Shared Frequencies Radio co-directors Atefeh Karabi (l) and Ben Randall (Courtesy of Radio Nopal)
Atefeh Karabi just arrived in Mexico City, on a work trip for his underground Internet radio station.
She came to meet friends on the internet who joined her Austin-based operation, Split-Frequency Radio. The founder debits other global commitments: today, a place on the CDMX’s Radio Nopal; Sunday, a Shared Frequencies collaboration with Hong Kong Community Radio.
“I’m a globetrotter myself,” the Houston native said on a call last week. “I travel and make these connections person to person, face to face. I give [artists] an opportunity and they seize it. It’s really word of mouth. Make connections, maintain them – it works from there.”
The experimental electronic artist Ranma Entero, which spurred the station’s collaboration in Mexico City, will follow Karabi to Austin to perform on Shared Frequencies’ third anniversary. The event, this Saturday January 22, 9 p.m. coconut club, also features current residents of the station like the one from Dallas iamyu and the inhabitants Luvr Boy, Sriracha, and DJ case. Karabi herself plays the role of m3hmooni.
An established DJ based in Austin for a few years, Marcos Cabral headlines the club’s indoor laser pit. Karabi quotes Cabral – a veteran of Boiler room and the Radio set, a popular Internet radio actor in New York – as a model. Cabral tells the Chronicle: “Shared Frequencies helps develop a local scene, in a nutshell, by bringing like-minded people together.”
Three years later, Karabi runs the station with a UT graduate student Ben Randall, a multidisciplinary artist known as feast of pity, and a small team. The founder says their music falls into two genres – house and electronic.
“Anything in that area,” she said. “The coolest thing is that I can bring together modular artists with tech house artists, or industrial artists with disco house artists. Everyone who works with us is open to new ideas.”
Seasonal residencies, which last five months, are the daily bread of Shared Frequencies. Residents contribute one set per month. Every night, some residents broadcast live on the station Tic channel (twitch.tv/sharedfrequenciesradio) – seen at home or in the station’s Eastside shipping container studio – while others stick to audio only on the station’s website (sharedfrequencies.live).
The current sixth season includes Austin Music Awards candidate DJ Shani among some forty contributors, from Austin and elsewhere. Shared frequencies SoundCloud account archives all sets – a plus for the Austin-based contributor Gabriel Frampton, a.k.a Sriracha, which has maxed out its own free SoundCloud uploads over decades of mixing. He digs through dusty boxes of forgotten CDs, and band camp, for his extensive techno sets.
“I’ve been an obsessive music collector since 1995, and all of that knowledge has stayed with me, you know?” he says. “I didn’t have too many people to share it with other than my equally nerdy musician friends who I saw a few times a year. Getting more exposure through the radio station was a really positive experience.”
He also says that shared frequency sets are a great place for more abstract sounds not quite suited to clubs.
“I love dance music, but that’s not all I listen to,” he explains. “I also listen to weird, abstract music, sitting on a couch. They can work really well together, if you know how to mix them properly.”
The station has collaborated with other local names in electronics, like Thanks for sweating it out and FREQ! Karabi likes to broadcast live sets at venues and festivals, a big boost for her globetrotter. She launched Shared Frequencies after returning to Austin in 2019, unable to renew her visa while working at a Paris train station with a global reach. The Mellotron.
Before, while studying at University of Houston, Karabi became the first director who was not actually a student at rice universityit is KTRU.
“Right after university, I moved to Europe,” she sums up. “I saw that they put forward more underground radio, not college radio, but more independent stations. I’m doing my best to bring it to Austin. It opens a door to the world, across the radio, for our artists.”
Daniel Johnson, celebrated in the first-ever museum exhibition of the cult artist’s work, wins a mural to go with it. Saturday January 22 at 12:30 p.m. Contemporary Austin unveils a new artwork on the side of the building, funded by Vans and local skate shop Noncompliance. Fans are invited to join the late Texas songwriter’s family members at the ribbon cutting. The mural features colorful characters from Johnston’s work, such as the iconic frog Jeremiah the Innocent and the ghostly caspar. Inside, the exhibition “Daniel Johnston: I Live My Shattered Dreams” runs until March 20. And like many events scheduled for January, the Hi, how are you ProjectHHAY Day in Johnston’s honor has been rescheduled for May 4 at the moody theater (with group love, Polyphonic Party, Kate Davis, and more).
Frank Rodriguez, a former assistant to Mayor Steve Adler, pleaded guilty last week to embezzling federal funds while running the nonprofit latin Healthcare Forum. (Find more details about the case here.) Rodriguez, a Latin jazz musician, is also known for his longtime involvement in defending Austin’s music. The political adviser co-founded the nonprofit EQ Austin – focused on equitable cultural representation in Austin’s music – with current Austin Music Commissioner Gavin Garcia in 2018. Rodriguez also served on the board of the advocacy group Music makes Austin. Both organizations fall under Gary Kellerit is Austin Music Movement umbrella of non-profit music organizations supported. Representatives of the two organizations did not respond to the the Chroniclerequest for comment.
Jackie Venson chose to cancel upcoming shows in Texas due to rising Omicron cases. The band offers a live show this Saturday, January 22 at 9 p.m., with $5 tickets at jackievenson.bandcamp.com. Earlier this month, the Austin-based artist posted on social media that the Brauntex Theater in New Braunfels “was unwilling to accommodate” requirements such as proof of vaccination/testing. Last week she retired from the Woodlands Dosey-Doe, writing, “Once again a venue is forcing me to choose between playing gigs and protecting the health and safety of my band, my crew and all of you.”
The Austin Music Disaster Relief Grant, launched last year, is reopening with $2.3 million in federal relief dollars. The program offers one-time grants of $2,000 to “local professional musicians, independent promoters and music industry workers facing hardship due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Applications are open until January 28 at 5 p.m. The city joins the long center to distribute subsidies and with Texas Accountants and lawyers for the arts to help applicants. Find more information on eligibility on our Daily Music blog.
The Help Clifford Help Kids benefit, the 21st edition of the annual fundraiser, is postponed to March 3 at at Antoine’s. Originally scheduled for this month, concert features Austin staples Jimmie Vaughan and special guests. Founded by Clifford Antoine and Robin shivers, the event benefits an Austin-based nonprofit American Youth Works, which provides essential educational and professional support to young people.