MAD about Radio
MAD Radio is a free app to listen to music every day of the week, a physical space at two bars and a platform for local DJs to mix music and a lifestyle…
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Walking around the city and observing it is a great way to learn. It was thus, through a poster on the wall, that I learned of the existence of MAD Radio, a project born in Medellín, Colombia, that raises another type of relationship with music—one that is not defined by an algorithm or by the music that is playing on commercial radios. MAD Radio is a free app to listen to music every day of the week, without commercial guidelines or speakers, it is two bars (in Medellín and Barcelona), a platform for local DJs to mix different music and a lifestyle with respect to music. This was the conversation I had with Juan Sebastián García, their Content Manager.
Mad Radio was born in 2017. The one who founded it already had experience in bars and other nocturnal spaces, but he couldn't find a space where the music he liked sounded, everything was under the spectrum of tropical music or exploded electronics. There was no place that had a global concept to any other type of music that was not the most everyday for Medellín. It started with the Bar Mad Records (in the Provence neighborhood, in Medellin), to have a place where you can articulate the community of Music Lovers (DJs, melomanos, artists, curators, collectors, cool hunters and music enthusiasts in general) where you can enjoy music "Ecleptica," such as funk, disco, indie rock, hip hop among others. At the same time that the bar grew, the brand was created. From there emerged Mad Radio, which began to implement not only digital radio, but other experiences related to music: record store, content-creation agency, clothing store, booking of DJs and artists and MAD 4 Business. Mad Radio is a lifestyle around music.
Precisely at a time when digital platforms work by algorithms and playlist, we believe in choosing music song by song, highlighting the value of musical selection, analog formats, live music. The radio resulted from the experience that people had when coming to the bar. They had a restlessness about how to continue with that experience without having to wait for the bar to open or without having to wait for the weekend. It's not a traditional radio, like a broadcast medium with a programming grid. The experience of MAD is the curatorship, the selection. We have never been interested in competing with traditional radio or streaming. Here everything passes through human hands, through curators, DJs and a community that is sharing musical knowledge. Each song is curated by DJs, they are not algorithms, a machine throwing what it thinks you should hear. It's a person who wants to share something, who is showing you a way to listen to music. It is to rescue the local musician, for a party, the DJ and the art of musical selection is important.
The real music is the one that transmits a message, the one that is made for an artistic need and not only for the creation of a product for the market—the real music has no genre, the real music only feels.
On the criteria of curatorship: at first it was a group of people tuned to the patch who saw here a space to come and patch. Funk DJs, house DJs, hip hop DJs... began to come and from invitations, payment was not even a topic. The organization has grown to such a point that initially there were four or five programs and now we have more than 25 stripes between the four channels. So we created a formalization process, where people have to fill out a form telling us what they want to do. There are some conditions for the type of program they want. There are some that are a selection of songs and others, most of them, that have to be done live here at the place. Then, when you see that they are related genres, you look within the availability that there is on the grid and the content review committee is responsible for reviewing the viability of the program and to make some tests. Because the commitment is needed, that the person is going to come, that there is a support, to see how it develops with the technical part and there are some programs that become almost residences. At the moment, within the most emblematic programs, there is Soul Kid, which is Indie hip hop, and from Wednesday to Saturday there is programming with different things.
We are also working as a record label, and we are doing a traditional label process, with Juan Astronauta, No Hay Juventud, Bosq. DJs of the stature of Life of Planet have passed through here, and many more DJs are becoming partners. Recently we had an interview with Simón, from Bomba Estétero.
The four channels are:
Live Channel: This is where they do the radio shows, this is the most variable. It's the main channel and it opens the mouths of the others. Musically it summarizes the general proposal including genres and styles from the other three, live shows and special covers.
Its personality is eclectic and varied, it plays with mood curves, tempo and style during the day without being governed by a specific time zone since the station is heard in different parts of the world. Its genres are hip-hop, indie, rock, runk, electronica, chill and Latin.
Canal Nonstop: This is the most explosive channel, the mood is party. It is the channel of electronic music, showcase of the DJs of MadBookings, party music and up-tempo.
Its personality is active and cheerful. We cover electronic music events, clubs, parties and festivals. The genres are house, deep house, tech house, techno and DnB, his tempo goes from 120 bpm to 180 bpm.
Canal Chill: This is the channel to be relaxed, to be working or studying, a channel less protagonist. It is a downtempo and relaxing music channel, ideal for concentration or as background music to work in the office. Its personality is that of an enterprising yogi or a digital monk and its genres are Downtempo, Trip-Hop, Future Jazz, IDM, Instrumental, New Age and the tempo goes from 60 bpm to 120 bpm.
Canal Latin: Here is our selection of what we understand as Latin rhythms, Afro-Caribbean and African roots. It is a channel of Latin beat, urban music and cheerful sounds, and has the personality of a European in love with Latin roots or a Latin with good taste. In it we cover the salon Latin, beat Vintrash and similar bars. Their genres are hip-hop in Spanish, urbana, trap, reggaetón, Latin beat, and salsa.
Mad Radio not only works with DJs, but also with musicians and artists in general, such as Juan Astronauta, No Hay Juventud, Bosq among others. They are part of the radio programming, but above all of what we do in the bars, our work in booking, as a record label, everything.
M4B or MAD 4 BUSINESS is MAD's music service for brands. It came from people who went to the bar and then asked them for help with the curatorship of their business music, which is a subject that can be very sensitive. So, we analyze the DNA of the brand and month by month we make a music curatorship for them.
Recently a new bar opened in Barcelona, in the Gothic Quarter. We want to continue growing as an experience of music in its different facets. To carry that message of the artistic facets that is not only in the places we have, but that can be replicated elsewhere. We want to grow in the diffusion of music, in digital content and continue to scale the experience in other parts of Colombia and other countries.
MAD Radio’s App is available, for free, for Android and Apple. You can also enjoy their musical experience in their web.