The story of Late Night Radio starts in what might seem to be the most unexpected of places: church.
Long before he cooked up his hypnotic hybrid of electronic music, hip-hop, soul, and funk, the artist born Alex Medellin spent countless hours watching mom sing two masses every week. Learning guitar and piano throughout his childhood, obsessing over everything from UGK and DJ Screw to The Doors and The Beatles, and internalizing those formative experiences, he capitalizes on that latent influence with his 2018 full-length debut, the appropriately titled Sunday [Philos Records].
“I only recently realized it, but my favorite music is always hair-raising,” he exclaims. “I’m really into feel-good hip-hop, soul, and funk, and all of those styles are rooted in gospel progressions. As I’ve gotten older, that really had an effect on my music. For Sunday, the vision was to take bits and pieces of those genres and chop them up into something new. It was a natural step for me to pay homage to what I grew up on. You could call it ‘Sunday music’.”
It’s also a style he’s been working towards perfecting for nearly a decade. The Houston native bounced from New Orleans to Austin to Temecula and eventually Big Bear. During 2011, he started composing music for online videos and commercials before relocating to Colorado and seriously pursuing the art as a career, going full-time in 2014. Along the way, he released a series of fan favorite EPs—Concrete College , Far Into the Night , Soap Box , and Reflective Tangents . The latter yielded “Find the Love” [feat. Borahm Lee], which clocked over 664K Spotify streams as the EP cumulatively tallied 2 million-plus. Emotionally charged and explosive live sets transformed Late Night Radio into a Denver sensation.
As the artist commenced work on Sunday, he broke the mold yet again. For the first time, the recording would be completely live, featuring his guitar playing and keys as well as live horn sections, trumpet, trombone, and saxophone. Additionally, it became his longest project at 11 tracks.
“The easiest way to describe my music is, ‘Electronic music for people who don’t really like electronic music’,” he continues. “There’s hip-hop bass and beats, which keep it relevant. However, I’m taking it into new territory.”
Representing that evolution, the first single “In My Mind” [feat. Julianna Reed & Kevin Donohue] hinges on funked-up clean guitar, glistening harmonies, jazz-y horns, and an airtight groove.
“That’s my modern take on a soul song,” he says. “It’s about empowerment and staying positive through today’s climate. It’s a bit of a statement for me.”
Meanwhile, the follow-up single “Overdue” segues from a steeple-size hum into a fingersnap-punctuated boom-bap beat that’s impossible to shake. In the end, the moniker Late Night Radio reflects the vibrant versatility at the heart of the sound.
“At 3AM, DJs will play whatever they want on the radio,” he leaves off. “That’s what I’m doing. It’s a very eclectic mix. It’s who I am.”
MORE ON DAILY BREAD
Rhett Whatley, aka Daily Bread, started producing beats from his bedroom in 2014 armed with an MPC, a massive record collection, and a background in jazz guitar. His beat head sensibilities found him crafting unique electro-soul and hip-hop tracks that needed to be heard. After releasing a few tracks online, the project was quickly noticed by indie record label Philos Records and he soon joined the ranks of like minded artists like Artifakts and Derlee. Inspired by their collaborations, Rhett began work in earnest on his double LP masterwork “On the Daily” and found himself sharing the stage with his influences like Pretty Lights, GRiZ, The Floozies and STS9. He’s also landed festival plays such as Imagine, Electric Forest, Camp Bisco and more.
Releasing “On the Daily” on Philos in February 2017, Rhett took the Daily Bread project to the Rocky Mountains and spent half the year in Denver soaking up all the electro-soul scene hub had to offer. Now back in ATL and fresh off the 2 million Spotify plays milestone of his release “Moreland Ave Blues,” Rhett is using his freshly honed skills to further the Daily Bread sound and bring his unique vision to ears across the globe.
Daily Bread’s most recent project is the Navigator, Standby LP. Featuring a carefully curated soundscape and prominent retro sci-fi aesthetic inside and out, this vintage yet futuristic electronic body of work is his most fleshed-out to date.