SHOW PROFILE: Midnight Soulstice
Air Time: 11pm-1am Fridays
DJS: DJ Pari and Mr. Felty
With an elite repertoire of the greatest soul legends of the sixties and seventies, WRIR’s Midnight Soulstice is the real deal. A radio program that finds it’s reaches all across the globe. With such finesse, the program highlights the greats of old school Funk, Jazz, Soul, Boogaloo, Latin and new Funk.
SHOW PROFILE: Midnight Soulstice
Air Time: 11pm-1am Fridays
DJS: DJ Pari and Mr. Felty
With an elite repertoire of the greatest soul legends of the sixties and seventies, WRIR’s Midnight Soulstice is the real deal. A radio program that finds it’s reaches all across the globe. With such finesse, the program highlights the greats of old school Funk, Jazz, Soul, Boogaloo, Latin and new Funk. DJ Pari and Mr. Felty explore these worlds every Friday and triumphantly declare that Soul will never die. If anything, it may surprise most to realize how strong the genre remains today.
Shannon Cleary: What is the name of your program and what genre do you focus on?
Mr. Felty: The name of our program is Midnight Soulstice. The focus of our show is the wide spectrum of Soul, Funk and Jazz music ranging from the sixties into the eighties. The prolific amount of recordings within this genre and time period allow us to present a lot of music not represented on many other radio stations.
DJ Pari: We also focus on new Funk and Soul artists, because this music is currently experiencing a renaissance with new bands and singers popping up all over the world. The older music we play got little or no airplay even back in the sixties and seventies, when it was released. We are one of the few programs on WRIR that almost exclusively play vinyl.
You also have guests on your show?
Mr. Felty: Yes, we have been incorporating guest appearances of some of the musicians we play on Midnight Soulstice. Guests on the program are a new feature that we feel increase the depth of understanding and preservation of the rich history of Soul music that we love. All our shows are recorded and archived, so they can be heard around the world, forever.
DJ Pari: We sometimes dedicate an entire show to our featured guest artist, and he – or she or they – will spend two hours with us, discussing the artist’s or group’s history and legacy. In recent months, we’ve had acts like Mandrill, The New Birth, Marva Whitney, RAMP, Sir Joe Quarterman, The Fatback Band, Fred Wesley and others on the show. The extremely shy Leroy Hutson of the Impressions gave his first radio interview in more than twenty years on Midnight Soulstice, which created quite a buzz in the global Soul music community, because nobody knew what he sounded like when he speaks. Most of these interviews are done by phone, but we also had locally based legends like Lonnie Liston Smith and Plunky of Oneness of Juju come in and do the show with us. We are one of the very few shows worldwide with guest programming like this, which is why even the BBC London recently contacted us, asking about our connections.
What prompted you to want to participate in radio programming? Were there particular memories you associate with music and radio that instilled a desire within you to want to be a DJ?
DJ Pari: I was a club DJ before becoming a radio DJ. But sometime in the nineties, long before radio was broadcast on the Internet, I discovered this medium as a means to reach fans of the music that I play and introduce them to sounds that they will rarely hear at clubs. For example, more experimental music like Jazz or Soul ballads, pretty much anything that won’t really work on the dance floor but still is an important part of the genre that we focus on. It’s really a great chance to play music that you’d usually just play at home. I also like the intimate setting of the studio, because it has a living room feel to it. We always dim the lights in the studio and make it mellow when we go on air, so we can focus on the music.
Mr. Felty: Until WRIR went on air four years ago, I never envisioned myself producing and hosting a radio program. I’ve been collecting music since about 1990 and I have always enjoyed playing my favorite songs for friends. It’s a simple pleasure and a great way to spend time with friends. Thanks to WRIR and the freedom we have as DJs not regulated by profit driven motives, to present music we love for so many people to hear in Richmond and around the world. What better way to enjoy introducing music to people who may not have heard it before than to broadcast it over the airwaves and Internet? I love it! Big ups to WRIR and all the volunteers that make it happen. I believe WRIR is and will be the most progressive radio station in Richmond for a long time.
How long have you been doing a program at WRIR? Has it always been at the same time slot? If you have had shows on at different times, how was that experience and did you maintain a similar format for your respective programs?
