After dark, after hours, demon time, scary hours.
Things slow down at night, things feel different in the dark, and the spirits and emotions that stay hidden during the day rise up.
We all have dark nights of the soul, making mistakes and texting the wrong people in the loneliness of the nighttime. And what’s a dark night of the soul without a suitable soundtrack — the drive behind Matthew Merkel’s show on 101.5 UMFM, Scary Hours.
The show, which began in September of 2022 and airs at 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, is a weekly survey of hip hop culture and nocturnal vibes.
Merkel is currently a student at the U of M studying sociology. He is also a former news editor for the Manitoban and currently works as a part-time radio news anchor at 680 CJOB, a local news radio station.
Merkel explained that the idea for the name of the show came about during a conversation with UMFM program director Michael Elves.
“I imagined somebody listening to my radio show at 11 o’clock, and then I played a sad song and they texted their ex during scary hours,” Merkel said, adding that Drake has an EP of the same name.
However, he is quick to point out that his playlists don’t feature much Drake — “Drake’s trash” according to Merkel.
“We’re not playing microwave rap,” he said.
Instead, the show is a mix of new hip hop and R&B from both up-and-coming and established artists.
“My music taste is kind of dark when it comes to hip hop and rap, R&B,” Merkel said. “I like to listen to more low key, quieter, ominous kind of music.”
Describing the ultimate experience when listening to Scary Hours, Merkel painted a pretty heavy scene, imagining someone leaving the house of a partner late at night after an argument and driving across town. The darkness of the music and the emotional arc of the show is meant to inspire some real crisis.
“Our show really brings you through a whole range of emotions and by the end of the show we always like to keep it at kind of a darker, kind of lower point,” he elaborated.
“By the end of the show you should be texting your ex confessing your feelings,” he said.
“You should be down bad as hell.”
Scary Hours airs Wednesdays at 11 p.m. on 101.5 UMFM. Archival episodes can be streamed at UMFM.com.