Jono Fernandez
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Jono Fernandez

Canberra, Canberra, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Canberra, Canberra, Australia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Band EDM Progressive




"Thump/Vice feature, 2014"

Jono Fernandez was recently crowned DJ/Producer of the year at the Budweiser Music awards. On the back of the award he’s setting off next year to play a series of shows around the world, and we guess generally become a mirrored-glasses-wearing-DJ-superstar. Although we have no doubt big things are in-store for him, he’s presently still a nice Australian dude bringing the party, so we grabbed him for a chat before he moves to Vegas or something.

THUMP: So you’re the newly crowned DJ/Producer of the year I believe?
Jono Fernandez: Yes, yes I am—and very humbled and grateful to have received the award. It’s a bit of an interesting one because I don’t actually DJ; I do more of a live set with Ableton, controllers, samplers and effect units. But it’s a great title to have, something I really didn’t see coming, but it feels really good to be recognised in this way.

Okay, if we’re not calling you a DJ what should I call you?
Gosh it’s an interesting one, I refer to myself as a music producer more than anything. I mean when I perform I still get grouped in under that DJ bracket, but when I’m talking to people I never mention that I’m a DJ. I perform live, so I’m a live electronic musician perhaps? I do play other people’s records but when I play it’s more about creating something unique. I have drum loops and baselines and all sorts of different things going on at once. When I play someone else’s track it’s never in it’s entirety it’s more a live remix I suppose.

Do you think as EDM has become more popular and come into the mainstream the definition of what a DJ is has become muddied?
I think so. I mean with the advancement of technology it definitely has become a little bit muddied. There are a lot of purists out there who believe anything that doesn’t involve playing off vinyl isn’t DJing, but you know I’m ultimately in it for the end result—which is what comes out the speakers. There’s so much technology these days blending the lines between DJing and performing live, and in the studio that’s becoming integrated into the DJ mix with samplers and all sorts of stuff. So yes the lines are becoming blurred but I like that, and I embrace it.

Everyone calls themselves a DJ, do you think that’s helping or hindering the genre?
Yeah, I think over all the popularity of DJing is great for the music because it does get more people into it and a lot more people creating it—that’s a very positive thing. But yeah, it does have a downside and for a while it did become a bit of a dirty word to call yourself a DJ because every second person you met was calling themselves one and they might have only bought the equipment on the weekend.

I suppose that’s okay, but it’s an easier thing to pick up and masker than something like guitar, you don’t buy a guitar and start calling yourself a guitarist. I do have a lot of respect for DJing and there is an art to it, but it’s something you can teach with a reasonable amount of ease—which is why it’s so popular and successful.

Do you think that’s slowed the recognition for it from other genres in Australia? Maybe its taken people longer to realise it’s a skill?
Yeah I think there is a bit of a divide between the Australian rock culture and the electronic music culture because a lot of the old rock heads do think exactly that—that it isn’t something that takes a huge amount of talent. Or at least they did, I think that’s starting to change. But it’s taking those people crossing over genres and borrowing from them. Skrillex for example had a big impact in the rock and metal markets when he started doing his dun-step thing.

But there is certainly still a divide there.

Is the Australian “rock culture” a bit of a glass ceiling that is still hindering local EDM?
Not really anymore, especially with the explosion of dance music worldwide. We tend to follow the American trends pretty closely—as you obviously would notice with pop music. That popular music is borrowing so heavily from the dance world at the moment; that’s helping a lot to have the mainstream culture to embrace dance music. Dance music is going to be around for a long time.

Is there a city or a country that you particularly look at for a sense of the next trends breaking in EDM?
I kind of take my influences from a lot of places. To be completely honest the Australians are really killing it at the moment, but most of the ones who are doing well have unfortunately moved abroad. But there are a bunch of people who are doing well and really making a big impact worldwide. These guys like Tommy Trash and Hook and Sling have a really original sound.

The guys who are really setting the trends are global and moving around constantly touring. I don’t think it’s coming out of one place, but rather a particular group of guys who are doing gigs in Europe, Australia, Asia, and the US. They’re who’re really deciding where the music is going.