Mr. Felty: I began producing and hosting Midnight Soulstice alone in September 2006. Before having my own show I had become a substitute DJ and co-host of Zendo Sound System, which was my friend Bob Cragg’s show. Bob decided to pursue other goals that didn’t allow him to host his show anymore, so I inherited the time slot and changed the name. After some rearrangement of other music programs, Midnight Soulstice started to be broadcast on Friday nights. Working with Bob on Zendo Sound System was really fun. He’s one of the nicest guys you could meet and he had just moved to Richmond from San Francisco with all kinds of Dub, Reggae, Electronic, Hip Hop, and House music. We were basically spinning anything groovy and extra heavy for the heads, if you know what I mean!
DJ Pari: I’ve been invited to guest DJ on Mike Murphy’s fantastic Sunday show Mellow Madness a few times before I joined Midnight Soulstice as co-host in November 2008. Andrew had been doing it for quite some time, and I believe that he was happy about me coming aboard, because I had a new, fresh outlook on the program and I brought with me my connections in the music world, which helped us to get our guests on the show. Together, we have pretty much re-invented the format of Midnight Soulstice, and I’m very thankful that Andrew allowed me to become part of his show.
Is this your first introduction to radio?
Mr. Felty: Before WRIR, I had no radio broadcast experience. This is the beauty of WRIR; it truly is a community based radio station that is open to anybody. If you have the will and share the same vision of WRIR’s mission statement, then you can participate.
DJ Pari: I had my first radio show in 1996, when I lived in Los Angeles, CA. I did a show called The Hip Joint on W-KBLT in Hollywood, which was a small pirate station with a broadcasting range of maybe ten square blocks. But hey, it was Hollywood and it was cool. After that, I occasionally co-hosted on the show Rise on W-KPFK in L.A., which is kinda like WRIR, but covering most of Southern California.
With the popularity and advent of podcasting and Internet broadcasts of radio stations, how do you think this changes the medium? What advantages and disadvantages are there to this change in technology?
DJ Pari: It didn’t only change the medium. It revolutionized the entire outlook on radio. Especially for us, Internet broadcasts are very important, because we have many listeners from all over the world who tune in live, and a lot of them are regulars. We know of people from Chicago to Phoenix, L.A., Hawaii, all across Europe and even Japan and Australia. Unfortunately, we cannot measure the amount of listeners that we have here in Richmond; people who actually listen to the show on radio. But we have web stream statistics that show us how many are listening online, which is pretty cool. I don’t see any disadvantages in this new technology. Quite to the contrary, it has made radio programming more accessible.
Do you podcast your program?
DJ Pari: Since I joined Midnight Soulstice last November, we have recorded and archived almost every show that we did. We upload the files to our websites shortly after they air, and we’re observing that they are becoming increasingly popular. Because of our 11 pm time slot, especially Europeans prefer to download the podcast the next day, because they’d have to tune in at 5 am their time, if they wanted to listen live. Since November, we’ve had more than 3,000 downloads.
You do a lot in this city to assure that the presence of Soul Music is felt and heard throughout. Where did this desire originate? When did your booking and production company begin? How has the success o f your events helped contribute to your program? Whether that is contributing new material for your playlists or just giving more exposure to the program that allows your listener base to grow?
DJ Pari: I started DJing and collecting Soul and Funk records in the early nineties, and I always knew that I wanted to be more than just a consumer. Since I can’t play any instruments well enough to become a professional musician, I decided to be the guy in the background, handling anything from production to booking, artist management and DJing. I discovered that hosting Midnight Soulstice is a new challenge, and as a part-time producer and agent, the show has opened new opportunities, because I ended up collaborating with some of the artists that we had on the show. At the same time, I have brought some artists on the show that I had worked with prior to becoming host of Midnight Soulstice. Bottom line, things perfectly feed of each other, and I am having a ball. Of course we should also mention Richmond’s monthly Soul party Soulpower, which Andrew and I are promoting together.
Mr. Felty: Personally I feel that the quality of the Soul music we present is of a higher degree than much of the music being produced today. Whether it is because of the analog sound vintage records were recorded in during the sixties and seventies or the social commentary that is present in the music, the Soul music we present has a strength and power that has been lost in modern music, in my humble opinion.
For more information about Midnight Soulstice, please visit www.myspace.com/midnightsoulstice