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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Mar 26, 2010
DJ Jonboy fell in love with electronic music at a young age by listening to bands like New Order and Depeche Mode and sneaking into legendary clubs like Medusa in Chicago. Discovered by SF Station during his opening set for Congorock, Jonboy took some time to chat with us. Catch him at the next Freeform v. Dubalicious party on April 10th at Shine.
SF Station (SFS): How did you become a DJ?
Jonboy (J): After college, when I moved back to Chicago, I fell in love with dance music again by listening to the big-beat sounds of the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim. I was listening to a lot of trance, as well, and I thought to myself, "How can I learn how to do some of this?" Somewhere in the year 1999, I applied for a credit card, bought a bunch of equipment, and taught myself how to DJ. I moved out to San Francisco in 2001 and did a little DJing here and there for a few years, but nothing significant until I started my own party.
SFS: What was the inspiration behind Freeform vs. Dubalicious?
J: I thought about how to get gigs in a place like SF with so many fantastic DJs, and I decided to look for a place to do a party for myself. Shine had just opened up and seemed to have a lot of buzz so I contacted them about doing something there. Aaron Pope from the Deep End was the musical director at Shine at the time and he gave me a one-off party to see what I could do. The first one went well and I ended up doing about 4 shows at Shine under the name Dubalicious. They were fun but I wasnít pulling a big enough crowd to sustain a regular thing.
Aaron asked me if I wanted to merge my party with another party called Freeform, which was run by two DJs named Floorcraft and Iyad. I had never met these guys but I figured why not?
The pairing was a bit awkward at first because they were playing progressive and techno and I was still playing breaks at the time. However, we eventually settled into a really good groove together and built the party up slowly to where it is today. Iyad moved to Morocco a few years back so today Floorcraft and I run everything for the party. By the way, we are now on 2nd Saturdays at Shine!
SFS: You've opened up for some cool people like Congorock. Any memorable stories?
J: My favorite gig to date was playing the Carl Cox Massive thrown by Opulent Temple about a year ago. I got a full hour and a half to open the night and it was fun to start the dancing and set the pace for such a great party. Nothing particularly funny about that other than it was a blast to play and everyone involved was on his or her game that night.
I did once have a really drunken conversation with Tiesto while we both were grabbing a hot dog after his show at Rednofive in Chicago in 2000. I think I told him I thought he was cool about six times and thought I could relate to him by telling him my Amsterdam plans. He couldnít have been any nicer and invited me to his Heineken Hall show in Amsterdam. To this day, I still defend him because he was such a nice guy.
SFS: Any plans to release any mixtapes?
J: Iím actually working on one right now. My buddy from Chicago has been hassling me for years to make a mix for our yearly Coachella trip and Iíve finally agreed to do it. I just took the Coachella lineup and looked for artist remixes that were interesting. It should have an indie dance/electro feel to it.
SFS: Who have some of your favorite collaborations been with?
J: I love spinning with my partner Floorcraft. Heís one of the smoothest mixers Iíve ever seen. I love to both work and play with all of the Strategik crew and DJs. The Opulent Temple crew is also great, especially Dex Stakker and Cosmic Selector. Check out Linden C and Mozaic for some fantastic house music. Shooey, Shissla, and Zack Moore from the Cowboys are great to work with. Finally, Iíve been recently working with the Professor so be on the look out for him.
SFS: How has the scene changed in the past three years, any thoughts on where it might be headed?
J: Music has seemed to be a bit darker and deeper the last few years, which I think reflects the general mood of people right now. Iíve been hearing a lot of techno and tech-house when I go out and not as much breaks as in the past. Iíve been mixing electro with techno, so I like that trend.
The SF scene as a whole seems to be quite healthy. I can find about four events every weekend night that Iíd like to check out. Hopefully we can get some undergrounds back up and running like a few years back.
As to where the scene may head, Iím not sure, to be honest. If I were to guess, Iíd say more techno, techier electro, and a bit of a tribal resurgence. Iím personally hoping for something a bit euphoric and uplifting!
by Christina Li on Mar 26, 2010