Host Profile: Zoe Krylova

Name: Zoe Krylova

Radio Name: Zōstress

Co-host of Foggy Notion, currently filling in for Witches Brew on Wednesdays, 2 – 4 p.m.

Day Job: Communications Assistant, Mother, Maker

How long have you been a host at WTJU? One year + two months

Why did you become a WTJU host?
In November of 2019 a friend (DJ Android) invited me to select some songs and join him in the studio while he subbed on Reggae Vibrations, one of the first shows I fell in love with on WTJU when I moved to the area in 2005. I left feeling elated. I’ve always been extremely anxious about public speaking and it was a really healing experience. But I still didn’t think I could be a DJ! After some encouragement from friends, and some contemplation, I worked up my nerve and filled out the volunteer form.

Why should someone tune into your show in particular?
I tend to play a wide variety of music from various genres: old music, new music, new old music. Putting together a playlist is a little like composing a poem. I want to transport people––so they can dream, dance, release tension, access their inner spark, and experience connection.

Tell us about one of your biggest gaffs while in the studio:
I still consider myself pretty new to DJing so probably my worst gaffs are yet to come. I think I’ve experienced the types of things a lot of DJs have experienced: pressing play and realizing the channel is still in cue, starting a record at the wrong speed, back announcing and then realizing the mic isn’t turned on, playing two things at the same time. Not my own gaff, but I had four or five shows in a row where the CD players were skipping. I often have trouble with pronunciation, or I get names mixed up even if I know them. One time I called Phil Lynott, Bill Lynott.

Favorite moments in the air studio?
When I was doing the 1am show it always felt like a warm cocoon in the studio. There was something really special about being there in the dead of night. And now in the daylight, it is a bright spot in my week. Regardless of the time, it’s always so uplifting to receive phone calls and messages from people who appreciate the music.

If you could interview anyone on air, dead or alive, who would it be?
Sandy Denny, David Bowie, Sampa the Great, Sun Ra, and the poet Diane diPrima. Only one of those artists is alive.

What are your guilty pleasures?
One shouldn’t feel guilty about pleasures, but sometimes I do enjoy hearing really sappy tunes from the 80’s. I’ve been eating a lot of potato chips during the pandemic. I love delicious pastries. And I appreciate fine red wine.

How has it felt being a radio host during this pandemic?
I started DJing just a few weeks before the Covid lockdown began. It felt almost sacred to drive the empty Friday night streets after pandemic curfew in order to get to my 1am show. I was grateful to have a safe place to go at a time when we were all staying home. I think a lot of people were experiencing anxiety and insomnia in those early quarantine days and it always felt good when someone would call or text in the late night to express gratitude for the tunes. It helps me to feel less isolated and I hope that the music helps others feel more connected as well.

What are your passions outside of music?
Writing, photography, collage, sewing. Mother nature. My family. Magical and healing arts. Adventures on the road. Great food.

Why does WTJU matter?
In our current culture controlled by corporate capitalism, community radio stations like WTJU (which are rare to begin with) are vestiges of volunteerism, cooperation, non-commercial media, and free-from music selections made by humans. Everyone at WTJU is passionate about being there. WTJU matters because it arises from love, not greed or power.

How have you seen WTJU change in your time here? How have you seen Charlottesville change?
I have not been at WTJU long enough to speak to the change there. I think it’s crucial to “keep it weird.” I would like the station to be more representative of the Charlottesville community at large, both in personnel and in music. As for Charlottesville itself, we moved here when a lot of the smaller music venues were closing, when “red dirt alerts” and over-priced condos were beginning to take over. I think the “summer of hate” was a big wake up call to a lot of people, myself included. The subtle and explicit racism in Charlottesville is deeply problematic. I think Charlottesville is changing for the better and for the worse simultaneously.

What could WTJU do better?
Everything. We can always do better. That said, I think WTJU is a gem.

Would you rather be a famous singer or be able to bring your favorite deceased singer back to life?
I don’t need to be famous, but I would love to be a (good) singer or to write (great) songs good singers might sing.

Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with a banjo player, a bagpipes player, or an accordion player?
I enjoy banjo, but I think in an elevator I may choose accordion, as it can be so moody.

Would you rather listen to a Bach motet scored for electric guitars, or Metallica’s ”Enter Sandman” scored for chamber choir?
I’d need to listen to both first before deciding.

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