SUBSTATION Interview with Jon Delerious: The Humble Giant

We sat down with one of Calgary's house music legends to discover some of the highlights of his career and get his recipe on longevity in the electronic music scene . 

Where did the name Jon Delerious come from?

Around 1992 there was a Radio show on CJSW here in Calgary called 'Radiant ST-8' with Rob and Marcos - They had an open call for up and coming DJ's who wanted to come on the show and help promote them selves. I really wanted to give it a shot but I didn't really have a great D.J. name yet. I think I was experimenting with a few and one day I was racking my brain trying to come up with a good name I looked up 'Rave' in the dictionary and it read 'to be Delirious' and I was like BAM! Perfect! 'DJ DELERIOUS' was born.. As I started getting more and more into production I dropped the 'DJ' and adopted Jon Delerious as my new name!

What was a formative moment in your music career? Or what was an AHA moment in your music career?

One of the first real formative moments I can remember was realizing that people were really getting into my music that I was producing. I had lots of people who enjoyed my DJ sets before and I always appreciated that but it wasn't until I started getting my music productions released that I really got excited and motivated. I remember getting really stoked and inspired to see some really amazing DJ's like Laurent Garnier, Giles Peterson and others that I really admired charting and playing some of my music! How awesome is that - these were like superstars to me and they were rocking my tunes! That really got me inspired and serious about my production. 

What has been your lowest point in music? How did you come out of it? 

Luckily I haven't had too many low points with my music. I always try to stay positive and

keep in mind WHY I make music. I started making music to find out what my personal imprint or sound would be like. I do it as a creative release, I love to get lost in making sounds and rhythms. I get genuinely excited and pumped up in the studio when things start coming together.  The fact other people like it is a bonus! If I don't concern myself too much with trying to make other people happy first then its a win win in the end. 

What is your secret to longevity in the electronic music scene? How have you managed to remain relevant?

First of all I feel like I'm blessed to have been a part of Western Canada's Electronic scene for so long. I have definitely seen a lot of things grow and change over the years with our scene. When I started putting out records there was only a couple of people from Calgary who had ever released any electronic music that I knew of. There really wasn't a ton of DJ's playing good underground House Music in Calgary. The DJ's and promoters doing underground parties had to really stick together and work together to have events that would work. A lot of people were introduced to House music at some of these after hours parties and club nights we were doing at the time. I feel good having been a part of that discovery for so many!

I guess a secret to success is to actually be good at what you do, stay humble and stick with it! I have seen many different DJ's and promoters come and go over the years because they end up getting too arrogant or whatever and they end up burning bridges. I try to help others around me and I have been blessed to have a lot of support come my way as well. 

What is your favourite record label? (besides us of course!)

So many good labels out there~ Some of my current favourite labels would be Nordic Trax, Lost My Dog, Freerange, I Records, Large - influential labels from back in the day are Defected, Drop Music, Stritcly Rhythm, Guidance, Soulfuric and sooooo many more.

What do you use to produce? What's your setup?

I produce in Cubase. I have been using it for a very long time and I love it - I also have Ableton 9 suite which I have been playing around with as well. I quite like it for certain things but whenever I get to the arranging stage I always work in Cubase. I have some 'go to' virtual synths that I tend to use all the time, some of these include the Steinbergs 'Retrologue', Arturia Mini Moog, Arturia 'Arp 2600' Arturia 'CS80' basically lots of warm analog sounds. I heavily use the Universal audio plug ins such as vintage compressors, Delays and reverbs to customize my sound. Hardware I use includes a vintage Roland 106 synth, Nord Lead A1, Korg SE-100 tape echo/spring reverb unit, Conga drums, Rickenbacker Bass & some AKG and Cad mics with lots of Shakers, tambourines, chimes and sound makers etc.    

What is your most memorable performance?

I can't name just one so here's a few - Getting the opportunity to DJ in Europe for the first time in 2004 to support my album was amazing! I played a bunch of shows including stops in Madrid, Bilbao, Munich and fantastic music festival in Montpelier with friends Gavin Froome and Luke Mckeehan.

It was amazing to see the support for my music coming from people in Europe. 

I remember playing the very first Shambhala as well, there was only about 700 people there. I've been lucky to have played 12 different times at Shambhala and to see how it has grown over the years! 

My very first 'BIG' gig was in 1992 and I still remember it like yesterday. It was a rave called London Express and we had a British double decker bus on the middle of the dance floor shooting strobe lights and lasers out of the windows. Those were the days!

What projects are you working on right now?

Current music projects on the go include an upcoming EP with Nordic Trax Records and a bunch of new songs with main man Matt Caine. Myself and Matt have about 2 EPS worth of tunes we're just finalizing as well.

I always take a creative breather in the summer and studio time slows down. We only have so much time to spend in the warm weather outside in the Summer so I always want to take advantage of it. Also I try to spend as much time with my kids in the summer as possible! As soon as September hits it's like a switch goes off and BAM - back to the beats! 

Posted on October 21, 2015 and filed under News.