Sohn Jamal's Suzy is one of Night Young's first releases.
Sohn Jamal's Suzy is one of Night Young's first releases.
Photo by Koa Ho

Night Young Brings Left-Field Electronic Music to the City Beautiful

Coral Gables isn’t known for its underground electronic music scene, but now the City Beautiful is home to Night Young, one of the newest electronic record labels in South Florida.

Founded by Eduardo Rivadeneira in January 2017, the label already has two vinyl releases under its belt — Muning’s Orden and Sohn Jamal’s Suzy — and is working on two more. Though Night Young is a relative newcomer in the world of Miami’s left-field electronic music, Rivadeneira is no stranger to the music industry — he works for Sony Music Latin in asset management and production and records original music as Muning. “After working for Sony for a couple of years, I learned how they run the label, how they manage it, how things work," he says, "although they do it on a much larger scale.”

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Using that experience and his industry knowledge, Rivadeneira jumped headfirst into starting his own independent electronic label. “I felt like, locally, I didn’t see many people releasing or pushing more experimental electronic music.”

With Night Young, Rivadeneira felt he “was trying to give something different” and see how Miami would respond to those efforts. According to him, the results are positive. “There’s not a big scene for this style of music, but there are like-minded people here,” he says. “Everyone we’ve worked with has been amazing and down to support, and they’re intrigued by the project.”

Rivadeneira sees Night Young as a way to nourish Miami’s burgeoning and eclectic electronic music scene. “I thought it was important that we start doing this and stay local as well,” he says. “You can always take a project and make it in a bigger city. I think the city is big enough; there’s a scene here, and it’s growing — it’s a matter of pushing the music more in Miami.”

Night Young artist John Small, who records under the name Sohn Jamal, says the label offers an alternative home for Miami’s electronic music. “A lot of labels brand themselves as alternative, but it seems like they’re trying to fit a certain mold,” Small says. “Night Young isn’t really about that. They’re more about finding their sound and seeing how it fits the Miami scene, not necessarily conforming to it.”

Diane McDermott, Night Young’s digital marketing manager, says the label provides “a different perspective into music that isn’t already here.”

Though a small number of Miami labels are delving into the digital world of avant-garde electronica, Rivadeneira looked to venture back into music’s physical realm to offer something refreshing for the local music scene.

“The whole idea behind Night Young was to make it a vinyl record label,” he says. “There are a lot of labels that I love in Europe and the U.K. — Church Records, Rhythm Section, Permanent Vacation — and I didn’t see a model like that here in Miami.” Those labels specialize in the production of a diverse array of artists from the broad spectrum of electronic music’s subgenres, with a concentration on white labels and albums with high-quality visual art.

Rivadeneira wanted to translate the practices of those companies to a Miami context. Though he was aware of the basics of running a label, he needed to learn the finer points of pressing and producing vinyl records. “I figured we’d release my music as a test. I didn’t want to be experimenting with someone else’s music and seeing what happens for the first-ever release.”

With that practicality in mind, he began researching the record-making process in earnest. “I started figuring out plans — what do you need, how do you deliver files of music, which is the most efficient way to do something — little details here and there that you figure out as you go through the process.”

After beginning to make the record that January, Orden hit the shelves in September. “One of the most shocking things I learned was how long vinyl takes to press,” Rivadeneira says. “There’s a lot of effort that goes into the way things are prepared, and a lot of back and forth depending on the people you’re working with.”

The process was easier for the next release — Sohn Jamal’s Suzy. The two met through a mutual friend while Rivadeneira was searching for tracks for Night Young’s second release. “What John has, for local music, is definitely something I’m looking for,” he says. “It’s superdifferent, refreshing, and it’s amazing how quickly he composes new stuff.”

Releasing Suzy, which hit record stores in July, took about a year. “We actually left the release up in the air for a while,” Rivadeneira says. “Eventually, John asked again if we wanted to release the album, and I said, ‘Yes. I love the album. Let’s make it happen.’ At the time, we were wondering how it would work, but I said, 'Whatever it takes, we have to make this record.’”

The label also distinguishes itself by showing that commitment and dedication to its artists, as well as giving them artistic flexibility. “They’re willing to do whatever they can to put out your music, and I love that I have creative freedom,” Small says.

Though its commitment to local music and musicians remains strong, Night Young’s next release will be a white label from Felipe Gordon, a Colombian house producer. “That’s another idea behind the label — not to lock ourselves down to certain artists,” Rivadeneira says. “We could just ask someone, 'Hey, do you want to release some music with us?’”

That ethos of inclusivity, as well as Rivadeneira’s passion for left-field electronic music, drives Night Young’s mission. “Personally, I love to do this,” he says. “I love that we’re pushing this music. Sometimes it’s stressful, sometimes you scrape by, but I love this work.”

For more information about Night Young, visit facebook.com/nightyoungofficial and instagram.com/nightyoungofficial.

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