No ifs, no ands, and definitely no buts about it. When DJ Jonathan Brody is asked to define his genre, he comes back with a quick and decisive, "Disco, disco, disco!" Sure, it swings "from new disco to Italo-disco to disco-house," but in the end, it's clear: This cat's got it bad for the four-to-the-floor.
Born in London but raised right here in Miami, Brody cites Escort ("a great group") as a key influence. However, consider the fact that the act is best known as the back track for the Muppets' "All Through the Night." It's either some joke or a stroke of genius on Brody's part — perhaps a good bit of both.
On the more serious side, Brody also cites as an influence the late, great Larry Levan, of New York's legendary Paradise Garage. Then again, how could he not? Levan is perhaps the one spinner most responsible for the way we dance now, not to mention the way DJs spin, no matter what beats they're getting dizzy with. Since Levan also had a hand in disco classics such as Gwen Guthrie's "Ain't Nothin' Goin on but the Rent," Taana Gardner's "Heartbeat," and the Peech Boys' "Don't Make Me Wait," it only makes sense that Brody would be swayed by the grooves the man paved.
DJ Jonathan Brody
DJ Jonathan Brody: Thursdays at Happy House at PS14, Miami. Saturdays at Poplife at White Room, Miami. myspace.com/happyhousedisco
A third, yet no less vital, influence on Brody is New York DJ Jacques Renault, one of the key players in disco's re-emergence, especially among the dance-punk set. Like Renault, Brody is all about parties, and he has spun at shindigs such as Off the Radar, The Attic, and APT. Now he holds it down at PS14's brand-new Happy House (where he resides alongside Benton Galgay and Carlos Llanos), and at Poplife on Saturdays. And through these parties, he has made it his mission to put back the magic in our city's nickname — and its nights.
Hit PS on a Thursday and see for yourself. Mike Dunn's "Phreaky Mutha Fucka" bounces off Mr. Fingers' "Can You Feel It;" In Flagranti's "Business Acumen" slips into, over, and through "Can't Stop" by Plez; and the whole wild evening ties together under the joyful haze of Loose Joints' immortally terrific "Is It All over My Face."
So, if you've come to a point in your clubgoing life where you want the DJ to play what he means, and for what he means to be utterly playful, well, give Jonathan Brody a spin. You'll never say, "Disco is dead," again.
Jonathan Brody's "The Tight & Just Right Five":
1. "iii" (Quiet Village No Edit)," the Osmonds
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2. "Tell You in Dub," Willie Dragg
3. "Time Reveals," Bernard Badie
4. "Lotuk (Runaways Lost in Desire Remix)," Arsenal
5. "You Got Me Running" (Danny Krivit's Breakdown Edit)," Lenny Williams