TF Archives

Panhandle Record's DJ Jonene gets TranZfused

Author: michelle pirovich
Sunday, January 6, 2002
San Francisco based DJ/producer Jonny Phelps 'DJ Jonene' has an insatiable appetite for music. He doesn't do commercial, in fact Jonny's sound is a dirty-edged, funky and unique blend of house. It's a sound that has made him one on San Franciscos finest djs, with residencies at San Franciscos hottest clubs including the legendary STOMP and ESDJCO parties. His production resume is pretty sweet too. Founder of the highly regarded 'Panhandle records' the recently formed label 'SafeInSound' music and his collaboration with Wally Callerio 'Shady Agents' all guarantee that DJ Jonny is going to do his best to share his love of music with us all.

How did your life as a dj begin-
At a young age... Just out getting out of high school. I was involved with a lot of bands but it wasn't enough for me. I found this strange attraction towards turn tables and I have never looked back.

Deep squared were a live performing tech house band, how did that work- was it all very a la depeche mode style with keyboards and bleepy bits-
Nah, we were on the house tip in the early 80's. We definitely had heavy influences from bands like Depeche Mode and New Order. They were subtle but we wanted to try to get in on the new cutting edge that was amongst us, called

Where did the name deep squared come from-
It was a band that was already formed. My buddy of mine left the band and moved up north to San Francisco and I took his place. I really never new where the name came from but I liked it.

Alot of australians won't be familiar with your music, how would you describe your current style-
I play a very dark, percussive, edgy but dirty and funky style of house music. I am very anti commercial and I try to keep kids guessing where I am going with it. I like, and want to see you shake that ass of yours.

How difficult is it to come up with a style that you feel is your own, is there alot of head scratching and 'shit thats too derrick carter'-
Oh that is easy, I am from San Francisco. We have our own style of house. People perceive it as West Coast house music, but San Francisco has a house movement all on its own. We are very similar to Chicago but then again
so very different.

Where do your influences come from-
Since I can remember I have always been into music and have been influenced and driven by music. I believe I get my influences from all sources. Jazz music, funk, new wave, Hip Hop, rap, DJ's, producers, friends, family etc.

I am always being influenced by surroundings and that helps me shape and re create my sound all the time. I am always evolving and focusing on what is coming next and where it is going. I am trying to stay one step ahead of the game. That is what makes each DJ different and unique from the next. Certain djs will stand out and you will remember them...some you will remember for being complete shit too. I would say DJ's that have the most influence on me would be Derrick Carter, Mark Farina & Luke Solomon on the grand scale. I enjoy playing with them all and the parties I have played at with them ave been the ones to remember. They truly have technique and skills that brings that special element to any party.

But I also have to say playing with my boys like JT Donaldson, Lance Desardi, Jamie Thinnes, Tasho, Mark Grant and Wally Callerio really gets me going too.

You're a very busy dj, is san francisco a rockin place-
Used to be! I think I can speak on behalf of this entire industry. September 11th, 2001 will for ever have an impact on everything. Things have slowed way down since the tragedy and DJs, clubs, promoter and club patrons are feeling the after effects. I am sure we will bounce back. But once this city is out. I have had my most memorable
experiences in San Francisco. Our party Stompy ( has b