The Soul of Jonathan Toubin
The dawn of 2010 finds New York Night Train conductor/soul proprietor Mr. Jonathan Toubin the most popular, prolific, and highest-earning rock and soul DJ on the North American nightclub circuit – taking the 45rpm dance party to a whole new level conceptually, culturally, and commercially. Though known for “maximum rock and soul” dance club sets and multi-media “Happenings,” his Soul Clap and Dance-Off party has, in the last year, put Mr. T on the map as soul man and left a huge footprint on contemporary urban nightlife. Working over 600 gigs the last two years, Mr. Jonathan Toubin has managed to keep one boot in the counter-culture from which he emerged (punk bars, DIY basements, loft parties, art galleries, music venues, and shady afterhours spots) while crossing over to dance clubs, prestigious festivals, boutique hotels, museums, ivy league colleges, fashion parties, gay events, arena pop/rock shows, and even raves – receiving nominations for nightlife awards from the fancier side of New York culture in the process.
Monterrey Mexico Soul Clap and Dance-OffMr. Jonathan Toubin conceived the Soul Clap and Dance-Off more than three years ago as a monthly outlet to play his soul 45s to a small north Brooklyn underground art/rock social community in the spirit of the mid-1990s indie/punk scene parties. He added a brief dance-contest to the mix to make the event more interesting. As this humble makeshift neighborhood underdog evolved into an institution, Mr. T employed the party’s popularity as a weapon against tired hit nights, 80s nights, and other mediocre contemporary dance culture – offering an alternative in the possibility of dancing to exciting music most of us have never heard before. The epic size, frequency, and geographical breadth of the Soul Clap the last couple of years has been a seed for a new wave of soul dance culture among indie rockers, punks, and hipsters first in Brooklyn, next in Manhattan, and, in the last year, around the world – garnering slews of imitators and developing a new nightlife economy everywhere from Portland, ME to Portland, OR, from Canada to Mexico and even as far away as the Middle East.
DAVID JOHANSEN AS JONATHAN TOUBIN'S GUEST DJ AT HOME SWEET HOMEA label-owner/veteran musician/published academic/career journalist, Mr Jonathan Toubin began regularly DJing punk/garage/noise rock weekly at the Lower East Side’s legendary Motor City Bar in 2006. Within a year, Mr. Toubin was working nightly and mixing in eclectic genres (soul, jazz, psych, international styles, etc.). Casting mp3s, CDs, and eventually LPs aside to step up to the challenge of spinning exclusively in the biggest and baddest musical medium ever, the 45rpm vinyl record, New York Night Train’s conductor increasingly became known as a soul/garage 45 DJ. Focusing on dancers instead of collectors, cutting $1 commoners with $100 rarities with strategic pitching, sequencing, EQ-ing, and transitioning, Mr T distinguished himself from typical mod, garage, northern soul, and funk 45 retro-nights by developing a playfully unique DIY sound that growls meaner, thinks deeper, and runs faster. Almost four years of nightly gigging in a variety of settings has offered NYNT’s conductor a huge advantage over his peers in that his labor also served as an infinite laboratory regarding the subtleties of how, without playing hits, to make a variety of cultures and subcultures dance together – uniting even the squarest weekend dance floors under the undeniable power of his mixes. Along the way he’s not only shared the DJ booth with the likes of David Johansen, Genesis P-Orridge, Gibby Haynes, Jello Biafra, Ian Svenonius, Kid Congo Powers, Simeon Coxe (Silver Apples!), the Black Lips, the Shins, etc, and thrown parties featuring live peformances by everyone from King Khan and the BBQ/Shrines to Sky Saxon to the Oh Sees to Quintron and Ms. Pussycat to HEALTH to Dum Dum Girls to Andrew WK, but he’s also DJ-ed at shows acts as diverse as Erykah Badu, Mission of Burma, MGMT, Black Mountain, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Dinosaur Jr., Les Savy Fav, etc.
ny night train's new polyglot discotheque party2010 finds worldwide New York Night Train parties growing in quality, diversity, and popularity everywhere: the worldwide Soul Clap and Dance-Off parties, the weekly Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down! at Home Sweet Home, and the new monthlies Polyglot Discotheque at Secret Project Robot and Rocks Off Cruises Ya Ya Yacht circling Manhattan on the Half-Moon. Despite his success, Mr. T refuses to get comfy – embarking upon new series Happenings, debuting his new international 60s freakbeat format, launching his new web site/mp3 blog, working on his first commercial mix, and, in general, continuing to prove that nightlife doesn’t have to be boring.