At the core of D-Jon’s success in electronic music production is his “keep pushing, keep evolving” mentality. Since 1995, D-Jon (David Joncheff) has been on a chase to capture new sounds and new feels. Where has this chase taken him?
With his new single ‘Looking For The Words’ being released on 10 April 2020, D-Jon takes us inside his 25 year evolution as an electronic music producer and into the world of using sonics to evoke feeling.
Tell us more about your path from producing heavy Drum & Bass (with co-producer Skyver) to creating tracks with a commercial EDM vibe
D-Jon: Whatever music I choose to create it’s all about the energy that it brings. That’s what excites me. The way it uplifts people and brings them to a state of consciousness which was different to what they had initially. That’s what we set out to do with Skyver & D-Jon.
When I started producing Drum & Bass, for me, it was the most cutting edge music style around. Every week the sound evolved so quickly. It pushed the boundaries and pioneered a lot of sounds you hear today in many other electronic genres. When that evolution slowed down, it led me to explore pop and other song-based genres. I worked with some amazing artists and bands (including live Drum & Bass/Funk act, The Levitators).
But as a producer, I was driven to continually evolve and progress my own sound. I knew if I wanted to do this on my own, I would need to be electronic based. That’s why song based EDM became so attractive for me, especially with the advancements in music production technology at the time.
You’ve sat on both sides of the mixing desk as an artist and a sound engineer. How has having a solid technical background helped your production as an artist?
D-Jon: In a lot of ways, it can be a disadvantage because in certain stages of the song you should NOT be a sound engineer. Engineering in the creative stage of the song can slow down or even absolutely kill the momentum of the song. In fact, I actually have to tell my engineer mind to shut the hell up and wait until I have finished building the song before it is allowed to come out and start analysing and correcting the sound.
But, it’s good to have solid experience with both roles because being self-reliant is powerful. I can control things the way that I want through most of the process.
How do you know when you’ve hit the ‘sweet spot’ with a track and it is ready for release? Is it science, art or a mix of both?
D-Jon: It’s kind of like you ‘just know’. There will be times when that feeling can be a false alarm, so you have to question it initially. Once you have questioned it enough by listening to the track a few times (usually to the point of exhaustion) then the time will come where it must see the light of day.
What artists have inspired you most and why?
D-Jon: You can’t go past Avicci – he was a one in a million. St Lucia are also one of the most uplifting bands I have ever heard. More recently I have been loving future bass/EDM on the Spinnin label such as Mesto, Jonas Aden, Kshmr, Segan and Brookes. These guys give me the same feeling Drum & Bass gave me 15 years ago. You can hear they are pushing boundaries sonically and have extremely advanced technical ability, which I also aspire too.
Then there are the guys that you cannot ignore because they just know how make a hit – Calvin Harris, Rufus do Sol and Oliver Heldens.
‘Looking For The Words’ by D-Jon is out on 10 April 2020 through The Headspace and Bass Movement label. Pre-save here