From starting off as a DJ to ending up as major event curator in the underground San Diego scene to now clothing designer in Los Angeles, JON DADON has had his hand in many things in his young life. He's transitioned very nicely in his growing clothing business he has in LA called SNAPWEAR while still throwing parties in San Diego. He's worked with many a DJ's and thrown many parties, he was nice enough to answer a few questions!
Who first introduced you to electronic music?
Honestly, the first times I heard electronic music, I was pretty put off by it. Some friends in high school showed me some trance and I just didn’t get what the hell they liked about it. It actually took me several years to slowly discover music in the electronica realm, which then pushed me forward to explore new genres. There really wasn’t like one song or a moment in which I fell in love with electronic music. Although I guess you could say there was some kind of threshold I hit where it all suddenly made sense. It just took me a while to get to that point.
What made you want to become a promoter?
I’ve never wanted to be a promoter. In fact, I really don’t like the term promoter as it implies (at least to me) that you are promoting someone else’s party. There’s the guy that produces the event, and the promoter who pushes the event. I guess I am both, but I’ve never really been a promoter of events other than my own. I started by DJing as much as I could for as many event companies and clubs as I could, and as time went on, I just found that the underground scene of San Diego really wasn’t doing much of anything. So my business partner JIMBO JAMES and I, started a party without any idea of what would come of it. This whole world of putting on parties was never really the plan. But when you strike gold, you kind of have to run with it.
How would you describe the electronic music scene in San Diego before you became a promoter to now? What are the biggest challenge in throwing parties in San Diego?
I would describe it as a small tight knit community who threw great parties here and there, but really didn’t bring the underground sound of the moment. The gap we filled was not creating an underground scene in SD, but bringing the talent to the underground that no one else was bringing. Most of the artists we have brought over the years had never played in San Diego before. That’s one of the components that made our events so exciting.
I think one of the biggest challenges we faced in San Diego, was educating people about the music at the same time as bringing these artists that a lot of people hadn’t heard of yet. We were lucky, however, because our community received what we were doing with such open arms that it seemed like they would trust in whoever we brought down. Ultimately, our parties are more than just about the music, so whether people were excited by the artists we brought or not, they still had a great time.
What makes Lovelife so unique over other parties?
There are a few things that make our events special. For one, we are a themed party, meaning every party has some kind of central concept that ties the decor, the expected dressing up element, the location, the music and most of all, the people together. We are also known for taking some big risks in event location. We don’t like to do parties at the same place back to back, so we are always moving around. The more unique the better. Our vibe is very important to us as well. The community that has supported and grown with us, helps us to bring in the right people. Our events are extremely welcoming and warm, to newcomers and to our veteran party crowd alike. It’s really a big family.
What's been your most memorable party you've thrown so far?
My favorite event has been our Star Wars themed boat party with STIMMING live and HENRY SAIZ. It was a sold out show with 1000 people aboard the rooftop of this massive yacht in San Diego. We had MixMag broadcast it, we hired professional Star Wars character impersonators and we built a DJ booth that looked like a tie-fighter from the movie. It was honestly an insane event and I’ve never been to another event like it. Nothing even close.
We've known each other for a while now and recently you moved to Los Angeles while still throwing parties in San Diego. What made you want to move to LA?
I started seeing this girl who lived in LA, and it seemed the more I came up to LA, the smaller SD felt when I returned. I realized I’d eventually have to move from SD to embrace the next chapter of my life and the logical step was LA. It’s been about 3 years now that I’ve lived here and I love it to death. LA is my home. The music, the culture, the people, the city’s history, the opportunity, the everything… It’s a magical (and I rarely use the word “magical”) place where people from all over the world come to visit and pass through. She is a wild and beautiful beast.
To be clear though, it wasn’t in my original plans to move back to LA. I love and miss San Diego and all the wonderful things about the city. It was a personal decision to leave and had nothing to do with the audience we had cultivated or our events. I just met a girl and fell in love with a city. I’ll keep on throwing parties in SD too. SD will always be a special place for me.
What makes SnapWear so unique from other clothing lines?
Well let’s just jump right in here then haha SNAPWEAR… Earlier this year, I pivoted from the music world a bit and started a garment manufacturing company with my dad. We built a factory together in Downtown, Los Angeles and began trying to figure out what how to be successful in the manufacturing world. We work day and night learning how to perfect our craft and the brand SNAPWEAR is one of the projects that has come out of our factory.
You could say that my brand is unique in that we make everything ourselves from start to finish. Even the labels. It’s totally handmade, designed, printed, cut & sewn by my hands and a team of some really amazing people. We’ve got a little family here and we all work very hard to create great clothing. We are proud to be made in the USA, something few companies can say. I think it’s like 3% of all clothing worn by the US is made here at home. We represent an even smaller percentage — less than one percent — of clothing brands who not only manufacture in the US, but do it themselves. It’s been quite a trip to start from nothing and wind up making things that people are proud to wear. It’s been a wonderful turn of events for my life. I am now prepping our fall/winter collection and will be releasing it soon for sale on snapwearLA.com.
What's been the biggest challenges so far in your new venture into the fashion industry?
Fashion and the garment industry are really tough for a multitude of reasons, but a few of the difficulties have come from the fact that we have jumped into a world that we weren’t a part of to begin with and have been forced to carve out a space for ourselves. Tracking down business opportunities, gaining clients, and hardest of all, doing jobs over and over until we get them right has made this a real up-hill battle. Every job for months seemed like a mountain we had to climb, but those mountains have turned into hills and those hills are proving easier and easier to climb by the day.
What advice would you give to someone throwing a party for the very first time?
Start small. Cultivate an audience with your passion for whatever makes your event special (the music, the decor, the location) and grow party by party. Don’t compromise, you’ll have to do that down the road so keep it about pure things at first. Fuck the money. Just make people happy. It’s way more rewarding.
What are your future plans with parties and SNAPWEAR?
I’ve got no plans to stop throwing parties. In fact, I recently started a new party in LA called “One Night Affair” with a good friend of mine and event production master, Eddie Vela. He’s responsible for some of LAs best underground events so I couldn’t be more pleased with who I’ve partnered with. Our first event sold out and featured legendary DJ Eddie C. Our follow up events are yet to be announced but will not disappoint.
With SNAPWEAR, I’ve got a lot of work to do, but launching our fall/winter collection, growing brand awareness and perhaps a subscription based platform are all in the works. Expect some beautifully made clothing, some experimentation and some sweet little pop up parties in the near future. I’m really excited about all this. It’s been a background passion of mine for many many years, so it’s been great to bring it all to life.
- Clinic with Andre Lodemann October 26
- Lovelife Halloween @ The Prado October 28