D'Johnny Goes M.I.A.
From Sweden to London and now Berlin, DJ D’Johnny has made a big name for himself on the European club scene. He is heading to Sydney for the first time since 2005 to headline M.I.A., writes Garrett Bithell.
“I think I wanted to be a DJ the second I was born. Apparently by age three, I could work the sound system at home, and by age nine I was arranging school discos! I started DJing properly at 15 at a gay club in Gothenburg in Sweden, and I had to lie about my age for years until I turned 18!”
So says DJ D’Johnny, who is returning to Sydney for the first time since 2005 to headline M.I.A., a party dedicated to European house at My House, alongside supports including Digital Damage and David Neale. “European house sounds like new genre to me!” D’Johnny tells SX. “I suppose the sound is undoubtedly more ‘housey’, whilst in the US they are touching on more tribal and trance. Same for the Latin countries, which are a lot more progressive.”
Known for the way he fuses deep, sleazy beats with more uplifting and progressive material, D’Johnny seduced the London club scene for over ten years before moving to Berlin, where he is now based. “My music taste is incredibly wide,” he says. “I listen to everything from soul and jazz, to rock, disco and techno, which I think plays a big part in what I play – it makes you listen to music and see things from a different angle.”
While he has made a name for himself in the gay clubs, D’Johnny ultimately prefers mixed venues. “I love playing for a gay crowd – they are always up for a party,” he says. “To me a DJ is not more credible because he or she is playing at a straight club. The best clubs are the ones where you get the right mix of all sexualities, and Berlin has come to set a great example of that.”
At M.I.A., punters can expect “a lot of energy, bass lines, funk, pumping beats and vocals mixed with some sexy drops so I can bring it right back up again”. After playing between the pyramids in Cairo to DJing with Daft Punk on New Year’s Eve in Shanghai, D’Johnny can’t wait to conquer Oxford Street.
“I always keep a close connection to the crowd – get to know them, read their reactions – and once I feel I know them I can take it from there and party along with them,” he tells. “I’m not the kind of DJ that comes to do my selfish thing. I’m there for the crowd.”
My House , 10-18 Oxford Square, Darlinghurst, on Sunday, April 8 from 10pm – 4am. Tickets $20+BF at www.johankhoury.com.