London-based DJ Jon Rust gets candid before his gig in Hyderabad
Mansion House Party is back with its second edition in Hyderabad, bringing London's Jon Rust and Delhi-based DJ Kohra.
Over the years, Jon Rust has grown to be a staple name in London’s club music scene. Apart from carving a niche for himself in NTS (a British online radio station), this acclaimed DJ has turned heads with his label, Levels, through which he released music from the likes of Lord Tusk and Ajukaja & Andrevski. Interestingly, Jon goes the vintage route with his shows as he carries records for every gig along with him. “A record bag with 60 discs weighs something like fifteen kilos. If I’m confident the promoter has taken care to prepare the system, I might take two cases to a show. That’s thirty plus kilos of just records,” the 34-year-old DJ shares.
Prior to his performance in the city, the versatile DJ sheds light on his journey, favourite Indian musicians and playing records in the 21st century.
Tell us how you started your journey behind the console?
I picked up my first set of decks when I left school and got into it while at college. After moving back home to London and trying my hand at every corner of the music scene, interning, working at a club, record label promotions, writing for magazines – I still needed to find a way to live and took up a day job. I think it was five years ago, I went on my first trip to Moscow with DJ Bullion. It’s a continuing journey and I’m enjoying meeting people on the way. Turns out a nine-to-five job wasn’t for me – but I don’t regret doing it.
How did you plan to start the radio show No Boring Intros?
My friend was starting a radio station and “No Boring Intros” was going to be my show. The show is on Sundays and is more of a rundown of what I’m playing and feeling that week. But the aesthetic is the same. Selections from across the spectrum! Earlier this summer we had Benji B, Nonsense Crew, Lord Tusk.. a full crew on the set. It’s not every week we’re all in town, so that was special.
You rely almost solely on vinyl. How difficult does it get to carry your records everywhere?
It can be dramatic sometimes – once I went to Amsterdam to play for the Dekmantel Festival and my bag was left on the tarmac in London. I ended up getting my records couriered to the club just before show time. That was a close call. Not something I’d want to repeat. So it’s an exercise in trust – in the promoter, in the venue, the engineer and of course the airline carrier (laughs).
How different is it from using techno-savvy equipment?
Laptop screens compete for your attention – and affect your ability to be present, read the crowd, skills which for a DJ are essential. It’s just a question of artistry versus convenience. The conveniences offered by technology are fine, provided they can further your artistry.
What can we expect from your upcoming gig in Hyderabad?
A London connoisseur selection – music for your mind, body and soul. I’m looking forward to sharing warm music for intimate spaces, which is great because that’s my background. Apart from thinking of an opening track, I don’t really plan my sets though, so I’m looking forward to exploring what translates to the Indian crowd.
Can you tell us what you think about the music scene in India?
Traditional Indian sounds that come to mind are the harmonium, the tabla, Ravi Shankar’s sitar, Bollywood soundtracks and the voice of Lata Mangeshkar. Earlier this year in London, I witnessed Rizwaan-Muazzam Qawalli, son of Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, at the Barbican Centre. As for sampling – probably the best example of that was by South London innovator Benny Ill (of Horsepower Productions) who used an element of the Sholay soundtrack to make what is arguably the best dubstep track ever made, High Plains Drifter – Sholay.
What are your future projects?
I’m pleased to say Levels is back recording – the next release from an artist called Ratkiller, is out next month. This past year I’ve been doing Levels parties again too. More of that to look forward to in 2018.
On November 25, 9 pm onwards.
At Tabula Rasa – The Bar.