Jon Hester – THE PARTAE

by the partae

Where are you currently based?

Berlin, Germany.

Please tell us about the upcoming EP for LET?

LET is a crew from Amsterdam that I have known for years, since their days of throwing parties at Trouw. JP Enfant is one of the founding artists on the label, and we share some common ground in our approach to DJing. As LET started the label, he and I talked about putting out an EP of mine at some point, and that time is now.

The EP is called “Communication”, and it is based on the unspoken communication felt on a dance floor. The tracks are built from percussive organic grooves that I feel are notably absent these days. The A side, Ritual, is for those moments when there is room to stretch out and dance at the end of a party. On the B side, Telegraphic is a bit of a polyrhythmic banger, and Cypher is a tribal DJ tool. Cypher is a reference to the days when dance circles (cyphers) used to be the focus of a night. I believe that a sense of community and communication is important for our culture — it keeps us connected.

What’s this I hear about a compilation for Klockworks coming out soon?

Ben Klock has compiled a twenty-track compilation for the 20th Klockworks release. There are tracks from all of the artists previously on the label, and others, myself included, who are releasing on the label for the first time. There is quite a diverse range of sounds represented, from ambient, spacey cuts and hypnotic grooves, to stripped-back bangers and 303 workouts. It’s a stellar collection of music, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

You’re releasing on Dystopian in the near future, what have you been working on?

Yes, there is some new music of mine coming out on Dystopian later this year. Stay tuned for the details!

Please tell us about the tracks that you have released on Dystopian and Rekids?

Mike (Rødhåd) was playing tracks I gave him in 2015, and several favorites emerged that became my Interstellar Systems EP on Dystopian, released in June of 2016.

The tracks on that EP all share a connection to themes involving our perception of space and technology in modern times. Our perspective is growing wider as technology progresses. As humanity is faced with mounting challenges on earth, looking to our history and future in relation to the scale of the universe and what lies beyond is always an enlightening and interesting exercise.

Oh right, we are talking about techno. Matt Edwards (Radio Slave) had chosen some tracks of mine that he had been playing, and road tested a few more of them one morning during a closing set at Panorama Bar. We decided on some of the tracks for the release as we were leaving the club. It just so happened that at the time he was starting the Rekids Special Projects label, focused on vinyl-only techno releases, and my tracks fit his vision for the project.

What’s the scene like for you in Minneapolis and Berlin?

The time I spent living in Minneapolis shaped who I am as an artist immensely. I got into house and techno while living in the Chicago area, but in Minneapolis I found a very tight-knit community of artists that inspired me. I arrived there in 2000, during the late stages of the big rave days, so I went to lots of those whenever possible. Then things switched to more club-focused events and the rave promoters were forced to adapt, but underground one-offs continued to bolster the community. What made Minneapolis special to me was the intense level of dedication to the music that my peers working in the scene shared. The commitment to bringing excellent artists to play at proper venues on huge walls of sound for small but energetic crowds always made for great events. Out of town guest artists appeared occasionally, but when the locals include DVS1, Dustin Zahn, Mike Gervais, Paul Birken, DJ Slip, DJ ESP, etc, the standards were set really high.

Berlin has such a large amount of events happening any given day. After living here for a while I have found myself going out less and spending more time working on music. I’m content to attend a few events that truly inspire me.

How have you learnt and refined your mixing technique?

My mixing technique has become faster over time, and I like to play the frequencies of each track as if they were instruments in an orchestra, rather than just fade one track in and another out. I bridge contrasting styles of techno and house, layer DJ tools and melodic tracks across three decks, and also use abrupt transitions if it suits the mood. I think that the prevailing styles of mixing seem a bit conservative these days, too focused on perfection over energy.

Who are your influences?

Three artists that have influenced me from my early days until now are Derrick May, Jeff Mills, and Robert Hood.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Rødhåd, Radio Slave, Ryan Elliott, Ben Klock, DVS1, Derrick May, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Surgeon, Lady Starlight, Substance, DJ Skull, Mr. G, Jeroen Search, Cari Lekebusch, Tensal, Z.I.P.P.O, Eduardo De La Calle, Tadeo, SHDW & Obscure Shape, Steve Rachmad, Truncate, and Inigo Kennedy, to name a few.

Where are you playing next?

I head to South America this weekend, and then in October I will be at Marble Factory in Bristol, and at a special Dystopian/LET event for ADE in Amsterdam.


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