“I like these tunes, Jon, it sounds like my biscuit tin getting thrown down the stairs.”
It’s not everyday the late Howard ‘Mr Nice’ Marks offers his eloquence to describe your thundering techno. But then Jon Connor is no everyday DJ.
Real name Jon Lundstram, the decade spanning artist ID is less a reference to Termina-tor’s leader of the resistance, and everything to do with his first son. A fact that seems less random for a biography once you understand a little about the man in question. Loyalty, family, and keeping it real being operative words.
One of the UK’s lesser-sung, but highly-respected techno dons, to trace his story all the way back requires cutting to the chase. Learning his trade in the sweat and chaos of Wales’ free party scene in the mid-1990s, it wasn’t long before foot stomping amid the crowd led to a physical approach to mixing in the booth, buying turntables aged 16.
Graduating to clubs with a booking at Rhyl’s Orange Peel venue- following in the foot-steps of regulars like Carl Cox and Sasha- the talent was clear to see. Hence the residen-cy at another British institution, North, and a reluctant entry into the Dog’s Bollocks DJ competition. But perhaps it’s best to let Connor do some talking.
“It was more like a battle in those days,” he says of the contest. “Quite a bit of cockiness and rowdiness. Almost like going into a boxing match. This one guy tried to stitch me up by getting his mate to come up to the decks and knock the table. The needle jumped, I caught it, and landed back on the beat.”
Crowned champion in 2001, offers came thicker and faster than the beats Connor plays. Relocating to Cardiff to study music production- joining classmates like Kosheen, Cerys Matthews, and Sharn Evans- he found himself on the podium at the Welsh Music Awards. It’s here the aforementioned Marks made the aforementioned comment during a set before some 3,000 revellers, on a bill of dons like Rob Tissera and Graham Gold.
At this point Connor’s studio skills were honed, and he established the company
Bubblejam with money from the Prince’s Trust. The label Supertech was born, a home for the boss’ own productions and culmination of his impassioned hard work. Plenty has happened between then and now- lost studios, time off the scene, qualifying to work on wind turbines every bit as industrial as the tougher end of Connor’s musical output. All the while he has retained the kind of respect only ever reserved for true heroes of under-ground culture. Re-launching Bubblejam events and label in 2016, his album, Steam, landed midway through 2017, and is best summarised in his own words…
“Beauty, funk, drive and dirt”.
With the brand now hosting sessions from Liverpool to Lithuania, where it draws thou-sands to various Vilnius locations on a regular basis, a sister label, Bubblejam Gold ca-ters for dark side stuff, betraying the contrast in Connor’s own sets. From solid grooves to nosebleed drills. All of which is before we mention Bubblejam Estate, an electro-arm waiting in the wings, ready to add another chapter in the story of a true techno purist, who nonetheless remembers the fundamental rule of the scene; serious music should not mean less fun.
Enough said, he’ll see you front and centre.