jon hester – process part 352


I am honored to have been asked to contribute a mix for Modyfier – I have been checking in with the Process Series for years.

I got into house and techno through dancing. Long before I ever considered stepping up to a pair of turntables, I was immersed in the sounds on the floor, moving my body to the music, connecting with other dancers, and feeling content to not know or understand what the DJ was doing. These days when I am out, I am still the first one on the floor, energetically responding to these rhythms with the same joy I had when I first fell in love with them. I’m glad I still get that feeling. Subsequently, I feel most creative and inspired playing for people that respond as dancers and active participants.

I see creation as a powerful and emotional force that is dependent on both the creator and the audience to be recognized. In the case of a DJ set, this happens simultaneously, from moment to moment, and can be appreciated as a full composition only over time. DJing is about improvisation. In my opinion, it is important to engage with the audience at every possible moment – making eye contact, sharing their enjoyment, sensing their hope for what should come next, watching them dance, and dancing with them from the booth. By engaging with each audience, I feel more comfortable finding a balance between giving people what they want and challenging them with different directions or ideas. To showcase this symbiotic relationship between a DJ and an audience, I have chosen a mix from a gig over something recorded at home.

This recording is taken from the beginning of my five hour set at Grounded Theory at Stattbad in Berlin on Friday, May 31st, 2013. I have been attending the monthly Grounded Theory events regularly since I first moved here, because the people in the crowd share a deep appreciation for music as their main reason for going out. Even in the overwhelming, sometimes decadent international party hub that is Berlin, Grounded Theory has succeeded in cultivating a cultural focus and sense of community. It was an honor to play at this event, and have my own room with the freedom to play whatever I wanted.

My room opened later in the night, quickly filling up with colorful characters, smiling faces, and good friends, with the front room already in full swing for several hours. The session started mellow and escalated into wilder territory, but the build to that point is what makes it count. The recording captures the set and sounds of the room – the crowd, clinking glasses, some yelling, loud volume levels and all. I also brought my saxophone along, played live as a surprise added touch. This is not a meticulously calculated selection of podcast music – it is a raw slice of a night out. I hope it gets you in the mood for dancing!

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