There are times when certain songs or albums can spark memories of days past, where you can't help but think back at some of the craziness and fun you were encapsulated in during those times. Having recently started up the Not So Fresh Radio Show to bolster the Tuff Rocking site, I have been reminiscing about the days I used to spin and help host at Earthbound Radio. Back in the early 2000's there was an online radio show I heard about through local crew members and homies that was based in a business center area in the Miramar section of San Diego, not too far from the Marine Corp Air Station. At the time it may have still been Naval Air Station Miramar. See Top Gun, (i.e. - Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards). I checked it out online at the now defunct www.twelvez.com and listened in to a few shows. The music was right up my alley and the live interaction with the listeners drew me in. The crew I represented since high school was Kids Of Soul, we consisted of bboys, groove dancers, dj's, mc's, writers and the whole nine. One of the original members DJ Thumbprint was my neighbor during this time and invited me to come to the studio to check it out. The original studio sat just off some train tracks in a secluded business center laid smack in the middle of Miramar, near a huge pyramid that now serves as an Uber office. Upon walking into the small office/studio I realized the people behind Earthbound Radio were all young hip hop heads that were into independent hip hop or what many would refer to as "underground hip hop". At that time I considered myself a true hip hop head and nobody could convince me otherwise.
If you remember the late 90's and early 2000's, there were plenty of independent artists creating hip hop music and putting tracks out on their own or through indie labels. This was just post Napster era and about the time Limewire had everybody downloading any artist they could think of. I'm guilty of downloading a ton of indie hip hop from Limewire, everything from Breeze Evahflowin' (Boston) to Saiyan Super Crew (France) was at my fingertips and burned to a CD within minutes. So being exposed to indie hip hop was pretty easy even at that time. Regardless of downloading music from these indie artists for free, I figured it was okay since I bought most of their music on vinyl anyways. During the Earthbound Radio days, there was no serato or final scratch, just crates of vinyl being towed into the studio.
DJ's at Earthbound Radio played mostly rap from indie labels, 90's rap and R&B, Soul, Funk, etc. When I walked into that studio they had Burn One from Kids of Soul spinning instrumentals and a few local heads freestyle rapping on the mic. The night in play would be the one Kids of Soul helmed, it consisted mainly of DJ Thumbprint, Burn One, Norm Rocwel, Gaveeegav, Mattlock, myself and guests. As I looked around the studio I recognized faces I hadn't seen in years, I realized..... well damn
1. Almost all of these kids are Filipino
2. They're all high as fuck
3. 90% of them went to my high school
So the dudes that started this internet radio station all graduated a year or two after me from my alma mater. Most of them went in together and got an office studio to outfit it into a college kids dream. They started their own internet radio which almost every day of the week covered with a crew of DJ's. No commercials, no commercial rap, no jiggy radio rap (maybe some slipped through), no corny shit and freedom to play what you deemed as proper hip hop, funk, soul, or whatever it was you were dropping the needle on that night. One of the guys running the show was a guy that went by DJ Domino and he was pretty much the main IT department . He set up a lot of the equipment, set up the audio, computers, routers.... you know, all that IT shit that IT guys do.
DJ Thumbprint eventually asked me to spin a set at the Kids of Soul night. I can't exactly remember, but that may have been the same night where they also had another local crew come in and guest in studio. That crew was Unknown Turntablists Krew (UTK) from Southside San Diego. I remember fellow Not So Fresh Podcaster Jose "Son of Jarel" Chavez actually being in attendance that night since he is a part of UTK, he wasn't spinning but three members Mane1, Daks Isa and Jecs were taking turns in the turntable room spinning sets and sharing 40 oz. bottles of Old English. I thought to myself, "damn that's some gangsta ass DJ shit and they got some fuckin skills".
I eventually came on as a regular with Kids of Soul during their tenure at the studio. I was still building my small vinyl collection shopping at local outlets like Access Music, The Armory, Off The Record (Hillcrest), Record City and elsewhere. Being able to drop new indie rap and older break samples live on an internet station was exhilarating, it just felt like the world was listening intently while you spin. Well, the world was listening, because they kept track of listeners on a geographic map while most of the audience would live chat with the nightly hosts. Our Kids of Soul night was named Monday Night Massacre, but soon enough more people started getting down with Earthbound Radio. We gave up our Monday nights to Armory Massive and moved over to Tuesday evenings which we coined "Truskool Tuesdays". Some DJ's I brought into the studio as guest DJ's eventually gained their own nights/days at Earthbound. I brought Charlie Rock in our early days and interviewed him live on air, he gave the whole story on how he got down with Rock Steady Crew and dropped a lot of San Diego history on us. I had Dasheye from Tribe of KIngs, a local crew that's well known for their skills in the reggae circuit (Uptown/Downtown Top Ranking), guest on one of the nights. Eventually Tribe of Kings got their own show on Earthbound, I think they did Sunday mornings. Wednesday nights were controlled by the guys from Homegrown Blends, DJ Pauze, Jo_iLL, Bojo, Jaba, Romali Argonaut and more had a night named, "Common Ground". I believe Thursdays belonged to the Battlestar DJ's and Saturday mornings had an all female cast led by DJ Malia called the "Bonita Applebum" show. Every night had a solid crew holding it down during Earthbound's hey day, it was all good music and there were some very dope guests that came through to spin. Unfortunately, a lot of these episodes that were recorded are supposedly gone.
The setup eventually changed as the crew moved to a bigger office building in the same area. Some nights it felt like business as usual, roll in with records and spin your set, chill with the homies, host on the mic and promote every night the homies had a gig. The setup was like this, four turntable set up with monitors for each set. Vestax 05/06, an effects mixer for the right set of turntables in case you wanted to echo, reverb or do some crazy shit while in the mix. Vinyl was stacked along the back wall where a viewing window was, leading along that window was one of two doors that led into the hosts room where the crew would chill and host on the mic. The walls inside the DJ studio were tagged by every visitor that had visited. A computer was set up by the mics to monitor online activity, by activity I mean we were able to communicate with our live audience via AOL Instant Messenger, yes I know it sounds ancient. Listeners all over the world would hit us up on the Earthbound Radio IM's and chat with the host while someone was spinning, we'd be able to shout listeners out, announce the dj's playlist and promote ourselves during quick intermissions. Outside on the patio was big enough to have two separate sliding door entries, a huge grill and patio furniture hosted a gang of barbecue/drink sessions when we had the dope guests come by. It's crazy to think how simple DJ set ups were just fifteen years ago, it seemed like it was a mission to get something like a radio show setup via the internet. Nowadays you can find someone spinning live on Instagram or Facebook for a free broadcast DJ show. Broadcasting and DJ'ing grew with technology and also made it so much easier for anybody to jump in and do something like what we had going on at the now defunct www.twelvez.com. My tenure with Earthbound ended in 2004, I focused a lot more on breaking (bboy) and eventually moved to the OC/LA area to start my graphic design career. I still did gigs here and there, but it never felt the same. By the time I moved back to San Diego, Serato replaced a lot of DJ's vinyl crates and gigs were a dime a dozen. It was still fun to rock the decks once in awhile, but I stopped looking for gigs and focused more on breaking instead. Be sure to tune into the Not So Fresh Radio Show on Mixcloud, i'll be inviting DJ's to come by the studio to drop sets. Maybe i'll get some of the old Earthbound heads to throw down. - Destijl