Beatrix Gravesguard and Shewolfe are two San Francisco DJ’s bringing some spookiness to the airwaves at BFF.fm., haunting from a discrete location where life-like papier-mâché trees creep up the walls and hang from the ceiling. A small self-serve cabana bar is lined with a few empty beer and soda bottles and three Victorian-style windows welcome in some modest sunlight, illuminating a small platform decorated with a few lawn chairs.
While the DJs enjoy their utopian broadcast paradise, they also enjoying garnered attention for their show “Astral Projections”, focusing on witchery, feminism, the occult, female driven playlists and their originally crafted Snack-O-Scopes (horoscopes paired with monthly music and food recommendations). By day, Helen Tseng, AKA Shewolfe, is a visual designer and illustrator, while Melissa Graeber, AKA Beatrix Gravesguard, is a distinguished scholar of ancient curses, a writer, educator and mentor of wayward teens. Anthony Presti, AKA Heathcliff Scarr, caught up with Beatrix and Shewolfe to talk about the inspiration of their show, haunted houses and Snack-O-Scopes.
Astral Projections airs every Tuesday from 4-6 pm.
How did you come up with your Witch names?
Beatrix: My friend and I bought bikes and I found this Witch/Goth generator to name my bike. I took on my bike’s name.
Shewolfe: I named myself after Shakira and the mom from White fang.
How long have you been doing the show and how’d you link up as co-hosts?
SW: Our first show was in January 2014. I came on as guest for a bunch of shows. I’m a freelance illustrator and designer so there’d be whole weeks where I wouldn’t leave the house or barely talk to people. I wanted an outlet to get me out of my cycle of work and being home with my cat and boyfriend. We met via Tumbler and both ended up in San Francisco. One of us reached out to the other and our first hangout was a stairway walk, and then we ate noodles. Now we have a “girls love noodles” club.
Your playlists seem largely influenced by women artists and witchy themes, how do you create your playlists?
SW: Usually I send out a collaborative playlist and we both add songs and take turns organizing it. We have overlapping tastes but come from different places. Beatrix grew up during the nineties and riot girl era, so she’s got a lot of that. I like more esoteric and weird sounds.
B: It’s a very eclectic collaboration. Sometimes we’ll have guests pick songs that seem witchy to them.
SW: Sometimes we do themed shows. It’s sort of a gimmick but makes things specific and diverse at the same time. When I first pitched the idea I was like, ‘I only want to do female produced music’, but it felt like there needed to be something else there. And then I was like, ‘I wanna do a witch show.’
Who are your role models, musically and beyond?
SW: We have what we refer to as head witches in charge: Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and Hillary Clinton. I love Grace Jones. We’re big fans of “hello, cheetle,” they have a show on Fridays, and Cosmic Amanda, our station mom.
B: PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, and Bjork. Elena Ferrante- an anonymous Italian author who put out a series of books, and Katie Coyal, a local author we did a teen witch show with.
Who designed the Snack-A-Scopes? How do you come up with the content? Are you secret astrological geniuses?
SW: I have a template that I use to design them. We started off reading other horoscopes that we liked but Beatrix is a writer in a human life. We have all the qualifications. We’re witches.
B: I just follow my instincts and conjure up whatever is in the air. Having a snack and a band assigned is really important. It’s a thing that can really anchor your week, and having a snack already picked out for you is nice.
SW: One of our main draws is the Snack-O-Scope. Snacks and music are a universal language.
What signs are you?
B: Taurus. I’m the person who when all my friends are in a crisis ring my doorbell at like 2 am.
SW: Sagittarius. We are fire signs but very philosophical and intellectually curious.
What’s your spirit animal?
SW: She Wolf.
B: I love whales. I go to Big Sur a lot and every time I go I see pods of whales.
Any plans for Halloween?
SW: We’re going to New Orleans. I’m planning to be touched by ghosts. Beatrix lived in New Orleans and I’m from Louisiana. We’ve been talking about going to more haunted places in the world. Our BFF mom, Cosmic Amanda is from Salem, Massachusetts; another spooky place that we’ve been. She came back a few months ago and brought us spells and charms.
B: I try and go back to New Orleans once a year. I’m from San Francisco, but when I want to cheat I go to New Orleans, my other lover. I just like renting a big house with friends and getting bicycles and roaming the street with a go cup. You don’t really have to put in a lot of effort to have fun there, and it’s one of the best cities to be in for Halloween. There’s a parade for every hour.
What was your favorite Halloween costume?
SW: In 2011 I was Kreayshawn. That was my magnum opus. Last year I was Princess Caroline from BoJack horseman, and my bf was BoJack.
B: My friend and I were Llana and Abbi from Broad city. I’m kind of famous for 11th hour costumes. Last year I bought an Elvira costume and made some Liza Minnelli bangs, smeared white paint on my face and I was a coked out Liza Minnelli.
Have you ever been haunted by a ghost?
B: I ran away to New Orleans as a wee thing with somebody I’d only known for a few weeks. We ended up living in a mansion built in the 1840’s in the French Quarter. Half of it was totally abandoned and the other half had been turned into apartments, but it had original slave quarters and was totally crumbling and decrepit. We slept in this sort of big loft and he and I both had the same experience. He was a non-believer in ghosts until this.
I woke up one night because somebody left the light on in the kitchen and the light was really weird, like this sickly orange light and I felt like I heard somebody washing dishes in there. I looked down and thought it was my boyfriend, but because I was in the loft I could see the whole apartment and he was actually asleep on the couch with our dog. So I scrambled down the ladder and went over and tried to shake him awake and neither him nor the dog would wake up, which freaked me out, it was like they were drugged. I took a deep breath and reached my hand in the kitchen and turned the light off. I scrambled back up to the loft and sort of lay there paralyzed and finally passed out.
I woke up in the morning and told him about it and he said the same thing happened to him a few months ago where we were asleep and he thought he heard somebody in the kitchen and the dog and cat were sitting at the edge of the loft starting in the kitchen. We had a houseguest at the time and he said the houseguest was sleeping on the couch, and he tried waking me up and I wouldn’t wake up. Apparently I said in my sleep, ‘Good for the ghost’. My assessment is that just had maybe some helpful dish-washing ghost.
Check out the show featuring Sf Station’s Heathcliff Scarr!