Andrew & Alan Blancato created A Running Melody as a music mix series focused on letting DJ’s highlight different styles of music from around the world. It started back in 2015 with mixes from the likes of WOLF Music, Jon Sable, OOFT!, Jacques Renault & more, and has turned into a regular series of parties around New York City. Andrew & Alan have been keeping busy DJ’ing under the A Running Melody name, at clubs like Good Room, Le Bain & Elsewhere.
When did you start A Running Melody and what was the ethos behind the project?
Alan: Andrew first had the idea a few years ago. It just started out as a podcast series. He wanted to create a platform for artists, DJ’s, friends, and friends-of-friends to showcase their music, their record collection, and their creativity. Stu from WOLF Music contributed the first podcast for us, compiled purely of dollar-bin 80s Funk and Disco records! Since the first podcast, every artist thereafter sort of took it upon themselves to come up with a unique idea. Martin Hayes of Rose Records put together a killer mix of, in his own words,” funk, disco, and library sleaze from obscure films with added snippets from 70/80s adult film galore to maximize the climax.” Jacques Renault of Let’s Play House compiled a mix entirely of his own Disco edits. Black Fan from the UK flexed his knowledge with an outstanding mix of Garage from ’87-91. These are just a few to highlight as well. Everything we’ve received from Ooft!, Evan Michael, Kris Guilty, John Malcolm Moore, Long Island Sound, Jon Sable and more has been outstanding. That being said, it’s been quite a while since we’ve pursued more guest mixes but we definitely intend to in the new year. It wasn’t our intention at first but “A Running Melody” eventually turned into a “party”. It’s been a great excuse for us to get out and play more and to book artists in New York that rarely get the opportunity to play here. We’ve helped bring guys like WOLF Music, Max Graef & Muff Deep, and Iron Galaxy for some killer shows here.
Andrew: Yeah, the whole idea was just getting a bunch of people who we really liked and respected to put together unique mixes. Really just trying to highlight all different types of music, styles of listening, mixing, telling stories. From there, it turned into an outlet to throw parties with those people as our guests, and then into a way for us to start playing music we really liked at our own gigs. It’s been really awesome and it’s nice not having so much pressure to turn it into a thing, but just letting it all happen organically.
What are some of your most memorable nights playing together?
Alan: Opening for Leon Vynehall at Good Room is probably the stand out for me. I’ve been a big fan of his since I first heard his Brother/Sister EP on AUS back in 2013 and he’s one of the most down to earth dudes around. We most often play opening/warm-up sets or all-nighters so we’re used to the first few hours of the night being slow and mellow but that night was different. The venue was packed out by 11 PM which was a welcome change for me as a DJ in New York. It’s rare we get to play warm-up tunes to a full room of people here so that was a real treat.
Andrew: There are definitely a few from my perspective. The all night long gigs are always fun because we can play a huge range of music for 6-7 hours. We’ve done a few of those in the Bad Room at Good Room, for FIXED or other nights with good crowds who are down to just go on a ride musically. Playing with Vynehall that night was a lot of fun though just because he’s such an awesome dj, a friend, and that night the place was packed from 10:30pm to 5am. Overall, was just an awesome night.
You both grew up in the New York area, what were your first club experiences like and how has the landscape changed?
Alan: I remember going to Exit when I was still in high-school as a 16-year-old baby-faced kid. No clue how I managed to get in. The sheer size of that place is crazy to think about when you compare it to New York these days.
A lot has changed since then, obviously. I also think your point of view naturally changes as you get older. It’s really easy to get caught up and look back and think things were better, even just five years ago, but in reality, I’m probably just getting older and grumpier (and far less cool.) I’m definitely nostalgic for the days when it was more about the party than the DJ. That’s probably the best and most simplified way of putting it. The vast majority of people are way too caught up in the big headliner and “set times”. I wish they would pay more attention to the clubs and parties instead of the big DJ in town. There are so many good parties and promoters in New York booking insanely good DJ’s that sometimes get overshadowed by a big name playing across town for the fourth time in the same year.
Andrew: Lots of fun nights back in the day at Twilo, Limelight, Exit, Sound Factory. It was honestly more about partying more than anything because I was so young. That was my early intro to the club scene. Nowadays, those scenes are there in some form, but I’m much more drawn to places that are about the music. There are really awesome clubs and parties in NYC that do that well now.
What ways do you discover new music and which are some of your favorites this year?
Alan: It’s kind of overwhelming how many ways there are to find new music. DJ’s, friends, social media, SoundCloud, DJ charts, promos, labels. The list goes on and on. Of course, as a DJ, you want to find the cool and rarely played/unheard stuff but I try not to get too caught up in that. I play what I like, that’s really it.
I’ve been playing more and more stuff from my childhood which is fun too. Going back and rediscovering that stuff and working it into a set is way more challenging and fun than downloading a deep house song off Beatport.
Some tracks below that I’ve really liked this year. Not in any order and if you ask me tomorrow, the list would probably be different…
Flight Mode – It’s So Nice (Delusions of Grandeur) – Lovely sample of ‘GQ – Disco Nights’ which was one of the first disco records I ever remember having. It was part of a huge stack of records my friend gave me from his mom’s collection when they were moving house back in high school. I played the shit out of that record!
Brame & Hamo – Sports Complex – Just a really heavy throwback vibe I can’t get enough of. This is a close tie with Space Dub which they also released this year.
Jaines Bomt – Mi6zauberkraefte (Raw Soul) – I never play it out as I’m rarely in a position to put a bomb like this on. It’s a track I’ve listened to a lot at home which is ironic because it’s pretty much built for the club.
Andrew: I’m a big fan of Bandcamp just because I like supporting everyone more directly. There are artists and labels I always follow and support. Outside of that, keeping up with new music feels like an impossible grind. Lots of people send me things, their own stuff or recommendations.
Leon Vynehall’s album Nothing Is Still this year was amazing, along with the live show. Really more of something I listen to outside of the club world but it got a lot of plays out of me this year.
Solitary Dancer – Heroine Dub on Optimo Trax was one of my favorite tracks in a long time. Such a well-made song, and EP overall, and just one of those tracks that sticks out when you play it.
Tell us a little about the mix you’ve made. Any stand out tracks?
Alan: I picked songs that I’ve just been enjoying lately. It’s not a “best of 2018” list nor is it a themed mix with deeper meaning. Just some stuff I’ve liked a lot and I thought sounded pretty good together! If anything, we tried to pick some music you could expect to hear at one of our parties.
Andrew: It’s a bit more upbeat and clubby, I would say. Some new tracks in there from Andy Hart’s new alias Kamazi, Lauer, our friends Long Island Sound, then a bunch of tracks I’ve just been into over the past year from labels like Love on the Rocks, Discos Capablancas, ASL Singles Club.