‘Catch me if you can,’ could easily be Jeffrey Tonnesen‘s mantra.
The DJ and up-and-coming dance music producer, darts between Manhattan, Miami, Las Vegas, Atlantic City — and the south of France, of course — spinning for celebs and nightclub-goers alike.
Thanks to a distinct style and sound — not to mention an amenable personality and cool sense of style — the Delaware native (who’s called NYC home since the 1990s) has emerged as a favorite of artists, including Enrique Iglesias, Nina Sky, Dev and others, lending his talent to remixes of their tracks. He also deejayed for Lady Gaga at H&M’s Times Square opening, for example, in November (photo below). Plus, he’s landed official releases on Ultra and Big Beat Records.
And in 2013, he’s called NYC nightclubs Marquee, Lavo and PH-D home, with residencies at these see-and-be-seen venues.
Below, Tonnesen speaks exclusively with gossipdavid.com, about the differing sounds of NYC and Las Vegas, the toughest remix to work on — and how being a single DJ attracts a certain kind of girl! (Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyTonnesen or visit his Web site)
With residencies at Lavo, PH-D, and Marquee, how does the music you play tend to differ between the venues?
I like to play a mix of pop, hip hop, and house and the three venues give me a great opportunity to mix it up. Lavo is almost all house, but Marquee and PH-D tend to be more open format. Marquee Wednesdays, which is a fantastic party, leans more towards hip hop and PH-D more towards pop.
Which remix was the most challenging?
Definitely Bridget Kelly‘s “Special Delivery.” I typically like my remixes to sound like straight-forward dance records, but that didn’t fit for Bridget’s song. The remix ended up having more of a trap feel. It’s always fun to explore new genres, but it creates an inherent challenge when stepping outside of the comfort zone.
Are you single? If so, is being a DJ a magnet for girls?
I am single, and yes, there is a certain type of girl that gravitates towards DJs. Let’s call her a “party girl!”
How would you describe the predominant sound of clubs in NYC, Miami and Vegas — how do they differ?
Because of the Internet, the nightclub sound is becoming more seamless between different cities. More than ever, audiences in NYC clubs want to hear the Vegas records. Everyone loves the hard style Vegas house music. Having said that, NYC will always prefer a slightly less commercial approach than Vegas and Miami. When playing NYC I can dig a little deeper into some lesser known tracks and still have the room respond the way I want.
Do you ever have club-goers come to you and tear into you for playing something they didn’t like?
Club kids aren’t shy about expressing their opinions to me — positive or negative. I get an assortment of smiles, fist pumps, high fives, dirty looks and thumbs down! I can’t please everyone in the room with every song, but I please most. That’s why I get more smiles than anything else!
Name-dropping time: Has there been a celeb who’s been a fan of your work, who you were starstruck by?
I’ve met countless [celebs] throughout the years while doing this and I’ve realized it is the legendary musicians who really make an impact on me feeling starstruck. It was an honor to be hired directly by Sting and Mick Jagger and I will never forget the time Mike D came into the booth to compliment me on my set. In the last couple months, I’ve worked for Cher and Lady Gaga, both of whom had me fan girling a little bit!
How does DJing for a fashion show differ than a nightclub?
Radically different. Working with fashion brands is an opportunity for me to curate a musical interpretation of what the designer is trying to express. It is a delicate and sensitive process that relies on music knowledge, research, and an understanding of fashion. DJing a nightclub is about making drunk people have fun.
DJ Jeffrey Tonnesen with fellow DJ Mia Moretti
DJ Jeffrey Tonnesen at Brooklyn’s Output nighclub last month.