DJ Jonathan Toubin: I've been told I'm "un-Shazam-able"

Categories: Q&A

Have you seen some sweet justice done to specific artists you've been spinning regularly since you've started doing this? And if so, have you gotten a thank-you card or better?

Not really! I think the thing people have to understand is that when you see a dance party DJ such as myself, it's difficult to learn the songs. They move by really fast and are intended to take you there, but there's not too much time to contemplate. I definitely get asked a few times a night for certain songs, and see people trying to Shazam me all the time. A guy Upstate told me that he tried but i was "un-Shazam-able." I find that hard to believe because of all of the comps on iTunes etc.

While it's difficult for people to process the information, sometimes they do come around to requesting records I play frequently. For instance, one of my favorite regular dancers has been recently asking for Ted Taylor's "Somebody's Always Trying" and Marie Knight's "Come on Baby (Hold My Hand)". whether folks go to the next step with this type of appreciation is beyond my knowledge.



Name your favorite winter-themed funk/soul track.

I haven't broken into my snow chest yet, but last winter I was partial to an R&B dance by Kings and Queens entitled "The Ski" and of course I always have lots of Albert Collins ("The Iceman") insturmentals handy.

How many times has your work brought you to the Twin Cities?

Last year's Soul Clap at the Hexagon was super-fun -- I was super-impressed by the people and dancers and vibe -- but my only other Minneapolis gig was a wedding in 2010.

I have to ask about the wedding. How much of your trade is doing weddings, and did this differ much from your typical fare?

It was outdoors under a tent on a lake. It was two journalists getting married. The father of the bride mentioned the Indian legend of how the lake was made of the tears of an Indian bride in the speech. But yeah, it worked out. People ahead of time know that I'm not going to play songs they know at their wedding. So if they hire me they're typically pretty interesting people who are tolerant of music they haven't heard before. (Though that's not always the case with their families and old friends.) I typically do a mix of what I do on Fridays (early rock 'n' roll) and what I do on Saturdays ('60s soul music) but I give it a love theme and I also cut in lots of ballads (which I am always super-eager to bust out). I'd say that I only do a half-dozen weddings a year, but I get asked to do twice that many.

Two journalists, eh? Chuck Klosterman and City Pages alum Melissa Maerz?

Not Chuck Cloisterman! I think I'm too esoteric for his taste!

Lastly, how much is it gonna matter that it's likely going to be freezing here Saturday and people will arrive with like three layers on?

Aren't you guys used to that by now? I've noticed that people traditionally party harder when the weather is nuts. I hope there's a coat check!


DJ Jonathan Toubin's Soul Clap & Dance-Off. With Lady Heat Hot Soul Party and Dance-Off judges Brian Engle, Paddy Costello, Mike Mictlan, Andrea Swensson, Reed Fischer, Robyn Lewis, Steve Marsh, and Jen Hughes. 10 p.m. Saturday, December 1 at Turf Club. $10. Info here.


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