It’s Friday night and Nooka Jones is speedily biking from Boston University’s BU Central to downtown Boston’s Club Rise. He has no time to waste between shows because he has to hit the booth and entertain the crowd.
Jones is a COM senior by day and a local deejay by night. He’s one of the few college deejays that work the Boston music scene throughout the week, entertaining crowds ranging from 200 to 1,000 people.
Jones got his first pair of turntables and started as a mobile DJ when he was in eighth grade in Zionsville, Indiana. He was an anomaly who listened to European dance music and alternative Internet radio shows as his fellow classmates cranked top 30 tween hits. Eventually he purchased his own PA system and worked for a small company that deejayed weddings, bar mitzvahs, proms, and high school dances. During high school, he used gig money to drive 45 minutes once a week to southern Indianapolis and fund his now 500-piece record collection.
When asked why he left his humble home in Indiana for the mean streets of Boston, Jones explained:
“I needed to get out of the Midwest. Boston felt like a good escape. It was city living, but also manageable. Boston’s full of youth and it gives the city a refreshing energy. New York is stuck in a mindset and Chicago is too “Midwest” for my taste. Boston’s been great to me the past three years.”
Boston has indeed been “great” to Jones. Living in the city has allowed him to interact with the music scene and take advantage of opportunities that help him work toward his music-related goals. When he was a junior, the college deejay participated in BU’s abroad program in London. The semester resulted in a major musical turning point for the BU student; he had finally experienced the club culture he’d always read about online. His love for electronic music was amplified by London’s dance culture and he was also introduced to new, innovative forms of music, such as “dubstep,” a fusion of hip-hop and techno that originated in South London.
The deejays that inspire Jones most are the ones who push to discover something new or innovative, including Sasha, Gabriel & Dresden, Jesse Rose, Riva Starr, Lindstrøm, Brackles, Fake Blood, and Tiga. He describes Lindstrøm‘s 2008 album, Where You Go I Go Too, as his favorite dance album since LCD Soundsystem’s self-titled release.
The most rewarding aspect of deejaying for Jones is the process of “laying down a record, stepping back and soaking up the energy of the track.” He appreciates the emotionally personal experience that music elicits and finds deejaying to be an ideal avenue to share such an experience with a whole community of people.
Setting high goals for the fall, Jones has numerous live shows in the works. In October, Jones will be deejaying during his part-time residency at Rise, Boston’s only after hours club. On October 27, he’ll be headlining a show at the Enormous Room in Cambridge, and on Halloween, Jones will open for Cool Kids at BU’s Masquerade Ball.
Outside of events, Jones hopes to wrap up and release an EP by December. The album will feature music independent of the typical club scene, and is heavily influenced by London’s “steppy,” experimental electronica, with a hint of Jones’ classical roots (the deejay has played the piano since he was five). In addition to the EP, the composer is planning to release an entire album in the spring. He’s striving to make the solo project a more club-oriented album that varies in style, depth, and thematic elements–not just a basic club set of 12 4/4 tracks, but something that will also include ambient and piano tracks as well.
Jones is a senior in COM, majoring in advertising. He’s on the Ad Lab‘s E-board and is the promotions director for WTBU. Outside of academics, he’s a freelance web designer and works for the university at Information Services & Technology. Listen to him live on WTBU every Sunday from 10 to midnight at http://www.wtburadio.org.
Jones was kind enough to create an exclusive mix for Quad readers to download. We’ve listened to it in its entirety, and it is an awesome nonstop track that will have you dancing continuously for its 1 hour and 2 minute length. To listen to a 2+ minute preview of the track, click the play button below. To download it in its entirety, click here or use the download link below.
[audio:http://buquad.com/audio/quadmixpreview.mp3|titles=Exclusive Quad Mix Preview|artists=Nooka Jones]