Student Spotlight: Raven Lawless
There has never been a time when Raven Lawless didn’t love music. From listening to melodies at home to playing in her high school marching band, her passion has lived on and landed her a spot as a DJ at 90.3 the Core. Her punk-rock show, “Lawless Radio” attracts listeners who seek an escape from the top 40 as her fun, alternative style confidently defines what she believes “real music” is.
Trim Magazine: Why do you like music so much? Did you like it as a kid?
Raven Lawless: Yes! I was very influenced by my parents. They always took me to concerts and there was always singing and dancing. My house is never really quiet, there’s always music playing, and there’s always something going on. My dad really likes Pearl Jam, and my whole family loves Elvis Costello.
I’ve also been playing bass clarinet since fourth grade, I taught myself how to play the piano in high school, and right now I’m working on learning bass. I just learned how to play the “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet and “Digital” by Joy Division!
I like it for different reasons at different times. It calms me down, gets me excited, gets me in a certain state of mind, and allows me to connect to other people.
TM: What are your favorite bands?
RL: This is something that is always changing with me. But if I had to pick it would be The Strokes, the Front Bottoms, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, and the Smiths. I like their different sounds and each one has something unique to offer.
TM: What was the best concert you went to?
RL: When I was 15 or 16 I saw Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” done by Rodger Waters. I also saw the Ed Palermo Orchestra when they covered Frank Zappa’s songs at a jazz club in New York, and while we were listening I ate the best burger that I’ve eaten in my entire life.
I also went to my first music festival this past summer, the Governor’s Ball in New York. I went all three days and a lot of my favorite bands played, like Jack White, The Strokes, and Vampire Weekend. After The Strokes played we waited an hour and a half in the crowd before Jack White came on just so we could stand in the front. That’s how devoted I am. And while Vampire Weekend, the last band of the festival, was playing, I got cigarette ash in my eye. So that kind of burned.
TM: Why do you like the radio? What made you want to host your own show?
RL: I saw a flyer about the Core and decided to try it. Radio is a good place to experience new music and let people listen to what you like. I always listened to it with my dad when I was younger. I figured it would be a cool opportunity to run my own show since I already had a passion for music.
TM: Have you recently found any new bands that you like?
RL: I’m always finding new bands that I like! That’s what I like about the radio station. I recently started listening to Fleet Foxes, Roof Doctor, and Frank Ocean. It gives me chance to listen to a lot of new music because many of the songs we have to play are off of a list of new and local albums.
TM: Any favorite lyrics?
RL: A lyric that always sticks in my head is “can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all,” by Neutral Milk Hotel.
TM: I’m noticing some creative band names here…. What’s the weirdest one that you’ve heard of?
RL: Diarrhea Planet. I don’t know if it’s weird but it’s very… interesting.
TM: What’s your favorite thing about having a radio show?
RL: It’s just a really relaxing environment, just being in the station is a cool experience in itself. And I also really like spending time putting together new songs and songs I already like in a good order. I say order because I spend time figuring out which songs sound nice next to each other. I work on transitioning them so they flow and generate a specific mood.
TM: What makes your show unique? Any catch phrases?
RL: It’s the combination of bands that I play. Even in my show description I write “a bit of old, a bit of new.” The catch phrase I open with is “this station is a sound salvation.” The song “Radio, Radio” by Elvis Costello is about the commercialization of radio broadcast and the restriction of a lot of punk songs from being played. In the song, the phrase is being used kind of ironically but for my show, it is the truth. It is a sound salvation, it’s where you go to listen to good music.
TM: Which of your shows did you enjoy doing the most this semester?
RAVEN: I did a Halloween show the night before Halloween. I played a lot of punk- and rock-themed Halloween songs, like I opened up with the cover of “Monster Mash” by Misfits. I also played “Pet Sematary” by the Ramones, a punk cover of a song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winter Group, and “Cemetry Gates” by the Smiths.
TM: How do you want to be involved with music and/or radio in the future?
RL: I would like to keep up with my shows and always continue going to concerts and discovering new music!
Here's a playlist she put together of some of her favorite songs for Trim: