The Pharmacy music label has some of the best artists on the trace scene at the moment and will unleash their ‘Phase 2’ mix this week showcasing them. The man at the helm is the hugely talented Jonathan Allyn for which we thought we’d grab a word with…
He is soon becoming one of the beigest names in trance and over the past few years has let his music demonstrate why. Jonathan Allyn injected himself onto the scene back in 2009 with a debut on Christopher Lawrence’s label Pharmacy Music. He’s a man who knows a thing or two about a good tune and his ear liked the sound coming out of Jonathan Allyn. His underground style with uplifting qualities brought us records like ‘Taking Sides’ and ‘Fracture’ which have featured in the play list of some of the biggest dance artists on the scene. His ear for a good mix is just as good as his one for making a tune and he’s been all over the States pumping out his sound to trance fans. He has a special bond with the Pharmacy label and now they have delivered him to the next 'Phase' of his label contributions by asking him to mix their ‘Phase 2’ compilation.
The mix is a full on journey of the very best of Pharmacy and a follow on from the first which brought some of the early tracks the label brought out. Jonathan Allyn has brought it right up to date and selection a sizzling selection of psy and progressive trance tunes hand picked by him for the mix. We loved the first compilation and the news of one our favourite artists delivering the second has got us very excited! We felt the need to gather more data on this Jonathan Allyn so it was only right we put him through a throughout interrogation. Welcome to i:Vibes, Jonathan Allyn!
i:Vibes: Hi Jonathan, this is the first time we’ve had you behind the i:Vibes interrogation desk, it’s a great honour. Let’s start from the beginning, how were the early years growing up for Jonathan Allyn?
Jonathan: Hello i:vibes. It’s great to be here talking with you today. So, from the beginning… The early years were tough. I came from a broken home, was out on my own by 16 and found my family in the Punk Rock scene. Growing up was more about surviving my circumstances and throughout the years I spent time living on the streets, sleeping in abandoned houses and jumping freight trains. It wasn’t an easy life but the punk scene was my family and through it I found my love for music. By the time I was 21 though I knew my future was looking grim and in the end, there was this defining moment that brought about the next phase of my life. Back in 97’, I remember being kicked out of our squat by the fire department and hanging out on Hollywood Blvd with this 17 year old kid who had tattoo's all over his face. All I could think about was how he was in it for life. It made me look at where I was and think about all that I had been through. Ultimately, I knew that I wanted a better future but the biggest hurdle was getting off the streets. Coincidently, that was the day I met Sarah. While some might think it’s a cliché, I can honestly say that trance saved my life.
i:Vibes: Can you recall any early influences that took you down the musical direction you’re passionately involved in these days?
Jonathan: My roots are in the punk scene so bands like Conflict, The Pist, Blatz, Draino, Final Conflict and Initial State were all huge influences for me. I was also into industrial bands like KMFDM, Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy & Laibach. Looking back as to how they relate to my sound. These bands were not part of the mainstream culture. Instead they were deeply rooted in the underground counter culture which is where I stand today.
i:Vibes: Who were your dance music icons when growing up?
Jonathan: It all started with Christopher Lawrence and his ‘Rise’ album. Earlier I mentioned Sarah and it was her that helped me get off the streets and her that turned me onto trance. She had a friend that had Christopher’s album and after a long night of partying, I remember hearing the bells off his first track (Phreaks – Huntemann) and that was it. I was hooked…
i:Vibes: What sort of music did you used to listen to that got you hooked on the trance sound in particular?
Jonathan: I loved everything that came out on Hook Recordings, Fragrant and Planetary Consciousness. Chris Cowie is the genius who started Hook and produced under the aliases of X-Cabs & Deniro. Christopher Lawrence, Transa, Sandra Collins & Deepsky were all part of the label and together they championed this tough, underground sound that captivated me.
i:Vibes: Did you ever think you would be able to turn it into a full blown career in your early days producing tracks and putting together sets?
Jonathan: I believe we all move through life, trying to find the one thing we are good at and when I made the decision to get into DJ’ing, everything clicked. Making a career from DJ’ing was always a goal of mine but for me personally, it has always been about the music and giving back to the scene that changed my life. Producing was a natural progression and while I love to write music, I’m most comfortable behind the decks. Overall, this is an amazing adventure and I’m grateful for all of the opportunities that allow me to being doing what I love!!
i:Vibes: It was back in 2009 that your name really got talked about as one to keep an eye on in the future. How did the hook up with Christopher Lawrence’s Pharmacy Music label?
