A few weeks ago we brought you the news that Brixton was getting a new nightclub in the shape of Phonox. At the time of the initial announcement we spoke to Andy Peyton, owner of XOYO, The Nest, and now this new venture. It was a very refreshing conversation, in which he spoke about his philosophies and ideas going into opening the club, in particular how hard he was working to get the "whole team" behind the club absolutely perfect. Naturally, the team stretches from the sound technician all the way to the bar staff, and Peyton was keen to stress he sees every person working in the club as equally important. However, there was one key player in this team we were particularly intrigued to find out the identity of: Phonox's resident DJ.
Well, we can now reveal that London's latest resident will be Jasper James. This is very exciting, both for Phonox, who will be handing every Saturday night over to a DJ whose name has been rising fast over the last couple of years with both massive sets and and even bigger original productions. Yet the announcement is arguably even more exciting for Jasper himself.
For those who aren't familiar with him, Jasper is a Glaswegian, and as such has come up surrounded by an illustrious electronic heritage. Yet for him, the city's musical landscape has always been particularly close to home. Jasper's Dad, DJ Harri, is the legendary resident of the even more legendary Sub Club. His night, Subculture, has been rolling the best of underground house into the city for the best part of 20 years, and in the process has made him one of the longest serving residents in dance music. So, y'know, no pressure.
In all seriousness, Jasper James career so far has showcased that despite his Dad's influence, he has no need to rely on nepotism. With essential mixes, Rinse FM shows, and the release of his debut EP, Sneaky, on Optimo Trax last year all under his belt, becoming a resident in London's most hyped new club will be the next chapter in an already exciting career.
We caught up with Jasper, minutes after his first walk around Phonox, to find out how is he preparing himself for his residency, and just how important this opportunity is to him.
THUMP: Hey Jasper, congratulations on the residency! How was your first look at Phonox?
Jasper James: Yeah that was my first visit. It's looking wicked. I didn't really know what to expect but I've just had a wander around, been into the DJ booth and it's all looking good. That will be my home for the next wee while, so I'd better get used to it!
When did discussions of you becoming the club's resident begin?
There were discussions about it when I played for Andy at XOYO, that was maybe four months ago. He approached me and asked me how I'd feel about doing a residency. I wasn't sure what he meant, I thought he probably didn't mean XOYO because all the previous guests have been quite a lot bigger than me at the moment. I asked him what he meant and he said, "it's very hush hush at the moment, but if you were up for it, we've got this new club".
It must be exciting, but intimidating as well — taking on such a long-term task.
You couldn't have said it better. It's very exciting but I'm also shitting myself. My dad has done it for 25 years at Sub Club so they've set the standard for me. How fresh they've kept it, the momentum over such a long time. It's a massive weight on my shoulders but I'm prepared for it. It's the dream for a lot of DJs and certainly has been for me, to hold a residency, be that in London, Glasgow, or anywhere. It's going to be hard work, but you're only going to get better.
Has your Dad had any advice when it comes to heading up a residency?
I've spoken to my Dad about it. I've told him how excited I am but equally how it's left me kind of nervous. He's just given me some really positive advice, just reminding me that they wouldn't have asked if they didn't think I was capable.
What sort of music can we expect?
Musically I'm just going to do what I do, true to my sound. House and techno, disco, funk, maybe even hip hop. I'm going to play it by ear and create my own thing, without trying to make a statement.
Isn't this quite a nerve-wracking time to be part of a new club? Given how many places are closing.
I think it's a difficult time, but it's also really positive that when clubs are shutting down there is another one opening, with a very positive outlook that wants to succeed. It's better to try and open a new place, than to let the old ones closing get you down.
Looking forward, what does this mean for your career?
I think the plan is that closer to the residency, I will move back to the UK from Ibiza, and get my head in the right space. Just to make sure I'm ready for the Fridays and the Saturdays. Once I'm in that place, not sleeping in anymore, then I will get better at finding the time to make more music, and generally just be a bit more adult about the whole thing.
And have you decided what the first track for your residency is going to be?
I have absolutely no idea, but I'll make sure I take a note of it and let you know!