Emanating waves of sultry, polished, and progressive electro-soul productions from the Great Plains, Colorado’s emerging solo act Late Night Radio, spearheaded my the musical vision of Alex Medellin, is rapidly garnering support and recognition within the electronic music arena. Touting a catalog of canny, though-provoking, and savory musical compositions, Medellin exudes an engaging sound rooted in musical soils that are nourished with the stylings of hip-hop, soul, and funk. Earlier in the year we had the opportunity to speak with Medellin about collabs, early beginnings, and what the future has in store.
HT: What was the drive for forming Late Night Radio? What do you envision it representing musically and why did you chose the name?
The name, it kind of all wraps up into one little concept. Late Night Radio to me is non commercial. It’s not influenced by mainstream or anything. When you put on the radio at 3 in the morning, it’s whatever random DJ is sitting there, it’s whatever they feel like playing. It doesn’t have to be top 40 or any of that shit. It’s not influenced by any of that. So it was kind of like..for me, going with that concept, it kind of gave me the chance to produce whatever the hell I wanted to, from the hip-hop Vinyl Restoration mixes to more full electro soul releases …it’s kind of left an open concept as opposed to just pigeonholing myself into one genre.
HT: In regards to your production style, how did that come about? What got you into sampling and digging for vinyl?
I was doing more instrumental, organic hip hop beats and stuff, starting out. I started making music for snowboard videos and stuff like that. RJ[D2] was the one who really got me into it. There was just something missing with the motion and some times musical value when you’re just sitting putting everything into a computer. The context of sampling really brings that out. On my computer I can’t bust out an eight piece horn section, and a guitar recorded in 1968 through old pre amps and shit, so to be able to go through records and make stuff happen that would be impossible for me to even fathom being able to do, is priceless.
HT: Are you currently recording any live instruments into your productions? How do you balance sampling with creating original productions and sounds?
I’m trying to get a lot more live instrumentation. I’ve been working a lot on integrating more of my own guitar and bass into tracks as well as collating with a bunch of buddies. Like on this next album I’ve got Kevin Donahue of Sunsquabi laying down some guitar, Clark from Dynohunter playing sax, and then working on some other stuff.
HT: Do you draw inspiration from listening to music similar to your or does is stem from music that is not related all?
I listen to a lot of stuff I dig through. I really like listening to old funk, stuff like that. I have so many homies that are killing it right now, that’s my main influence honestly. Just all my friends and everyone around me. I’ve got enough to keep me going for days.
HT: Would you ever switch up your sound if it meant getting more exposure and fame, like producing an electro-house tune, or are you staying true to your musical style and roots for the long haul?
Nah. I’d never say change anything for the reason of more and more exposure. I’m not going to start making electro-house to try and get an electro-house fan base. I make music depending on how I feel. If I felt like making electro-house tracks, and it was something I could stand behind, and it felt true and new to me, then fuck it. That’s the thing with my music. I’m really not trying to put any boundaries or limitations on it. My sound needs to evolve. The Beatles are my favorite group of all time. Their sound evolved. Over ten years, if you didn’t know, you could barely even tell it was the same group. That’s kind go my goal. I’m not trying to completely flip the script, but push my sound so I never get tired of it, and listeners never get tired of it.
HT: Colorado, and Denver specifically, is a huge melting pot for electronic music producers. What has been the hardest part about pursing music as a career and separating yourself from some of the other producers in the area?
I came over to Colorado from California. I was living up in the mountains. Just pretty much being a snow bum. I pretty much came here because I felt like if I could make it with what I was trying to do with the people that were doing it here, it could stand out anywhere. At least for the whole electro-soul moevement, Colorado is on the forefront and has been really pushing the scene. To be able to stick out over here, you have to put in your time. It was really hard to get through. Even a year ago I was playing shows with, shit, like 18 people. This last year was crazy for me.
HT: Where you self booking and managing when you first moved over to CO and playing shows wherever like Cervantes?
