Get to Know Darek Mazzone and Jyoti B.Fly, Co-Hosts of Wo' Pop

Powering KEXP

As of Sept. 13, 2023, KEXP has begun to roll out a new radio lineup full of new shows and DJs. Wo' Pop and its focus on modern global music should be familiar to longtime KEXP listeners, led for the past three decades by host Darek Mazzone. Wo' Pop will remain at its time slot on Tuesdays at 7 PM PT, but the show will now be co-hosted by new DJ Jyoti B. Fly.

To help introduce Jyoti – and re-introduce Darek – we asked the two hosts some questions to get to know them, their musical philosophies, and some of the music that's impacted each of them personally. Read their conversation below and revisit Wo' Pop in the streaming archive.

Jyoti B.Fly

KEXP: Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you want people to know about you? 

Jyoti B.Fly: As an entrepreneur, mum, DJ, and community builder, I wear a lot of hats. What I want people to know the most is that no matter which hat I’m wearing, I’m always advocating for people to be able to better express themselves. Music has been a way for me to fill my cup and find community. Through my work, I know that creative expression and community are often desperately missing from our professional and personal lives. Our workplaces and living rooms can be isolating, stressful, and even harmful places. Creative expression is how we’re able to process the absurdity of the human experience - and our struggles. It's how we heal, how we connect, and how we give meaning to life. Being able to create art is a privilege, but it shouldn’t be, because what makes us human is our ability to be creative, and this empowers and energizes us. We have discovered arts, crafts, and instruments from the earliest human civilizations. It’s the most human thing there is. It makes me sad that a lot of people are so focused on meeting their basic needs, that they might not have time or energy to make art, and that we’ve been culturally conditioned to believe we are not worthy of being creative, or that it's not worth our time. Because of this, I believe those of us making and sharing art should make it more accessible and use it as a vehicle for social change to help our planet be healthier for all.

KEXP: When did you first start DJing? 

Jyoti B.Fly: I started DJing in 2006 shortly after moving to Seattle. My partner and I showed up to an open decks night at Club Contour and that’s how we first made friends and when I started spinning records. We didn’t know anyone, but we were able to connect with people through our shared love of music – and that’s what mattered. I have played at clubs, raves, on the radio, and at many a house party. I have found some of the most humble, creative, and kind people in the music community. In the many years since, Seattle’s music scene has become a lot more diverse, and multifaceted than ever – and it continues to evolve. It's an exciting time to be a DJ – and my repertoire is a lot broader now, as are the tools I use. I’ve evolved my sound from playing breakbeats and funk, to house, downtempo, and now world music of many genres.

KEXP: What inspires you to share music with other people?

Jyoti B.Fly: Being Indian, intricate rhythms and beats are core to my understanding of music – so first and foremost – I am excited to share music that moves people physically. I love dancing and getting others to dance – and this is a big part of my Indian culture and dance music culture. Secondly – I like to move people emotionally. Being a DJ is a lot about weaving music together that takes people on a journey through different moods, and ultimately tells a story. I encourage people to listen more closely to music. The world is so full of sensory stimulation these days, and most people don’t have enough of a chance to rest and replenish themselves. When music forces us to perk up our ears, relax into our senses and deeply listen to the messages embedded in it, then we build the capacity to have more empathy for others – because music, like any form of art offers a window into someone else's human experience- and that is a gift we must treasure and protect.

KEXP: How would you describe your show to someone who has never heard it? 

Jyoti B.Fly: Wo’Pop is a 3 hour journey through sounds from around the world. My interpretation of world music is music that challenges our worldview and features music from outside of the USA, highlighting cultures, instruments, languages, and sounds from beyond our immediate community. I love music from Africa and Latin America. I also like to feature American and European artists who collaborate across borders, Black and Indigenous artists, and others who have had their cultures erased. The beauty of this show is it could really include any music that was made in this world – but as the host, my job is to ensure that members of our community who don’t typically see their art shared – that they feel represented by this show – and listen to great music, of course. I co-host the show with Darek Mazzone, and I would say that we, like any DJs, bring our own unique musical tastes and curation perspective to the table – so expect to get a bit of a different take on world music between our shows.  

KEXP: What are three songs to help us get to know you and to give an idea of what we might expect in your sets?  

