launchpad and multi-faceted voice for our entire community of artists, writers, musicians and fans.

Joe Black hosts Sonic Mushroom Cloud every Saturday from 9 – 11 PM.

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