Guest > Smokin Jo > Biography
Jo’s story began in 1991 when she noticed a distinct lack of female DJs. So as a music lover Jo bought some decks and it wasn’t long before people took notice…
While working in the Gaultier shop in Soho, Jo made mix tapes and gave them to friends and customers to see their response. The reactions were better than expected. Her first gigs ensued and were mainly at fashion after-show parties, which then escalated into her DJing for club events. Taking her stage name from the boxer Smoking Joe Fraser, Jo felt it provided ambiguity instead of an obviously feminine name – at the time it was seen as a novelty to be a female DJ…oh how times change – and its partly thanks to people like Jo that these shifts in attitudes have taken place.
Jo is certainly on fire at the moment. For the past 18 months she has been rocking the planet as one half of the dance floor phenomenon that is NastyDirtySexMusic. The party’s ethos has been heavy on cutting edge music and low on profit making. It has reigned supreme since its inception under a moonlit Ibizan beach in the summer of 2004; where they threw a free party for anyone that kept their ear to the ground long enough to know about it. The success of the NDSM parties saw it become We Love… Sundays at Space newest resident last year, not bad considering it started life as an illegal rave! By late summer 2004 Jo and Tim were playing in The Red Box, fast forward to summer 2005 and NDSM were terrace regulars. A massive achievement in a small space of time we think you’ll agree.
A full tour of Asia and Australia in the winter of 2004 also cemented NDSM’s status as did its mix compilation album; a double CD released by Ministry of Sound in June 2005 - ‘NastyDirstySexMusic Sessions’ was recorded live in front of a baying crowd. MOS also played host to NastyDirtySexMusic nights on a bi-monthly basis – these have been the busiest nights at Ministry for some time. NDSM also recorded a remix of Skins latest track ‘Alone in my Room’.
But never one to rest of her laurels NDSM will come to an end on New Years Eve 2005 as it gets laid to rest with a party of monster proportions at Ministry of Sound. As one thing ends another begins and that comes in the form of Nude. It started in May 2005 at The Key, (there was also a fabulous Nude beach party in Ibiza this summer) and has already been snapped up by Ministry of Sound and will hold bi-monthly parties there from February 2006. Nude is one for the club kids, fashionista’s, theatrical and oh-so-hedonistic you’re as likely to find a group of drag queens dressed to the nines as you are a serious music-heads. Nude is co-promoted by Terry Hart, who is known for clubs such as Go!Zilla and Drama. The aim with Nude is to bring back a bit of theatre to clubland, the atmosphere on the night is still very nastydirty but far more twisted, sleazy and outrageous, with lots of freaks, colourful characters, up for it party people and cool clubbers!
With this hive of activity it’s almost easy to forget Jo’s success as an artist in her own right. This summer she played solo dates at Amnesia for Made in Italy as well her usual ongoing plight with planes, trains and automobiles for her DJing gigs across the world. Jo sights the uber-cool Angels of Love in Naples and of course Space in Ibiza as some of her favourite clubs to spin at. She was also taken on by prestigious American DJ agency AM Only and in May a tour of the US ensued.
That’s now covered but where did it all begin? In the early nineties, Jo was given a chance to play at London’s legendary Trade night at Turnmills. She absolutely rocked the dance floor and was given a residency that lasted three years, this was her platform to winning such accolades as DJ magazines highly coveted DJ of the Year Award. Her undeniably fresh sound has carved her a niche in club land. Over the years she played everything from US house to electro, whatever she plays you can guarantee it’s always new and exciting.
Her own production effort ‘State of Mind’ was championed by Seb Fontaine on Radio 1 and released on Distreackt Records. Other previously released tracks include ‘The Psycho Bitch EP’, the hugely successful collaboration with Pete Heller called Fishbone Sleepers and ‘Yanu’ which was critically acclaimed by journalists and DJs alike. Danny Tenaglia and BBC Radio One’s Pete Tong are huge fans of her work, with regular radio and club play. In addition Jo has also remixed tracks and has twiddled the knobs on the 1993 biggie ‘High’ by Hyper-Go-Go, ‘Charlie Big Potato’ by Skunk Anansie and ‘Make U Whole’ by Androncius to name but a few.
Jo also mixed the Terrace CD for the Space Album that was released on Azuli Records. This follows on from the other successful compilations Jo has under her belt; ‘Defected Sessions 14’ on Defected Records, ‘DEF Com 2’ and the tough, tribal, deep and sexy, ‘SJ01’, released through.
Trust the DJ. Jo also mixed a cover mount CD for Muzik magazine in the summer of 2001.
Being the undisputed queen of Ibiza Jo was assigned to do her ‘postcards from Ibiza’ reports on Pete Tongs Essential Selection on Radio 1 in 2003 and 2002. As Jo has been going to Ibiza for 15 years, she was perfect for the role where she gave weekly reports of all the latest gossip, club news and goings on in Ibiza. Jo was also asked to do an Essential Mix for Radio 1 as part of their 'Ibiza Heroes' series, which was broadcast on 20th September 2003.
In 2004 Jo signed up to the Heineken Thirst world tour which saw her play alongside other international superstar DJ’s such as Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto and Deep Dish. The tour reached hundreds of thousands of clubbers in 35 different countries in the Far East, Aisa, Australasia, The Middle East, Europe, USA and Canada.
Jo’s international credibility has led her to work alongside numerous celebrities, DJing at The Pet Shop Boys end of tour party, Grace Jones concert, Skunk Anansie’s album launch party, Jamiroquai’s South African tour parties, as well as fashion events like Alexander McQueen, Michiko Koshinos and Julian Macdonald after-show parties. She has featured in Brett Easton-Ellis book Glammarama, (Author of American Psycho) and been voted No. 26 in Elle Magazines Hot 100. Her face has also graced magazines like Glamour, Company, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, FHM, Time Out, Moda, Mixmag, M8, DJ and IDJ as well as having features in The Sunday Times, The Independent and The Telegraph Magazine.
Jo was also been signed on by Storm Model Agency in their Celebrity Section and was the face for a major billboard campaign for the Sega video game Mortal Combat. 2002 saw Jo become the face for Pioneer, whereby she entered into an advertising campaign for HDJ 1000 professional stereo headphones. In 2002 Jo entered into presenting and made her debut as a presenter for MTV: Dance in Ibiza as well as presenting for Radio One at the Mardi Gras and in Ibiza in 2002. Also in Ibiza Jo was the resident DJ for Vivid @ Space, which was sponsored by Bacardi. This was part of the now legendary We Love… Sundays at Space, where Jo played alongside Steve Lawler on the terrace…