For most DJs, if you were to take away their laptop, they might have a tougher go of it during a performance. For Houston native Jonathan Toubin, he regularly voluntarily forgoes the laptop in favor of doing things the old fashioned way. That means needles, wax, a good sense of timing, and a lot of time in record shops.
While vinyl is making a comeback, it’s still much tougher to find new music in vinyl form than it is in electronic form. Toubin skirts that issue because his chosen genres hark back to the age when vinyl dominated music. Between old R&B to soul to blues, he rarely strays from music made in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. In fact, he actively eschews modern techno, house, and electronic music.
“Even though I’ve tried from time to time, I’ve never been passionate about post-disco dance music,” he told the Houston Chronicle, “From house to techno all the way up to the newer electro.”
With a box of 45s and that soulful spirit, Toubin took his act to New York and started playing parties exclusively with classic R&B. The conceit eventually turned into The Dance Off, which became a regular party, and still happens a decade later, a lifetime in the New York party scene.
One of the most interesting things about Jonathan Toubin’s process is that, even working exclusively with older records, he still avoids the popular hits of the times.
Anytime you attend one of his parties, it’s like you’re doing music discovery from an era decades before your own.
Toubin still takes his act on the road often. It’s especially a treat when he comes back to his hometown, like he did last weekend at Walter’s Downtown. Locals were delighted to have one of their own bring some of his trademark old school dance vibes to the popular venue.
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