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What do you get when you get together Finn Bjarnson, Becky Jean Williams, John Hancock, and Ryan Raddon a.k.a Kaskade? One step closer to dance music fan heaven. Forming together, Late Night Alumni this group of amazingly talented individuals seek out to broaden your musical tastes, one beat at a time. Ascendance Radio got to interview Late Night Alumni. Check out what was said.

Late Night Alumni Interview

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): We’re backstage at Mansion Nightclub with Becky and John, half of Late Night Alumni. You both did an amazing job out there. How do you feel about your performance tonight and the tour as a whole, seeing as it is now officially over?

John (Late Night Alumni): Oh, don’t remind us. It’s sad.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It is sad.

John (Late Night Alumni): It’s a bummer.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Bittersweet.

John (Late Night Alumni): It’s gone really well. It was one of those surprise things, I don’t think we would have put ourselves with Myon & Shane. It came about very naturally through Kaskade meeting them, then our agent put something together. I would not have thought of it, but it’s been a great match-up.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It’s been really fun.

John (Late Night Alumni): They’re really fun.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): They are hilarious. They’re so fun to hang out with.

John (Late Night Alumni): They’re hilarious.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Are they pranksters?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): They are just funny. Together they are like a comedic duo.

John (Late Night Alumni): You add the Dracula accent.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes, that makes everything funnier.

John (Late Night Alumni): And all of a sudden everything is funny. Whatever they would say, we laughed.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes, I’ve been practicing my Hungarian accent. I shouldn’t have told you that.

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Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Can we hear it?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): That’s what I meant. Now I know that’s coming.

John (Late Night Alumni): I can’t tell you that. We’re going to actually have to do it.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): On this podcast that Shane does before we started the tour, he is talking about the tour and Late Night Alumni. He said, “Tour bonding is like Gorilla Glue.”

John (Late Night Alumni): “It’s stronger than anything.”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): “We laugh together, we cry together.”

John (Late Night Alumni): She’s better at it. I sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger every time I try and do that accent.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): He says the trick is to keep your mouth closed.

John (Late Night Alumni): “We laugh together, we cry together.”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): “We cry together.”

John (Late Night Alumni): “Stronger than Gorilla Glue.”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): “Stronger than Gorilla Glue.”

John (Late Night Alumni): It’s been great. When we started it felt daunting. It was a big tour, and we both have kids and we had to leave. Then, after the first couple of weeks, we got in a rhythm and now it’s over.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It went by so fast.

John (Late Night Alumni): Yes. Tonight was great. It was a great crowd and a great venue.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Awesome lights.

John (Late Night Alumni): Becky got to dance on a tiny strip of place and you did not fall.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

John (Late Night Alumni): You pulled off the dramatic sit-down.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): It looked so dangerous.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Acrobatic challenge and I did the dramatic sit-down.

John (Late Night Alumni): I wish you were on the grand piano. It would have been good.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Should have done it on one of the slower songs, I could have stayed there longer.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): There you go.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It felt kind of dumb, sitting and dancing at the same time.

John (Late Night Alumni): Exactly, it was good. So, positive, good.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes, it was fun.

John (Late Night Alumni): We were happy with all of it.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It was a good show.

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Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Perfect. So one question I’m sure you get asked a lot is “What is like to work with Kaskade?” so we thought, what about the opposite? If Kaskade were here and we asked him what is like to work with Becky, John and Finn, what would he say?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): He would be like, “It’s cool.”

John (Late Night Alumni): That’s exactly what he would say. Oh, my gosh, your accents are so good. You sound just like him. “It’s cool. I like them. They’re my friends. We hang out.” That’s exactly what he would say.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): “It’s cool, man, yeah, it’s cool.”

John (Late Night Alumni): We’ve been working with Ryan for ten years. We’ll do a song, a lot of times we’ll just write music. A lot of times it’s just like Ryan and we will decide, “This is a good Kaskade track” or “he would like it on his album.” Like “Why Ask Why”.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Right.

John (Late Night Alumni): He heard it. That was supposed to go on our album. He was like, “Let’s put it on mine.” It’s the good thing about being friends with people for a long time.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): We share.

John (Late Night Alumni): We just share.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Sharing is caring.

John (Late Night Alumni): Yes, sharing is caring, it’s good.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Exactly.

John (Late Night Alumni): I hope he would be happy if he said something, but I think he would.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

John (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

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Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio):Under Your Cloud” is the name of the track that you made with your fellow performer tonight and the group you’ve been touring with across North America since January, Myon & Shane 54. Every week my Program Director & I review tons of songs to possibly add to one of our stations, Elevation, and when we came across “Under Your Cloud” we were simply blown away. We have to weed through a lot of crap but this, this song is one of a rare few that you fall in love with on first listen. Can you tell us more about how this song as well as your collaboration with Myon & Shane 54 came together?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Go ahead, you’ve got this.

