For the last few years, Jennifer Perez has been going to local music shows and hunting down the original and unique sounds of underground musicians so she can broadcast them on her Lancer Radio show Spazmaster’s Domain every Friday night at 10 p.m.
Perez first started the program about seven years ago and then came up with the concept of Spazmaster’s Domain, but then she got pregnant, got married and took time off. After all of that she came back into the program and hit the ground running, specifically playing around with Lancer Radio’s catch phrase: “Pasadena campus sound.” Spazmaster’s Domain was inspired by the concept of shaping the sound of Pasadena City College, an idea she had after watching the documentary “Before the Music Dies” in Sara Barker’s class.
“It goes into great depths about how the radio industry is ruining the artistry behind music and is stopping really original artists from surfacing,” Perez explained. “There is an entire community of artists that has been told that music is dead for a very long time, so I am going to be documenting and covering what happened after the music died.”
The excitement of originality that seems to have fled mainstream music is what she lives for, and she gleefully recalls some of the more unique bands featured on the show.
“The thing I really remembered about The Hot MCs was that the keyboardist didn’t have a stand,” she said. “He brought a shower chair, like one of those things that people use when they’re really old to take a shower. He found it, old and rusted on the street.”
This week’s performance on the show will feature the girl duo Girlpool, who just hit the local music scene a mere three months ago. Consisting of Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker, they are a feminine force to be reckoned with who hold their own in a musical world that seems to favor men.
“Male dominated bands are widely more common than female dominated bands, and it’s a shame more women don’t feel as capable to play music,” Tividad said. “Male superiority in the music scene is one of the reasons why we started Girlpool. We both felt like female-front bands were lacking and wanted to show other girls that they can do it too!”
Perez is holding her own as well. She has published books of poetry, and done live performances herself including rapping, singing and dancing. Making a commitment to herself that she’d perform her own music before 30, she had a show at an Echo Park venue called Lot 1 on her 30th birthday.
“It was hard. Immediately after that [performance] I was like, oh my God, I respect you guys so much more!” Perez said.
She is currently still taking courses at PCC and trying to finish up her Math and Science requirements despite having four certificates of achievement in the radio program. Spazmaster is truly the labor of love for her as she does not get paid. Working on trying to make a living out of a notoriously difficult career path, Perez has ideas for the creation of a media company in the works.
“Doing what artists do is not going to pay a lot of money in the long run,” Perez said. “At some point in time I do need to figure out how to make a living at it because I have a daughter. The idea is to stick my finger in every pot, like managing the dance crew I’m in, putting on events and managing bands. Spazmaster’s Domain will ultimately be a hodge-podge of all of that.”