Coachella was a lifestyle for some of us a decade ago, long before most people had ever heard of it… before RFID encoded badges, iPhones, instagram, before it was co-opted by bloggers, energy drinks, and urban outfitters… before lists of 73 inspiring floral head dresses or sponsored social media, because a decade ago “social media” wasn’t a thing.
This was also the apex of the last great radio station, Indie 103.1 — not as much a radio station as a cultural legend, Indie 103.1 broke bands that changed popular culture, it was an oasis in a dark desert of autotuned radio rap and Creed-insipired redbull rock… communities like tumblr have made it so much easier for freaks and nerds and misfits to come together and discover new, amazing things, but a decade ago Indie 103.1 was the only place you could go to hear DEVO deep cuts played between French electro and Hieroglyphics. The station was last in ratings for five years, but launched the careers of so many incredible musicians, music supervisors, and so many of my friends.
This was also before every kid on the planet had Serato and access to every white label track ever recorded, mash-ups were fairly new (in a time when mash-ups were tracks, and not an empty buzzword used by douchey tech execs and “brand ambassador” blog girls) and every friday night DJ Paul V played the newest, rarest mashups from the emerging scene of clubs and parties popping up around Los Angeles. In 2009 amidst strong corporate pressure to commercialize, Indie 103.1 ceremoniously switched off the lights instead of compromising the station that we all fell in love with, but DJ Paul V and some of the other Indie DJs have resurfaced as Independent FM, where Paul hosts his other Indie staple, NEON NOISE every Friday & Saturday night 9pm-midnight.
I remember like it was yesterday, driving down PCH one Friday afternoon eight years ago, heading to the desert that night for Coachella 2006 when this mix came on… It would be silly to try to describe the feeling that washed over me because it was so much about that time and that place and so intimately tied to my personal life — to say the least, it made me happy. Several years passed and I always remember the mix, I spent a lot of time searching for it but somehow it didn’t exist on the internet. Nowhere. Then a few months ago I got in touch with Paul V and after sharing our stories about Coachella, Indie, and a different era of music and DJs he found the mix saved on old hard drive… and now here it is for you.
Play it on your way to the desert this weekend, and look for me — I’ll be out there with the other fossils talking about how things used to be.