Jon’ rise to prominence was triggered, like so many of his generation, by the acid house revolution of 1988-89 when the warehouse parties that happened nationwide suddenly made music so much more accessible than ever before. A move to Southampton also signalled Jon Carters move into making music as he put together his own band. with Carter on vocals and handling the production, they performed dark, maddening dub and funk in an Irish dockers pub and where ever else would have them. with a sound not so far removed from carters current output his days and southamption were a crucible for the ideas and influences that continue to shape the Carter style.
In tandem with this, Jon began his training as a sound engineer before returning to London where he finished up and gained vital experience with drum n bass pioneers no u-turn. engineering and programming tracks for early stars like DJ trace and mc rhyme time, Jon began to circulate tapes of his own musical ideas. Subsequently Jon took his demos in to soul trader, the early stomping ground of Mark Jones who later became head honcho of Wall of Sound. a formidable alliance was formed and Jon was introduced to the infamous Heavenly Sunday Social; a night of eclectic beats n breaks that is now synonymous with Carter’ name as he took up residency later that year. The breakthrough came in 1994 with a dub coloured 4/4 track entitled the dollar, also notable as one of Wall of Sound’ earliest releases. Bored with house musics gradual decline into self-parody, Jon’ own product and style was the remedy, taking the breaks downtempo and rediscovering the funk that makes all good music so vital.
Jon’ very next release, on the heavenly label was the momentous blow the whole joint up. His residency at the Heavenly Social (alongside The Chemical Brothers and Richard Fearless) watched Carter’ mask of musical styles blow the rest of British clubs out of the water. It formed the platform for Monkey Mafia to develop as a live band and for Jon Carter to release a string of memorable singles. “Work Mi Body”, which featured the vocals of Patra, and the “10 Steps EP” both utilized reggae styling to create a towering mass of ragga, hip hop and breaks that defined a sound that has since been much emulated but never bettered. Around the same time a couple of outstanding mix CDs emerged; “Live at the Social Volume 2” and an Essential Mix together with Pete Tong and Paul Oakenfold, both of which were met with universal acclaim from DJs, media and public alike.
Jon continued to issue tracks under a variety of names as well as his own Monkey Mafia monicker; “the trainspotter” came out as Joe Schmoe on influx whislt Wall of Sound issued “hot pursuit”, a collaboration with one Derek Dahlarge under the name Naked Allstars. As a remixer, Jon most noted work has been with the likes of U2, Manic Street Preachers, St. Etienne and the Prodigy (with whom Jon toured as a DJ). There have also been a sucession of remixes for less noted acts, amongst them Whale, Ruby, 808 State and selectahs boogie anthem Wede Man. 1998 also saw the release of the Monkey Mafia album “Shoot the Boss”, a powerhouse debut which was a mixmag album of the month and universally critically acclaimed.
It was also his musical swansong for the Heavenly label as Carter left to return to his spiritual home: Wall of Sound. Back at WOS, Carter’ alter ego Junior Cartier has been given his first commercial release with “Women Beat Their Men”. Inspired by the re-emergence of house music with real funk and energy, Jr. Cartier first surfaced as a remix of one of Jon’ own tunes “Work Mi Body”. The Cartier stamp has also already found its way onto a couple of remixes; Felix Da Housecats “My Life Muzik”, and the sugar hill Classic West St. Mobs “Breakdance Boogie” whilst more tracks are in the pipeline for woss new house imprint Nu-Camp. after the release of women beat their men will come a follow-up single and a mini-lp for early 2000. who knows when monkey mafia will re-surface from the backburner either. That Jon’ initial inspiration, house music – music which was once perceived as a negative force in dance music’ fight against the mediocre – has become an inspiration again is fitting. that Jon Carter is at its forefront, even.