Smokin Jo

After praying good and hard, the girls of East London have had their earthly desires granted and a heavenly force has delivered unto them a hot Easter Sunday party! Going by the somewhat sacriligious name of Sister Pantychrist, this glorious worship of dance music carries on right through the night until 4:30am, and features a fallen angel in the shape of legendary DJ and former Trade resident Smokin Jo, and five (count’em, five) ex nuns called Borja Peña, Cathal, Bisoux, Rebecca Sawyer and DJ Squeaky. 

Ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza we managed to prise Smokin’ Jo away from her divinely duties to find out more about her favourite tracks, what it takes to be a female DJ and what inspired her to pick up her headphones in the ’90s…

What parties and what DJs inspired you to start DJing yourself?

I used to go to all the big raves and underground illegal warehouse parties in the late ’80s: places like Clink St, Sunrise, The Dungeons were all amazing; DJ’s like Colin Favor, Tony Humpries, Evil Eddie Richards, Kid Batchelor really inspired me; the deep house and techno sounds I fell in love with.

When did you make your first ever mix tape?

God… ummm probably around September 1990. I got some decks and used to practise every day, I made tapes and played them in a shop I used to work in. 

What does Trade mean to you?

Trade means so much to me, It was the club that launched my career, not to mention it was utter mayhem every week. It was a dream gig, to be able to play that music to that crowd is something I will NEVER forget. It was a truly special time, the energy and the feeling that everyone was one. Every track I played and every mix I did was greeted with cheers and applause. Magical.

As a longtime London resident and someone who regularly plays here and abroad, what’s your take on the current view in the music press that London’s club scene (both on the smaller night scale and bigger warehouse events) is in dire straits?

I think the press always needs something to complain about. We are very spoilt in London to have such a diverse music scene, and while some clubs maybe are getting a bit stale and lazy, there are lots of underground, illegal or newer parties and venues that are popping up which are amazing. Dance Tunnel, Half Baked, Shelter, The Loft Studios are all amazing. If you want a good night out you need to go and and find it not expect it to come to you.

You’re our fallen angel at Sister Pantychrist… what’s the most angelic or heavenly act you’ve ever committed?

One time in Ibiza my boyfriend and I found a girl who had fallen into the port in Ibiza town, she had lost her friends, had no money and no idea what she was doing, totally off her nut. We took her back to our place and looked after for a few days, gave her food, let her stay and showed her a good time in Ibiza! 

Tell us one track you plan to play that’ll deliver salvation to the crowd…

Pleasurekraft  – American Hustle

What’s the funniest inaccuracy you’ve ever read about yourself?

That I was married to Skin from Skunk Anansie.

You’ve said in the past you found it easier to stand out when you were first starting out as there were only about 4 female DJs in the UK… now that there are a considerable amount more, what does a girl have to do to get noticed?

I guess it is the DJs that treat themselves like a brand that make it now. You have to have an agent, a manager, PR, your own record label, a club night, lots of tracks out. Maybe even your own merchandise. This is not something that I think makes a good DJ but it seems these days you have to have a team behind you to really stand out and make it.

You’ve recently been releasing on Hannah Holland’s Native City label- how did that come about?

I have know Hannah for years, she is a good mate, when she said she was starting a label I jumped at the chance, keep it in the family and all that!

What are your three favourite tracks for dancing to? And not necessarily ones that you’d play out…

The Emotions – Best of My Love

Blackstreet – No Diggity

Soft Cell – Tainted Love

Join Smokin Jo at Sister Pantychrist on Easter Sunday 31st March at Dalston Superstore from 7pm – 4:30am

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