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The Great Escape


DJ Escape, aka Jeff Jonas, is rapidly emerging as one of the circuit’s premier spinmeisters. The 26 year-old New York-based club jock is sweeping the dance floor at major circuit events around the world with his tribal beats and infectious vocal tunes. He recently played Rio de Janeiro’s White Party and he is gearing up for a visit to Avalon in Boston. A pop quiz with DJ Escape....

How did you get your start as a DJ?
I actually started out playing hip hop and reggae thirteen years ago and then moved over to dance music when I was about seventeen. That change was really influenced by Junior Vasquez. A year later I got a residence at Liquid in Miami, which basically catapulted my career in the dance music scene and in the gay scene.

Besides Junior are there other DJs that have influenced you?
Definitely. Johnny Vicious, Danny Tenaglia, Victor Calderone have given me a lot of ideas. Of course, Junior has been making house music forever and he continues to be an important part of the scene.

You’re part of both the gay circuit and the regular party scene. Do you have a preference?
Yeah, I prefer to play the gay crowds. They’re very receptive to the music I play. Gays really enjoy the tribal beats, which are base-driven and have a lot of vocals and acapella lay-overs.

But you’re not gay?
No, I’m not but I love to hang out with the gay boys. I can’t remember that last time I went to a straight party.

Some say you’re the sexiest DJ on the circuit…
I try! There is nothing wrong with some sex appeal.

This business is all about image. I try to keep up my body in the gym. It is all about staying healthy and in-shape.

Do you try to make your music sexy too?
Yes. I try to project a good energy with familiar rhythms in everything I play. I want to make people dance and have them relate to what I’m playing.

Do create original productions as well?
I’m actually going back into the studio to work on things. The most recent thing I released was a collaboration with DJ Guido for a remix of Kathy Brown’s “Turn Me Out.”

Is it hard to stay fresh as a DJ?
You just got to play the new stuff that you like and manipulate it a bit. I like to pull the vocals off the record so I can change how you hear it. So you won’t hear the same record in the same way all the time. I also constantly take old records and reinvent them. A good example is “Sweet Dreams.” It is ancient, but a friend of mine redid it and it is huge now.

How do you get your hands on new music?
I’m in touch with a lot of the DJs and producers that make it. As soon as they’re done, I get it.

How do you prepare for a gig?
I just put together some of the music that I think will make the crowd go crazy.

You make it sound so easy…
It is not. I think about what records to play at what time. However, everything I do is on the fly. Nothing is pre-planned. I’m feeding off the energy of the crowd.


February 11, 2004 in Interviews | Permalink


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Sheet negro, what a bod!

Posted by: Agatha at Feb 17, 2004 7:18:42 PM

for reals

DJs are hot to begin with, so this boy is extra hotness

Posted by: Grace at Feb 17, 2004 9:21:41 PM