Jamie Jones’ life was changed forever when he put a little video game disc into his PlayStation, a generation ago, and that little game taught him how to DJ.
This was when Jones was in college 15 years ago, and he became obsessed with “Music 2000,” which let him learn to DJ using drums, high hats and bass sounds.
“It was a simple, simple, simple game,” Jones says.
“It just taught me the basics of sequencing and making music. I was hooked on it. I was on track to fail exams until I pulled it together at the last moment, because all I was interested in doing was making beats on this game.”
Jones went on to become a beloved DJ (who will perform late Sunday night/Monday morning at Marquee nightclub).
What kind of musician did he become?
“I play some really weird house and techno, to stuff that’s upbeat and groovy and bouncing,” he says. “I’m quite a party DJ, and I’m most comfortable when the room is really vibing.”
Jones performed at Electric Daisy Carnival without compromising that underground vibe with pop songs, and it worked out great, proving yet again today’s American dance-music crowds don’t need to be spoon-fed Rihanna distortions.
Jones really likes Marquee and EDC, but he says his favorite place to DJ is Burning Man.
“I’m in love with that festival,” he says. “I love the fact there’s no money there. … It really makes people think about what they have to provide.
“You can go there with absolutely nothing — nowhere to stay, no clothes on your back, and you’ll be taken care of.”
Jones likes providing free music there.
“It’s a really magical environment,” he says. “You can really push the boundaries. You can dig out all the records that you never thought anyone else would like, that are so weird and crazy or different. You can really try them out and 90 percent of the time, they really work.
“And then, you can take them to the club, and they don’t work as well.”
Wait, so Jones digs both the hippie craziness of Burning Man and the ultrasleekness of Marquee?
“I love challenging myself to all environments, whether it is a club like Marquee, which more typically revolves around table service, and Burning Man, where there’s no money involved.
“To me, it’s all people who want to have fun and listen to good music. To bring it into different environments makes this job more interesting. If you were playing the same thing every week in the same place, I don’t think I’d last too long. I get bored too easily.”
Anyway, he’s pretty happy about the PlayStation placing him on this career path.
I told him that in the future, DJs will say their lives were changed by DJ-mixing apps on their smartphones. He says that future is already in action.
“I’m sure that’s around the corner,” he says. “A lot of my friends now are making little songs on their apps. So more power to ’em.”
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.