Decoded Radio hosted by Luke Brancaccio presents Jon Dasilva

The Hacienda in Manchester, circa 1988, was a special place. A convergence of post-modern architecture, cutting edge music, out there youth culture, Factory Records (arguably the best record label of the decade), the greatest bands for more decades to come, including New Order, The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses, and three DJ’s that “pissed petrol on the fire” (A.H.Wilson), soundtracking the whole affair with a freshness of attitude that launched many, many clubs and even more DJ’s. You’ve read the books, seen the films, bought the albums, and even, yes, worn the T shirts. A great time was had by all, clearly. One of the Hacienda Three, “perhaps The Hacienda’s most singular resident DJ”, is Jon Dasilva. Fresh to the scene in ’87, Dasilva had found DJ inspiration in the House and Disco DJ’s of deepest New York and Chicago, amidst a sea of influences from Bowie to Dub Reggae to Kosmische Musik and beyond.

It’s a pleasure to have Jon step in and provide us with an excellent guest mix for this edition of Decoded Radio. It was our host Luke Brancaccio who approached him with this specific mix in mind. Luke has not known Jon personally for very long. He had approached Jon for some managerial/agency advice earlier this year and they got on well, since then he was invited on board the MAM agency. Jon Comments “He’s on fire at the moment with his productions, solo and with Simon Berry.”

So, the mix titled “Look At The Owl” was recorded in 2014 which is all based around the Blade Runner book ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.’ Jon explained how the idea for the concept started:

“I was playing around with one of the many ‘Do Androids Dream’ audio books recorded in the 70’s, re pitching and applying general studio fuckery to sections of the narration and dialogue and was pleased with the results. I started using them when I was DJing and the idea for a themed/concept mix came from there.”

He added: “I really liked the scene when Deckerd meets Eldon Rosen, head of the Rosen Association, who produce the androids of the title, where he does the Voigt-Kampff test on Rachael, Eldon’s niece. “Look at the owl” jumped out as a hook for the mix but the scene had it all in terms of the theme of the book, which is human psychopathy and what makes a human, human; are sociopaths or psychopaths less so? I used a wonderfully atmospheric audio interview with the author, Philip K. Dick, to tail the mix and this kind of pulls together all the tracks that don’t necessarily have voices from the audio book running across. They reference vampires, never growing old, cloning etc. Many of the tracks were just simply chosen for their dystopian feel or Sci-fi vibe. There are some very happy accidents that I was only aware of once I finished the mix; those, almost supernaturally weird coincidences that actually come simply from praxis. But yes, it also hopefully works simply to rock the fucking discotheque!!”

For me, it was reminiscent of Paul Oakenfold‘s ‘Urban Soundtracks‘ (I’m sure many of you will remember) building a soundscape to a narrated story. To give an insight to the process of how time consuming it was finding the correct tracks and manipulating the narrative Jon told me: “It was very time consuming, finding the tracks and the manipulation, patterning and affecting of the dialogue, once I’d chosen a section of the book after tens of hours, I daren’t think about it haha. I hope it was worth it”

It most certainly was worth it. Next he spoke about how much more enjoyable a conceptual process like this in relation to a usual promo mix or radio show stating:

“Oh, I struggle to do simple promo mixes. Boring! I do like a concept! It’s good to have limitations to expand the brain, if you get me. So much music to choose from, it can be good to put an artificial cookie cutter over the wide field of music and then choose a path through that. Mixing metaphors, I know, forgive me!”

The Maceo Plex remix of Remake’s ‘Blade Runner‘ would have been well suited to the mix. I asked Jon’s thoughts on Eric’s remix for Renaissance: “I’m a big fan of Eric’s remix and we did this collab together a few years ago.

….but I don’t like the Vangelis soundtrack haha. Don’t start sending hate mail! I saw the film on its release, in 81 or whatever, in a big Dolby surround cinema in Leicester Square and it was too intrusive. I am aware they mixed the soundtrack down for the later director’s cuts, but there you go. It’s a bit bombastic at times, not dark enough, although there are some beautiful moments… OK, hate mail to the usual mail address.”

Myself and Jon already had a brief chat about a new conceptual mix being planned which will be featured on his new mix series ‘Lashed to the Mast.’ So, is there a decision on a new concept? Jon explained: “I’m ruminating and listening to a fuck ton of promos/buys. I wouldn’t like to say just yet. But it won’t be a Philip K. Dick thing, or it will. Leave it with me.” He went on to explain the concept of the mix series. I love this:

“The Lashed to The Mast title references the Greek myth about Ulysses and the Sirens (Odysseus was curious as to what the Sirens sang to him, and so, on the advice of Circe, he had all of his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. He ordered his men to leave him tied tightly to the mast, no matter how much he would beg).

But, also my mate Chris who gets bolloxed in clubs, finds a pillar and leans against/holds onto it to dance…”Where’s Chris?” “Lashed to the mast” It amuses us at least….”

