DJ Jason gets started
Dj Jason. Like most of the early and original NYC Gothic Scene DJs, uses his real name as his DJ name.
You can find Jason's name adorning countless flyers from all across the years of the NYC Gothic clubs
Having been a music enthusiast and serious collector since he was a kid, Jason took on his first DJing in his college days, this was back in 1988. Also developing (and still having) a love for sound equipment, lighting & of course, fog-machines, Jason started to organise his own parties during his college days.
The NYC Invasion
On top of this, he would regularly make mix tapes, while organising and DJing music at dorm/house theme parties, these parties would always have hundreds of people attending. Later in graduate school, he could be found on his own radio show called Necrophiliac Relationship (named after a Rozz Williams lyric).
Jason also found a love for going to concerts, shows and, later on, nightclub events, but for a long time found no events that played strictly gothic music. ”Goth clubs” at that time played mostly mainstream alternative songs and little to no actual goth… but there were great concerts and a lot of fans waiting for their music. A purely Gothic nightclub event, Club Darkwave, changed things and became the start of an ongoing New York tradition. Jason met DJ Daniel and DJ Patrick before they were DJs, back when DJ David of Club Darkwave was the first & only NYC pure Gothic DJ, later being joined by DJ Vanessa Miasma who later became the first of all the Gothic DJ to spin at The BANK when it was a new club.
Things began to take off
In between College (BFA) and Graduate School (MFA), Jason managed an underground record store called Secret Sounds. Later, because no one else with as comprehensive of a music collection was available, was recruited to DJ and reluctantly started spinning (and promoting) in Manhattan, this was probably the "real" start as a "real DJ".
Alchemy Mondays began in Sept. 1996 and sadly ended in 2006. It was a weekly party at the legendary CBGB’s Gallery. The club space was the largest that any pure Gothic party ever had in NYC history, Jason was the only DJ during open hours. Most events then only had one DJ per room and the door girl/Co-promoter/the other DJ, only sometimes spun after the door was closed. Alchemy was a very big hit from the start. It fast became a pillar of the scene and innovated many later standard promotional ideas, tactics and themes. While, exceptionally successful and popular, Alchemy, New York City’s longest running pure Goth Night, was also in the NYC musical tradition of past short-lived “pure goth” nights like Club Darkwave with DJ David, Tocsin with DJ Daniel and some little nights featuring DJ Patrick such as the original version of Salvation (run by James Galus). In addition, Alchemy hosted between one and three live Gothic, synth & Industrial bands almost every week.
Some of Alchemy‘s memorable events were “the Miss Gothic NYC Pageant” an annual event, “Bash Fat Bob” a Cure Tribute party, “Gothic Lipsynch night”, a crazy competition & “Secret Satan” an annual gothic gift exchange. People loved the annual “Gothic Easter Hunt” we hosted too. Every Egg had a drink ticket in it. Previous to Alchemy, there were no goth theme nights in NYC outside of regular holiday parties.
Spreading his wings
The Co-promoter of Alchemy, (Althea) and Jason traveled to all of the biggest festivals in the UK including WGT in Germany yearly, so he was always able to play the very best cutting edge underground songs. No other DJ in the scene had as much specific music, old or new. Very few people guest DJed at Alchemy, but many wished they could.
Jason did a night with James Galus called Shadowplay every week where 6 Djs were booked to spin on each night. This number of DJs in one room was unheard of previously.
Later, in 98, Jason started the irregularly running multi-dj Absolution party. At first only booking Gothic DJs, but since it was so successful, Industrial and New Wave DJs were added to the 2nd room, 24 djs total at max. This was held in CBGB’s basement, the Limelight, Flamingo East, Seho, Alphabet Lounge, a one off (due to a disaster) at the Limelight! & recently @ Youth Palace, UC 87, The Annex & Fontanas.
Absolution has been a kick start for almost all of the current scene DJs by giving them a nice dance floor & big crowd to spin to, promote to and network with. It was the largest Gothic event in the city outside of The BANK’s mainstream alternative Saturday night, which was very commercial in contrast.
1997 also was when Wasteland (monthly, then weekly) at the famous Coney Island High rock & roll club started. It was the first “Classic Goth” themed night in NYC and was a precursor to the Death Rock revival movement in NYC. Joey Ramone’s Brother was the bartender and it stayed open so late that it was always light outside when we left.
Jason spun the main floor for one the earliest big NYC Vampyre nights, Flesh and Blood at The Bank, and later (a solo room weekly) at Long Black Veil at Mother through to it’s death and rebirth as Xorvia at True nightclub. After Xorvia ended, Jason found himself DJing and co-promoting a weekly event called Electra-City at the same club with Dj Ian Fford and Hal Gould of the The Bank fame. He also spun in place of Patrick at Albion/Batcave and later at Albion Saturdays every month including it’s very last night.
He also spun his own floor for DJ Father Jeff’s return to the nightlife at the weekly Radio Deutchland (run by DJ Ash) @ the Pyramid and later for his weekly Ward 6 party. Later, he hired DJ Father Jeff, Dj Ian Fford & DJ Jarek to spin with him for his two level Sundown Fridays party.
He was the only DJ at the monthly party The Court of Lazarus from it’s time at Jeckle and Hyde, 2002 through to 2007 at the Slipper room.
He spun in his own room at the mega-clubs, in the Limelight for Communion weekly, and the Tunnel for The Prophesy.
There have been near countless special appearances as guest DJ spots, some of the ones on that list would be; Click and Drag @ Mother, Exedor @ the Bank & @ The Pyramid, Heroes @ Mother, Sanctuary @ Sanctuary, Church @ Avalon (formerly the Limelight) to name just a few.
For a period of around ten years, Dj Ian Fford and Dj Jason were the only 2 truly “professional” DJs in the industry. Having little or no time for other work at all.
Jason probably started & resurrected more DJs than any other promoter in the history of NYC’s Gothic scene history. Also creating, judging, producing and running NYC’s GOTH AWARD SHOW, with Voltaire as MC in 2004, handing out awards for categories like “Longest Running Event”, “Best Door Person”, “Longest Running Goth DJ”, etc, etc. It was a very funny event and well enjoyed by all that attended. A few DJs even used their awards as tag-lines for years after.
Jason was invited to spin at Cafe Noir at the original Batcave space, was also invited to spin at Gossips, in London, but chose to only spin at The Slimelight in “the Goth room”, also getting to spin at the NYC edition of Slimelight.
There were a great many other brief club nights he worked at also, but the previously mentioned were all long running or very important to the scene.
Dj Jason, Absolution and dj Xtine
Jason will always give thanks for the love and support given by DJ Xtine, a fellow veteran promoter, after he returned to NYC in 2009 after a one year break and resumed doing the scene favorite party, ABSOLUTION in an effort to breathe some life into the surprisingly weakened NYC Gothic/Industrial scene. Absolution has been running weekly for well over 2 years now and has featured all of the current stars in the scene as well as hosted many record release parties and tour promotions. He had also resumed bringing underground Gothic bands to NYC with a biweekly goth band event on Saturdays called INCANTATION that also features local dark acts.