Jonty Skrufff - The Interviewer Gets Interviewed

Jonty Skrufff spins dirty rocking electro-disco-tech, playing regular international guest slots everywhere from Brazil (Gloria) and China (Hong Kong's Volar) to the Czech Republic (Elektra) as well as being a resident DJ at UK poly-sexual institution DTPM (at London super-club Fabric).

His passion for music is definitely one of the factors that made possible the evolution of both a provider of super news and fresh articles and also a passionate and motivated DJ. A regular guest at London's coolest alternative, mixed clubs including Trailer Trash and mad tranny fetish institution Kaos, he also DJs in many of Europe's hippest alternative destinations including Berlin (Club Rio), Paris (Le Paris Paris) and Madrid (Club Specka) as well as at Serbia's upcoming Exit Festival, in Novi Sad this July.

Alongside his thriving DJ career (last year he also played Ministry, Turnmills, The End's AKA and Heaven) Jonty continues to run his hugely credible alternative press agency and e-zine Skrufff-E, which marks its 5 year birthday in June with 3 parties at Trailer Trash, Family and DTPM. He also produces and presents the Skrufff Show on Ministry Of Sound Radio which Ministry has recently selected as one of their key new weekly live shows for when the station goes digital this June. You can find Jonty Skruff on myspace at

Beat Factor: What is the difference between Jonty Skrufff and Mr. Scruff? Both persons are DJs...Is this (Jonty Skrufff) your real name?

Jonty Skrufff: We're totally different people (though by coincidence both come from Stockport, near Manchester). I know very little about him, we're in totally different scenes and never cross paths (so far). I took the name of Skrufff from my business partner's dog, when I set up the press agency in 2001.

Alcohol and tobacco cause many more deaths in users than do drugs. Decriminalization would not prevent us from treating drugs as we now treat alcohol and tobacco:
Beat Factor: You're a music journalist. What's your opinion upon this invasion of blogs?

Jonty Skrufff: I think the explosion of media via the internet is changing everything, I think blogs, pod casts, online newspapers and Google are all great- the role of the journalist, reader and DJ- is also changing- we're all becoming filters. There's so much information and music coming out each week that there's a demand for people to select, process, understand and communicate what's happening, worldwide.

Beat Factor: How come you still have time to write, play music in weekends and even make music? Is this sane?

Jonty Skrufff: Hmmm, sane? Not sure, I don't have any choice, I'm a total workaholic, sometimes surprising myself at working every possible hour of the day (I'm writing this at 5am, in a coffee bar at Luton airport, waiting for a plane to take me to Berlin, from where I'll take a train this afternoon to Prague where I'm DJing at 1am). I LOVE what I do, both DJing and writing and want to do it as well as I can. Every job involves hard work, at least my hard work is (usually) an absolute pleasure.

Beat Factor: Working for TV, radio, print magazines and the internet allows you to meet new people every day. Do you consider yourself a sociable person or you're just doing your job?

Jonty Skrufff: I'm very sociable and love meeting people, so DJ-ing is great for introducing me to people from all over the world, usually really interesting people who share my enthusiasm for music, partying and alternative culture.

Beat Factor: Why do you think for the most part, people associate electronic music with drugs?

Jonty Skrufff: Of course there's a link because many people who like clubbing like taking drugs, though equally all kinds of other people take drugs, with alcohol being a drug that's consumed by nearly everyone (certainly in England).

Beat Factor: What's your position on drugs?

Jonty Skrufff: I don't take any drugs at all (don't drink or even smoke) though my position is that all drugs should be legalized without question. The greatest harm from drugs is unquestionably caused by their illegality (eg contaminated drugs, people having their futures ruined because they're unlucky enough to be busted) and the war on drugs is clearly failing absolutely. I subscribe to the eminent Economics' genius Milton Friedman's view in a column he wrote in 1972 (!)

Alcohol and tobacco cause many more deaths in users than do drugs. Decriminalization would not prevent us from treating drugs as we now treat alcohol and tobacco: prohibiting sales of drugs to minors, outlawing the advertising of drugs and similar measures. Such measures could be enforced, while outright prohibition cannot be. Moreover, if even a small fraction of the money we now spend on trying to enforce drug prohibition were devoted to treatment and rehabilitation, in an atmosphere of compassion not punishment, the reduction in drug usage and in the harm done to the users could be dramatic.

Beat Factor: Can you describe your colleagues from the 'Skrufff-E &' press agency? How do you keep in touch with them when touring as a DJ?

