Night life

Interview with Producer Jonny From Space on His EP, “Voyager”

If one small blessing has come out of the miserable last two years, it’s that DJs seemed to gravitate more toward production than ever before. That includes Miami DJ/producer Jonny From Space, who produced his latest EP, Voyager, during a two-week quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 in December.

“I just wanted to keep my mind busy on new music, and within the 14 days, I came up with these four ideas,” Jonny From Space (AKA Jonathan Trujillo) tells New Times. “I would wake up, go to the beach, go home, and spend the whole day working on music. And right before sunset, I would go back to the beach and watch the sunset.”

Within those two weeks, Trujillo produced four mercurial tracks that reflect the emotions he felt throughout the pandemic.

“I’m confessing my feelings in the first [track],” he explains. “I’m feeling very crazy with everything going on when making the second track. On the third, I’m very down, and the last track is a more upbeat, joyous, I-got-myself-back-out type of mood.”

Trujillo’s penchant for breaks, industrial grit, and ethereal ambient makes Voyager feel like the listener is diving into a sonic abyss.

The self-released record begins with “Confession,” featuring vocals heavily distorted that are past recognition. With a drum pattern that eschew the typical four-on-the-floor beat, the track is ominous yet somehow club-friendly. The second track, “Neurotico,” spotlights frenzied percussion as glitched pangs reverberate and cast a blanket of anxiety over the listener.

“My approach to each track was different,” Trujillo notes. “Every track is its own thing — different takes for different days. Voyager is the door for what’s to come.”

Featuring artwork by Caterina Haddad, Voyager is available to stream via SoundCloud and Bandcamp and will be available on more streaming platforms later this month.

Aside from producing music, Trujillo is a resident DJ at Club Space and works behind the scenes at the Eleventh Street venue. Still, being behind the DJ booth doesn’t compare to the euphoria one feels on a packed dance floor.

Prior to his quarantine, Trujillo spent time in Mexico City and experienced shows from the crowd’s perspective, helping him re-energize his passion for dance music.

“I experienced being on the floor and reconnecting with it, seeing everyone dancing with eyes closed and going away with the sound — it was really incredible, and I very much missed it,” he says.

Trujillo heard his track “Neurotico” — a track that perhaps isn’t the most obvious dance-floor banger but still manages to trigger catharsis — while on the dance floor in Mexico City.

“Majority of the time when I’m making music, my eyes are closed and seeing where the track is at and where it’s going to go,” Trujillo explains. “‘Neurotico’ is a very intense track, but I’ve seen people play it for the dance floor and see people dance with their eyes closed. It’s a beautiful feeling. Seeing that I made it with my eyes closed and people reacting it in that way is very telling.”

During Miami Art Week in December, Trujillo joined local producer Sister System for a guest mix off of English DJ Ben UFO’s Hessle Audio radio show. Ben UFO had reached out to Sister System to record a mix to coincide with his performance at Rakastella last month. Sister System asked Trujillo to collaborate on the project and together they recorded two 45-minute mixes, which earned them a shoutout on Resident Advisor.

“We chose one night and agreed to split the set. I knew the direction Sister System wanted to go, and she knew the direction I wanted to go — and just gave it the best 45 minutes we can do.”

More collaborations are also on the way. Trujillo is working on projects with DJ/producer Nick León and Trujillo’s ad hoc mentor Danny Daze and his Omnidisc label. There will also be new collaborations with Sister System involving the local DIY party scene.

Trujillo’s mind is more relaxed these days, an attitude he hopes to carry on in 2022.

“There is no one who’s going to tell you, ‘OK, you reached your destination, and now you have to realize the music,'” he explains. “It finally got to that moment when I got that feeling and said, ‘OK, this is the right time to put out this record.’ It just made sense.”

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