Today we are speaking to DJ Jon Besant during his performances at The Village @ Yasalam 2015 on the sidelines of the F1 Abu Dhabi GP 2015.
DJ Jon Besant who hails from the musical town of Manchester has played all over with residency stops in such exotic places as Cyprus, Marbella, Dubai and around near locations in the middle East, and has created his own growing brand, so lets set upon finding out a bit more.
1. Jon, tell us about your upcoming exciting gig @ The Village at Yasalam for F1, What you got planned and who else will be joining you?
Its been an honour to be asked by the guys at Flash to play at Yasalam alongside Enrique Iglesias, Florence and the Machine, and of course, Blur. Its going to be really really exciting for me because known as a classics House DJ this gives me a chance to be a bit more versatile so then playing some 90s cheese for the Enrique gig, some real House classics for Florence and the Machine, and for Blur some typical Britpop. I will be joined by Tim Derry who I have worked with on many many gigs throughout the UAE and who was the first person to give me my first gig here nearly ten years ago here.
2. For those maybe not yet familiar with you as an Artist, describe your style / Vibe:
I run a worldwide event called ‘History’ in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Marbella, Ibiza, the UK which is based on House music classics, vocal classics that everybody can sing and dance to.
3. Taking a step back, Tell us, growing up, at what point did you know you wanted to be a DJ and Promoter? Have you been skilled all your life at getting people together?
The first time I wanted to become a DJ was my best friend at school who had a set of of Technics 1210s at school and this guy was amazing doing all scratching and mixing and stuff like that and I was hooked from the moment I watched him DJ and then every weekend we used to go out together and go record shopping so I owe this to my best friend Michael and we are still best friends now. Regarding getting people together, I think that is my biggest skill. Promotion and creating hype and creativity.
4. You’ve created your own expanding brand, ‘History of House’. At what point did you have that Aha! moment where you knew it could become a brand? Where were you and what were you doing at the time?
Like every idea I have, its when I can’t sleep at night. I literally grab the nearest piece of paper and start writing things down and annoyingly message people on Facebook and then literally a few days later things are born. History was created off the back of a radio show that I did about the history of house music in Manchester.
5. Tell us about how your brand has unfolded and further developed?
As mentioned before from one gig in Manchester which sold out to six and a half thousand people then next international gig came about due to Mark Pickup a local DJ here who said bring this to Dubai. And one of the other stories people don’t know is I do a lot of work for the homeless which I will talk about shortly and one day I did a homeless Christmas dinner and that day it was in December 2013 I had a phone call. I had set up the dinner, everyone was sat around the table, all the volunteers were serving out food and giving gifts and I went and sat in my car and at that moment I literally the second I sat in that car I had a phone call from Ocean Beach in Ibiza from a guy called Tony Truman to say Jon we’ve decided to give you a crack with Ocean Beach. Now for me its the holy grail of the yearly event. All eyes are on Ocean Beach Ibiza every year and I’m very fortunate to work with these guys.
6. You do a LOT of collaborations. When working with others what are things you look for in people that you admire to make you want to work with them?
Yes I do a lot of collaborations with local promoters and artists. I think what I look for…I look for myself in these people, people that aren’t scared to get out there and network, people that are willing to put that extra bit in on social media, people who will go that extra mile. One of my biggest downfalls is I expect everyone to have the same work ethic and passion as myself so I do push people very hard.
7. What have been some of your standout partnerships and collaborations?
I think for me the standout partnership is with Greg Dufton and Tim Derry who are very successful long term promoters in Dubai not only because of the opportunities they have given me, they’ve also brought my talent to the fore by getting me involved with many of their events and venues including the monthly Journey Through House at Zero Gravity.
8.For those who know you, you get up to a LOT of Charity work. Tell us more about that and what you do and how others can help you out further?
Regarding my charity work, I do charity work in the Middle East and also at home in Manchester. In the Middle East I try to raise awareness and just share humanity more than anything else for the south Asian workers be it the builders to taxi drivers to waiters or waitresses purely because they are her for exactly the same reason we are as expats which is to better their life or someone else’s life. At home in Manchester leaving clubs at 3 or 4 am in the morning I’m walking past so many homeless people especially in the winter and realise it doesn’t just always have to be about money, giving people your time and your humanity just goes a long long way.
10. Where is the best place online for people to go and find you, to follow you?
Best place to find me is on Facebook is on my Jon Besant account which is my most active, on Instagram @historyparties and on Skype: jonbesant