Yes and no. I had my buddy Brett Mitchell, who was working at a bar out in Boulder for a while and he made a lot of good connections for me, artist wise. It was pretty much just the two of us just putting it out there, taking any opportunity we could find. We were kind of doing everything on our own and then this [past] summer is when I made the switch over to Madison House and Anonymous.
HT: You’ve had some previous successful collaborations with some guys coming out of Colorado. Are there any collabs in the works right now that you can give us details on?
Really cool one is The Geek x Vrv, out of France.
HT: Yea those guys are doing big things.
Yea, The Geek x Vrv. We just did a track. Still don’t even have the title for it yet but we have a finished song so we’re going to be getting that out soon. But that’s something I’m real stoked on. Real hip-hopy soulful tune. It was fun. It was crazy to just link up, go on Facebook and link with this dude killing it in France, and then make a track. It was real cool.
HT: How hard is it to do collabs over the internet?
In general, I don’t really do collabs like that. It’s a pretty personal thing, so to collab with someone I really don’t know is kind of an awkward thing for me. Even with Robotic Pirate Monkey, when we did our first collab we weren’t that great of homies starting out. Through the first collab we started kicking it a lot more and then by the next one, that one was easy peezy. It was just like kicking it. The one with The Geek x Vrv, that one actually worked out really well. Our styles worked to where it was pretty simple to make a track.
HT: How was it playing for the crowd at Decadence back in December? Would you return again this year if the opportunity presented itself?
Oh for sure. That was awesome. Normally I’m kind of at a smaller venue kind of scene. To be able to get in a huge room like that, and to be included with those names was crazy to me. Break Science killed it. It was definitely an experience I won’t forget.
HT: How much has your production style changed since ‘Far Into The Night’? Are you still satisfied with the release or do you feel like you’re eager to get new material out to showcase the latest sounds in your music bank?
In my mind, the tracks I was just starting to produce when ‘Far Into The Night’ came out were already on another level. I’m my biggest critic. Nothing is ever good enough for me. On this new album, I’m really trying to push pretty much every aspect of my production.
HT: This full length compilation that you’ve mentioned is in the works, what can we expect to hear on that release?
It’s pretty all over the place. ‘Far into The Night’ was a little bit darker, this one is a little bit more not as lonely dude in the basement I guess (laughter). I think with ‘Far Into The Night’, I was wondering what was even going to happen with my music and I was really just a lonely dude in a fucking basement. Now I’m getting out and playing a little bit more so I feel like that has spilled over into my music a bit. I really wanted to push for a timeless album and produce something with musical value beyond whats “hot right now”.
HT: I know a lot of this has to be kept under wraps but, with the summer music festival circuit pending, is there any chance we’ll see you come out for some festivals over on the east coast?
I definitely have my fingers crossed. I know we’re working on a lot of stuff this spring and moving into the summer. Last year I got on Sonic Bloom, and I’m hoping to get on more this year and keep it going.
HT: Musically, what artist has you fixed on their sounds right now? Is there an album or a track that you have on repeat?
Out of the genre, I’ve been bumping a lot of Chance The Rapper lately. Chance is my go to. There’s a bunch of good music going around right now. Krooked Drivers, Michal Menert, Artifakts, The Geek, Sunsquabi, RPM. Like I said I pretty much listen to stuff I dig and the homies. That’s pretty much where my time is spent.
HT: Most inspirational comment from a fan or an artist that you received in 2013 that will keep you going in 2014?
Comments wise, I’ve gotten a couple. Every once in a while I get like “thank you for doing what you do” and that probably means the most out of anything. I mean I’ve put in my life into this music so just to hear that it means something to anybody, that means the world to me. There’s days where I don’t feel like making music anymore and I’ll get a comment like that or a message, and I’m just like fuck, and I sit my ass down at the computer for 10 hours. They definitely help keep motivated . Shows, road life, everything just keeps getting better man. It’s been an awesome ride.