Volume 94, Issue 89

Friday, March 9, 2001


DJ emphasizes a need for change - Gears up for fashion show

What's a mustard plug?

Electric Shaman; a bunch of girlfriends

Want a new REM album?

Chambers returns

DJ emphasizes a need for change - Gears up for fashion show

Gazette File Photo
ROCKING THE WHEELS OF STEEL. Local DJ Jonathan Coe spins some funky beats. check him out at The Underground Groove fashion show this weekend.

By Adam Bailey
Gazette Staff

Jonathan Coe is the biggest DJ you've never heard of.

At the ripe old age of 27, he has accomplished more than your Dad. Professional DJ, Web author, music programmer and graphic designer, Coe is a man of many hats. But the London-based DJ hasn't always been so prolific; his roots are as meagre as anyone's.

"I never intended to be a DJ," he admits. "In high school, I would make continuous mix tapes for parties using the pause button. The whole notion of mixing as an art form and profession was a gradual process."

Graduating from the pop and chips high school scene to the drugs and thugs scene of university, Coe cut his teeth early during the late 90s as The Wave's resident top 40 DJ. "You're not going to learn how to play a club unless you have the opportunity to spin for a couple of years in a residency," Coe stresses.

The time Coe invested at The Wave gave him the notoriety and skills needed to finally land club nights where he could spin his true love – house.

"It has always been the music that attracted me. I never wanted to be a star," he recalls. "But the feeling I get when watching people dance and sing to the music I play is indescribable."

Although he's an established and respected DJ, most Western students probably haven't heard of Jonathan Coe – he's been dormant for a few years, concentrating on his design and Web authoring career. "London is a university town; it has a transient population so it's difficult to maintain a following if you go quiet," he says.

Now, fresh off his latest Web designing endeavour for Rise! Promotions, Coe is ready to break out the needles and shake a few floors. Ranging from deep tech-house to joyous diva soul, Coe's eclectic sets guarantee but one thing, a party. "My style is a very eclectic, either funky happy uplifting soul or edgy trippy tech-house – it's a dichotomy," he says.

"What separates a good DJ from a bad one is the capability to play to all different tastes and make it work," he says, "I don't see a lot of DJs doing that."

The time he's spent in the scene has given Coe insight into the past, present and future of dance music.

"When people go to a party, it's not a special experience," he remembers. "I see a lot of bored faces. A lot of people are just taking up space; they're there to be in a cool place, not to listen to good music. It's the best kept secrets that are fun. The only way you'll have a good time is if you find a party that's underground"

Coe will have ample opportunity to wipe away the boredom when he warms the crowds for Charles Feelgood in March and the legendary Roger Sanchez parties in April.

But DJing isn't his only passion. Aside from his full-time Web career, he programs and choreographs music on demand.

The upcoming Underground Groove fashion show, a for-charity showcase of London designers, features a jazzy, funky soundtrack programmed exclusively by Coe.

"Underground Groove is a collection of people who enjoy the spirit of house music. People drive in from Toronto and Detroit to see the fashions and listen to the music," he says, adding the event is the second largest of its kind in Ontario.

With his blonde buzz cut and unassuming manner, it might be hard to picture Coe as a soulful house DJ, but he's as emotional as it gets when it comes to his music.

"The state of the scene is bullshit. I want to see the return of quality. I want to see the return of vibe."

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