Late Night Alumni are Becky Jean Williams, Finn Bjarnson, John Hancock, Ryan Raddon (aka Kaskade).
Late Night Alumni is the alias of DJ/producer Kaskade, currently signed to ‘Om Records’ and loaned to the Hed Kandi label. They tend to mix Dance/house music with strings and soft trance like vocals from their lead singer, Becky Jean William’s smooth voice. Their current album Empty Streets was successful enough to be made into a polyphonic ringtone.
As an 80’s teenager in the suburbs of Chicago, Raddon was fascinated by the sound of New Wave, having been exposed to music as diverse as Tears For Fears, The Cult and The Smiths, primarily through Frankie Knuckles’ DJ sets in the city. From then on he religiously listened to local dance radio and bought new records at every opportunity, finally taking to the decks at the end of the decade.
Circa 1992 Ryan moved to Salt Lake City to continue his education, where he DJ’d and ran a local record shop to fund his studies, eventually building a studio and driving the upcoming scene by releasing several tracks on his own Mechanized Records imprint.
In 2000 he created the Kaskade moniker and has since garnered praise from the worldwide dance press and quality house music fans alike for his musical output on various labels and talents as a DJ. Ben Watt and Roger Sanchez are just two of house’s leading lights who are big fans of the Kaskade sound, which Ryan insists comes from his outlook on life in general “I’m an optimistic guy. There’s a lot of love in house music and this is just what comes out.”
While his style is distinctive, being founded upon catchy vocals and true instrumentation, the producer is excited about moving his sound onwards (and upwards) “Dance music is so fast moving and so forward thinking – it has morphed many times over. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.”
The Late Night Alumni project came about when Finn heard Becky sing on a local Salt Lake City Christmas compilation and, impressed by what he heard, tracked her down to provide some vocals on a song he had recently written. After working on a couple songs together, they realised something special was happening. The combination of Finn’s dreamy production and Becky’s soft and sensual vocals seemed to be a match made in heaven. Seeing where the music was heading, Finn and Becky brought John into the fold to offer his expertise in strings, which served to give the tracks the lift and texture they needed. Ryan proved to be the final piece of the puzzle, with his years of acclaimed beat making providing the innovation required to bring all the elements of the group’s sound together in fine style. The resulting album – “Empty Streets” – ranges from soulful deep house workouts to warm and textured down-tempo numbers, and as a collection is perfect for summer listening and beyond. Both the album and a single of the same name (boasting superb remixes from Haji & Emmanuel, Aurora and Kaskade themselves) have been released on the Hed Kandi label (August 2005).
Becky is from Salt Lake City. She graduated from the University of Utah in creative writing, and has been composing and performing music for the last five years, both on her own and in various bands.
Finn has been a music producer for a number of years. He’s the production partner of Ryan Raddon of Kaskade and has written a number of Billboard dance charting songs. Finn works under many names including Members Only, Kaskade, The Pleasant Grove Minstrels and Late Night Alumni, and has played guitar and keyboards with assorted groups over the past decade.
John is a producer in the Salt Lake City area. He has worked on many albums and written music for numerous national and international television commercials. His forte is string arranging, as displayed by his contributions – both on keyboards and strings – to the Late Night Alumni project.