Jonty ScruFFF – Berlin-based Brit, Sisyphos resident, and acclaimed ‘industry guru’ and ‘dance music mogul’ – has been in the global music business since the early ’90s. In his Guest Session, Jonty shared stories and approaches to entering the music business, and how to get the most out of a creative career.
Put down your phone. Close the Facebook tab. Sink deep into the permanence of your chair. Imagine – just for a minute – that these words are not pixels but print, that your fingers and thumbs are smudging circles over crisp paper. There is no www, no so-and-so from school’s birthday, no Tinder match, no like, comment, share, retweet, delete – just this moment. Are you bored yet?
Ever-connected, ever-distracted, our generation has forgotten what real boredom feels like. So addicted to our phones, we have rejected the nothingness, the idleness, the secret subconscious garden where ideas blossom out from behind our backs. We live too fast to think, when switching off is the key to creativity.
Where does legendary DJ Jonty ScruFFF find his ‘eureka!’ moments? When he’s letting his mind roam free. The Berlin-based Brit, Sisyphos resident, and acclaimed ‘industry guru’ and ‘dance music mogul’ has been in the global music business since the early ’90s. In that time, he’s worked as a multimedia journalist, an international conference curator (ADE / Rio Music Conference / Sochi Winter Music Conference) and more recently as Pioneer DJ’s club/DJ representative man-in-Berlin. In fact, Jonty’s too-many-to-mention achievements – across countries, disciplines and decades – leave you wondering how on earth the eclectic deep techno DJ finds time to just “trance out” at all.
We were lucky enough to get a window on the maverick’s wisdom when he joined us at Catalyst for a special Guest Session. Over two insightful hours, Jonty shared stories and approaches to entering the music business, and how to get the most out of a creative career. He also provided invaluable constructive feedback to all of our attending students, including talented vocalist and producer Roz Yuen.
“Jonty was full of wisdom and great advice,” Roz told us after the session. “We all know it’s tough surviving and thriving in the music industry. Rejection is without fairness or logic, and you essentially have to make your own path. However, overall, his message was very positive. You have to stick with it, ride out the highs and lows, make mistakes and humiliate yourself sometimes, but always keep moving.”
Keen to learn even more about the man behind the SkruFFF, we took Jonty aside to ask him what is the one thing that fuels his creativity. Here’s what he told us.
My One Thing
“Listening to music and reading (especially musician biographies, but also newspapers, magazines, blogs and long-form articles) relentlessly sparks fresh ideas. I find particular creative inspiration comes from going to the gym – trancing out on the cross trainer, mostly – and letting my mind roam free...”
“...With no effort or intention at all, I consistently experience those ‘eureka!’ moments. Towards the end of a session, in particular, it happens so much that I frequently find myself having to stop and write things down on my phone.”