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Diablo Montalban and Arlo White of Hypnotic Turtle Radio. Courtesy photo.
Diablo Montalban and Arlo White of Hypnotic Turtle Radio. Courtesy photo.
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What: Hypnotic Turtle Radio

When: 9-10 p.m. Thursdays

Where: Radio 1190


When we rang up Arlo White to talk about his “live freakout mix” show Thursday nights on Radio 1190, he had a lot to say. We’ll just hush up and let him explain.

How long has Hypnotic Turtle been on the air?

We’ve only been on since January, since the spring semester.

How did you get into it?

Amy (Moore-Shipley, program director) sent out a call during winter break just saying there were openings in the spring schedule and to send an idea of what you had in mind. I had been there a couple times promoting different bands and stuff, so I emailed her and she said, ‘Oh, that sounds great,’ and asked for a better idea of what I wanted to do, and it was a series of back and forth because it was hard to put into words what I wanted to do.

I spent weeks torturing myself over what I was going to do. Then, the first episode, it was all my tricks. I just threw everything out. I was in the studio running around in circles and sweating. I realized I couldn’t do that every week, so I chilled out a little bit. It’s still evolving, for sure. It’s just me. I started doing interviews and stuff. It’s kind of just taken off.

It’s a pretty unique concept — for radio, anyway. Can you explain what you do?

It’s just kind of a distillation of the stuff that has really blown me away over the years … It’s an off-the-wall mixture of ambient stuff, anything you can think of, in terms of sound-source material. I’m really trying to entertain myself, first and foremost, and blow my mind. The first show was overly planned and that was kind of against my goals. I don’t really plan. I just bring all the pieces and see how they fit together when the show starts. For me, it’s a weekly performance. I get to perform live. If I fail, there’s dead air and it’s miserable and I’m freaking out.

It’s really exciting because I go in there and I don’t know what’s going on, but I have to make something really cool happen … It’s live art, is what I’ve been saying. It’s radio art. But that’s so pretentious. It’s really for everybody.

I kind of want a really demented variety show on the radio that’s not so structured … Entertainment is the bottom line. Blow minds. Open minds.

It sounds more like old radio, where a show is an event, not just car music.

I’m definitely trying to make it more of an event. Even though we do save all the shows on our website, you’re not going to hear that again ever on the show. I’m not even writing down what I’m doing. Sometimes I listen back to the show and I’m like, ‘What was going on there?’ I don’t repeat songs. I repeat artists as little as possible.

I get the sense that pop culture runs through your veins.

It definitely does. I was a Brady kid growing up. We got cable when I was eight years old and that was it pretty much it. I kind of cut off in the 1990s because I think it lost a lot of its flavor, but it’s ingrained in me and that’s why I can just wing it. When you start playing a song, I can hear what can go on top or what needs to come next.

How does this tie in with Hypnotic Turtle as an art collective?

Hypnotic Turtle is just all my different projects — my different bands, my alter egos and my art shows. It is a collective, but it’s all me. For me, when I do rock, I wanna do a rock album. Everything I do deserves its own thing.

What’s coming up?

I do have a guest tonight. I have a band called Medusa. They’re going to be performing live and just hanging out and playing all kinds of weird stuff. Stay tuned because this really is going to evolve. I wanna do radio plays and stuff … Everything has been heard before, but not necessarily in different combinations. Who knows what’s coming.

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