Many know Jonny From Space (AKA Jonathan Trujillo) as an adventurous producer who delivers distinctive sets at his local music festivals and raves. Others may simply know him as one of Club Space's resident DJs. But by any measure, Trujillo is part of a greater constellation that binds all the stars together.
A DJ since 2017, Trujillo has opened for the likes of Textasy at Space's sister venue, Floyd, in December.
And last Thursday he took over the 11th Street nightclub's livestream to pour his passion for music into a two-hour set.
"I just wanted to do something different and play something my flavor," he tells New Times.
Under normal circumstances, playing an ethereal ambient tune to warm up the room would tend to clear the dance floor.
These aren't normal circumstances.
"I was really nervous about how people would take the vibe changes," he confesses. "I'd imagine myself playing at a rave with friends, and that was kinda how I wanted to go about it."
Trujillo coolly transitioned out of difficult-to-maneuver genres throughout the set. He played deep electronic tracks from Joy Orbison, threw in a cappella of Underground Kingz "Int' l Players Anthem," thinned the set out with some ambient interludes, and thickened it with drum breaks.
Success didn't come easy for Trujillo. Before working his way into a residency, he had to first serve as a backup DJ for Space, eventually graduating to back-to-back sets with the resident DJs. He earned his bona fides when the owners gave him the ultimate test: opening for Diplo and Carnage during Super Bowl weekend.
"I was up for the challenge," Trujillo says. "They paired me up with Danyelino, and we killed it. I played everything I wanted to play and got the proper reaction."
With an alias born out of a late-night discussion between Trujillo, Space co-owner David Sinopoli, and DJ and producer Maceo Plex — and later reaffirmed by Danny Daze — Trujillo's soundscape appropriately reaches far outside the confines of Earth.
Though he was producing as a nameless entity as early as 2015, Trujillo didn't release an album until this past January. In a scant 22 minutes across six tracks, the self-released REM explores the sounds of ambient and experimental music. Perhaps making up for lost time, he followed up in March with Head First, a percussion-heavy and feverish sounding album released on the local label Space Tapes.
"I've come to fully accept whatever it is I'm feeling in the moment: environment, emotions, mental state," Trujillo says. "I let my surroundings affect the music I'm producing, and that causes my music production to be all over the place."
Trujillo's clubbing origins can be traced back to the now-closed venue Bardot, where he befriended like-minded people in the industry, including Sinopoli, who was the venue's head of programming and cofounder of III Points. Impressed by Trujillo's work ethic, Sinopoli approached him about joining the team at III Points and, eventually, Space.
Trujillo's hard work has also paid off in collaborative efforts with the underground dance scene; he's worked with up-and-coming acts like INVT and played at DIY rave events spearheaded by Sister System and True Vine.
"It becomes more of a family business where everyone has their lanes," Trujillo says. "But there are intersections where we all cross — and beautiful things happen."
Still, as the pandemic continues, Trujillo misses the human that connection venues like Space provide.
"That whole crew is an extension of my family," he laments. "Other than having my whole body shake from a powerful subwoofer — which is one of the best things ever — I miss seeing all my friends. You can't replicate that raw state of emotion anywhere. After I rewatched my live set, I was kinda in a funk and said, 'Damn, that was fun, but I really wish I did that in front of my friends.'"
Pathos aside, Trujillo is making proper use of the downtime.
"I make a cup of coffee, surf through my record collection, look for new music, gather ideas, and spend the whole day working on my own music — new ideas more than old ideas."
Trujillo says he hopes to finish an album by the end of the year, as well as an EP of tracks that didn't make the cut.
He also hints at projects with Nick Léon and Daze, including Daze's upcoming EP, Protocol 305. Slated for release next month on the legendary Schematic Records, the release will feature "Execute," a track Trujillo worked on.
"I'm very honored to be a part of it," he says.
Yet, despite all the success, Trujillo isn't looking to be the next big-name producer.
"I definitely consider myself someone who lives through music," he says. "I'm not here for the money or status. I genuinely love and live this. It's all I know, and I want the best for it."