The Kaarin Zoe Lee Interview by Kal-Elle Jagger


Flipping Tables with Kal-Elle Jagger:

The Kaarin Zoe Lee Interview


Welcome to my little corner in the metaverse, just west of Pop Art Ave and Lois Lane. The spot where we flip the script, turning the table on the personalities who usually find themselves at the forefront of a Q&A.


My second guest at the neon table has a voice that evokes the nostalgic tones of our youth and recollections of the disc jockeys from radio-days-past. Welcome to the table, Kaarin Zoe Lee.


Kal-Elle Jagger

You are my second guest on Flipping Tables. Might you also be my second Canadian?


Kaarin Zoe Lee

Actually, I'm American! I'm from Seattle.


KJ

Why on earth did I think you were Canadian all this time? I will ask my next question as planned initially, even though I expected a Canadian response. What makes your hometown or city famous?


KZL

Seattle...famous for Starbucks and weed, I think, haha!

And Nirvana, the grunge movement, Microsoft, and Bill Gates. Amazon.


KJ

In my interviews, I'm always curious about the upbringing of others. To me, if I were to judge a book by its cover, you seem to have a tough, rock-chick exterior. Were you a tough rock-chick child?


KZL

I was a sad, angry, and lonely child. I switched schools every year for one reason or another—an unstable and unloving home environment. Ohh, but I did find my love of hard rock at a very young age! It wasn't something I inherited. A musical band of kids my age caught my attention when I was 12. I'll get into who they were in a minute, but I got nosy, found out who they grew up listening to, and I went after that. I discovered a ton of music from the 50s to the 80s through this one popular band from the 90s. My entire musical taste was based on theirs for years.


KJ

Thank you for being open about your upbringing. I can relate.

Did you have a favorite toy or game as a child?


KZL

I loved my Lego collection! Those toys are absolutely timeless, and the technology they're coming out with, "smart pieces" for the Lego Super Mario collection, allows you to play the game; it's just mind-blowing how far they've come. I think I'm enjoying my son's Lego collection more than he is!


KJ

What is the first record you ever bought with your own money?

What musicians and bands got you excited as a kid?


KZL

I don't remember the very first record. Back in those days, we could like one song and have to buy the whole album to get it, and I did a lot of that. Selena. Spice Girls. I loved dance music too. But the one band that stands out overwhelmingly from age 12 onward (that I was mentioning before) is Hanson. Ohh, I got so much shit for loving Hanson, middle school, and high school, and it clashed with that "tough rock-chick" vibe. But I stood by them regardless of what people said, and I still do to this day. I still listen to the albums and still go to their concerts. They're great songwriters, skilled musicians, excellent vocalists, even just their acapella. They're brothers and blend like it. They are stellar performers and all-around nice guys who participate in all kinds of charities, which is cool to see.


KJ

Hanson was on The Masked Singer recently and still super cute. We are so going to tag them in this! *giggle giggle*

What did you aspire to be when you were a teenager? Did you ever imagine you would become a beloved voice in a scene inspired by some of the music you grew up with? So how did you end up becoming a retro-radio personality?


KZL

As a teenager, I thought I wanted to be a songwriter too. Turns out I have never once had a true inkling of passion for songwriting. I can learn any instrument I pick up, but I have never found the discipline without reason (a band counting on me, for instance). I'm a passionate person, passionate about music, obviously, but there's no real overlap there.

I never once imagined being a radio personality. And I don't imagine taking it much further than this. Once someone else is building my setlist, the whole point is lost. I was taken on by Nightride FM in 2019 when they were looking for more broadcasters. I had a passion for promoting the artists who impressed me. At the time, that was limited to social media, and my reach was not wide. People liked my voice, which was a surprise, something I'd never thought about before.


KJ

Can you sing?


KZL

As I once told the great Ollie Wride, who also asked if I could sing, my voice is a karaoke 7 and a recording studio 4. So, I could do with some lessons. But justifying the expense is hard when all I wanna do is not hate what I hear when I'm singing around the house.

I played guitar at one point, so long ago, my calluses are gone! My true instrument is the bass guitar. I LOVE a good bass line! But I could learn something new. I even thought about picking up sax recently, but that takes a lot of physical power. We'll see. One thing I'll say for sure, I'd be a mad passionate backup musician! Bassist, sax, you name it! Just don't ask me to write anything, hahaha!


KJ

You have interviewed a lot of fantastic artists on Nightride.FM including The Midnight. You and I met at their Tacoma show two months ago for the first time. I met you and your buddy Hideotronic. Who have you not interviewed yet that you would love to chat with?


KZL

Gunship! We've wanted Gunship as guests on Nightride FM since the beginning of Nightride FM. But they are the obvious answer, a universal favorite. I want to get one of my favorites, Meteor, on the show, but he's concerned about language barriers (he is in Colombia). So, I'm thinking of having him on a panel with a bilingual guest. Nina is another guest I'd love to have! I'm waiting on her to get her bearings after all the changes in her life (and the world).


KJ

Girl, let me translate to Meteor for you. I just did a fun interview with Maxthor, who's in Spain. Hit me up as your Bililiguist anytime. Anywho, next question, Laura Dre and I recently discussed being in what's often referred to as a "boys club." Have there been any challenges you want to share, or have you been well-received and respected as an equal?


KZL

Before joining the synthwave scene, I belonged to the local standup comedy scene. And just the same, there were far fewer women in that scene. But I picked up on problems in the comedy scene, lots of sexism, harassment, and occasionally assault. I've heard of one, maybe two instances of such behavior in our scene. Is it a boy's club? Sure, but probably not more than any other entertainment industry.


KJ

Aside from music and your child, what other rights or causes make you passionate?


KZL

Human rights, sexuality & gender identity, especially


KJ

And we love you all the more for that! So, what's next for KZL?


KZL

For 2022, I'm introducing a new show format: artist panels! They will replace most of the interview segments on KZL Live.


KJ

Any final words you would like to share with the world or a secret you would reveal exclusively? Hint hint.


KZL

No deep, dark secret here. Just trying to keep it all in balance. I could easily give more of my time and my life to the scene, but my family keeps me grounded. Just gotta keep it all going.




We believe in you, Kaarin Zoe Lee; you got this. We look forward to many more years of your soft timbre. Who knows, you could be making memories for a new generation that will look back in 20 years and recall you as the guiding voice of their youth.


Closing shout-outs:


1. A throwback to the “last” interview:

Dear Andy, in your honor, no commas or quotation marks were bastardized by Grammarly here.


2. We love you, Hanson! Please do a Synthwave/Retrowave record for us and come on Kaarin's show!



Follow Kaarin on the socials here:


Kaarin Zoe Lee💖🎶🔥 (@KaarinZoeLee) / Twitter


Kaarin Zoe Lee (@kaarinzoelee) • Instagram photos and videos


Kaarin Zoe Lee - 148. Special Guest: NIGHT LEATHER | Nightride FM




Follow Kal-Elle Jagger on the socials here:


Kal-Elle Jagger (@kal_elle_222) • Instagram photos and videos


KalElleJagger (@KalElleJagger) / Twitter









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