Introducing… Melt Radio: Episode 1 – Jason Trachtenburg

I’m thrilled to announce a new partnership with a brand new radio show, Melt Radio! Melt Radio will feature interviews with fascinating underground artists – diving in deep to their creative minds and innovative work. The show will also be embedded with music selections to accompany those mentioned in the conversation, giving the opportunity for even more music discovery.

Melt Radio is the brain child and passion of Katie Wagner from Brooklyn, New York City. Katie has been fully engulfed in the unrestricted and eccentric NYC music scene for a while, and she is very excited to utilize her many musical relationships to create a show that is free-flowing in structure and limitless in nature.

In addition to her show, Katie also creates music of her own under the moniker Katie Rush. It’s electric 80s-inspired indie pop, and it’s guaranteed to transport you to a vibrant pastel landscape. Give the brand new album “Stage Life” a listen below:

As an introduction to this partnership, Katie answered some questions about the origins of Melt Radio, her own musical project Katie Rush, and what to expect from Melt Radio in the near future!

What made you want to start Melt Radio?

I’ve always loved radio as the easiest way to discover music, sitting back and relaxing or doing your thing while just letting it play, but mainstream radio stations have really let me down for as long as I remember — other than some oldies stations when you’re in the mood and for a time, hot 97 rap and r&b radio in the 90s, can’t argue with that one. I always dreamed of having my own radio station in the vein of college radio stations, with eclectic taste, playing songs you wouldn’t ordinarily hear, and more than the same 10 songs on repeat, ha. I wanted radio to be a way to actually discover music more than what you’re hearing in the grocery store or just everywhere anyway. I’ve been deeply inspired by seeing live shows and having friends making music over the years in Brooklyn, and wanted to make a show based on that.

What inspired the name Melt Radio?

My music producer, collaborator, and dear friend Sam Mehran passed away in July 2018. Sam was one of the most, if not the most, inspiring person I ever met, and his passing changed my life profoundly. I wanted to dedicate the show to him — honestly I want to dedicate anything I ever do again related to music to him — and when I was trying to think of a name for it, I remembered that he told me he had once wanted to start a record label called Melt Records. He was such a true genius in his music and so clever with naming. I love the name Melt, and it’s also the perfect reflection of the melting pot of music that’s going to be on the show. Speaking of his clever names, please check out his incredible solo project Outer Limits Recordings.

He also went by Matrix Metals, Wingdings, and others, all whimsical and brilliant. And I have to say it, though he was most passionate about his solo work, he was best known for his original band, perhaps the most clever band name of all time, Test Icicles. Lol. 

Is there an artist (or artists) that you are looking forward to speaking to on the show?

I’m truly excited for every interview I do because everyone has such unique taste and their own stories of their connection to music. I’m having a ball getting to know people in the music world who I admire and the music they love better. However, I have to say that so far I’m looking forward most of all to interviewing one of my all-time favorite singers Shilpa Ray.

Shilpa Ray’s voice has always slayed me with a combination of grit, power, and beauty, with songs to match. Her songs are dark and hilarious and completely mesmerizing. Even though she and I are friendly knowing each other throughout the years in Brooklyn, I’m still kind of pinching myself that she would want to be interviewed because I think she’s hands-down one or the best artists I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to hear which songs have influenced her and her story as a musician.

Who are some of your favorite recent music discoveries?

Right now I’m really into George Clanton,

Negative Gemini,

Flossed in Paradise, Tickle Torture, Ghost Piss, Kissing is a Crime, Confusing Mix of Nations (CMON), Wooing,

the band TIME, and of course Sam’s other collaborative projects, with the stellar Maraschino aka Piper of Puro Instinct, Samantha Urbani, and SSION.

Is there a “dream” person that you would like to have on the show?

Yes, but I feel like it might be a possibility down the road and I don’t want to jinx it. For now, I’m just hoping to get everybody on the above list and more!

Tell me a little bit about your own music! How long have you been creating music and have you been a part of any other groups prior to this project?

I started making music with Sam and Zak Mering (Raw Thrills, Mak Zering, Greatest Hits) in 2013, with no experience whatsoever other than singing. Zak and Sam took a chance on me because of mutual friends knowing that I could sing and that I wanted more than anything, always, to make music. Up to that point, I didn’t have the skills or faith in myself. We made Law of Attraction EP as kind of a one-off thing, for fun, but it turned out so well that we ended up continuing. Sam and Zak taught me everything I know about songwriting for sure, and are the only people I’ve ever worked with. Sam moved to LA in 2015 and we had to take a break, finishing the second album Stage Life together in LA in 2017.

By the time Sam and I made the third album, I was doing most all of the songwriting to his production but, still, I would say that Katie Rush was always mostly Sam Mehran. And I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to be able to say that. After he passed I thought of ending my music career there, but I still have the second and third album to release, I write nearly every day, and I’m just gonna keep going because that’s what I know he would want.

Photo courtesy of Jason Frank Rothenber

Musically or non-musically, where do you find the most inspiration for your music?

I’d say the main inspiration for my music stems from the story of how Sam and Zak and I wrote our first song, the title track of our first album Law of Attraction. We watched The Secret, the documentary on, well, the law of attraction, and all got really into it as a quasi-spiritual faith system of sorts. I believed fully, and still do, that it was the law of attraction that brought me to the guys and to the music, making the album kind of meta in being the manifestation of its theme. Times got hard and I lost my faith in it, I think all three of us did, but I’ve come back to it fully since Sam’s passing. Spirituality as it relates to the ebb and flow of life sparks my creativity, and I’ve now found, strangely or not so strangely depending on what you believe, that many if not all of the songs we made turned out to be prophetic. For example, Sam and I wrote a song called “Time Dilation,” on the third unreleased- album, about whether, or that, time is in fact just one moment and therefore there’s a stamp for each of us into eternity. It’s more profound and heartbreaking than I could’ve imagined in the wake of Sam’s passing, but it applies to all of us.

Do you now produce music on your own or do you have any help from friends?

I write just about every day without playing any instruments, I’m definitely looking for a new team to manifest my sound as I intended it. Sam and Zak, and then just Sam, had a near-psychic ability to pull out just exactly how I wanted Katie Rush to sound. I don’t know who I’ll be working with in the near future, but I know it’ll work out just the way it was meant to, because I have that faith. Law of attraction, baby!

Do you play shows often in Brooklyn (or anywhere)? What do you like/dislike about the Brooklyn music scene?

I’ve played once or twice over the years at many of the venues I like in Brooklyn, but right now I’m taking a semi-hiatus unless the opportunity to open for a much bigger band lands in my lap. I love performing, but I just want to focus on writing and getting a new band together for now, as performing can take a lot out of you. But there’s nothing I really dislike about performing and going to shows. At some of these venues, it’s one great new song after the other between sets, and the bands are almost always on point for music discovery. I feel like a lot of the people involved with the underground DIY venues grew up and started legit venues, so a lot of the venues still have that same cozy community feeling. I applaud these places for, as much as they can, taking chances on bands that may not have a big draw but who are really good. There’s always a sick show to go to in NYC and I’ll never get bored of finding the next best stuff to see live.

Check out Episode 1 of Melt Radio below, featuring Jason Trachtenburg of indie/art-pop group Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.

Stay up to date with Katie Rush through the following social links:
Facebook || Instagram (Katie Rush) || Instagram (Melt Radio)
Support Katie Rush by purchasing and streaming her music via Spotify, Soundcloud, and iTunes.

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