Music for Hot Summer Nights

Hey there,

I did a thing that I haven’t done in a while. I recorded a mixtape/DJ set. This mix 1 is my attempt to capture what it feels like to drive around town with friends on a warm summer night — music playing, and the windows rolled down to feel the air in your hair and on your face. Nights, when even the air smells like summer, and you feel ALL THE THINGS. There’s joy, melancholy, and maybe a sense of carelessness. By the way, is this still a thing?! It definitely was when I was young™.

For the curious, here’s the real memory that I thought of when I created the mix:

It’s a Friday night in the summer of 2002 and I’m in a state of drunk euphoria after partying with my friends at my favorite metal and goth club. On the way home, we pull over to sit in a wheat field to have another drink.2 It’s 4 in the morning and the air smells like summer and wheat while the taste of red wine and cola linger in my mouth.3 The music plays from the car, a distantly audible soundtrack to the early morning mixed with the ambient sounds of chirping crickets and birds singing their morning song. We talk about music, school, friends, and how we’re all single.
Later, on the way to my friend’s house, the car smells of leather, patchouli, traces of alcohol, and possibly dead people. Right, I didn’t mention the car is a black hearse; a Mercedes model from the late 70s. My friend’s cousin bought it from a funeral home the year before. After much persuasion, he loaned it to us for the night, by far the most goth car I’ve ever been in.
The horizon begins to glow gold around 5am. My friends and I drive home in a hearse, down a small country road with Metallica’s Ride the Lightning blasting, and I’m as happy as I can be. I stick my head out the window and feel the warm air on my face.

Credits:
Thanks to Corinna and Pete for their feedback and edits.


1 It’s an odd mix of house, techno, minimal, retrowave and neo goth. It’s intentionally rough because I didn’t practice it at all and it was so much fun mixing and recording it. When I was a resident DJ, only 20% of my playlist (I’d dj for up to 8 hours straight) would be decided in advance. I’d make up most of a night’s music spontaneously, influenced by the vibe of the night, my intuition, and the crowd that showed up.
2 Our driver was sober the entire night.
3 I used to regularly drink “Korea”, a mix of (boxed) red wine and cola.

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