Absolutely brilliant haha. Jon further added: “I’ll be doing more regular, less time-consuming DJ mixes and hopefully another conceptual mix by the autumn. You can the find the series here.”

We had a few things to talk about which Jon is currently working on. Moiré Product is a new label he has launched alongside his agency Moiré Artist Management. Here is the story: “OK, well the agency came about really from an agency called Electronic Soul which I did a little writing for, blogs/bios etc and some A&R, signing the likes of Posthuman and I think Jozef K, for example. The guy that ran the agency sadly and very suddenly gave it all up and (against my better judgement!!) I accepted an offer from some mates to start a new one with me as “figure head”. Damian Davies, Dave Corbett and Anthony Quinn, take a bow! Moiré Artist Management is the name I chose, being such a pretentious dick, but it’s acronym, MAM, has kind of a friendly feel which was actually the aim of the agency for us all. It’s not an easy business, believe me. Naturally, the label was going to be called DAD, but we swerved that for something a little less irreverent, hahaha. It was the obvious thing to do, coming across so much unsigned material from friends and agency signings and it was something we had all been looking to do for years.”

The Moiré branding is taken from Moiré patterns. For those not familiar I asked Jon to explain the concept and how it relates to him and his music. Jon Explained: “Brian Eno… OK well I’ve been a fan of Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Brian Eno for decades. I used to play ‘A Rainbow In Curved Air’ by Terry Riley early doors at the Hacienda in 1988. I did a 3-year stint teaching at Leeds College of Music in the mid 2000’s, as Lecturer in Electronic Music Composition on the Music Production Degree, and came across Eno’s use of moiré patterns as a visual analogy for all his early ambient works, and a useful explanation for a lot of Riley’s and, in particular, Reich’s work.”

“(a) moiré pattern is when you overlay two identical grids with one another. You get something that actually you wouldn’t have predicted from two original identical (patterns). This is actually a very good analogy of the Steve Reich piece in action. Something happens because of one’s perception rather than because of anything physically happening to these two…(patterns)…which produce an effect that you simply couldn’t have expected or predicted.” – Brian Eno

“I do love the technique when applied with sequencers/drum machines and decks. But, it is even often useful when strictly applied with that open ended, electro acoustic and experimental approach of Reich’s It’s Gonna Rain. It generates ideas for free, which is always welcome! It also makes a good logo!”

I’m sure a few of us learned something new here. I moved onto the first release by Starmer ‘U Got’ which was out March 5th which gained most popular track on BBC Radio 1. Jon spoke a little about Starmer and the remix package: “Yeah, the good man Tong played it once on his Friday night show and then promptly signed the publishing! It was a track I came across on Soundcloud which I liked for its wonky roughness, but then Matt Leese, Mr Starmer, did a new mix called the ‘In Mind’ Mix which I loved even more and pretty much propelled us to start the label properly this year. I’m not big fan of releases with 100’s of remixes but we had so many good ones from Posthuman and Chewy Rubs and also my own (3). It became a monster. The popularity on the Radio One listeners chart is amazing and due to its small promo exposure, puzzling at the same time it was still up there at number one, months after it was released.”

Jon went onto mention new releases due on the label soon “Next up September 3rd is a 3 tracker, Onios/Impakt from Danny Mekanik with a remix from Starmer” And I believe there is new material from yourself in the pipeline? He explained: “There’s a few balls up in the air/plates spinning, as it were. There’s a new album from my band, The Virgo Mechanically Replayed nearly finished (you can find the first one, Factory Fatigue, on iTunes and Spotify, if you so wish!). I’m finishing my first solo artist album in the next month or so, although I might disappear behind a nom de plume for this, after all. There’s at least one track on the way from myself and a guy called Mossby, from Malmö. I’ll be remixing some of the releases due on the Moiré Product label, as and when. Oh, and Terry Farley and I have a little music project in the early stages too.

There is also Jon’s new residency in Barcelona he wanted to talk about: “We start Thursday 6th September with Jozef K and local guests, plus myself. Then 27th September with Justin Robertson and myself. The night is called Shout… it will be weekly from October on wards. It’s at a venue not especially known for House and Techno, Sala Plataforma in Poble Sec, just up the street from Apolo, but it has the right back to basics feel and we like a challenge.”

From Barca back to Manchester. I asked if he missed the city and what are his thoughts on the scene at present with WHP being the new tsar of the cities nightlife? He explained: “I’m back and forth between Stockholm where my son is, Barcelona where my girlfriend is and Manchester where my daughter and granddaughter are! I work in all 3 as far as possible.”

“I would love to do a residency again in MCR! I think Manchester is just one of those incredible cities that is so important for music. I miss it, my friends and family, a lot. It has a boomtown feel in certain ways right now, which is exciting and disconcerting in some ways. Its old fabric is disappearing under new developments across the city. The WHP have done such a great job of upping the ante since the Hacienda days, I just wish the same mature approach they have dealing with the drug situation, the police and the council, had been around in 1991. They do great parties too.”

