Jon Da Silva is one of the original free-spirited Balearic DJs, and also a resident DJ at the infamous Hacienda club in Manchester in the late 1980s – one of the most important clubs in the history of dance culture. During this time, he mentored a certain DJ who had started calling himself Sasha before himself becoming a producer and remixer of some repute.
This Friday (21st June) Jon, now living in Sweden, is flying over for a Hacienda reunion, taking place at The Coronet in London. At the event, Peter Hook & The Light will perform a 'New Order Electronic Set' and 808 State will also play live.
The DJ line-up features many notable spinners from the Hacienda era, with Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, Jon Da Silva, Justin Robertson, K-Klass and Allister Whitehead joined by London's Danny Rampling for “a special midsummer event which recreates the spirit and unique atmosphere of The Hacienda”.
To mark this special event, DJ Mag has grabbed Jon Da Silva for an interview, and discover that he has been working with Maceo Plex, has recorded for Rush Hour and Soma recently, and has included tracks by Glimpse, Jay Haze, Cajmere, A Guy Called Gerald and Maceo Plex himself in the mix he has recorded especially for DJ Mag...
Tell us about your ongoing relationship with The Hacienda — are you looking forward to meeting up with everyone for Hacienda London?
“Since I moved to Sweden I have less involvement for practical reasons but I still enjoy coming over for the gigs. They are always great events and attract a good crowd of different ages. It's still great to meet up, and this one in London will be a special event for sure.”
The sets that you generally play now, are you requested to play classics or do you try to keep it as upfront as you can?
“No, I only play classics sets in the UK generally. I understand I'm associated with a particular time but my head is in the now, well and truly... the default setting is cutting edge electronics, not yesteryear."
What do you remember most fondly about the heady late '80s Manchester days? And how does the scene compare today?
“The freshness of the scene was really inspiring. I really enjoyed being resident and having that long-term relationship with the audience. Any DJ that has had that kind of situation will testify to how cool it is. In so many ways the scene is greater now. More international, obviously, and bigger by far... which brings its own issues. Wading through the ocean of releases each month and finding 'your sound' is a full time job in itself...”
2012 saw you have great success with Maceo Plex and your reworking of 'Love Somebody Else', how did the collaboration come about?
“I think Eric came across my remix from '94 of the Colorblind track whilst digitising his vinyl. He wrote to me to say he always loved that track and considered it a genius remix... but flattery aside, I liked what he had in mind for the track. I think it worked out well.
” It's an update of a long forgotten '90s remix you did, were you surprised at the reactions it received? When it won the IDMA best house track, you must have been amazed? “Well, yes and no... It's a great song, Gamble and Huff wrote it... And a great vocal performance from Joi Cardwell, and between us we did some special moves... The IDMA award, well I think it was Maceo's year to be honest, if you get my drift!”
Tell us about the mix for DJ Mag, what influences and tunes have you put into it?
“Seems this year is the year of the spoken vocal! So listening back, it's kind of dominated by psychotic deep voices and the suggestion of darker forces! Oh dear. Naturally, it features some of my favourite producers and remixers... Glimpse, Ame, Tiger Stripes, Audio Jack, Jay Haze, Tales Of Us, Cajmere, Maceo Plex, A Guy Called Gerald... pretty good line-up for a gig, I think.”
You moved to Stockholm a couple of years back, and have hooked up with production partner, Jonas Nilsson. How are you finding the scene there, and do you find you work better as a team?
“I've been here three years now... I love it here for the lifestyle and the people. Just moving into Globe Studios next week, so Jonas and I are looking forward to that, to say the least.
“The production scene is very charged here at the moment, I think. There are a lot of producers and bands in the city and more and more club nights, so the city is 'in a good mood'! It's the summer, so we are all happy for that but winters are best for studio work. No distractions! “I've worked solo and in a duo, but this is an especially productive partnership. There's a particular magic that comes with collaborations. We have particular strengths, which do interlock in a good way. We just signed a management deal and have been holding back tracks till that was completed... you should see more releases this year now that's in place, hopefully.”
What are your plans for Summer 2013 and beyond?
“More studio, more gigs... Stockholm, London, Shanghai are highlights this month. We have a 12" release on Kelvin Andrews and Danny (Soul) Mekanic's new label, RevNo — should be in the shops by the end of June. It will be RevNo 001, which we're kind of chuffed about really.”
If you could give advice to a young DJ starting out, what would that be and what do you wish you’d been told when you were starting out?
“Absolutely do your own thing. Then be ready for the long haul. Don't be a dick. Pay your taxes.”
KEVIN KNAPP AND AUDIOJACK 'Stay Glue (FCL Weemix)'
WE LOVE End Of The Night '(Audiojack Remix)'
FUCK PONY 'Bongo Porn '(Tale Of Us / Jay Haze Remix)'
NINA KRAVIZ 'Taxi Talk '(Urban Tribe Dont Lie To Nina Remix)'
A GUY CALLED GERALD '202 (Original Mix)'
CAJMERE AND MACEO PLEX 'Calm Under Pressure (Original Mix)'
ED ED 'Mulackritze (Oliver Mix)'
DUSKY 'What I Do (Original Mix)'
AUDIOJACK 'No Equal Sides (Original Mix)'
JOHANNES HELL 'Life Signs Pt1 (Original Mix)'
DENNIS FERRER 'P 2 Da J (Tiger Stripes Remix)'
GLIMPSE 'True South (Original Mix)
AME 'Erkki (Original Mix)'