Up & Coming Talent
I had the pleasure of meeting Joonipah aka Johnny Phethean one night last weekend, whilst up in the not-so-frozen lands of the North of England; Newcastle upon Tyne. A friend told me he’d had some of his work played on Radio 1. A late night mix. Johnny, naturally gracious and unassuming about his work, said he’d been half-asleep when it came on and thought it might have been part of a dream. Until he finally sparked fully awake and realised reality had kissed him on the lips with the bliss of good fortune.
Any artist, regardless of covert demeanour, craves the acknowledgement of their talent by peers.
Johnny Phethean is one of those creative chaps that deserves such positive peerage.
Image Credit: Hogg on The Tyne (Flickr)
DJR: Hello Johnny Phethean. Thanks for taking time out to pen some words here. Where do you see yourself “at” right now? In the scheme of putting together tracks and getting yourself out there. Look in the proverbial mirror: tell us what you see.
Hi David, thanks for taking the time to ask me.
I see myself at a stage where I’m starting to understand my own sound & style. I think I’ve done a lot of experimenting up until now, which I still do, but I’m getting more comfortable in the way I work & write music. I don’t want to settle anytime soon though, I’ve still got much further to go in terms of production & experimenting with different techniques, hardware & software etc. but I’m gradually getting more music out and listened to at the moment, which I’m really proud of, and I’m just going to see how things go from here really.
DJR: what got you to where you are?
Just enjoying music making as a hobby to start out with. I’ve always had my friends & family pushing my music, then as I got better & started networking and meeting other local DJs & promoters I’ve been given support & confidence to keep going further.
Local netlabel co-owner Tim Shaw (Triptik Records) really pushed my music to a lot of places and I was getting positive feedback from names like James Blake, Toddla T, MJ Cole, Meat Katie etc. then when my vinyl EP came out in June with London label Nixwax, I was getting support from others like Mosca, Alex Coulton and South London Ordnance.
So, I think a mixture of persistence and just general support has got me where I am, which I’m really grateful for.
DJR: Where do you want to get to? What is your next milestone in your minds-eye for success / progression / development?
I haven’t got a particular goal in mind really, other than to keep going in the same direction, develop & broaden my skills and do as many gigs as I can! I eventually want to get a career going in sound design/recording, and I think this will be a good bridge into it.
DJR: What do you need to do to achieve this? Blending into what advice can you give others who might be following the same path as you?
As I said before, persistence & promo. I’m not very good at self-promotion, but going out, networking and sharing music is the best way to get your stuff out to as many people as possible. If your music is good, you’ll eventually get somewhere with it.
Luckily I have a good network of friends in Newcastle who are all involved in the music scene in some way or another, either by promoting, producing, DJing or building sound systems. I’m proud to be part of it.
DJR: Linking into what you want to achieve, why do you want this? What’s driving you – and, what is your inspiration? Other artists? Another lifestyle?
I think it’s just something that runs in the family, we’re all pretty musical. Music has been a big part of my life from a young age, and I wasn’t that great at school so I just decided it’s what I want to do, and all the support I’ve had so far is just pushing me further in the same direction.
DJR: Are you all about cross-genre House or do you have a guilty pleasure in music? John Denver is not a valid answer.
I’m into all sorts, as far as DJing goes it usually revolves around the 130bpm mark. It’s a mixture of house, techno, garage, funky house and all the gaps in between, it all falls under the sort of ‘Bass music’ label that’s come about recently.
In terms of just regular listening music, I listen to a wide range of stuff. Boards of Canada, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Blur, Radiohead Bonobo, Flying Lotus, Gorillaz etc. are a few I listen to on a regular basis. Real guilty ones though would probably be something terrible like Craig David or Eiffel 65. Good because they’re crap.
DJR: What has been your biggest challenge to date?
DJR: In your mind and gut, what is the future of the dance and clubbing scene? And is there a big new thing brewing in the wake of dubstep yet?
It’s hard to tell what the future will be, there’s definitely loads going on. There’s enough variation going on I think for things to stay interesting for a long time. A lot of DJs are experimenting with live stuff now too, which is really exciting and something I might get involved with soon when time and money will allow it. I’m just going to try and keep experimenting with lots of different genres, styles and tempos so I don’t get boring.
DJR: What’s coming up in your world that you’d like to shout about? Any links, events, promos you would like to share with the folks who look at this blog every month?
Yeah the usual spam… my debut vinyl EP is available from http://www.nixwax.co.uk/Shop but they’re running out so get one soon! I’ll also have my slow house track ‘Yellow & Red’ coming out soon on a vinyl compilation on Well Rounded records, so look out for that. As for gigs, the summer’s looking a bit slow, but I’m playing a night in London called CHURCH in August alongside Bok Bok, Dusky, Deadboy, Fort Romeau, Ossie and GoldFFinch. Also check my radio show every other Sunday at uStream.com/channel/joonipah the next one will be Sunday the 22nd July. Other than that keep an eye on my soundcloud for new tunes!
DJR: Final words?
Thanks for having me.
LINKS FOR THIS ARTICLE:
- Johnny Phethean on Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/joonipah
- Joonipah vinyl EP releases- http://www.nixwax.co.uk/Joonipah
- USTREAM chanel for Joonipah – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/joonipah