Nathan Jones -Exclusive Interview

Nathan Jones -Exclusive Interview

June 6, 2017 Off By Editor

DM:  Nathan great to have you with us at Iconic. Tell us a little bit about your approach to DJing, how do you know what’s right for the moment?

NJ: Yeah, cheers! Thanks for having me. Well, I suppose I need some sort of vinyl in a set, so you can move. It’s kind of like having a conversation when you are walking, it just seems better.. You are being physical, something is happening! It’s real, you can feel it, you can touch it.. with a laptop you can lose a lot of that. As for my approach, I really just try to let the vibe of the room tell me what to play. I know the music but I don’t think about the names, I just try and gauge what needs to be played. The hardest part is starting because there is no progression, there is no past or future to think about, you just have to pick it up from there and see what happens. As long as I do that and get the car started so to speak and it’s moving, I can go from there. It is more of a feeling rather than a logical thought out process.

DM: You go over and back to Berlin quite a bit, actually I heard you played a cracker of a set in //about blank during the summer, how was that? Any trips into the Berghain lately, any memorable moments?

NJ: Yeah I have been a few times, getting the fix! Definitely had some memorable moments.. as well as a few blank spots! {Laugh} To be honest though those times we were over a couple of years back were some of the best. That time we saw Ben Klock was unbelievable. I think when he was playing and what he was playing back then at that time, what five years ago, he was absolutely killing it! He still is of course, but that time had a massive impact on me and really shaped my own approach.

DM: {Laugh} Yeah I remember that when we went to go and get food after his set.. walking down the road like cripples after been dancing next to that speaker for so long! Marcel Fengler’s opening set from that weekend.. pure genius

NJ: I always think about that set! A perfect example of how a warm up set should go. It was crazy, every song he played it was almost like you were expecting it, it just made sense. It’s those experiences that make me believe. it gives me inspiration! If I was just playing in Dublin the whole time or going out in Dublin the whole time I would probably have given up years ago, do you know what I mean? If I didn’t have any other experiences of music and dancing. Dublin is great like, don’t get me wrong.. I have had some of the best and most amazing experiences on dancefloors and playing in clubs in Dublin, but you definitely need to experience other places and different ways of doing things. I think Dublin has changed a good bit over the years. I mean there is lots of clubs, and lots of promotion and things happening, but I get a sense people have closed off a little bit. I’m not really sure why..?

DM: Maybe it is something to do with the digital age gone mad, social media etc? People closing off a little bit, where you nearly have whole generations who are used to socialising through their phones in their homes rather than in person.. Have we maybe lost some of that social aspect of going out on a night, without the need to be plugged into something else?

NJ: Yeah there is definitely something to that. Even look at kids given iPhones, they are so used to being stimulated by something instead of creating their own simulations that there is a loss of imagination… Like, I remember when I was a kid, you’d pick up a stick and pretend you had a sword in your hand. I actually used to visualise that I had people flying at me trying to attack me, I’d be running around having great craic. I think that’s needed! It definitely translates into the club, I even notice

when I am playing, people are on their phones, taking pictures or recording me. I don’t get it, they probably aren’t even going to look at their videos. It’s just kind of like “Yeah I’m going to look at this through my phone” rather than actually being there in the moment.

Don’t get me wrong.. I don’t want to be looking down at people or at the scene because I believe in it, I have faith in it. It’s a fucking weird concept being in a dark room with loud music.. dancing!. Most people not even looking at each other, it’s a weird idea like. But it can be deadly, it can be great! I think a lot of it is about everyone enjoying the moment, enjoying the music. Letting the music move you in the moment.

That’s what clubs should be, a place where you can go and recharge, connect with other people, share an experience together!

So yeah we could definitely do with unplugging a little bit.

DM: That’s what I always thought was great about Berghain. Actually, I don’t know if they still do it, but they used to take your phone at the door. It made a very noticeable difference, much better atmosphere!

NJ: {Laugh} Actually speaking about memorable moments. Last time I went to Berghain, we were walking around kind of at the back of Panorama bar where it’s really dark.. We were fairly f*****, I couldn’t even see where I was going and I was like “Justin get out your phone there, I can’t see an f****** thing”. Had the light from the phone camera on so we could see. We were walking around trying to see where we were going and out of nowhere some big beast of a bodyguard jumps out with big Doc Martins and a hat and started screaming at us. “What are you doing taking pictures in here”.. We started freaking out trying to show her the phone, trying to show her that we weren’t taking pictures. “We are just using the torch”. The sticker was still on the camera. “I can see the sticker what is she talking about” but she just kept saying.. “Where is the sticker”.. I think the torch was shining through it in a way she couldn’t see it. I thought she was going to drag us out by the neck. But she started looking through the pictures and realised there was nothing there. Although actually, the first thing she looked at was a picture of a giant poo.

