What does it mean to be an expat? Like, I know what it means in the traditional sense of the word– you’re a stranger in a foreign land, taking residence in unfamiliar soil– I get that. I am that. But what happens when you stay past the honeymoon period— when the thrill of the tourist gives way to the soft focus of mundanity and you suddenly find you’ve planted yourself so thoroughly in this new life that you’re effectively a stranger to your roots? It’s an odd feeling, man, not quite belonging to either place, stuck as a forever-in-betweener, so enamored with your new digs that you’re content to feel a bit like an exiled phantasm that keeps gliding back and forth between planes of existence. And when you manage to bump into someone in a similar situation, you immediately gravitate towards that person– “ah! Another willful deportee! Let’s be friends!”. That’s the best explanation I have for why still, after over a decade of living in Argentina, my social circle here consists of about 30% foreigners.
Billy Roche is one of those people. We met each other a couple years ago and immediately hit it off, bonding over our shared love of music and the extremely odd experience of setting up camp in Buenos Aires for such a ridiculously long amount of time (he’s actually been here about 3 years longer than me, which I think technically falls under the legal definition of mental insanity). For the longest time we’ve been talking about getting together and recording a conversation, and we finally got to do so last week. I had to do my best to overcome my hangups about trying to play radio host next to someone who’s actually been one (radio DJ is one of the several hats Billy has worn in his life), but he made it really easy to feel at ease. I guess that’s part of what a radio broadcaster does– maybe one day I’ll get to make other people feel at ease instead of anxious and exasperated.
In this podcast we play some tunes Billy selected, and we discuss subjects such as growing up in a multicultural environment, what makes a great bassline, and why reggae’s recently-acquired reputation as music for drunken frat-bros is kind of missing the point of what was originally meant to be vibrant, subversive, politically-minded protest music.
Click here to listen to our chat:
James Brown- “The Payback”
Bob Marley- “Lively Up Yourself”
Aretha Franklin- “Rocksteady”
Jeff Buckley- “Last Goodbye”
Everlast- “Children’s Story”
Rage Against the Machine- “Killing in the Name Of”
Click here to subscribe on iTunes because that’s a thing you’re able to do now apparently.
All kinds of stuff coming soon. Literally all kinds. Every possible kind.