All Good Presents...
Late Night Radio
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Doors 10:00 PM
A little house, a little blues, a little funk, a little rock, and a whole lot of soul blast through BoomBox.
Since first emerging in 2004, founder, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Zion Rock Godchaux has been quietly seasoning this simmering recipe to perfection. However, it reaches a boiling point on his forthcoming 2018 fifth album, Western Voodoo [Heart of Gold Records].
At the same time, the Muscle Shoals, AL native stays true to what attracted countless fans in the first place.
“I remain open to anything you would hear coming out of a boombox,” he explains. “There are a lot of different vibes and angles, but it still adheres to a universal rhythm. This new record is the most musical and varied, yet it’s tightly wound in respect to that syncopation. There are only a few rules. It should be heavy groove. It should make you want to move. Overall, I’ve further developed the sound people are used to.”
Following up 2016’s fan favorite Bits & Pieces, the artist found himself at something of a crossroads. Longtime collaborator Russ Randolph amicably parted ways with the band at the end of the year. For the first time, Godchaux would solely produce the bulk of a BoomBox record by himself inside of his new studio, while DJ Harry joined on tour in January 2017. Another first, he even performed live bass on the album, opening up the creative palette dramatically.
“I’ve learned more about engineering and the technical aspects of recording. It’s been a time of soul searching. I can follow any Ideas that I want to. So there’s a lot more organic instrumentation. I’m just trying to develop more sonic real.” Appropriately, he dubs the sound of Western Voodoo, “Dirty Disco Blues.” Within that realm, Godchaux fuses a funky strut with electronic energy and danceable swagger powerful enough to cast a spell of its own.
“You hear about different forms of magic around the world,” he goes on. “The West, in general, has its own voodoo influenced by the blues. That’s what shaped me as a musician growing up in this country. It’s hard to put in the words, but you know it when you hear it.”
You hear it in everything that BoomBox has done thus far. Over the course of four albums, the group has become a streaming favorite with numerous tracks cracking a million plays on Spotify. Moreover, they’ve made audiences groove everywhere from Electric Forest and Hangout Music Festival to High Sierra Music Festival. To welcome DJ Harry into the fold, they performed 75 shows in 2017, with that number expected to grow in 2018.
“Harry picked up everything in a really short amount of time,” he explains. “The parties are just as hot, if not hotter. The music is getting tighter. He stepped in and kept the plane in the air.”
In the end, the new music kicks off the brightest and boldest chapter yet for Godchaux. “Our best side is somewhat medicinal,” he leaves off. “All of the rhythms, melodies, and frequencies add up to these healing properties. I hope people feel rejuvenated and re-focused on some level when they hear us. That’s Western Voodoo.”
Late Night Radio
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.”