Jonathan: Great question! Back in the day when I was living in Atlanta, my friends were throwing the big massives and I had a number of opportunities to help them out by picking Christopher up from the airport and taking him to the shows. I also ran my own production company for a number of years so over time we built a friendship and as I developed my skills as a DJ and a producer, things just lined up.
i:Vibes: Was Christopher Lawrence an artist you looked up to when coming through the ranks in the early years?
Jonathan: Absolutely. Christopher was the DJ whose sound brought me into dance music.
i:Vibes: How much help has Christopher Lawrence and his label been to you to move forward and how did it feel to be highlighted as his ‘Breakthrough DJ/Producer for 2009’?
Jonathan: It was a great honour and I am very grateful to have been picked for that accolade. Christopher has been a big help and huge supporter of mine. We have done a series of Pharmacy Music nights in Las Vegas, Miami and here in LA at Avalon. They were all a huge success and I look forward to doing more of them with him in the future.
i:Vibes: You have also had tracks released on Andy Moor’s label and tunes featured on a number of Armada Music’s compilations. What other big labels have expressed an interest in your talents?
Jonathan: Steve Birch and I have a project together called LUKA (Los Angeles & UK) for his Spaced Out Recordings imprint. That was a great collaboration for his label and we’re talking about getting the next one started soon. Aside from that, I am really digging what’s happening over at Discover Dark and am currently working with Peter Plaznik on a remix right now. Stay tuned!
i:Vibes: Onto the Pharmacy connection, it must have been a great honour to be selected to mix together their ‘Phase 2’ compilation?
Jonathan: It was. Christopher, his wife Sara and I were out for dinner last year during the Winter Music Conference when they asked me to compile the mix. I was thrilled to do it but knew the biggest challenge was selecting the tracks to feature as there are so many good ones. I was up for the challenge though!
i:Vibes: There has been some sensational music on the Pharmacy label over the years including a few from you such as ‘Taking Sides’ and ‘Fracture’. What are some of your favourite tracks from the label?
Jonathan: That’s a tough one. There are so many! Magnus is on fire right now and is one of the brightest stars in the US trance scene today. He wrote a number of stellar tracks called ‘Lifeforce’ and ‘Eclipse’. Also his ‘Big Break’ collaboration with Jay Selway was outstanding! Fergie and Sadrian’s, ‘Little Boy’ is a favourite as is Sean J Morris’s remix of Christopher Lawrence’s ‘Tremor’ and Christopher’s ‘Faith in the Future’. Ha, all of those are on the compilation!
i:Vibes: What was the brief from Pharmacy for the ‘Phase 2’ mix and what process did you have for the track selection?
Jonathan: They gave me carte blanche to pick out whatever tracks I wanted. In the end, my goal was to create an emotional mix that carried the listener throughout the full spectrum of what Pharmacy Music is about. To do this and before nailing the final mix, I mixed it live in my studio while sorting through every release on the label and seriously considering every one. For me, the most important part of the project was to build a quality mix for the listener and recognize the contributions of the artists who are part of the Pharmacy family.
i:Vibes: How highly do you rate your fellow Pharmacy artists like Sean J Morris, Magnus, Fido X and Jay Selway?
Jonathan: Very high. Pharmacy has some serious talent!! Magnus has been releasing some amazing tracks on Perfecto Fluoro and we’ve been talking about collaborating in the near future. Sean J Morris is classically trained and has an amazing ear for quality music. Jay Selway, is another one, brilliant producer… Fergie and Sadrian, Liam Wilson, Michael J Kober, Fido X and Victor Dinaire are all producing cutting edge tracks!!
i:Vibes: How would you describe the sound of ‘Phase 2’?
Jonathan: ‘Phase 2’ is a dark, driving, underground mix with an uplifting edge.
i:Vibes: You’ve included a new update of an old classic you produced in 2009 ‘Taking Sides’ on the album. What made you re-visit this track and what new sound did you want to inject into the new version?
