The Jelo Show: Recipe for the Dance Floor
Joshua L. Obront, better known as DJ Jelo, has been a solid member of Toronto's techno/electro scene for the past several years. Having seen him alongside dozens of deck masters (most recently at The Crystal Method) I'm finding myself pretty hyped for The Jelo Show tonight at Footwork, featuring a pairing with Hatiras - another Toronto fixture, both of whom have carved out a diamond reputation locally and abroad.
The Jelo Show is now in its third installment and shows no sign of slowing down, with near-capacity crowds always ready for some techno-electro-chaos in the pants. Seeing as this is my first time going, I thought I'd pick DJ Jelo's brain about the often-debated Toronto 'scene'.
Here are his creative answers to my rather straightforward questions... best read when accompanied by a solid beat.
When did you first start as a DJ/producer? Was there anyone particular who pushed you over the edge and into making music?
It was the perfect day. One that I'll never forget. The breeze was just right, the sun, sky...so I stretched when I woke up and went downstairs and grabbed a hold of both my rob and my cigar. I took the path that led out to the woods and it was there I encountered the elfin princess. She told me of the ancient tales of the Lord Heckno from the magical land of techno. The story was fascinating and because she could tell I'd subscribe, she waved her wand at me and called it acid.
I've been tripping out ever since.
Can you describe your style of music?
I'll give you the recipe but I insist you do not try it out at home:
1 whole chaos
2 cups of energy
a Tbsp. of Holy Shit
a dash of anarchy
1 slice of good times
4 pieces of boom
1 whole tuna
So mix, bake, and serve hot and fresh - and it tastes just right in the new Caught between the rock and the hard place mix.
You use a lot of online media. What have you found has been the best way to serve this up to your fans?
At first I was confused and didn't know what might work best for me. Everyone had an opinion of what would be successful. I had to figure things out and the best way was to do that on my own. So I saw 'Tron' and like, Jeff Bridges is the man. I mean, he put himself in the game.
So I thought that if I stuck my finger in an electrical socket I could connect faster with those people. It didn't work.
So at the next gig I grabbed a hold of a fan and brought him home. He squirmed at first but couldn't evade my grip (see, I've been going to the gym and working out). After a boring episode of 'let's try and escape' I stuck his finger into a socket but I didn't feel any real connection there either.
The confusion continues for me. I'm unsure if I'll ever be able to work out a scenario of again of holding someone against their will but I'm sure that sticking fingers into sockets does not bring you that much closer to another person. In fact, this guy hates me now.
Well, at least you made a connection. So then looking at Toronto fans and producers alike, how would you describe our 'electronic' music scene?
Hmph. Ok... let me be more specific... many DJs/producers/promoters emerged from the supposedly dead 'rave' scene... is it really dead though? Or do you feel something else happened to the scene?
I cannot believe you just asked me that; the timing is truly ironic! I just heard from both my brothers, Mark and Will, who have been looking for rave since 1998. Both of them embarked on a long journey, criss-crossing the terrains of Toronto in search of the grand rave. Yesterday they phoned me up while I was baking a brownie in the oven and said, with the kind of excitement that equaled a roller coaster loop, 'Weeeeeeee found it!'. I'm like, found what found what? And he's all like 'the rave'!
Now just so you know, both these guys are trustworthy but I'm a skeptical cat. It takes elves in the forest for me to believe and since I know the scrolls of Heckno, I know a thing or two about the rave; but they're family so at times you just gotta do what is right.
So I said, show me. ...Well i don't want to spoil it for you, but both of them have designed some map like National Treasure. if they think that the rave is something you deserve, they'll share it for free - both of them are so generous. It's good to have brothers like these.
So rave is like a buried treasure, that some pirate hoarded away in 1996-1998, and only some of us are lucky to re-discover... just to paraphrase!
In that case, what's your favourite place to go treasure hunting in Toronto, and abroad?
In Toronto, it's gotta be Harbour60 - they know their steaks. Otherwise, I never knew tacos until Mexico, and I never knew sushi until I went to Asia.
Clearly if you make good music, it works up an appetite...
Finally, what's one song you'd love to take and mix up or re-engineer that people would NOT expect to hear from you?
Either Fuck Satan to Death by the Dayglo Abortions, or Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs.
As if his interview isn't indication enough, Jelo's just as wild on the decks as he was in answering my questions. Tonight he'll be working his magic at Toronto's Footwork alongside Hatiras, and won't be back until later in 2009. Renowned as floor readers and crowd pleasers, I can't wait to see what sort of brilliance these DJs have in store for tonight's Jelo Show.
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