He also added: “Stockholm wise, I’m working on some promotions with a partner for later in the year, although they will be more orientated around bands rather than DJ’s.”

You didn’t think I’ll go the whole interview without a Hacienda question, did you? Jon told me what he misses most about his residency “I was resident from 1988 to 1991, only occasionally playing as a guest, after that until it closed in 1997. So yes, the crazy atmosphere of the early days and that crowd’s open mindedness, musically.”

And with such praise from Sasha and I quote “Well Jon to me was the most influential DJ in my career really. He showed me the way”. From those days of him watching you at The Hacienda I asked what praise would he return back to Sasha now?

“Tha.Kid.Dun.Gud. Where to start! I’m incredibly proud of him as a friend. What a fucking career! OK. He pretty much defined Progressive House, regardless of your opinion of that genre and I’m preaching to the converted here, obviously! That alone is something to shout about! His hybrid mix albums are ground breaking, creating a new album form. The fresh approach to touring pushed the DJ, literally, into new arenas. I briefly saw him in June in Barcelona during Sonar week and he’s still got that mischievous smile, which is an achievement in itself, after 30 years in this business!”

I’m sure you will all agree this has been a fantastic interview, one of my favourites for a while. It was great catching up with Jon. Seriously, listen to his guest mix. I left Jon with his final words for the interview: “It’s worth mentioning my collaboration with Joshu from Posthuman, as THIS IS ACID! It’s a hybrid live / DJ set that we debuted at Beat-Herder festival in July and is now picking up traction with gigs coming up across the UK. Very much big fun.”

Decoded Radio hosted by Luke Brancaccio presents Jon Dasilva


Luke Brancaccio

01. Mattheis – PT4 [Maeve]
02. Moonbootica -We know you (krawail remix) [Embassy One]
03. Eagles & Butterflies – The Last Dance (Mano Le Tough) [Art Imitating Life]
04. Dee Montero – Pangaee [Knee Deep In Sound]
05. Dale Middleton – Welcome to this World [Eimusika Recordings]
06. The Smiths – How soon is now (Maceo Plex bootleg)
07. Oliver Huntemann – Rotlicht [Senso Sounds]
08. Joyhauser – Galaxy Phase [Kraftek]
09. Superstrobe – In Gods House [Phobiq Recordings]
10. Whebba – She Lost Control [Drumcode]
11. Joey Beltram – Energy Flash [R&S Records]

Jon Dasilva

01. Plug Bins – Mr Woo [Whistleblower Records]
02. Amsterdam – 808 Beesmunt Soundsystem [Pets Recordings]
03. Empty Room (Little Hado Remix) – Christian Berger [Audionumb Music]
04. Only a Glimmer – Christian Berger [Audionumb Music]
05. Azurra – James Flavour, ESB [Suol]
06. Hachinoko – Simian Mobile Disco & Roman Flügel [Delicacies]
07. Mongolito – Djedjotronic [Boysnoize Records]
08. Outta This Hood – Marquis Hawkes [Jack For Daze]
09. Fango – Vampiro [Degustibus]
10. Repeat Myself – Radio Slave and Rodhad [Work Them Records]
11. Never Grow Old – Floorplan [Paradise]
12. Never Grow Old (Original) Edit- Floorplan (Paradise)
13. I Know You’re Ready (Motions Remix) Intro Only – Kattison [Greco-Roman]

* This mix was recorded in 2014 and also features sections from the audio book “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick and a short section of an interview with the author documenting his thoughts on his book. 

Listen Via:

01/08: Nube Music: 4pm-6pm ART (GMT-3)
02/08: Casafonda: 10pm-12am GMT
02/08: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11)
02/08: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT
03/08: Midnight Express FM: 4pm-6pmm CST (GMT-6)
05/08: Tempo Radio (Red Stream): 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6)
06/08: Mio Radio: 3pm-5pm UTC (GMT+2)
07/08: Studio Lux FM: 11pm-1am CEST (GMT+1)
09/08: Casafonda: 10pm-12am GMT
09/08: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11)
09/08: Krafted Radio: 10pm-12am GMT
10/08: 6am-8pm EDT (GMT-4)
11/08: Deep London: TBA
14/08: Soundtrip:
On rotation: Inside My House Radio

Full show will be uploaded to Decoded Magazine Soundcloud from 16th August.

Daz Pearson
About the Author

UK based former DJ and promoter, co-owner, director, writer & creative at Decoded Magazine. Studied at the University of Wolverhampton graduating in Graphic Communication & Typography (BA Hons). In house video editor and avid MMA follower with a keen ear for dark, twisted, hypnotic, tribal progressive house and techno.