Evan Simko-Bednarski ’07 says he’s trying to keep a low profile these days, but with the Argus and WESU sharing office space, we at least get to see plenty of him. As the new president of WESU, he’s busy trying to run the station through archival research (seriously), but is also finding time to examine the Wesleyan artistic community, start a campaign called Bring Back the Awesome, and use the word “revolution” at least twice over the course of one interview.

What exactly is your role at WESU?
I’m president of the station. There was a move in 2000, and since then the business of the station has been all over the place. It’s been a while since there’s been a very dedicated board that’s forcibly put all the pieces together. We still had unpacking to do as of a year ago. Most of the board is here a lot to try and straighten things up to recover from being in a new space and recovering from the large shift in our schedule [with NPR programming].

How is the NPR switch still affecting you guys?
It’s an interesting time. There’s been a decrease in the amount of slots that we can give to people, so we had to formalize our commitment to make sure that people in the community get on the air. It’s required us to sit down and figure out what kind of station we want to be.

So what station do you want to be?
We want to be a community station. Some of my favorite shows are done by members of the Connecticut community. It’s a very rare thing in this day and age that 1500 watts of broadcasting power be open to the general public to use.

What do you like about working at WESU?
It’s a great community of people. When I walk around downtown now, I’ll run into people I know through the radio station. I feel like I live in Middletown rather that I live in Wesleyan. There’s a great community feel, and I think that’s part of the attraction.

What are you up to when you’re not at WESU?
I’ve been playing a lot of music on campus. A bunch of people from the class of 2007 were talking, and it came to our attention that there were a lot more concerts in the Westco café and a lot more impromptu percussion circles in Mocon when we were freshmen. The task of the class of 2007 this year is to bring back the awesome.

What does that mean exactly?
I got here and I was like this place is awesome, there’s art happening all over, there’s music happening everywhere, I can be a philosophy and government major and be involved in the art scene. I guess this is an open challenge to the classes of 2008 and 2009 to do the same. We’ve been trying to start a lot more concerts in the Westco Café, and bring back She Calls Me Daddy.

Tell me about She Calls Me Daddy.
She Calls Me Daddy is Wesleyan’s only and probably the first all-male, gender-blind experimental music a capella group, and all that that entails. We still show up from time to time. We’re lurking in the corners of Wesleyan. The last project that I can recall us doing is the cover of John Cage’s “4’33” that lasted a week. We walled off a spot in front of the Campus Center. At any given time there would not be a member of She Calls Me Daddy singing in that spot. Occasionally we’d walk into the spot but we’d be careful not to sing. It’s about time She Calls Me Daddy brings back the awesome.

What motivates you to be so involved in music?
My dad was a jazz drummer. When he was my age he’d be playing drums at clubs in the city. When I go home he and I will jam with his musician friends. I’m a government and philosophy major so I’m dealing very much with reading large words, [and music is] a really healthy outlet. I feel like you can say things through art that you can’t say through the best damn term paper ever. The great thing about Wesleyan thus far for me is that there are tons of people who are incredibly intelligent and way better at saying something in class or in a paper than I will ever be, but there’s still this common thread that you can say something through art that you can’t say through anything else.

What are the details about the Bring Back the Awesome Campaign?
The Bring Back The Awesome Campaign will have many facets. Hopefully some great chalk murals will come through this. Certain Wesleyan phenomena like the anonymous confession board and things like that have certainly expressed that people want to be able to say things anonymously no matter how intelligent and no matter how inane they are. That to me seems like an environment ripe for chalking to make a comeback.

I remember you spent some time on the anonymous confession board in its heyday. What are your thoughts on it now?
There seem to be a lot of conversations about the anonymous confession board on the anonymous confession board. People attacking it for being this or not being that. The whole point of it is that it’s filling a need that we have to be able to talk about things without feeling like there are taboos that we will be judged for talking about. The freshmen and sophomores won’t remember, but that was one of the largest arguments made in favor of chalking. When I got here my orientation week, all the freshmen carpeted this place with chalk. It was wonderful. The first three nights we were here it literally looked like a multicolored carpet between the Nics and Clark.

So what are your plans for your next year or so here?
I’m trying in my really small way to start the sense of this campus as a really creative place again. That’s part of what really helped me fall in love with this place. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in the next few months, but I hope it will be artistic. There’s a lot of potential here.

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