John (Late Night Alumni): Well, it started with that remix they did of our other song, “Every Breath Is Like a Heartbeat“. That came about because we were in Australia with Kaskade; with Ryan. All of a sudden, I got this email saying, “Hey, John, do you have the vocals to the original track?” The funny thing about that song, that was just kind of a deep cut. That was not every meant to be a single. So I sent him the vocals of Becky, and Myon and I started exchanging emails. He took it and he is incredible. He is fast, like every 30 minutes I would get an update on “Every Breath Is Like a Heartbeat” remix. Then all of a sudden, it was done. Becky and I loved it; we liked it better than her album. I mean our album track was nice, but it was just a mellow cut.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It was great for shows.

John (Late Night Alumni): But I’m like, “Oh, for shows, this is a great thing”.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

John (Late Night Alumni): Then our agent decided, “Hey, why don’t you guys tour together?” Then once we started to tour together, we decided, “Why don’t we do a song together?.” The production was mostly Myon and myself on Skype; he was in Hungary and I’m in Salt Lake City, Utah. We Skyped together over 50 hours. He came up with these great chord changes. Then we sent it to Becky and she came up with the lyrics. We worked on the melody together, just literally, sending files back and forth, all over Skype. That song happened completely, internationally, over Skype.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Wow.

John (Late Night Alumni): We did not meet these two guys until the first show. Myon and I – his name is Mario – Mario and I got to be pretty good friends, just over Skype after many, many hours. It was kind of organic, and through Kaskade, which is a natural thing for us. Yes, it just came together. It was like, “Hey, we’re doing a tour, let’s do a song together.” Mario is awesome; he’s legit. He is a great talent. So yeah, it was good; it worked well.

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Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Becky, you’ve been quoted in the past as saying that the lyrics from your songs come from past experiences as well as what you’re going through at the time. How have you found songwriting to help you through difficult situations and on the flip side, what effect does it have on the happy experiences?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Let’s see. You know, it is very therapeutic. I think you always feel better when you talk about something that you’re dealing with. So it’s kind of like that, but I get it out in a way that feels satisfying. It feels like I’ve said it the way I wanted to say it. It’s a good way to cope with anything that you’re dealing with, I think. What was the flip-side question?

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): What effect does it have on happy experiences?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): My song-writing? Like as in hearing the songs I’ve written over again?

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Yes.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It’s awesome. I actually listen to my own music at the gym, sometimes, because it’s super-motivating. I hear myself, and it’s like I’m telling myself to keep going. It’s great; it is motivating. A lot of our slower songs are really relaxing. I’ll put them on at my house sometimes, when my kids are crazy. It has a calming effect.

John (Late Night Alumni): That’s true, exactly, mellow stuff.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): You’ve only been doing live shows for two years now, even though your group formed about ten years ago. What would you say was the biggest challenge for you performing live and what surprised you the most?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Oh, man.

John (Late Night Alumni): The challenge is obvious.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes, the challenge is obvious.

John (Late Night Alumni): Go ahead.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): The feedback.

John (Late Night Alumni): Becky sings softly, and I remember when we first thought about doing live. I was like, “She sings so softly. How are we going to do that with a microphone?”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): And a big room, with lots of noise.

John (Late Night Alumni): Technically, the word “feedback” is the problem. Because the louder the mic has to be, the bigger the crazy feedback. And I remember thinking, “It will never happen because that’s the sound of Late Night Alumni, that beautiful soft voice.”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes. How do we mimic that?

John (Late Night Alumni): So the joke was, I’ll put her in one of those little booths, like a sound booth, where people grab dollars out of the sky. Then she can have wheels, and I’ll roll her around. It was joke. I’m like, it will never happen. That’s why we did four albums; this is an album band. We won’t do it. But after a while, I’m like, “we’ll make it work” and I think it was just because Becky and I we like, “we really want to do this. Let’s get out and do this.”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): People want to see live shows.

John (Late Night Alumni): We want to see this, yes.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): It’s still a struggle.

John (Late Night Alumni): So that was challenge; we still struggle with it.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): We still struggle with it; every venue is different. The sound is different and the speakers are placed in different places.

John (Late Night Alumni): We have just accepted the struggle.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

John (Late Night Alumni): How’s that?

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Moved past it, that’s perfect.

John (Late Night Alumni): And what was the second part to that question? I forgot.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): What surprised you the most?

John (Late Night Alumni): Of just performing?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): About touring?

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Yes, both.

John (Late Night Alumni): I think that it works.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): I think how well we’ve adapted. I was really intimidated before the tour started, because I have two kids at home. I was just like, “How are we going to pull this off?” But after two weekends, it was like clockwork. We got these routines, and we’ve just handled it and nobody died. It’s perfect.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): That’s fine.