Jyoti B.Fly: Oooh fun. It's hard to just pick 3, so tune in if you want to hear more range, but here are 3 different types of sounds you can expect:

"Dilemme" by Lous and The Yakuza

I adore Lous sultry French vocals layered over this slick and crisp hip-hop beat and skipping bassline. She speaks to her isolating experience as an Congan-Belgian woman in the music industry, which resonates and is important for me to amplify. French music and culture has been a source of inspiration for me for a long time

"Kulu" by N/Gou Bagayoko J Pool edit

I absolutely love Afro-latin beats and vocals – especially those that are soothing or spiritual in nature. N’Gou Bagayoko, an incredible guitarist and vocalist from Mali has his beautiful track Kulu enhanced by J Pool – an electronic producer out of Tulum. My background as a club DJ means I love a good remix. This one is chill enough to play for Wo’Pop – though I certainly plan to heat things up once in a while.


"Rapanagatun" by Zakir Hussain

Even though I’m Indian, I gravitate more towards classical Indian, fusion, and classic Bollywood, rather than a lot of the newer pop music coming out of South Asia. Zakir Hussain is a prolific table player who I saw in concert as child who collaborates with many other artists. I look forward to featuring artists who are taking creative risks on a classical foundation, and exploring more of what the broader AAPI community is vibing with.

Darek Mazzone

KEXP: When did you first start DJing? 

Darek Mazzone: 1987 at a Radio station in Boston, MA.
KEXP: What first brought you to KEXP?

Darek Mazzone: In 1992, I was on a cross-country road trip. My car broke down in Seattle so I decided to hang around for a bit since the city was going through a cultural renaissance that was noticed worldwide. It was an amazing time to be here as the city evolved from a sleepy western town that made airplanes to the place it is today. Musicians were getting signed and everyone seemed to know somebody about to break big or just had. I kept listening to KCMU in my weeks here and dug what they were playing, especially Riz’s show. I was used to a Freeform programming model and the station got close to that in an intriguing way that also played a rotation model. Don Slack was already doing magic as Music Director.

I walked over to the UW Communication Building to pay a visit, check out the place. It was very similar to my station in Boston so I felt very comfortable chatting with people and offered to do a fill-in whenever possible If I decided to stay in Seattle. When it became evident that my future was in Seattle and especially since I was working in Film & Music, I made it clear that I’d like to do more shows at KCMU. Don noticed that I was playing mostly World Music on my overnights and suggested that I do a specialty show on the genre. Now 30 years later, here we are.
What inspires you to share music with other people?

Music connects people in ways that no other art form comes close to. One could say that all other art forms aspire to the potential of music. Growing up in a country that was isolated from many forms of western culture I found music to be a perfect way to get to know people from all over the world. Music connects us in a way that transcends language, creed and identity, through music we share a common path that can help align us in a way that celebrates life and offers hope. I have too many stories of how this happened in real time for me but the times when I was playing songs from countries that were having a political crisis with the US or were being invaded by the USA, the people who were living here from those countries that heard their songs played on the air felt less scared and alone.
How would you describe your show to someone who has never heard it? 

I craft a set that melds tracks that are bubbling up worldwide from cultures and regions that are underrepresented yet have the most important things to say for all of us. Create opportunities for rediscovery of genres and artists that might have faded from view, and elevate new artists and outsiders who create sonic representations of their world. As of late I focus on Non-Colonizing languages so we can revel in the myriad potential of those artists world view and Music from Regions that celebrate Layered Cultural Identities that can teach us how to trancend the binary mindset prevalent in many western countries . I started with what was dribbled out in 80’s and now continue with the gusher of music worldwide.
What are three albums to you love? 

Fela Anikulapo Kuti - Zombie.

First heard it at 18 at a party with people who knew Fela. It was a revelation

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme.

I did a show called Radio Free Jazz. This record constantly revealed something new.

Zbigniew Wodecki with Mitch & Mitch Orchestra and Choir + Polish Radio Orchestra conducted by Cannibal Mitch - 1976: A Space Odyssey

Reconnected me to my birthplace in a way that I feel at home and peace when I’m there.

Related News & Reviews

Powering KEXP

Get to Know John Gilbreath and Noel Brass Jr., Co-Hosts of KEXP's Jazz Theater

To help introduce Noel – and re-introduce John – we asked the two jazz aficionados some questions to get to know them, their musical philosophies, and some of the albums that have impacted each of them personally.

Read More
Powering KEXP

Get to Know Kevin Sur and Tory J, Hosts of KEXP's Sounds of Survivance

Hosts of KEXP's new show focused on global indigenous music each share two songs to get to know them.

Read More
Powering KEXP

Get to Know Diana Ratsamee, Host of KEXP's Eastern Echoes

To help introduce Diana to our listeners, KEXP's Sound & Vision host Emily Fox caught up with the Eastern Echoes host to learn more about her background as well as three songs to get to know her.

Read More