We dance because we cannot fly. Im just trying to help.
"We dance because we cannot fly. I'm just trying to help." Andi Dean

DJ RIZ ROLLINS (KEXP; Board of Deacons)

1. Tinush, "Struggle (feat Aretha Franklin)"

2. LTJ Xperience feat. Joe Bataan, “Ordinary Guy” (Irma Records)

3. Bill Withers, "The Same Love (Whiskey Barons Rework)"

4. Jill Scott, "Wanna Be Loved (Tony Nuccio's Lovely Remix)"

5. Eugene Tambourine feat. Yevhen Varela, "In the Good Life (Balearic 2)"

DJing philosophy: “I have no favorite musical styles and will try practically anything. I’m not anti-pop or neo-avant; whatever appeals to me viscerally, spiritually, or bootyfully is worth sharing with whomever dances. I don't believe that there are bad dancers and often I'm as elated with a head nod—and a toe tap is as good as full movement. I don't mind an empty dance floor because you can never really know how music is affecting someone. I get to play what I like and people should dance as they like. Every space is a no-shame space. Every party a no-shame party. Smokey Robinson sang, 'I got to dance to keep from crying.' I can dig that. We dance because we cannot fly. I'm just trying to help.

“[I'll even play] Kermit the Frog's 'Rainbow Connection' from The Muppet Movie, because every now and then a good meal is finished up with some good cheese. The first time I played this was quite by accident. At Re-bar years ago, I was playing something and didn't have enough time to mix another song and so I grabbed the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie, not knowing how it got in my crate. With seconds to spare, I cued this up and watched an entire club, stop, take notice and spontaneously hold hands and sing along. I had to turn around because the moment was so special it made me cry. Still does.

“The lion's share of my time in the wide public eye has been with KCMU/KEXP. As a variety show host, it's been 29 years. which leads me to say 30, 'cause 30 years in one job, any job, commands status. And since I don't have money, status is crucial. As a variety show host, it's been my privilege to explore every pertinent sound my ears can handle. And as the host of Sunday night's Expansions [on KEXP], I get to play music that wouldn't be welcome on a dance floor, but necessary to mental health and well being. It's like getting carnivores to eat their vegetables, and vegans to get their proteins and minerals. And everybody gets to have cake.”

Styles played: “I'm fortunate enough to throw down hiphop one night (e.g., Tierra Mari's 'No Daddy'), world beat (N.O.H.A.'s 'Balkan Hot Step' from the Coney Island Love compilation on Wonderwheel Records), house (one of the fiddy-eleven mixes of Roland Clark's 'Resist” on Fluential Records), and everything in between. James Brown's 'Cold 'Sweat' is probably the record that started it all in the days before back in the day. Shit saved my life.”

Support The Stranger

Best/worst request: “It happened during a party while I was playing house music. A sister dressed to the nines in black, hair did on point, makeup on point, heels and evening bag, stepped to me and said in an almost whisper, 'Do you have any Pantera?' When I told her I didn't, she gave me the combination downward side eye stankface and left the club. But I do play Polkacide's 'Beer Barrel Polka' every new year's eve. First song of the new year.”

Upcoming events: “As Won Love with my husband and main man Rob Green, we'll be playing Seattle Alternative Pride Festival Saturday June 24, and 'Train Car House Party at the Orient Express in Sodo that same night (free). On Pride Sunday, I'll be playing alongside Larry Rose, Tim Betterly, and Alex Ruder for KEXP Pride at the 5 Point Café.

“I'm with a crew we call the 'Board of Deacons,' comprised of Joey Webb, Devlin Jenkins (aka Vagabond Superstar), and Almond Brown. In the black church, the deacons are custodial, the people who get to make sure that the sick and shut-in are attended to, who set up order during services. To say that we get to play everything is kind of an understatement. We play everything that's relevant to our shared history and culture. Yup, black music, played by black men who are in conversation about our shared past, our contemporary presence, and keeping a firm eye and ear on our future. We'll be playing at Soft Option at the Monkey Loft Saturday July 1.”