Jonathan: Taking Sides was one of my favourite tracks and when Christopher asked me to do the compilation I knew it had to be on there. The thing was that Christopher had it on ‘Phase 1’ so I thought what better way to feature the track than to update it for 2013. So I stripped it down, pulled out my favourite parts and went after it with a brand new approach. Fergie and Sadrian turned out a stellar remix as well which will be part of the full release in May.
i:Vibes: How do you think your own sound has developed since early 2008/2009?
Jonathan: Looking back... I have moved more into the Psytrance realm but there is a niche in the genre that gives me the flexibility to move between that, progressive trance and even progressive house. I’ve always had an upfront sound and love being at 138 but also love progressive house so that genre represents the work that I do with AVA and Armada. Jaytech did a brilliant remix of my ‘Near You’ track and is still an overall favourite of mine.
i:Vibes: What were your favourite tracks from the album’s predecessor, Phase 1?
Jonathan: ‘Rock it’ by Christopher Lawrence & Sean j Morris , ‘Continuation’ by Nicholas Bennison & Christopher Lawrence, ‘Forward Command’ by Magnus and ‘Extraversion’ by Gian Carlo were a few.
i:Vibes: What new productions can we look forward to from Jonathan Allyn as we head further into 2013?
Jonathan: I have been in a studio lock down mode and have a whole series of new tunes in the pipeline along with collaborations and remixes for John 00 Fleming & Christopher Lawrence. Peter Plaznik is currently knocking out a remix of mine and I look forward to getting that one out!
i:Vibes: What artists and producers are you really enjoying the music of at the moment?
Jonathan: Faders, Aquatica, Bryan Kearney, Magnus, Peter Plaznik, John Askew, Phil Parry, Indra, Audiotec, Outsiders and Fanalyze are some of my favourites.
i:Vibes: Do you think the trance sound has gone back into the underground, especially the psy style of sound?
Jonathan: I think so. With dance music exploding here in the US it’s become watered down and the core dance music fans are looking for something more. Right now there is a resurgence taking place with legends like Christopher Lawrence, John 00 Fleming and John Askew leading the way along with the new guys like Peter Plaznik, Angry Man, and Indecent Noise. We are on the brink of something big. People are back into the faster tempos; it’s becoming less about the glitz and more about the music. Even Paul Oakenfold is going back to his roots by bringing quality music back to the forefront. This is an exciting time for dance music and I’m glad to be part of it!
i:Vibes: What are your favourite psy trance artists at the moment?
Jonathan: I’m really into anything by Fanalyze, Audiotec, Tropical Bleyage, Ananda Shake, Magnus and Indra. These guys know how to build great melodies and great tracks!
i:Vibes: You spread the good music on your monthly radio show ‘Subterranean’. What can listeners expect to hear on the show?
Jonathan: Thank you. It’s a niche show on Afterhours.FM that is dedicated to the underground. You won’t find many vocals and you won’t find an hour of pure uplifting tunes. You will find music with tracks by artists that many people may not have heard of and that is the goal. Subterranean represents quality music featuring amazing artists that are not necessarily part of the status quo.
i:Vibes: Can we expect your brand new single ‘Torched’ to feature on a future edition?
Jonathan: Absolutely! On March, 15th Subterranean will feature a guest mix by Magnus so look for it to be debuted in April.
i:Vibes: Have you thought about putting together an artist album in the future and when can we expect that?
Jonathan: Great question... It’s something that has been on my mind for a long time now and I am in the process of writing the tracks for one. I’ve set a goal to complete the album by the end of 2013 and hope to have it out by this time next year.
i:Vibes: Where can catch you out on the road over the next few weeks?
Jonathan: We are finalizing a number of gigs out here in LA to support the Album release along with more dates around the US. Booking information and tour dates will be available at my newly designed website. www.jonathanallyn.com
i:Vibes: Do you have any special gigs you’re looking forward for this summer?
Jonathan: I do. We are working on a tour throughout South America and Asia. Stoked!
i:Vibes: Who do you think will mix the next Pharmacy ‘Phase’ compilation?
Jonathan: Fergie and Sadrian would be a great choice! They have a brilliant techno/psytrance sound that would bring a unique perspective to Phase 3.
It’s been a pleasure to have you on i:Vibes Jonathan and thoroughly enjoyed the new compilation! We wish you the best for 2013 and hope to catch up soon!
PHARMACY MUSIC - PHASE 2 (Mixed by Jonathan Allyn)
:: Released on Beatport 11th March / Available through all outlets 25th March