Interview with Jessica and Katie Gilray, the hosts of the weekly eclectic, psychotic show on CHLY 101.7.
Navigator: Why The Sister Act?
Jessica: Katie had a show before, The Riot Act. Exact slot, time, and day. We decided to take over, and to keep the continuity, we came up with the idea of The Sister Act. It’s an opportunity to hang out once a week.
Katie: It’s a way to spread the music. We always wanted to share music with people. We’d always go to a party, steal the iPod, change the music, and try not to make anyone notice. That was kind of the ‘Gilray move’.
N: How do you prepare for each episode?
JG: Sometimes a lot of prep goes in—I research music all week and keep our running list. Other weeks, you are literally late and sweating and running. It just depends on the week and the schedule.
KG: Lately, I’ve been a half hour late because I’m biking from school. I leave class 20 minutes early to rip down. For me, the preparation is a bit easier because of Crace Mountain and the bands that play here. I’ll play their stuff the week before. I’ve been going on weirdcanada.com, and been involved with them, which makes it pretty easy to find great Canadian music. But sometimes we do a good prep, and other times I just grab a few discs from my collection and run to the station.
N: Who do you hope to approach with your show?
JG: We don’t have a certain demographic we’re pitching to. Our music’s all over the map. We’ll play Patsy Klein, and then Rage Against the Machine right after. Our mom listens and loves it. I think The Sister Act transcends all ages. We play a lot of new stuff, obscure stuff…
KG: Like bluegrass from the 1920s, or some old cartoon track, obscure noises…
JG: Or sometimes we’ll put on classical music, and other times it’ll be trip-hop.
KG: We always have someone random who just walks in. We have poetry and spoken word, reading a blurb of something, an experimental noise song, or banjo.
JG: But we don’t follow any format. There is no format.
N: Which parts of hosting do you enjoy the most?
JG: Working with my sister. When Katie left, I did this show for five months by myself, and it wasn’t even a quarter as fun. I mean, I love playing and finding music, but it’s totally different when you do it with your sister and best friend. We’re ripping on each other and laughing. It adds a different element.
KG: Sometimes we don’t see each other the whole week, and then I come to the show running and sweating, and we’d be frantic and trying to go on air and do stuff, but we’d be laughing hard, messing up. We’d ask each other on air how we are, where we’d been, and we make fun of each other, which adds interesting dynamics to the show.
JG: There’s a lot of inside jokes, or our mom will call in, or our partners will come in. It feels like a big family affair that somehow gets recorded.
N: Where on campus or in Nanaimo do you go for inspiration?
KG: Here, my home [Crace Mountain]. The band who played here the night before will tell me about five other friend’s bands over breakfast. We share music with other artists in the house. Even listening from my roommates’ rooms gives me ideas. I feel this house really encompasses all interesting music. I don’t have to go very far.
JG: The station is pretty great, because they have a lot of new albums and local Canadian content. When I don’t have enough material, I pull stuff from there.
N: If you could have your dream show…
JG: Same exact format, but streaming from a beach in South America over the winters. It’d be fun to take it on the road. We love travelling. It would be neat to have The Sister Act in Argentina or Guatemala for a few months.
KG: I’d like to have more live music in the studio, to bring local bands to the station. I also really want to do radio drama, audio performance, and audio art.
JG: We want to do something creepy and old time-y, like Orson Welles, and get people tripped out. And we need to find more stock sounds.
KG: I found an old Disney Halloween record, and all that’s on it are tracks like creaking door or door shutting, and it goes for two hours. It’s so good!
N: When you aren’t hosting your show…
JG: I like to hang out in the pumpkin patches. I’m a big fan of October crap, so I’ve been collecting a lot of stuff for the Thanksgiving table. I’m trying to juggle two jobs—having no work and having too much work. I travel, read, and swim.
KG: I’m putting on shows here [at Crace Mountain], writing for a music blog, and vending for this fair trade certified Mayan artisan group that I did some design for. I really like thrift shopping for costumes and weird stuff. I like hanging out with my cat, and I really like Super Mario for Super Nintendo. And I really love biking.
JG: A favorite Gilray thing to do is taking a nap in the afternoon with a bunch of cats.
KG: In a field, preferably. Lavender field. That’s something we really enjoy. And maybe some Kraft Dinner and Jane’s chicken strips. Maybe that’s getting too detailed.