DM: {laugh} What?!

NJ: Yeah,

It was an abnormally large shit we had seen on the street. I don’t know why, but we decided to take a picture of it.

Anyway, she looked at that and a few other pictures then just looked at us in bewilderment and thrust the phone back at us and walked off. It was a really strange but absolutely hilarious moment!

DM: Tell us about your set in //about blank?

NJ: Yeah it was great! I was meant to open the gig and then last minute they asked me to close it which was cool! Actually, I thought there was someone playing after me when I arrived because there was a question mark after my name.. I thought there was a mystery DJ or something. So I thought grand, I only have to play for 3 hours. Happy days I’ve got loads of material! Then they told me “no, no the question mark is how long can you keep it going for?!” {Laugh} I was like “what!” Everyone in the club seemed to be Irish, they were all saying “ahh I can’t wait to see you play” I just woke up and went there at 7 in the morning. I was feeling a bit of pressure but once I got into the vibe. It’s something about the clubs over there. You know yourself, they just pick you up and take you away. When you are playing it’s the exact same, everyone just wants to give so much to the dance floor, so much energy.

It actually felt at one stage like everyone that was dancing was controlling the set. I just knew exactly what to play, give a bit of this, play a bit of that. I felt so receptive to everyone, it’s really great when you can make that connection!

DM: Yeah it’s all about that connection, you’re picking it up off them and the crowd are feeding it back to you. It can be hard to find, especially today. A lot of DJ’s have their set they want to play, or they are too busy messing with their laptops. It can be easy to forget the importance of keeping that connection with the floor.

NJ: Yeah exactly. It’s almost like a symbiotic relationship or something, it’s really really nice when you can get it! I much prefer being a bit physical with it. I never really use a laptop, but I have USB’s which are kind of like my backup library. The clubs over there though, oh fuck. In://about blank they have like a little box for your records and then shelves to separate what you want to play. With a huge space behind the DJ booth. You can turn around dance or whatever.. the way it’s set up is perfect!

DM: So have you moved on to using USB’s mainly, are the CDs in the bin?

NJ: No, not really, I always bring them just in case because the USB’s have failed on me once or twice. I actually went to play Lunasa festival and when I went on stage the USB’s just stopped working right in the middle of my set, I had to start lashing out random stuff to try and make it happen.. But, yeah

I just don’t trust technology at all. Vinyl is real secure but it’s not foolproof either.. A sweaty finger sticking to the vinyl or someone bumping off the table you know, I think it’s good to have all bases covered just in case.

DM: I believe you are heading off to India on a one-way ticket, where did the inspiration for that trip come? Is there a spiritual aspect to music for you?

NJ: Yeah for sure!

Music transcends religion, culture and barriers. It is something that breaks through all of that and actually is like a universal language.

Something everyone can understand and agree on, no matter where you are from or what language you speak, you can come to together. It’s just like a binding energy. Which is something really important to have, especially at this time we are at.. With everything that is going on in America and Syria and all around the world. This constant oppression on expression. There is no better time for people to get together.

There are not enough places for people to go and express themselves freely and I think a dance floor with the right music creating that energy is needed. Clubs and dance floors are those places where people can go and be accepted for who they are, and express themselves through dancing. It’s important!

Going to India is definitely something I need to do. I need to see different angles, go out and see new colours, see new parts of the world that I want to come back and give. I definitely feel I could do and give so much more if I went and had new experiences. All the things that inspired me to do what I am doing now have been based on trips abroad, other dance floors. It started off going out when I was young and even that really inspired me but you know what it’s like.. You just want to go out and keep exploring and digging for new things.

DM: You are headed over to play a gig for New Years in Berlin before you fly on to India, is the mix you made for the magazine a taste of what is to be expected?

NJ: Yeah going over on the 30th of December and will be playing a gig in Griessmehle before heading off to India. It’s actually the same guys from Deep Fried who had us over in://about blank that have asked us back to play which is really cool! So yeah, really looking forward to that, will be a nice send off before jumping into the unknown {Laugh} The mix is something I made to express how I would go about my sets in clubs.. while at the same time something you could listen to anywhere. It’s got some of my all-time favourite dancefloor weapons and I definitely express my more raw and heavy approach to my sets.. but there is a natural fluctuation of atmosphere and vibes throughout! I also find with a studio recorded mix it is nice to set the opening atmosphere for the hour and build the energy up gradually.

DM: Cool, well best of luck on your travels man and I hope you have a great New Year’s..  thanks for having a few words with us.

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Live Interview – Dax Malone

Editing Design – Mike Mannix
Photography – Colm Kilbide