Interview by Alyssa Leli
Among the talented DJs at Maker Park Radio, there is one who truly sets herself apart: Carol Hooper. With her infectious energy, unique style, and quirky song choices, Hooper is a force to be reckoned with.
“I play everything, especially crazy things,” Hooper said. “If it’s crazy, I want it.”
Hooper’s radio show called Done Been Played focuses entirely on covers and plays once a month for around 90 minutes. Hooper’s cover selection is unconventional and features a unique twist on popular songs that are widely known and loved.
“Think of a harmonica version of Technotronics ‘Pump Up The Jam’ or cello versions of 80’s alternative tunes,” said Hooper. “Just odd, quirky songs that I think are crazy, fun, or beautiful – I play it all.”
Hooper’s love for music began when she was in college. She always wanted to become a radio host but lacked the courage to join her school’s radio station.
Despite never pursuing her dream of becoming a radio host in college, Hooper always had a lingering desire to try her hand at DJing. While at one of Kitty The Disc Jockey’s shows a couple of years ago, Kitty approached her and told her about Maker Park Radio.
“I immediately knew what my show was going to be about,” Hooper said. “The next step was to just do it.”
And that, she did. Hooper’s debut show took place in July 2017 and she has been playing at Maker Park Radio ever since.
Hooper says she is not limited to any particular genre, often describing her show as genre-bending. She is always on the lookout for songs that she finds amusing, beautiful, or deep to play during her sets. “I’ve played everything, every genre, even genres that you’re like, ‘what is this? I don’t know what this is,’” said Hooper.
Done Been Played is all about pushing boundaries and challenging expectations. Hooper doesn’t consider herself to be a conventional DJ, nor does she care to meet others’ expectations. She loves the freedom she has to be different and express herself at Maker Park Radio.
“I’m more of a musical director than a traditional DJ,” said Hooper. “I don’t mix or blend songs, that’s not really the point of my show. I’m not trying to make people dance, I’m trying to make people feel.”
Hooper has found inspiration in groups like Utah Saints, who took samples from Kate Bush and Annie Lennox and turned them into dance songs in the 90s. She likes DJs who take songs and turn them into something completely different.
One of Hooper’s most recent shows took place the night before Valentine’s Day and was called “Unconditionally.” The theme was about self-acceptance and self-love, and Hooper described it as a gift to herself and to anyone who’s a lone wolf like her. She chose covers of songs that were empowering to her such as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” and Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.”
Hooper’s love for music runs deep – this is what she wants to do in the long run. She would eventually like to curate music for film and television.
If you’re an aspiring DJ, Hooper’s advice is simple: take the leap and just do it. As she puts it, “We learn more from our mistakes than our successes.” Looking back, she wishes she could tell her younger self to overcome her shyness and walk right into WSIA at CSI all those years ago, and just jump in.