Jon Rundell talks Brighton, Carl Cox and reminisces about The End nightclub

An international DJ, acclaimed producer, in-demand remixer and record label boss, Jon is now a far cry from where he started out; saving money from part time jobs to buy his first set of decks at the age of 15. DJing and organizing his own club nights across Brighton before leaving the South Coast to cut his teeth on the London Club scene, Jon met Carl Cox.

After striking up the friendship with Carl, Carl soon became a staunch purveyor and strong supporter of both Jon’s production work and DJ ability, and in 2006 asked him to join Intec as A&R and Label Manager. While working on the label, Jon travelled the world DJing, and was responsible for the re-launch of the historic label in digital form.

Jon’s music has won wide support across the dance world, being played by stalwarts of the scene like Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, Adam Beyer, Dubfire, Nic Fancuilli and Joris Vorn. He’s also been in huge demand for his remixing skills, working with everyone from Moby (‘Walk With Me’), Carl’s last album (‘All Roads Lead To The Dancefloor’) Paul van Dyk (‘In Between’) and Fatboy Slim & Riva Star Jon has even turned in a Latin Gilles Peterson remix, whilst his other reworks have appeared on the likes of Bush, for whom Jon’s remix of ‘Man Alive’ by Devilfish helped the track reach the No1 spot in Beatport’s Techno chart for eight weeks and a hugely impressive No2 in the main chart. Another fine moment for the underground productions of Jon’s.

Whilst overseeing Intec, Jon has also been prolific in his production work. His output has been unique and interesting right from the start. Experimental at times, but always matured and versatile, he has remained a highly consistent producer and DJ across almost any strand of electronic music for the last eight years. Constantly adapting and evolving, Jon has never been afraid of experimenting, making music sealed with a stamp entirely of his own. Aside to releases through Intec, he’s put music out on Intec, Pornographic, Suara, MB Elektronics and Rawthentic, whilst continuing to release on his own label – Etch, launched in 2012.

Hi Jon thanks for taking the time out to chat. How has the summer of 2014 been treating you? Hectic as always I would imagine.

Summer in Europe is always a busy time for sure; with midweek Ibiza gigs and generally festival season plus clubs I don’t get much time for anything else really. This yea I also threw in a quick winter tour of South America in the middle of it all too, which was a really good experience.

Some big artist like Carl Cox, Dave Clarke and Norman Cook (Fat Boy Slim) have come Brighton. For anyone who hasn’t been what is the town like and do you go back often?

I do, most my family still all live there, as well as some friends, and I love going back. It’s a creative place and feels kind of free if that makes sense. There are loads of independent shops in the lanes, which are really cool. Brighton has always seemed to have this DIY approach to things over the years, and on a sunny day the place just transforms into this carefree place to be.

You mention in your bio how you met Carl but could you delve more into this as obviously it has been a big influence on your career?

He had a residency at the Zap club down in Brighton, I used to go sometimes and by then I’d be messing around on some decks at home. I’d give out mixes to people so I’d give him one too. We just got to know each other a bit over the years on and off, I was like a friendly regular face really and that was it. I never asked him for anything, just gave him my mixes and hoped he might like them. We didn’t see each other for some time for a while as he was abroad a lot and I couldn’t afford to go really so Id wait until he was in London and Id go up from time to time. It wasn’t until years later that we actually started working together more closely and it’s literally like two guys just hanging out with a mutual appreciation of loads of different types of music.

Your sound is Techno and at times straying towards Tech House. Can you give us an insight into your musical journey from your younger days to present and what influenced to go towards Techno?

I like all kinds of music, and not just electronic either. US Hip Hop imports were my first purchases on vinyl, then I heard Moby ‘Go’ and all the UK old skool breakbeat and jungle, then DnB were my thing. Techno came later after I heard Carl playing it basically. Everything I’m into has an energy and a bit of anti establishment vibe to it so it was a logical progression. The tech house vibe came later, and I was kind of in the middle of it, with the influences from the energy of techno being easy to recognize. These days things have been a bit tougher and further within the techno vibe, with influences from the older more traditional sounds and rhythms in my tracks, next year who knows where it all go.

Running a big label Intec must be very time consuming. Do you find it difficult in managing it, whilst DJing and producing?

It is, and I do yes. I tend to do all my label work in the day, and the DJing and production in the evenings. When I’m travelling a lot though this switches to on the flights. I have Marjan who helps me on the release side of things, but the rest is literally me. There is no one else. I do all the non exciting but essential things like the book keeping, cash flow, paying the tax man, then I work on developing the event side of things, dealing with managers, agents, artists, PR’s, distributors, plus A&R with Carl and so on. I still get involved in the release side of things too though, I can’t help myself sometimes, I’m a very hands on kind of person.

Whilst doing A&R for Intec, is there any do’s and don’ts when submitting demos to the label, that you can you can tell producers out there?

