BEHIND THE MUSIC: CHANNELER

Miami DJ Uses Music in Magical Ways


You won’t forget the first time you meet Jose Medina aka Channeler. He is the sole reason I now own a record. He is the type of person to give up his evening to make sure a homeless kitten gets love and attention. He smells so good, and he gave me the all the deets on his musical projects.


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How did you get started? My best friend in graduate school had a home studio, and we’d have these small parties at his apartment every now and then where we’d stuff a dozen people or so into his 10 x 12 living room and move some of the furniture to have a dance floor. I’d mess around and made drummy tracks that I could mix into songs I really liked, and it became something we’d do on weekends. Eventually, I downloaded my own software and bought some hardware to start working on things a little more independently.


Where do you get your inspiration? I mostly make music during periods of loneliness to help me cope. It helps me re-stimulate my mind and makes me feel productive. I don’t have much energy to do anything when I’m sad, so I’ll compose some ambient music that I can loop while I lie in bed and mope a little, and get up every few minutes or so to add different elements. I like conceptual albums, too. Sometimes, I’ll have some song titles in mind and record something that corresponds to how I interpret language. It is really often an exercise in basking in sadness and eventually shaking it off, though. 

Isn’t it lovely how something beautiful can come out of sadness. I’m happy to know that you have music to power you through those times. What is your favorite song? Of mine? Probably Bride.


It’s the first song I released that I felt comfortable enough to share with the world without reservations. I’m not sure I have an all-time favorite song, but I’ve been listening to Black Car by Beach House a lot, lately.


Ok, I’m actually obsessed with that video now. Thanks. Describe your sound: Cinematic—at least that’s what I try to go for. I’d love to work with filmmakers + audio engineers more to create that all-encompassing mood. When I DJ, I hop between dark techno rave and dance party. I’d love to play more rap/electronic pop stuff, though. 


Do you have a most memorable DJ moment? One of the first shows I played in Miami was a birthday party for a good friend, and I put together a particularly atrocious set—Gangnam Style dubstep remixes, metal covers of One Direction songs, etc. About halfway through my set, I played a trap remix of a song from the Minions movie, and someone in the audience screamed “ENOUGH!” 


LOL! That is so rude! If you could be stuck in one year musically, which year would it be? Last year gave us Compassion, the Harry Styles self-titled, and Luv Is Rage 2, so I’d probably say then. I’m not a huge fan of going too far in the past for anything other than learning lessons.


If you could tour with anyone who would it be? As a musician, Forest Swords and Grouper, for sure. I would travel to a different country just to see that bill! Bonus: FKA twigs! I’d happily be a traveling DJ for some like Lil Uzi Vert, too.


What is the funnest part of being an artist? Filling a venue. There’s nothing more exciting than playing for a full house and feeling the energy of everyone in the room responding to your music/your choices.


That sounds amazing! What is a piece of advice you would give to up and coming DJs? Don’t worry about the scene too much—play what you want. Exposure to different genres is such a benefit to musical communities. There’s stuff you like that people have probably never listened to that they may love too. 


What do you see for the future of “the scene”? The scene now is inclusive, open-minded, and eager to invite reliable individuals with talent into it. I’m pretty optimistic for the people that are in it—at least from the people I’ve met and I’m friends with—especially Nick León, Michelle Granado, and the rest of the Space Tapes people. I think a big part of developing the scene will rely on the abilities of event organizers to create well-attended events. Some of the best shows I’ve attended in the city (and some that I’ve played, too) have only been attended by a handful of people. It could be discouraging to the artists—especially those earlier in their careers. Sure enough, many of those artists eventually move to New York, Los Angeles, or abroad. There are analogues to this in Miami in general with respect to talent, so it’s our duty to make Miami as palatable to artists as possible.


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