DJ Sendoff: Maham Tirmizi

What kind of music did you play on your show?

We started off just trying to make it focused on indie and alternative rock, then surf rock. Later it was supposed to be about world music only, but this year it’s been about pop and dance pop.

Can you explain the name and overall theme of your show?

Ther[pop]ylae is based off of Grecian history and the battle, Thermopylae. We wanted the show to be a bridge to other worlds, and then this semester I took this approach of exploring our zeitgeist. I think typically when people talk about what the “spirit of the times” is, it’s mostly just one interpretation, and my show is about trying to get that interpretation, especially [that of] Dallas and the local Dallas art scene. We have this contrast of growing up in the stereotypical southern city where everyone is all about country music and blue bloods, but there’s a wide diversity here, and trying to get everyone’s interpretation of how they are experiencing the world is what’s most important right now.

What most motivated the music selections on your show?

Mostly it depends on what I feel like, though my guests help influence it and curate it. Most of my guests have been past DJs of RadioUTD that are up to new stuff. It’s a modge-podge of having their influences, my influences, and the content they’re creating.

What first caused you to develop an interest in the type of music you played on your show?

I went to high school at Plano West, and there was a class called American Studies There was a six-week unit where they had us listen to The Suburbs by Arcade Fire. It was right after we were discussing the nuclear family and American culture. I never really cared about music; I liked Britney Spears and Hilary Duff but never thought much more about [music] outside of that. Then they had us listen to this album and really analyze it. It really caught the essence of growing up in suburbia and kind of hating it but also loving it and knowing you can’t really disrespect it because it’s what shaped you. Ever since then I was crazy about learning about music and understanding what influences artists, what they’re trying to write about.

What were other bands that were foundational?

After Arcade Fire I got really into The National and In Rainbows by Radiohead, but now it’s shifted to bands like San Fermin.

How did you go from getting an interest in music to wanting to have a radio show?

My freshman year at UTD I had a friend that was in RadioUTD, and [I] thought that was so cool and trendy but thought there was no way I could ever get in, so [I] shied away from it until basically my junior year. I would always see people from radio and was inspired by them. I remember talking to Jamie before she was Station Manager, and she was very inspiring and told me to not be ashamed by what I like and to play what I want and that will get people to listen. A year ago, I told myself I would go for it and apply, and luckily I was blessed and they gave me a show.

What artists would serve as an introduction to the music you played on your show?

Novelist, Kishi Bashi, Empress Of, and HONNE are artists I’ve played recently.

I also have this bit on my show called Culture Clash where guests show me their top 3 songs that they love and make a case for them, but then they tell me a genre or 3 songs they can’t stand, and I play those songs on my show. It’s really interesting because they have to make a case for why they don’t like it, and sometimes I’ll get them to change their mind. One time my guest said they don’t like country music, and we went through and found three songs where he said “Hey, these actually aren’t that bad.” Then sometimes we find songs where we’re like “Oh my god, yes, this is really terrible.” A guest once told me that sometimes you can be not that interested in a genre, but you know when they’re doing it right, and you can respect that.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or your show?

I’m gonna miss RadioUTD, and if you’re someone that’s not sure if you should apply, don’t be scared. My biggest regret is that I didn’t apply earlier, and that I could have had more years under my belt.