Jonty Skrufff: We have a variety of contributors including techno DJ Dave Clarke, Judge Jules, electro-clash types Larry Tee and Princess Superstar and a number of other people. All of them are opinionated, outspoken, passionate people, and we all communicate principally via email (though Skype and Jah Jah are increasingly coming into play).

Beat Factor: You mentioned that you'll release some original productions. Can you give us many details about that?

Jonty Skrufff: I've just done a fresh bootleg/ remix combining Traxx Dillaz - 15 Years On Acid with Fidelity Kastrow's I Like It 69, which is hopefully getting a release in Germany and Japan recently. I'm also just doing a remix of Futon's Gay Boy - Futon are headed by Bee, our Skrufff man-in-Bangkok- the track is a monster, that's never been a hit, I'm currently reworking it, hopefully to add even more energy."

Beat Factor: Has ever happened to you to be musically influenced by the DJs and producers you meet / interview? If so, by who?

Jonty Skrufff: I'm influenced constantly by everybody I meet and interview, I deliberately ask them questions relating to issues I'm coping with from how they deal with people pestering them in the booth to handling isolation when traveling all the time. And musically, I'm also constantly on the hunt for new tunes, and DJs and producers are the best place for upfront, super-new tracks. People who've inspired me include Judge Jules (for his work ethic), Dave Clarke (for his refusal to compromise or kiss ass) and Larry Tee (for going for it). And yes, all three are Skrufff contributors, and I'm delighted to have their involvement."

Features Archive


Jonty Skrufff - The Interviewer Gets Interviewed

January 16, 2007 at 4:13 PM CET


Beat Factor

Beat Factor: You have played in several venues and countries and the promoters' reactions after the shows are pretty good. What are you planning to do with your DJ career?

Jonty Skrufff: I love DJ-ing and playing in new countries so the plan is to keep building it, adding more countries to my network, simultaneously developing Skrufff. The two are totally tied together.

Beat Factor:Have you ever tought about resigning DJ-ing?

Jonty Skrufff: I've only just begun! No, I'm not considering retiring at all. I LOVE DJ-ing.

Beat Factor: As a journalist, what electronic musicians do you think rang the bell in 2006?

Jonty Skrufff: My favorite producers were Digitalism, Switch, Simian Mobile Disco, Soulwax, Alter Ego all of whom some delivered amazing rocking fresh dance music. There's loads of great music coming out right now, we're living in interesting times (again).

Beat Factor: Can you describe a strange thing that happened on a gig of yours?

Jonty Skrufff: Someone threw a lemon at me at Le Paris Paris when I dropped Bizarre Inc's Playing With Knives, which seemed a little odd. I was also menaced by wild dogs in Kiev when I returned to my hotel and found it all locked up (fortunately the guard opened the hotel gate before the dogs got too close.

Beat Factor: If you have to make a summing-up of your work for 2006, what would you say?

Jonty Skrufff: It was relentless, but a great year. I'm really enthusiastic about this year, with gigs booked for South Africa, Czech Republic, Dubai and Bahrain in the coming months (with loads more bubbling, including return gigs in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia penciled- I really like playing in Eastern Europe).

Beat Factor: Your style of music is described as rocking electro-disco-tech. What producers can you recommend from this point?

Jonty Skrufff: Digitalism, Switch, Cajuan, Riot In Belgium, Soulwax- all names to watch out for.

Beat Factor: What kind of music are you listening at the moment?

Jonty Skrufff: Rocking electro-disco-tech

Beat Factor: Is it blonde your natural color of the hair?

Jonty Skrufff: I'm not telling you;-)

Beat Factor: Speaking about hair and style, do you think it's important for a DJ to have his own personal look?

Jonty Skrufff: Definitely. Dj-ing is all about a vibe and energy; the DJ's personality, presence and how she or she dresses makes a huge difference."

Beat Factor: In a few months the 2007 edition of the Miami WMC will start. Will you be there?

Jonty Skrufff: Definitely NOT! I went in 2000 and absolutely loathed it. The parties were terrible, massive queues to get in anywhere, then when you got in they were 90% full of American guys in shorts, all networking and giving out business cards. Also ridiculously expensive. I'd recommend avoiding it at all costs, even if someone's paying your way.

Beat Factor: Do you think this event still has its importance from the past few years?

Jonty Skrufff: Not for me.

Beat Factor: And finally, is there anything that we've missed in this 'interview' about you?

Jonty Skrufff: I'm SUPER-keen to come and DJ in Romania- let's get it on.

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