Winter / Spring / Summer 2016
festivals, fly-ins, private parties, weddings
On a random Saturday in a random club in a random city, you will find Jonathan Toubin behind two turntables, effortlessly transitioning between roughly a hundred records that no one in the room has previously heard, but everyone loves. The room is a cavern of sweaty, undulating limbs, dancing vigorously to hours of Toubin’s raw and exquisite 1960s soul and R&B 45s. We could be in Brooklyn. Or Los Angeles. Or London. Or Gambier, Ohio. Or Sao Paulo, Brazil. read more…
On a random Saturday in a random club in a random city, you will find Jonathan Toubin behind two turntables, effortlessly transitioning between roughly a hundred records that no one in the room has previously heard, but everyone loves. The room is a cavern of sweaty, undulating limbs, dancing vigorously to hours of Toubin’s raw and exquisite 1960s soul and R&B 45s. We could be in Brooklyn. Or Los Angeles. Or London. Or Gambier, Ohio. Or Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Drawn to analog sound, raw blues-based post-war rock and soul, uncommon flaming tracks, and the physical craftsmanship of spinning records, Toubin and his parties stand in direct opposition to the slick pop mp3s that dominate contemporary nightlife. Nonetheless, this underdog DJ and his uniquely fun alternative to the usual regularly appear at major festivals, major rock concerts, upscale hotels, at ivy league colleges, and other surprising places worldwide.
Despite these increasingly prestigious gigs, Jonathan Toubin remains best known as the DJ, producer, and mastermind of the legendary underground New York Night Train parties that shattered the face of nightlife in Brooklyn in the 2000s and inspired new night culture everywhere. In only eight years, Toubin has spent over 1,800 nights throwing and/or spinning parties around the globe: early rock and roll hops, Exploding Plastic Inevitable-inspired Happenings, instructional multimedia dance craze get-downs, 1960s foreign language discotheques, juke joint blues dances, punk and rock bar nights, seedy illegal after hours, all-ages warehouse jams, and elaborate haunted houses. Though the parties typically feature only Toubin and sometimes his guest DJs, they also often include visuals, décor, performance art, go go dancers, live performances by acts like Mac DeMarco, Thee Oh Sees, and Charles Bradley, and… in the case of the world’s most popular soul party, the New York Night Train Soul Clap and Dance-Off,… dance contests!
Jonathan Toubin conceived New York Night Train as a web site and record label focused on the work of his friend and hero Kid Congo Powers (Cramps, Gun Club, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, etc). The first NYNT parties were record release and SXSW parties for the label’s acts. He threw his first two dance parties for Ian Svenonius (Make-Up) and Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening) at their request. These events resulted in a DJ invitation from a bartender friend at the Lower East Side’s Motor City Bar. While he meant only one Wednesday, Toubin thought they asked him to do a weekly party! The packed-out nights did so well that the legendary rock bar kept him onboard permanently – for over 250 nights until its closure. Within a few months Toubin had more gig requests than he could play, began spinning dance parties, and quit his day jobs. 2007 saw the introduction of larger more elaborate shindigs like the monthly Soul Clap and Dance-Off and Happenings at Glasslands Gallery. By 2008 New York Night Train was a nightly party – boasting an unprecedented six weekly DJ residencies at six venues, presenting at least a couple of rock shows a week, and hitting the road for the first time. In 2009 Panache Booking began taking the Claps and Happenings into an international arena where no 45 DJ party has gone before.
On December 8, 2011, near the conclusion of the Jonathan Toubin’s most prolific year to date, the DJ’s life nearly ended when a runaway cab crashed through his Portland, Oregon hotel room and crushed him in bed. Thanks to good luck, good doctors, hard work, and benefits across the United States with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Margaret Cho, Ty Segall, and dozens of others, by mid-2012 Toubin tip-toed back into life and to work. He has since managed to not only reclaim his DJ skills and rebuild his nightlife empire – but also to surpass his past work on nearly every level. The last couple of years have found the Toubin and the Clap in venues around the US, Europe, South America, and Australia and at dozens of major festivals everywhere – including SXSW (where it is the only dance party with its own official night – annually!), Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, Fun Fun Fun, and even Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing even devoted an entire evening to Toubin and his Clap!
The dawn of 2015 finds Jonathan Toubin at his capacity weekly downtown institution Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down at Home Sweet Home, the Soul Clap and Dance-Off monthly at Brooklyn Bowl, and regularly touring worldwide. Burger Records released two of his mixes and Norton Records is currently releasing his first two vinyl comps – Souvenirs of the Soul Clap Vol 1 and 2. All aboard the night train!
“Jonathan is pretty much the only DJ we actually like.” —VICE Magazine, 2014
“Jonathan Toubin is New York rock and soul DJ who plays his collection of original 45rpm records to packed dance floors all over the world.” —Outlook, BBC World Service, 2014
“The long-running Soul Clap remains one of the sweatiest dance parties to be experienced in New York City. Fueled by his rare and raucous 45s collection, DJ Jonathan Toubin draws on raw soul and the most feral strains of rock ‘n’ roll from the early 1960s to power the nights.” —Wall Street Journal, 2014
“The world’s PREMIER soul DJ – on 45, no less – no party is complete without a little Toubin.” —MTV.com’s Bonarroo Festival preview, 2014
“Particularly chic… one of the most popular spinners in Williamsburg and the founder of the New York Night Train dance parties. His fare is already cleaner and more appreciative of American pop music history than much of the rest…” —NY Times, 2013
“The most-liked man in the soul music scene” —Rolling Stone, 2012