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Jon White is one of the rising stars of the dance music scene. A career which has already seen him travel the world numerous times over shows no signs of slowing, completely the opposite in fact.
A professional career which began in 98 has seen him play alongside the biggest DJs in the business for brands such as Hed Kandi, Cream, The Gallery @ Turnmills, Slinky, Space Ibiza, Cafe Mambo, Back2Basics and Moneypennys.
It is easy to see how Jon has established such a strong fanbase across the world. He has a unique ability to tap into people’s souls and take them on a journey of melody and movement, mixing elements of soul and funk, fused with spine-tingling strings and heart stopping basslines. His impeccable mixing skills and track selection creates a hypnotic, liquid groove which encapsulates the crowd and leaves them craving for more. Just ask anyone who’s seen him play!
So how did it all begin?
Born in Southampton, and raised 10 miles outside in the quaint market town of Romsey, this was the last place you would expect to find a potential DJ star of the future.
Jon was exposed to dance music at a very early age. Two of his cousins were DJs and used to regularly record Jon tapes for him to play. The Prodigy were personal favourites, with The Prodigy’s 1993 ‘Experience’ Album being the first tape he would buy. Depeche Mode, New Order, The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays also influenced and shaped Jon’s musical palette.
Jon was pretty musically inclined growing up. In his teenage years he played both piano and cello which gave him a good grounding and understanding of musical composition and melody.
Jon’s first clubbing experience came in 1997 at the much loved Manor, set in a converted Manor House deep in the Dorset countryside. The legendary Danny Rampling was guest DJ that night, rocking the Manor faithful into the small hours to the likes of Da Hools classic ‘Meet her At The Love Parade’.
Later that month, Jon made his first visit to the South Coasts leading club, the 2500 capacity Opera House, a venue that would hold many amazing memories for Jon.
The minute Jon walked into the main room from the upstairs balcony he knew that DJing was the job for him. Commenting to friends, he declared it was his aim to play at The Opera House within five years – in reality this was to happen in under two.
Christmas 1997 saw Jon purchase his first set of decks. He had already been building a small record collection as an incentive to buy the decks. The next twelve months saw Jon locked away in his bedroom practicing his mixing and familiarizing himself with his tunes.
Every Friday Jon would religiously record Pete Tong’s Essential Selection on Radio1, then compile a list of wanted tracks, which he would hunt down every Saturday.
A regular haunt for Jon was Movement Records in Southampton where a young James Zabiela was working.
In the summer of 1998 Jon made the first of many trips to the European clubbing Utopia that is Ibiza. Here, his love of deep soulful house flourished.
September 1998 saw Jon relocate to Bournemouth, a seaside town with a respected clubbing scene, 30 miles along the coast from Southampton. Jon had left the comfort of home to continue his studies, though in reality more time was spent practicing and record shopping.
Bournemouth is where Jon met good friends and mentors Wain Morrison and Mike Artwell. After meeting at Slam, where Jon was working as a barman at the time, Wain invited Jon to warm up for him on their legendary Sunday nights at Slam. Wain would come by early to listen to Jon play every Sunday, then Jon would visit his studio during the week to work on his technique and iron out any faults and bad habits.
After a few months of warming up on Sunday’s, Mike then offered Jon the opportunity to warm up for him on Friday nights at another of his residencies, the Great Escape – a small, but very intimate venue with the reputation as a celebrity hangout. Jon’s following grew and soon he was offered his own night on a Saturday at Bla Blas, owned by Richard Carr.
Richard Carr, owned Slinky, the Opera House and Slam and had recently acquired Bla Blas. Nothing was expected as the venue was due to be completely refurbished – however, what happened over the next few months was nothing short of extraordinary. Within 2 months the club was full with queues outside every Saturday. Richard came by one Saturday – said F**ckin Hell’ 4 times in the same sentence to the GM, then promptly offered Jon residency at the Opera House the following week!
Jon was given residency on Thursday’s playing the hugely popular Hot and Horny night – the busiest Thursday night in the UK. Playing to a largely student crowd Jon’s skills in programming and ability to play numerous styles were nurtured.
In April Jon was given residency at the minimalistic, underground club Urban, Slinky’s sister club and home to the likes of John Digweed, Lee Burridge, Jimmy Van M and Nick Warren.
Jon picked up another residency in 2001 with a Sunday night at the ultrastylish Klute, voted UKs number one bar in 2002. Jon’s Sunday nights, in particular his bank holiday sets became legendary. Jon was joined on a regular basis by the hedonistic Brandon Block Ã¢Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½ when he remembered he was meant to play!
December 2003 saw Jon make a huge career move. Leaving the comfort of his residencies in the UK, Jon opted for a fresh challenge to build his name globally. The first stop was to Bali and to Double Six where Jon took up a 2 month residency before heading to Singapore.
Jon had strong connections in Singapore and was soon picking up regular gigs, including nights at Centro and Liquid Rooms. In April, Jon was offered the residency of a new bar/club that was to open in Clarke Quay, which was in the process of being renovated. The venue was Attica and was to become home for Jon until December 2005.
No one could have ever expected Attica to become so successful so quickly. It opened while Clarke Quay was a building site, yet within a couple of months of opening it had been voted Singapore’s hottest nightspot.
Jon played every Friday and Saturday from 11-4am and his blend of soulful uplifting house made him a household name on the Asian clubbing scene.
It soon became apparent that Attica had become too small, so the option to open a second floor, Attica Too, was a welcome introduction. Jon played the first set at Attica Too and was joined in the coming months by the likes of Dave Seaman, Dave Piccioni (Azuli), Pete Gooding (Cafe Mambo), Steve Lee (Turnmills), Dave Beer (Back2Basics) Jason Herd (Herd & Fitz) and Terry Farley.
After an amazing 18 months as resident at Attica, the opportunity to further build his career came with the offer of residency at Asian Superclub, Zouk’s newest venture in Kuala Lumpur.
Jon has been resident in the Velvet Underground Room since December 2005 and has settled in well to life in Malaysia.