Jason Kramer on Avocado Toast, Oliver Riot, and How to Hustle in the Music Industry

NogossipLA interviews KCRW DJ Jason Kramer

Photo Courtesy of KCRW

Photo Courtesy of KCRWJason Kramer has manned the airwaves of the Santa Monica based radio station, KCRW, for over 20 years. After leaving behind a career in medicine and finding work with a little Ska band named Sublime, Kramer climbed the ranks of the music industry to where he is today. We brought Jason down to our studio in Hollywood to pin down how it is a young EMT ended up an award-winning music supervisor for Fox Sports and a lasting member of a nationally recognized radio station.

I saw things most people should never see.

One thing you’ve gotta know about Jason Kramer is that he is a man of eclectic interests and high-energy. Throughout our interview he often swung the conversation towards snarky tangents on culture or politics while stopping frequently to tune in to the sirens whizzing by in the street below, at one point dialing into the police signal on his phone so we could “follow the action.” 

Day one as a medic on the streets of LA and young Kramer was already answering homicide calls.  I was getting angry all the time and punching walls and the anger was taking over.” Kramer found an outlet when he began volunteering for the local radio station, KLOS, by answering their phones in between EMT graveyard shifts.

So we asked Kramer his secret behind landing a job with Sublime. The answer? Apparently, you just have to ask.

I wrote a letter to Sublime telling them how big a fan I was and they asked me to come work with them.

One thing Kramer couldn’t stress enough was how important personal interaction is in landing jobs, whether you’re a struggling artist or any nine-to-fiver.

So I’ve got a weird thing I do. My dad once told me that if you want something, you gotta go and get it, no ones going to knock on your door. Which is funny because life is sorta a duality of both. 

Whether it was his position as head of music supervision at Elias Arts or being the Music Supervisor for Fox Sports TV, which won him an award for Best Music Supervision in Advertising, Kramer chalks up his success to “just being able to hustle.”

Kramer sees a coming end of days for the way musicians use tech to reach fans. Whether what replaces it is good or bad, you’ll have to decide. “Fan engagement is nothing new. Your ipad, my cell phone, these are going to become obsolete forms of engagement very soon. Kramer predicts there will be a greater emphasis on personal fan – artist relationships than we’ve seen in the past.

It’s like avocado toast, there’s nothing new about it.

Photo Courtesy of KCRW
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Kramer has recently taken on a role as co-manager  of the Indie-rock duo, Oliver Riot, alongside Danny Rukasin. The band has built up a buzz since they moved to LA and began pumping out EPs from the back of a 200-year-old church. 10 million streams later and the twin brother duo has garnered somewhat of a cult-following.

Between the band’s eerie vocals, macabre album art, and haunting lyrics (check out Phobia Orgasma), Oliver Riot is a tantalizing oddity. But Indie-pop duos aren’t exactly a rarity in the Los Angeles area so we were curious what’d drawn Jason to this particular band.

See what he had to say about how the brothers’ dueling personalities conflict and combine to make up the band’s sound. And make sure to check out NogossipLA’s interview with Oliver Riot. [ youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sL4DEuYQc8]

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Oliver Riot Talks w/NogossipLA – The demons beneath Neurosis