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Heaven for a hype man (ok, woman)
If Fresno (the city) was a rapper (just follow the logic for a second here), Devoya Mayo would be one hell of a hype man. Ok, she's a woman, and way, way more Chuck D. than Flavor Flav, but you get the point.
The girl never tires of talking up her hometown.
A poet, radio host and some-time DJ, Mayo has made it her business to know what's going on in Fresno and then spread the word. Her radio show, Move on Up, is a must-listen for those interested in Fresno happenings. You can catch it out from 7 to 8 p.m., Fridays on 88.1FM KFCF/KPFA or on line at www.kpfa.org
Mayo sits down with Famous while planning the show's four-year anniversary bash (oh, yeah, she throws some killer parties, too).
You can check that out at 10 p.m., tonight at the Red Lantern. The Prince-themed party should be über cool, hosted by Meatball Magic, and featuring DJ Heinz (Meatball Magic), Devoya herself and Mr. Leonard (Soul Freedom Lounge). F-PLeezy (Body Rock) closes out the night. Everything starts at 10 p.m. and is free (ass-less pants are optional, though maybe not out of place).
Note: This interview has been edited for length. And trash talkin'.
Audio outake available here.
What does Move on Up mean to you?
D: In general Move on Up is basically my answer to all those people that always said there's nothing to do here...just kind of the apathy of Fresno. From living here forever and knowing everybody that I know, I didn't actually see that. When people said that, it was always confusing because that's not what I was used to. I wanted to not just keep all that stuff to myself, I wanted to share it with others. I wanted a show that was available to people who were interested in change and actively pursuing it. So I thought what better way to harness that than bring them in, let them talk for themselves. I can't just be the voice box.
Do you still see that same sort of apathy four years later?
D: Every now and then, maybe once or twice a year someone comes in ... before it was alot, and over the years, it's changed. This year I can say the least apathetic people rolled through the doors. I may have had two people that said there's not quite a lot happening in Fresno. And I was confused, because as they were saying it I was thinking, were it not for all the people that do things, you wouldn't be able to do what you're doing right now. But you don't want to crush somebody's dreams, so you don't say that. They're entitled to their opinion, I just know it's changed a lot in the last four years. Where it might have taken a little effort to find people to come in every week and tell you what's going on, it's effortless now. It's its own machine.
You get people calling you up wanting to come on.
D: I rarely ever ask people. They're contacting me.
Other than that, how has the show changed over the years?
D: It was almost all local to begin with. Now, we're at a point where it's global. I do phone interviews with friends that are working on international trade policy, or producing a film in Rowanada or whatever. It's not just about Fresno. Because the greater community all contribute, so I think we should have those folks in the mix too. I've also allowed folks to come in who I don't ... I was very adamant that I had to like the people when I first started, didn't want to be down with folk I couldn't really resonate with. And I'm not saying I dislike folks that have come on now, but I certainly don't agree with everybody.
Where do you see the show in the next four years?
D: I always thought it would run its course and I would be able to tell that and I would move on. But Mykal Powell, one of the engineers, hinted last year at the anniversary show, so are you gonna do this for another year and then let some young people come in and do it? And I remember I got this tinge like, Un uh. I'm not done yet. I've got mad stuff to do. What are you talking about? So I thought about it again this year when the anniversary came around. I'm not ready to change any time soon. I like that we're able to facilitate some different things. I like when I go out and people I would never think would even think about listening to anything I had to say or some musician I had on are thankful. If we're not about sharing, what are we doing?
Blake Jones always talks about taking things to the next step. He talks about it terms of Rogue Festival. The people who know about Rogue Festival and the people who know what's happening in town, we know those people are going to show up and have a really good time. But what about those people who don't know, and maybe don't care? How do we hook them and bring them in?
D: I'm bad about that. I'm at a point in my life where I'm not interested in trying to convince anybody of anything they already have strong opinions about. And honestly, is that the person I want to spend time with at this event? The person that's like, Oh, this sucks. This is so Fresno, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I got you to come, but what did you bring to the table? Your bad energy? That's not really something I want to deal with. I do feel bad about that sometimes. I didn't for the longest time. I was like, Whatever, I don't really want to kick it with y'all. I got no aspirations of having a relationship with people that aren't interested in being part of the process. But now, you see that a lot. And it's not the best thing on the planet to be engaged in, all this little separatism we have here. It could change, I'm sure it could. But because I've never thought about it, I don't even know how to start. Someone would have to sit me down and go, okay, now, are you ready? And then tell me the steps to do it. And I would be willing to try that.
Can't we just shortcut those people out of it? Just say, we have our thing happening down here and it's going to be as good as it can be. If you wanna join in, cool?
D: I think that's where we are right now. And I think it will get better. We could be the better people and try to figure out a way to make it balanced. But it's gonna take some wise people to figure out that short cut and help facilitate that change.
How much of the show is about the music? You're always playing some musician, bringing some new (and old) stuff in. How much of it is that aspect of a radio show being a radio show?
D: Half. I know it's half. In daily conversations, I'll hear a background beat. That's how I grew up. It's a vital part of my life ... I like that I can educate people about some stuff that might not go out and buy. We try to stick to things that you're not going to hear on commercial radio. Mykal and I both really, really like music. And I really like talking about it. I can tell you this person produced this, and they're from the U.K. and if you liked that, you'll like this. When I was growing up, that's how radio DJs were, that's what they broke down.