Martín Sepulveda wears many hats. Perhaps best known for producing Nights at the Neptune, he is also a former social worker and event organizer. With his new record, LV:SK FM, he’s also taking a huge new step into music production.
LV:SK FM is an intimate endeavor exploring the world of break-ups and make-ups, complete with features from Seattle rappers Astro King Phoenix and Nate Jack, the beautiful vocals of local songstress JusMoni, and the up-and-coming Tuesday. LV:SK FM plays like a radio broadcast with cuts from the hit ’90s sitcom Martin, in which Martin Lawrence plays a hypermasculine DJ in Detroit.
Sipping beer on a Beacon Hill patio, Sepulveda explains why he used the sitcom as a device. “That’s one of the first cats I saw that was really affectionate,” he says of Martin’s character. “But at the same time, you were laughing at him because he was being masculine and putting on for his boys, and those are jokes everybody can get because we’re doing the same thing.”
Deconstructing masculinity appears as a theme in LV:SK FM, especially on the instrumental tracks. On “Special Dedication,” he expresses his feelings handling break-ups with a soothing groove decorated with audio cuts about love letters and rips of the Whispers singing about making dreams come true. “A lot of times our go-to is to just be promiscuous,” Sepulveda explains. “That really didn’t work for me. I put that in the music. Music is sexy, so I was trying to come up with that feeling of, ‘OK, I gotta get out here and date.’ See if I can do this again,” he laughs. “Let me go fall in love again.”
A big surprise was the presence of Tuesday. Before this record, I hadn’t heard of her; after “Without You,” I won’t forget her. The track is a slow, grinding ballad about the moment you’re forced to move on without your lover. Her waning voice is so full of the pain we’ve all felt, even if the lyrics don’t go further than “On and on without you.” But with her passion and the beat crying in the background, the track becomes truly beautiful.
But the real album highlight is “Stonydream,” featuring Nate Jack and Astro King Phoenix. The track samples an interlude from the record Come Get It by Rick James. “I listen to mood music,” Sepulveda tells me. “So if you go back through my girlfriends, there’s certain artists I can’t even listen to anymore. Rick James took me back to my first girlfriend. So as I was listening to that, this really beautiful interlude came on with the Stone City Band, and it had this crazy guitar riff in it. I chopped that up and came up with ‘Stonydreams.’ ” Given the album’s radio format, with Sepulveda as DJ, these details feel extra-personal.
This is what LV:SK FM is: a conversation between you and Sepulveda about love and loss—all set to classic hip-hop instrumentals.
LV:SK FM Release Party. Fred Wildlife Refuge, 127 Boylston Ave. E., lvsk.bpt.me. $25. 9 p.m. Fri., Sept. 22.