By Team Backbeat
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Success eventually led to Club Manhattan's downfall. Following a rash of citations for overcrowding, local authorities shuttered the joint. Luckily, Raddon says, "I'd seen the writing on the wall." He'd gotten married sometime earlier but had decided to stick around Salt Lake until his wife, Naomi, graduated. She did so just before the closure of Club Manhattan, and in mid-2000, three weeks after the deed was done, the Raddons hit the road to San Francisco. There, Ryan quickly landed an internship at OM, and after a brief period of copy-making and other grunt work, he slid into an assistant A&R position, replacing an employee who'd moved to New York. His tasks included plowing through recordings sent to OM's owner, Chris Smith.
"We probably got a hundred demos a month, maybe more," Raddon allows. "There were just a slew of packages coming into that place from all over the world, and it was amazing how much crap they were sent. Chris didn't have time to listen to all that stuff, so I'd do it and then hand him the two, three, four good CDs that came in that week."
In Raddon's opinion, his music was every bit as good as the best efforts arriving over OM's transom. To test this theory, he slipped a disc of his own into the stack he delivered to Smith. "I took a shortcut," he concedes, laughing, but he didn't put his name on the submission, "because I wanted to get an honest opinion. It's a pretty tight-knit group of people running the label, and I didn't want them to feel obligated in any way." His secretive approach paid off; Smith grooved on the song and promptly dialed Raddon's contact number.
"He left a message on my cell phone saying, 'This is awesome. We've got to talk. Give me a ring,'" Raddon notes. "The next day, I came in and said, 'You liked that track? Well, that's me.'"
Since this conversation, Raddon has been in the OM fast lane, contributing to oodles of compilations, including the eccentric 2003 Christmas platter hOMe for the Holidays. His proudest accomplishment to date is In the Moment, a thirteen-ditty excursion into the gentler side of dance culture. The seductive, tuneful opener, "Steppin' Out," sets the stage for cuts such as the wide-screen "Soundtrack to the Soul" and "I Like the Way," a slow-burning dance-floor magnet. Collette Marino, whose vocal mastery highlights this last offering, hails from Chicago, but many of the other performers on Moment -- guitarist Rich Dixon, vocalist Joslyn and so on -- live in Utah. "There's a lot of talent here," Raddon says, "and it's cool for them to have an outlet like this."
As for Raddon, he's fully stocked with creative opportunities. His deejaying schedule is packed, and he's done remixes for Justin Timberlake, Rufus Wainwright and, strangest of all, Lawrence Welk; his revamping of the late champagne-music baton-wielder's "String of Pearls" is due in stores by year's end. "How bizarre is that?" he asks. In the meantime, he continues to balance his ultra-clean lifestyle with his night-stalking profession.
"Some dance people give me a hard time," he acknowledges. "They're like, 'You can't understand the music, because it's part of the drug culture.' And I'm like, 'That's not what house music is like -- not to me.'"
What about LDS members? Do they think playing music in clubs packed with horny pill-poppers somehow contradicts Mormon teachings?
"You know, I've never had a problem with that," Raddon says. "A few people have asked, 'Do people give you the look when you show up at church a little tired?' Because sometimes I'll be out all night, then take a quick shower and go to church. But they've all been really cool. They've been like, 'Wow, what a cool way to make a living.'"
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