John (Late Night Alumni): Yes, that’s fine. It’s always worked. We’ve done everything from Becky in the booth, because there was no platform or stage, to a full stage of nothing but the two of us on the stage. It’s been good for us to realize, Okay, we can adapt to just about any environment. So it’s been good.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

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Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): One thing fans can always say about Late Night Alumni is that you stay true to your sound which you’ve admitted in past interviews, wasn’t intentional. With the “EDM” craze that has taken America by storm, has the thought ever crossed your mind to possibly go with a more commercialized sound to appeal to that emerging market?

John (Late Night Alumni): I think that’s one thing we learned from Kaskade. If you listen to his last album, “Atmosphere”, it was like, It’s okay to just make a record that you want to make, of the music you love. As far as what works in the club, that’s what re-mixes are for.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Remix it, yes. That’s what we’ve done.

John (Late Night Alumni): Even if the remixes are us, even if it is by me, it’s still okay. It’s like, cool, this is our beautiful, slow song, love it, now let’s go over to the club.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Let’s play it in the club.

John (Late Night Alumni): That is fun to us. So as far as going more commercial, I’m not sure.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Our album won’t be that way. Our album won’t be full of big drops. There might be a song or two that are more danceable, but we’ll probably do what we always do, which is beautiful and dark.

John (Late Night Alumni): Right, what we love to do.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Emotional music.

John (Late Night Alumni): Then it’s like, okay, we’re going on tour, let’s write something for it. Because like it or not, they work, the big drops always work. It’s like, dang, that works! I have to admit it, it truly works.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes, it does.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): So what does 2014 hold for Late Night Alumni

Becky (Late Night Alumni): First of all, as soon as we get home, we’re going to start working on another album.

John (Late Night Alumni): It’s time, or at least an EP.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): That’s the number one priority.

John (Late Night Alumni): We need some new music.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

John (Late Night Alumni): Which for us, you know, being interrupted by a tour is weird for us. We’ve just been album people. We had all these grand plans of hotel recordings.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Writing on the plane. I did write one song. I wrote Myon and Shane on the plane.

John (Late Night Alumni): You did write that.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): I did write that “Under Your Cloud” song on the plane, on my iPad with headphones.

John (Late Night Alumni): Yeah, right. She can do it.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes, as we landed, I hit “period” and I was done. I’m like, “I’m done! We landed. I’m done!”

John (Late Night Alumni): I’m like, “Ooooh, put your iPad away, hurry!”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes, so I did that once.

John (Late Night Alumni): But for the most part, it’s like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m tired. Where are we eating?” But we don’t have another show for a while, so we’re going to take March and probably April, even. It is time to make some new music.

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Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): How long does it usually take to knock out an album?

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Not long.

John (Late Night Alumni): They come together quickly, not long.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Once we decide to do it.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): For you, it’s two hours, a plane ride. So you just take planes across America.

John (Late Night Alumni): Six weeks.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): I usually spend two or three hours on the lyrics of each song, then modifications here and there. But they work on tracks and then send them to me. It kind of depends on how quickly they send them to me. Was it two albums ago? No, the last album.

John (Late Night Alumni): We all got together.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): We all got together in Tahoe.

John (Late Night Alumni): For “Haunted”. Oh, yeah.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Well, “Haunted”, we all did in Salt Lake and worked on it there.

John (Late Night Alumni): With Kaskade.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): In that big, empty building. There is a video about it but that was like half of it, too. I would say two weeks/three weeks, total work-time.

John (Late Night Alumni): As far as the writing.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

John (Late Night Alumni): And then mixing, but we’re fast. I think it’s because Becky is fast with lyrics, and with melodies all of us together. Then, with Kaskade, and me, and Finn, we are all producers, so we’re used to deadlines. So it is not a yearlong process; we’ll say that.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Oh, okay.

John (Late Night Alumni): What was the original question? After all that, it’s like, “And now…”

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Three out of four members of the band are producers, so that makes things happen quickly.

John (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Expedites things.

John (Late Night Alumni): Yes.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Well guys, thank you, so much, for a decade of unique and beautiful music and I for one hope that you never lose your sound.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): Thanks.

John (Late Night Alumni): I hope so, too. That was what part of the question was.

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Yes.

John (Late Night Alumni): There have been a few albums where like, “Okay, this album we’re going to go for this sound.” We kind of go there.

Becky (Late Night Alumni): We always just do what we like.

John (Late Night Alumni): But in the end, it just turns into what we like. It’s like, “All right, we’re self-indulgent. We get it.”

Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Thank you.

John (Late Night Alumni): Thank you.

For more information on Late Night Alumni, check out Late Night Alumni’s Official Website , visit the Late Night Alumni Facebook Page, or keep up to date by following Late Night Alumni on Twitter.

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