Rich Medina, a veteran of the New York music scene, is tearing up the Shelter on Friday night – a party you definitely don’t want to miss.
Who is he? Besides being the resident DJ at New York’s super-hip APT club on Wednesday night, he also holds it down with Q-tip, of a Tribe Called Quest, at Santo’s Party House.
This past summer he and Bobbito Garcia hosted “Happy Feet” at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge to celebrate the release of their joint compilation ‘The Connection Vol.1: Modern Exploration in Afro-Beat and Afro-Latin’. He’s also been touring his set “Jump N Funk”, which honours Fela Kuti, for the past eight years.
We got a chance to hear first hand from Rich Medina and find out just what to expect tomorrow night (a mix of afro-electro funk and will get you moving your body in ways you didn’t know were possible).
Starts: Friday November 20, 10pm
For more local events, visit the Shanghaiist Calendar
You credit the first time you heard Diana Ross’s “Love Hangover” as when you knew you wanted to be a DJ. When did you actually start mixing? How has your style evolved since then?
I started mixing at the age of 10 actually. I was blessed to be allowed to spend time with some older boys in my neighborhood who were real DJs. My sister is also 18 years older than me and her first husband was a local DJ, so I had a great deal of early influence in that department. I think that my style has continued to evolve over time to incorporate as many skills and musical perspectives as possible into my presentation, which has provided me with a very wide platform. I’m still learning though, and I’ve got a long way to go.
You’ve made a lot of albums in your time. Where would you say you draw your inspirations from?
I draw my inspiration from my many musical predecessors, my surroundings, my stresses, my happiness, my peers, family, and my weaknesses. Inspiration is all around us, we just have to allow it to speak to us.
Your biography says you always “aim to inject a universal notion of the need for change” into your music. What changes do you wish to see the most right now?
At the moment, the biggest change I’d like to see would be the rectification of America’s relationship with the remainder of the world. We’ve pissed off a lot of people over the last 8 years of the Bush administration. President Obama has inherited a gigantic bowl of shit to repair. I eagerly look forward to seeing the light at the end of that particular tunnel in my lifetime.
Talking about change, you’re a veteran of the New York music scene. How has it evolved since you first started? Where do you see it going in the future?
Man, New York has changed so so much regarding the clubs, live performances, and entertainment in general, it’s difficult to pinpoint one specific change. The music industry itself has gone through a ton of changes just in the last 10 years alone that have totally affected the live music scene.
That, combined with the commercialization of hip hop, technology, and the age of the hobby DJ has made the scene more fertile and more sterile at the same time. I think that people want the old feeling of partying and learning about new music again. The pop world has saturated everything in life at this point, and people who live in that pop world are even getting tired of that world.
I predict that there will be a few new creative waves to hit New York City over the next few years that will all serve to rebuild the recording industry as well as the music scene in general.
You’ve obviously played a lot of shows in your time. Which one is the most memorable?
I think my most memorable show would have to be the DJ bar Dai in Morioka City, Japan. Small, nondescript spot, but Mary and her crew have an extremely intelligent crowd, and an incredible love for black music.
This is your first trip to China, what are you most looking forward to?
This is actually my second trip to China. I played at a Triple 5 Soul store opening in Hong Kong like 12 years ago. I am looking forward to a great party at Shelter, and looking forward to that party allowing me to travel to China more often in the future.
We’ve heard your shows are pretty mind-blowing. What can we expect Friday night to be like?
I’m going to follow the lead of the Jay Soul, a great friend of mine, and also the DJ who opens for me on November 20th. After he’s done, I’m going to take Shanghai and The Shelter to places I don’t think they’ve been musically in the club before. You can expect me to be aggressive playing many different styles of music.
You can expect to laugh, sing, and dance with hopefully more freedom than you’ve felt before. I’m really excited about this opportunity and I plan to make an impression on Shanghai for real.