Interviews

INTERVIEW: DJ Jahsonic – Mixing up Monday Nights and Beyond

by Couch Sessions

In the winter as you approach the building and look up to the second floor, condensation is a standard on every window. Since 2007, when I first tried the chicken and waffles (which later became my nickname per manager Sheldon Scott) I have always been a supporter of Marvin. Really great food, great people… great music? Yes, great music! After a long hiatus of residencies in the district with music that I was accustom to, one DJ (a part of one of DC’s dopest collective of DJs) took a mound of clay and shaped it into Marvin’s Monday nights. Yes… that is right the beginning of the work week. The Main Ingredient with DJ Jahsonic is in it’s fifth year at Marvin. The night has built so much of a following that it is an anticipated event and is wall to wall PACKED every week. With his shoulders shimmying and is foot stomping Jahsonic always gets the party started. He plays what he loves and introduces folks to new tunes (or new to them) weekly. Steadily raising the bar on moving the crowd.

I was fortunate to catch him and get on his dance card to ask him a few questions. Check out what he had to say.

The Couch Sessions: When did you start Djing?

JahSonic: I started back in the 90s. After watching a good friend dj and helping him out with gigs (mainly carrying crates of records and sound equipment) I decided to take the plunge myself. This meant many nights of annoying various neighbors, long suffering roommates and family members until I got good and started getting gigs outside of the house lol.

TCS: How would you describe your musical taste?

JS: I’m moved by music that conveys genuine emotion. Not to be too esoteric, but much of what I prefer to play I would describe as authentic, in that as the listener, I can feel an artist sharing a bit of who they are so both a performer and regular person. For me, music should always be personal. I’m drawn to that. Conversely, I find music that is nakedly mercenary, to be repellent.

TCS: How long have you been spinning at Marvin?

JS: I started spinning at Marvin when it opened back in November 2007. I just have to say here that I’m truly thankful to the guys at Marvin specifically Eric, Liz and Sheldon who supported what I was trying to accomplish from the very beginning. I can’t overstate the positive effect this venue has had on the music scene here in DC.

TCS: Having been at a number of your sets at Marvin, I notice you make an announcement or disclaimer at some time during the night. What is your normal spiel and how did you come to start incorporating it into your sets? Also is it standard or triggered?

JS: On nights when I see a lot of new faces or I feel a disturbance in the JuJu, I make an announcement which basically outlines the ground rules for having fun at the Main Ingredient. It boils down to this: don’t be lame, respect the music, repect the venue and respect each other. This was really necessary right after the party received some good press, so I had to baptize the newcomers. Now, things are back to the equilibrium and the only problem is the crowds can be a little thick on some nights.

TCS: How would you describe Monday nights at Marvin to out of town visitors from the perspective of the DJ booth ?

JS: I hate to use the cliche and call it a “house party” but thats what it is. Low lights, you and your friends, good music and people who aren’t afraid to cut a rug. No bottle service or VIP.

TCS: As a tastemaker what are your top 5 must haves? (That can be music or lifestyle related)

JS: One. An open mind and ear

Two. A community of creative, free spirits. I am constantly being inspired by my friends and compatriots in music.

Three. My Soundcloud, LastFM and Pandora accounts – I get up on sooo much good music through these online services. Dub plates, mashups, rare grooves. It’s great.

Four. My Passport and Expedia account – I have lucked up on so many good things, through traveling. Traveling for a dj is a lot different than traveling for a normal vacationer. When you are focused on hearing and acquiring good sounds, places take on a whole new dimension. The possiblilities are endless and you usually end up making lifelong friends in your travels.

Five. My radio, or Ipod, or Zune or whatever. I just wanted to pay homage to LL.

TCS: When you are not making massive bodies of people jack their body what are you doing?

JS: Sleeping, Working my day job (it’s pretty mundane), practicing, chasing more music and playing videogames. Not in that particular order. lol.

TCS: Who is DJ Jahsonic’s alter-ego? Does he listen to the music Jahsonic plays? If not what does he like?

JS: There is my day job as mild mannered bureaucrat for the government, but really there is not alternative. I’m me all the time and I never take my dj hat off, even when I’m working on my ‘TPS Reports’, I”m dreaming of music.

TCS: Is there ever a set play list or are your sets forever organic?

JS: My Main Ingredient sets are organic, based mainly on my mood and the feel of the room once people start dancing. Other times I make up playlists just as a baseline to branch out from; especially when I’m doing a theme party like Axel F.

TCS: What is on the horizon for DJ Jahsonic?

JS: More fun and less nonsense. Bascially, to quote my man Waajeed (PPP standup!) ‘I’m declaring war on wack shit.’

DJ Jahsonic has aptly set his 2011 war in motion with his inaugural Axel F party on Saturday night. The first battle on “wack shit” was fought and won at Liv Night Club on 11th and U St. The war will rage on the last Saturday of every month. Axel F is the “Jheri Curl Funk, Champagne Soul Nu Wave” music dance party spanning 1975 to 1987 and slow jams are included. Saturday’s event was beyond fantastic but you certainly don’t need to take my word on any of this. It would be in your best musical, body rocking interest to get in gear and get yourself to Marvin on a Monday night AND (not or) Axel F on the last Saturday of the month! DJ Jahsonic creates auditory pleasure you need to hear.