British-born, Berlin-based DJ/producer and writer Jonty Skrufff has passed away.
The news was shared by his partner and fellow Berlin DJ Fidelity Kastrow in a Facebook post on Jonty’s page. “Jonty had been battling cancer but kept his diagnosis confidential until days before his death, so nobody would treat him differently and to be able to continue to live the life he so loved,” her post begins.
A well-known and much-loved industry figure, Jonty (real name Jonathan Adderley) started out in the industry in the mid-90s as a dance music journalist. He spearheaded a campaign (Thirst Aid), backed by Muzik magazine, for UK clubs to provide free drinking water for all punters — an important step at a time when a few clubbers were dying from ecstasy-related overheating at events. Within 12 months, all British clubs were required to provide free and unrestricted access to cold drinking water by law, a policy that remains in place in the UK today.
An early adopter of online journalism, he set up dancesite.com in 1997 and began syndicating his articles around the world.
Just after the Millennium he rebranded himself as Jonty Skrufff (named after his dog) and set up Skrufff Media. He quickly started publishing an influential weekly e-zine that dropped into the inboxes of thousands of industry figures, documenting many aspects of worldwide dance music culture and linking to numerous relevant articles and further info. He published this Skrufff-E newsletter every week for 15 years, without fail.
After starting to DJ the music he loved at home, he played his first DJ gig at On The Rocks in east London, now Basing House, during the electroclash era in the early noughties, and quickly secured residencies at Fabric and Pacha Ibiza.
Moving to Berlin in 2008, he became immersed in the German capital’s techno scene and secured a residency at Sisyphos — and began making music himself. He released on What Came First, Black Butter, Shitkatapult and Sisyphon, amongst others, and became a regular radio presenter on stations like Ministry Of Sound Radio, Pioneer DJ Radio and Radio FG’s Underground FG.
He also became a consultant for the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), curating and hosting many panels as it developed into one of the most important events in the industry calendar. The Rio Music Conference in Brazil and the Sochi Winter Music Conference in Russia also benefited from his curation expertise.
After being diagnosed with cancer, Jonty tried to carry on living his normal life for as long as possible. He was still DJing until the end of last year, mixing the latest comp for Sisyphos in November 2019 and releasing his ‘Near Death Experience EP’ in which he emulated MRI scanner sounds, “processing some of his emotions and experiences related to his cancer diagnosis, contemplating death and what he already knew about it from his nearly fatal lift accident at Danceteria (he nearly died in the late 1980s after a freak accident involving a lift while working at New York’s Danceteria nightclub).
“I’ve had a great life,” he assured doctors and friends shortly before his passing.
“Jonty loved DJing, bringing joy to others, making and sharing music, reading, writing, spreading knowledge, sharing ideas, initiating change and trends, counterculture, clubbing, connecting (with) people, dressing up, autonomy, integrity, supporting & inspiring others, traveling, cycling, going to the gym, chilling on his chaise longue, cooking, great food and living as an original punk,” wrote his partner Fidelity Kastrow in her eulogy.
Friends and associates such as Peggy Gou, Honey Dijon, the Pet Shop Boys and Seth Troxler were among those who paid tribute to Jonty in testimonials as the news of his passing broke.
DJ Mag sends best wishes to Jonty’s partner Fidelity and his friends and family at this sad time.