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Exclusive mix and interview with Berlin-Brit - Jonty Skrufff

Other | Friday 13th January 2017 |

Berlin-based Brit Jonty Skrufff started DJing in London in 2004, rapidly picking up residencies at clubs including London´s DTPM night at Fabric and Pacha Ibiza and toured the world, performing in over 30 countries including Brazil, China, Vietnam, Japan and Russia. Relocating to Berlin in 2008, he’s nowadays firmly established within Berlin’s underground techno & house scenes, spinning regularly at the likes of Bar 25’s progeny Katerblau and even more frequently at Sisyphos.
 
One of Sisyphos’ best known DJs, renowned for spinning uniquely eclectic and idiosyncratic techno or underground house sets, created by intricately looping, layering and re-editing tracks together live, simultaneously on three and often four CDJs. Since 2015, Jonty regularly headlines Egg’s wildest party Berlin Berlin, and makes his debut on Egg’s new label What Came First, shortly with his upcoming double-header 'Jellyfish Invasion/ Warpaint’. Tried n' tested, tweaked n' perfected during his sets in Sisyphos’ cavernous Main Room- Hammahalle - the sound is rough and raw peak-time techno and in keeping with his earlier release ’Stiletto' on Sisyphos’ label and acclaimed remixes on Black Butter (Kidnap Kid- Vehl) Punch Music (Yariv Bernstein - Bardo) and Shitkatapult (his remix of Motor’s ‘Death Rave’ picked up a French Quartz Award (equivalent to a French Grammy).
 
Alongside DJing and producing, Jonty co-produces and co-presents the weekly radio show Berlin Soul, which is broadcast across an expanding international network spanning 55 terrestrial FM stations plus web broadcasters including Pioneer DJ Radio (Ibiza), Underground FG (France), BLN.FM (Germany) Radio Tulum (Mexico) and Dance Paradise (Brazil).  Also widely recognised as one of the first specialist dance music journalists pioneering e-zines and blogging via his own operation Skrufff.com, Jonty curates  numerous music conferences including Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), Sochi Winter Music Conference (Russia), IPM (Rome) and Rio Music Conference (Brazil) and regularly speaks on panels worldwide.
 
Jonty Skrufff Interview
 
You are resident of the highly acclaimed Sisyphos club - how has the past year been at the venue?
 
“In mainstream media terms, Sisyphos remains largely below the radar but despite and also paradoxically because of that, it remains absolutely packed most of the time, particularly on Saturday nights and in the spring and summertime when the sun’s shining.  Like all Berlin’s best clubs it has a very tough door policy that favours locals, regulars and friendly visitors, which protects the club’s vibe. They’re now on their annual Winter break Re Opening 
 
The lighting system and production at Sisyphos is second to none, unique in its own way and what makes it so special?
 
“The people that run Sisyphos are well connected with all sorts of super-creative underground artists and light crews from the Mutoid Waste to Licht Piraten and one of Fusion Festival’s great talents, Dr Strebel (known to his friends as Floris). They’re constantly rebuilding, redesigning and experimenting with new floors, spaces and installations which keeps the club fresh.
 
The sound in the clubs in Berlin is constantly changing and developing and what is currently in vogue across the dance floors?
 
“Berlin still remains all about techno and house but there’s definitely a certain Berlin sound and vibe that’s noticeable, based on the unique nature of the scene. Firstly, clubs stay open vastly longer than anywhere else and four hour sets are routine, which totally changes both how DJs perform, and how crowds react. 
 
Having four hours (often longer) opens up possibilities for playing all sorts of different sounds and exploring and experimenting more plus people are more patient and much more up for dancing, certainly at clubs like Sisyphos. Techno has also really got big in the last few years.”
 
You travel a lot DJ-ing and also play around the various Berlin clubs and what have been your outstanding events of the last year?
 
“I loved playing Milkshake in Amsterdam again in the summer. It’s a great queer festival which is super-friendly and packed with all sorts of interesting, alternative, up-for-it festival goers. Her’s my Live @ Milkshake Festival, Amsterdam (2016): https://www.facebook.com/JontySkrufff/videos/284719318554057/ ). I also made my debut at Concrete in Paris in September which was also loads of fun (https://www.facebook.com/skrufff/videos/10154557159694805  ) as well as playing Rabat in Morocco. And I must add the Berlin Berlin parties @ Egg London have all been exceptional and we’re noticing more and more regulars and friendly freaks and misfits turning up. I’m really looking forward to Saturday January 21st’s edition.
 
The Hipster scene is now a European wide phenomenon and how has this affected Berlin?
 
“Good question and it depends on how you define hipster. Berlin’s club scene is certainly growing consistently year after year and many of these extra clubbers for sure are flying in on clubbing weekends or for longer. When I first moved here eight years ago, lots of Berlin clubs actually routinely closed for the summer whereas now summer is the peak period with winter relatively quiet.
 
Berlin is still a city that welcomes outsiders, alternative people and artists and the nightlife hierarchies still aren’t driven by money, quite the opposite. Door pickers all select on peoples’ vibes and are on the lookout to keep out fakes, so ‘hipsters’ who’ve bought an image are less likely to thrive here than elsewhere.”
 
Wearing black to techno parties has been very in vogue for a few years in Berlin? Have there been any changes in the fashion in clubs over the last year?
 
“Hmmmm, not really, and I must admit to liking dressing in black, but what Berlin favours more generally is DIY dressing- in black or otherwise. You can go out here dressed incredibly scruffily, or indeed wear pretty much anything and fit right in.  
 
You are a regular visit to London with your residency at the Berlin Berlin party and what do you see as the differences between the London and Berlin scene?
 
“There are lots of differences, for example, Berlin’s a much smaller city with most people (and most clubs) living within a 30 minute cycle ride of each other. And most people cycle and don’t own cars. Berlin clubs often stay open for days and it’s quite normal to be clubbing on a Monday afternoon at Katerblau, which always (to me as a Brit) feels like a guilty pleasure. I really like spinning at the Berlin Berlin parties in London but I love living in Berlin- it feels like home.”
 
What are your 5 hottest tracks of the moment?
 
“Come to Berlin Berlin on Saturday 21st January and find out.
 
 
Jonty Skrufff headlines the Sisyphos floor at Berlin Berlin on Saturday January 21st alongside Fidelity Kastrow and Juli.N More at Egg London. Joined by Ruede Hagelstein, The Sorry Entertainer, Peter Schumann, Andre Galluzzi, Okain and Egg London residents Kyle E, Ireen Amnes, The Willers Brothers and BB residents Fidel and Tafkanik. All info www.egglondon.co.uk
 
INTERVIEW BY: Hans Hess

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