This month, AMP interviewed The Jose Martinez Experience’s Youssef Mahmoud about his show, his tastes, and his high school orchestra woes. His show goes out from 3-6 pm on Thursdays.
What’s the story behind your show’s title?
The origin of The Jose Martinez Experience is actually pretty funny. During high school I was called into my attendance clerk’s office and my name was read as “Jose Martinez” instead of Youssef Mahmoud.
What’s the overall concept behind your show?
The initial concept was that I was going to play many different forms of electronic music. Originally I wanted to have post-punk, but because of the language restrictions that we have during the morning times and afternoons in general, it became really infeasible to find 3 hours of music every week that would work. So in a way it would be electronic music that is in the perspective of someone who listens to punk music. But as the show has progressed it has almost become a show where every week I just pick a genre and build around it.
How did you first get into post-punk?
It’s funny; I used to listen to a bunch of metal music at first and slowly morphed into it. First I listened to some of the earlier punk bands like Black Flag and stuff like that, and then I moved into some of the more post-hardcore acts. Some of the bigger bands that influenced me are No Means No and The Dismemberment Plan, which was a big band that I listened to in high school and still today; those bands that morphed my musical taste.
How do you select which genres to play every week?
Generally what I’m listening to. Usually what makes me enjoy music is the rhythmic and lyrical structure. Because of that I was never really one to stick with one genre in general. Definitely, when I did the first couple of shows I stuck with more electronic-based genres and stuff like that, but one day I wanted to play a punk show because I thought “Well, I could make 3 hours of music once, I just couldn’t do it every week.” So I did that for that one show. That really opened me up to the idea of thinking “I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, why don’t I just share that on the show?” So I did the punk show then I went back to electronic for one week. Then I wanted to do something different, so on my most recent show I played a lot of lo-fi indie music.
What drew you to like electronic and punk music and how did that lead to entering other genres?
When I listen to punk music I notice a lot of what I really love about the structure of music. That’s what initially drew me from bands like Black Flag to bands like The Dismemberment Plan and No Means No, because it almost seems like they’re jazz students that make punk music. It kind of felt natural that once I explored many of these bands and I was open to more music I moved into hip hop and more electronic music because I started opening up more to focusing on lyrics and stuff like that. When I used to listen to music I would just listen to the music base at first, so I didn’t enjoy music like hip-hop because the lyrics didn’t click in my head. As I listened to more and more music that really opened it up to me.
What inspired you to go to RadioUTD and turn your interests into a show?
Before I came to UTD I heard from a friend at KANM radio [Texas A&M’s station]. He had a radio show over there and had a lot of fun with it, and that interested me. I also knew someone who was at RadioUTD, and those two things clicked together and I joined radio.
What is your goal in having a show?
I definitely want to open people to new music that they haven’t heard. The main focus of the show is that I really want to have fun with it. In a way I almost wanted to do a talk show because I could really talk about music as much as I listen to it. One of my main goals in the end with that is I just want to share what I listen to with people.
What holes in knowledge that a general listener would have do you try to fill?
At least with the music I play some of it can be abrasive or challenging for someone to listen to. When I talk with my music I like to fill in gaps with the context of the music and stuff like that. There was an artist that I played called Riow Arai. A lot of his music is really different and shifts around a lot. The context I tried to provide with that is he’s an artist from Japan and was around at a time where house music was very big and he wanted to take that further. He tried to get a lot of work done with a very minimal amount of technology. The way I’d try to do that is I’d share a song of his that was more stripped down, but he also messed around with drum loops and stuff like that, and I’d play another song of his that was in that completely different style.
Outside of Radio what shaping effect has your interest in music had on your life?
I almost majored in music and played an instrument. Right now I’m in Computer Science, which is kind of a ways away. During high school I was in orchestra and that opened music up to me because I loved playing an instrument and music in general. But in a way the directors in high school kind of turned me off from that due to members being selected based off of favoritism rather than skill or commitment. But my interests have definitely shifted more into production. I definitely see music it as a hobby I would pursue. Music plays a very big role in my life and I wouldn’t have nearly as much enjoyment without it.