Omeara's Feel It resident DJ and former Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel Music Director, Jonjo brings knowledge, love and a sense of fun to every playlist.
Firmly establishing himself over the last 15 years, Jonjo has become a central figure on London’s underground dance scene.
Playing in New York, Barcelona, Berlin and Tokyo, to name just a few, his cross genre sets are known for getting the party started and not playing by the rules.
Tell us a little bit about you...
I'm a London-based DJ, I've been djing for almost 25 years. I started out in the East London queer scene, in a legendary pub called The George and Dragon. I used to host Sundays there - very chaotic, lots of hula hoops and drag queens. I used to hola hoop on a barrel... Not while djing - during breaks!
Off the back of that I got headhunted by Erol Alkan and Rory Phillips and got asked to be a resident at their legendary night called Trash. So many brilliant bands started out there, such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ESG, The Rapture... The list goes on. We then did a spin off called Durrr, which was more focused on live bands.
I'm currently a resident at Little Gay Brother & Jodie Harsh's Feel It night which takes place every Friday at Omeara and also play at House Of Trash, a night by Bimini, another drag queen. There's a theme there with 'trash'!
In a few weeks, I'll be playing at Mightly Hoopla in Brockwell Park. I would say it's become London's unofficial Pride, two days of madness and fun. This year's is sold out too, it's going to be amazing.
In September I'll also be playing in New York for a queer collective...
How did you get into music curation?
It was through some close friends of mine who run the restaurant Bistroteque in London. They were asked to set up a restaurant within Ace Hotel London, called Hoi Polloi. I had worked a lot with them in the past, played their parties and organised events, but this time they needed to build a database for the opening of the restaurant.
Things just rolled from there, really. I was then approached by Brian from Open Ear as we were using their players and software at Ace Hotel. He then asked me to start looking after other clients...
Which clients do you work for now?
I'm currently curating playlists for Coal Drop Yards in King's Cross and also Native, a kind of park hotel in Manchester that's quickly expanding.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Pride playlists you curated?
I've worked on two playlists this year. The first one is called Pride Dance Heritage, a celebration of queer legends and allies too. I've gone in with the mindset of thinking about clubs that were sort of big queer parties, such as Studio 54, Paradise Garage, or any of the clubs I'm playing at now. There are icons like Kylie - she's not queer but has a huge gay following and is very supportive of gay rights - Donna Summer, Grace Jones, Sylvester. It's more of a party/feel-good selection.
The second playlist is a more downtempo one called Rainbow Rising. In the last 5-10 years, there's been a huge wave of fantastic independent queer artists, like Arlo Parks, Nimmo, Patrick Wolf, Orville Peck, Syd... There are so many and it's fantastic to see. It's a really nice mix of tracks that can suit a day time vibe.
Why is it important to celebrate Pride?
I think celebrating Pride is hugely relevant currently, if not more than before. Things are pretty unsettled politically, think of America where there's a lot of legislation going on to take away gay and trans rights. I mean, we've come a long way, but we need to keep reminding people of how much music, culture, and fashion has come from the queer community. The more allies - even businesses - that we can get involved to promote Pride the better, really.
I love playing during Pride. It's a great opportunity to come together and have fun while increasing visibility. I look forward to being there and djing.