“Welcome to Simmer Down, sponsored in part by the Fieldhouse Social. I’m DJ Mulkster and let’s begin with [Insert reggae/world music here]” is what I always, if not most times, said when I began the show. It wasn’t always like this— I’m going to be honest, I struggled at first. I didn’t really have a game plan, but as time goes by, you gain experience and develop a game plan.
Well, it’s been a year, and I normally don’t reflect on things in my life, but with something like this, I think I need to. This is also a “thank you” to those of you who follow the show and support me as I go on this journey with you. So here is a little history of my first year on the show.
My first few shows were a complete mess because I literally had no idea of what to do, how to hook the songs together, or how to say what I say now. I just was there, playing music and telling you who was playing. Fast forward a year and a few months later, it’s fantastic; I’m doing what you all expect me to do at the best of my abilities. I’m keeping you informed of new reggae/world music and the South East reggae scene, and having a good time doing it. Here’s the first graphic I made for the show.
My first show featuring reggae bands were PMA: Positive Mental Attitude and Bender, at Preservation Pub. This show introduced me to the previous host, Alex Crowley, who helped me out a bunch and still does to this day. Then I met Roots of a Rebellion, who have been so helpful and supportive of the show. These guys are so amazing, and I feel honored to know them.
My first band interview was with TreeHouse!, which marked the beginning of something special. Later that spring, I experienced two live shows that were special to me: the first being SOJA and New Kingston, at The International in April of 2016, and the second was the Natti Love Joys. The opener, New Kingston, was really nice after the show and gave me their entire CD catalog to play on-air. SOJA killed it, as always. Experiencing the shows with my friends Nick Clevenger, Curtis Brown and Mathew Flynn was just the boost needed. The second show was really special because it was the Natti Love Joys, a band that curates the best music festival in the East Tennessee area called Camp Reggae. They always call in the show during the camp, and I love having them on. I can’t wait for my first camp experience with them this year.
Fast forward to summer of 2016, I got to go to Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and interview bands Josiah and the Greater Good and Roots of a Rebellion on the grounds of the festival. In July, things picked up again when we had three live in-studio guests in three Sundays! In addition to that, the final week of July was Simmer Down Live V! The live in-studio guests were Josiah and The Greater Good, Natty’s Common Roots, a reggae band from Knoxville, and a new reggae band from Nashville called Kingless Generation. These guys have a warm place in my heart, they literally took time out of their lives to bring the full band to the station to play the entirety of my show. It was a great experience despite some technical hiccups. The shout out by Ziggy Marley for supporting his self-titled album was also amazing, and that made me realize I was on this show for a reason.
The last week of July was also very special because Simmer Down Live V was here. A huge deal for me, I brought in musicians that are considered my band family. The bands were PMA: Positive Mental Attitude, TreeHouse!, and Roots of a Rebellion. That show was something else, man. I was really excited for it. This is probably the biggest thing I have ever done with my life, besides graduating college. The crowd was into it, some of my family showed up, and it was such a good time. Simmer Down Live will continue, for sure!
I continued doing my thing on Simmer Down and discovered I can use the show to get people excited for new reggae/world music; thus, my catchphrase “Simmer Down Knoxville” was born. Its cliche, but it works. After meeting and interviewing more bands like NoNeed, Floralorix, Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad, Buddha Council, Elementree Livity Project, King Solomon, Dubbest, Of Good Nature and Sun Dried Vibes, things were going in the right direction for me.
Now it’s April of 2017. I write this in reflection of what has happened to me on the show and what is to come. I have ideas for the next Simmer Down Live, which will likely go down in the history books. I just wanted to use this post to share with you the history of my first year on the show, so thanks for reading.
I also would like to thank WUTK General Manager Benny Smith, the entire WUTK Music Department and Staff, Alex Crowley, Bender, PMA: Positive Mental Attitude, Roots of a Rebellion, TreeHouse!, Sun Dried Vibes, Floralorix, Grimy Styles, Dubmatix, Thriller U, Kingless Generation, The Hip Abduction, Jahlistic, Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad, Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, Fat Penguin, Whyte Noyse, King Solomon, Natti Love Joys, Natty’s Common Roots, Josiah and The Greater Good, SOJA, New Kingston, Kevin Summitt, Seth Norris, Elementree Livity Project, Buddha Council, NoNeed, Of Good Nature, Ziggy Marley, The Elovaters, Dubbest, Drew Keller, Matthew Flynn, Nick Clevenger, Curtis Brown, and my father.
Thank you for being a part of the show and for supporting me and Simmer Down! I look forward to what 2017 has in store for Simmer Down. Finally, here’s to you, the fans of the show, reggae/world music and WUTK. Stay Positive Out There, and thank you for everything!
Mason L. Mulkey
All Photos and Graphics: Mason Mulkey