It’s interesting to think about EDM artist as being so much less tied to a single country than other musicians. As Australian artist are moving around can you see the Australian element start to disperse?
Definitely and there’s been a real buzz about Australian producers, especially over the past five or ten years. There have been some guys who have done some massive things, and I’ve heard a bunch of the bigger labels have exhausted places like Europe and are really focusing on Australia because there’s be so much coming out here in the past couple of years. There are a lot of young talent coming out.

It’s strange when you think about it, we’re so far away from everything and our population is so low it’s impressive we’re becoming a hot spot. Why is that?
A lot of it is just producers helping each other out, and there have been a lot of DJ and production schools springing up. But guys have just been really open and happy to help out the younger guys and I think that’s a culture that maybe wasn’t always as big as it is now. But it seems like it’s becoming a big thing with a close knit community of guys that are willing to go around to friends studios and offer advice and help somebody out and bounce ideas around. That’s something that’s really important to the growth of the area and something that’s really flourishing at the moment. - Thump/Vice

"InTheMix feature, 2014"

To give you an idea of the work that goes into his live performance, Jono Fernandez made a video of himself playing a mini-mix based on his new single March Of The Monkeys so you can see the producer’s hands flying across the trigger pads of his Ableton Live setup. It’s hypnotic, and not just because of all the blinking lights – seeing the effort that goes into it adds to your appreciation, like visible brushstrokes in a painting. Those busy hands humanise the work. There’s a laptop there, but it’s just sitting in the corner of the shot, untouched.

This is the setup Fernandez is using for his current tour in support of March Of The Monkeys, but right now he’s at a studio in Canberra – he seems to switch between Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne so frequently it’s hard to keep up – working on an album.

So you’re in Canberra? I thought you were Sydney-based these days?
I’m kind of between the two. I’ve been a bit bored lately, my focus is down in Canberra so the past couple of months I’ve been back and forward, a bit of time up in Sydney and then a bit of time down here. I like being away a bit and get a lot of work done, which is always nice.

I did hear you’re working late nights in the studio.
I certainly am. I’ve been working on a whole bunch of stuff, I’ve got a new single that’s coming out now, which is March Of The Monkeys, which I’m currently touring, which is going great guns, then I’ve got a bunch of remixes that are coming out in the next couple of months. Then I’m working on an album, which is a good excuse for me to move outside some of the formulaic dance music that’s going on at the moment and fit in a space where I can be free to be an artist and write whatever I want, which I’m really enjoying so far. Lots going on at the studio, lots of hours. It’s hard fitting it in between the DJing and everything else but yeah, it’s good.

Can you tell me a bit about the album? Is it something different for you?
It’s going back to my roots a little bit because I had a classical and more band-y upbringing. I studied a lot of classical instruments when I was growing up and then I was in a lot of bands – guitars, drums, bass, that kind of thing – so I’m trying to get back to a few more of those organic instruments with my writing and with the album. It’s still going to have a heavy electronic influence but it’s nice to be writing stuff that doesn’t necessarily have to be a club banger or a big-room house record that’s gonna work for a dancefloor. Just be reasonably true to myself artistically and go wherever the music takes me or wherever the inspiration takes me. Which is a nice feeling.

Read more at - InTheMix

"DJ Mag feature, 2014"

Having started producing from an early age, Jono Fernandez has grown into an all-star producer with much of his production and remixes played by industry veterans like David Guetta, Tiesto and Thomas Gold. We are excited for his new upcoming album as he recently came off his March Of The Monkeys tour for his single of the same name. Whilst Jono is known for his affinity to big room, he promises with his ability to play multiple instruments that his upcoming artist album will aim ‘to blue the lines between’ genres. The year has already seen Jono win the Budweiser Producer/DJ of the Year title at the Australian Independent Music Awards. The future is bright for Fernandez and the crazy part is that he is only just getting started.

DJ Mag Australia - What is your present state of mind?

Tired but happy after a whirlwind national ‘March Of The Monkeys’ tour to the opposite sides of the country supporting my single release of the same name.

DJ Mag Australia - Tell us about your musical journey up until now?

It’s been a long one through many different sounds and cities. I’ve been playing musical instruments since i was knee high, producing music since i was a teenager and releasing music since i hit my 20′s.