Do your research, look us up before you send us your music. Send us music that is relevant to us. After this, get your mixdown good, if you can do that then I can hear you’re totally serious about what you’re doing and you care enough. I won’t lie; if the kick drum isn’t good enough I tend to switch off a bit. Sometimes though Ill hear things in the track that are good elements and ideas and Ill contact the artists and ask if they are prepared to work on it further Also where possible only send private Soundcloud links, it’s so much easier with all the demos we get to go through them to be honest.

What do you look for and what is the process for selection of tracks to be released?

We don’t have a certain sound we look for; we prefer to let artists just express themselves. We know as soon as we hear something we can get behind it or not. Our main criteria is that it has to connect with the floor, make people move and enjoy it in the same we do. I like a good groove though so this will definitely make my ears prick up if I hear one. Once we sign something it then literally slots into the next available time for release, sometimes this can take some time however.

You have your own label Etch recordings. What is your vision for it for the future and will you be expanding out to source for other artists?

Its only there for my own productions, no big plans, my hands are full enough with Intec. It started out of frustration and a belief in my music. I was sending it to labels and no one was biting. I guess I’ve never made music in the same way as others; I worked on hard on finding my own sound and style so maybe this is why. I was playing the tracks at the clubs and they seemed to be working, so I thought I’ll do it myself.

What labels are you showing a lot of love for lately and any particular up and coming artist we should keep a look out for?

Hard to say really, loads of great tracks out there if you take the time to find them and they can crop up on all kinds of labels. It really is like that now I believe; the days are long gone where you get everything on a label sadly. There is so much out there now you feel bombarded and overwhelmed so you’ll only ever pick that track that really connects with you no matter where it’s from. Ramiro Lopez is an artist to look out for, and we have been developing guys like Ferhat Albyrak and Chris Count too so it’s great to see them getting stronger and stronger each release.

If you had to pick three tracks that were a big influence in your style of production and sound today, what would they be?

Right now, with the way my sound is this year, anything by Oscar Mulero and Roku – Wang. Pure energy warehouse style techno!

If there is one piece of advice you can give whether it be production tip or a particular bit of hardware or software to look at, what would it be?

You don’t need loads of the latest plug ins to make good tracks, focus on EQing each part to cut out certain frequencies that will clash on the sound systems, and the in house plugin’s for various types of effects are usually really good these days. But, outside of that check out Echoboy, its loads of fun.

Intec has hosted a night at ADE over the last few years with the Gashouder been the location. This is an incredible venue. How does it rate against some of the best in the world and are there any particular parties, clubs or festivals you specifically aim for?

The Gashouder is a unique experience for certain, one of the best venues out there by a mile. Other places have been Warung in Brazil, Space in Ibiza and Fabric in London. All have something in common, attention to detail with the sound system and creating the perfect environment that focuses on the music as oppose to anything else.

The End was amazing club and iconic on the London scene. You were a resident there on many a Sunday. Care to tell us a particular story or event which stands out to mind when partying over the years there? Something you always look back and laugh at. I can imagine there was a few.

Plenty of stories for sure! I reckon I must have fallen down the entrance stairs more times than I’d care to remember but my best memory is sitting in the room where they housed all the amps for that system with the guy that looked after it all. He was explaining to me how it all worked, and it was right there that I learnt about how best to use a mixer and work with the sound guy to give them the headroom on the main desk to get the best out of the main system for people to hear the music properly. They called that system The Thunder Ridge and the guy that ran it was called Cyclone. You couldn’t make it up, I never found out what his real name was.

What are your top 5 tracks at the minute?

Harvey McKay – Something Good
Ramiro Lopez – Backtrip
Fjaak – Don’t Leave Me
Lowboys – Behind You
Truncate – Concentrate – Truncate ReWork

Finally is there anything else you would like to tell us about that you have planned production wise for 2014/15?

I have the next Intec and Etch Ep’s penciled in for release later this year soon, so these will be out over the next few months. One is a track called My Obsession that’s ready to go and been going down well and the rest I’m mixing down in the studio in a few weeks to give them a good going over. Outside of this I’m already planning everything for next year with Intec and some of our concepts, which is starting to take some shape now with its look and feel so keep an eye out for this late in the year!

Tracklist
1. Kareem Cali – Killa Beats
2. Ramiro Lopez – Backtrip
3. Macromism – Mondano
4. Gary Beck feat Debra Debs – Get Together
5 . Ramiro Lopez – This And That
6. Alex Mine – Untitled
7. Jon Rundell – Cybernetics
8. Jon Rundell – Raven
9. Jon Rundell – My Obsession
10. Jon Rundell – Fifth Generation
11. Omni Trio – Renegade Snares – Jon Rundell Edit
12. Marco Bailey – Railways – Dispar Vulgo Remix
13. Traumer – Insola
14. TWR72 – Anxious

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