Have been DJing since i was 15 and was an early adopter of Ableton Live, controllers and effects units which i switched to as it felt like a more musical and less restricted approach to my performances.

I’ve been signed to some amazing labels both here in Australia and overseas, i’ve been touring Australia for the past decade and am just about to embark on my first US tour.

DJ Mag Australia - Name 5 industry people who have influenced your career as an artist in Australia.

Jane Slingo – My faithful manager has guided my career for many years.

Ivan Gough – Not only a legendary producer, He’s been there to offer advice and help whenever i’ve needed it since i first started making electronic music.

Phil K – A pioneer in Australian dance music who always pushed me to think outside the box.

Gab Oliver – One of the Melbourne Sunny Side Up / Zero Tolerance old skool who taught me a lot about music production.

Stewart Hanna – DMC Australia / Zero Tolerance boss who gave me my first leg up in the industry and signed my first record.

DJ Mag Australia - What projects are you currently working on?

Just wrapped a 9 date tour around Oz which was awesome. Released my March Of The Monkeys single and The Remixes were released a couple of weeks ago, featuring remixes from Tigerlily, Kid Kenobi, Silver Sneakerz and Jay Karama.

I’ve got a new remix out on Armada on April 7, I’m really proud of this remix. It’s an absolute classic from an important time musically in Melbourne in Australia, re-rubbed for 2014. Really happy with my fresh take on this classic!

I’ve got three new originals close to finished, one of which will be out in May, so head down in the studio on those right now!

I’m also working on my first ever artist album which is really exciting. The album will be a mix of electronic instruments, classical instruments and rock instruments. I’m aiming to blur the lines between some of these genres and create a blend that comes from the heart and will hopefully result in some truly unique sounds. My music tends to be about capturing a certain emotion and I aim to further explore that with a broader canvas within the context of an album. It’s early days on it but I’m loving the creative freedom I’m getting working on this in the studio! - DJ Mag


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Jono Fernandez remixes for artists like Groove Armada, Cedric Gervais and Morgan Page and his tracks get played by such DJs as David Guetta, Tiësto and Thomas Gold. But in 2014, the Sydney-based producer will do something he hasn’t done before: recording his first artist album.

While the origins of Jono’s music production can be traced to his bedroom at age 15, he’s spent over a decade now releasing music on some of the world’s top dance labels. The last year alone has seen Jono Fernandez releases on Chris Lake’s Rising Music, Mark Brown’s CR2 Records and Australian dance fixture OneLove. Tracks like “Lights Are Fading” (with Twin Atoms) and “Hear Me” (with Katrina Noorbergen) charted well in his home of Australia, paving the way for him to crack the UK club market with “Let It Out” and the Beatport charts with his Kaz James collaboration, “Stars.”

Anthemic, unapologetic, and custom-made for the big room, Jono’s music has never held back and his new material is no exception. His next single, “March of the Monkeys” is a pulsating peak-hour jam that compromises neither on melody or Jono’s own cheeky sense of humor.

Jono promises that his album won’t be entirely club bangers; during the recording process he plans to mix things up and draw upon his background as a multi-instrumentalist (Jono plays guitar, piano, bass, violin and flute), mixing electronic instruments with those of the rock and classical variety.

“I'm aiming to blur the lines between some of these genres and create a blend that comes from the heart and will hopefully result in some truly unique sounds,” Jono says of the album. “Stylistically I want to incorporate orchestral, rock, and modern experimental sounds into what I normally do, which is more traditionally electronic.”

In fact, while Jono’s work sounds at home across global festival stages and nightclubs alike, that Jono himself is not actually a DJ but a live producer sets him apart from many of his peers. A longtime champion of Ableton Live, what you hear in a Jono Fernandez live show is not played from pre-recorded CDJs or mp3s, but from the sounds produced live on a laptop, an APC40, an effects unit and a hell of a lot of trigger pads.

2014 will also see Jono tour the US as the winner of the Budweiser Producer/DJ of the Year at the Australian Independent Music Awards. His debut US performance is at Marquee Las Vegas in October, supporting none other than Porter Robinson.

Even as Jono continues to produce and release music at a pace that most would find dizzying, the truth is, we have yet to see the full range of talent this one-of-a-kind producer has to offer.

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