Smokin Jo is one of the most talented DJ’s to emerge from the British dance music scene, her undeniably cutting edge sound has carved her a niche in clubland.
Jo has had a truly successful career, and over her 29 years behind the decks she has played in pretty much every corner of the globe and in every major nightclub you could care to mention: Space (Ibiza and Miami),Fabric (London) Womb and Aghea (Tokyo), Panorama Bar (Berlin), Warung (Brazil), Cavo Paradiso (Mykonos), Pacha, Crobar and Vinyl (New York), Zouk (Singapore), and Cocoon (Frankfurt,) are just some of the venues she has played in recent years. She is still the only female DJ to have ever won DJ magazines coveted DJ Of The Year Award.
Most recently Jo has played at Hed Kandi, Morning Gloryville, Annabelle’s, Clockwork Orange in Ibiza and appeared in a documentary for Ministry of Sound The Annual Classic Tour. Jo played two epic gigs at Glastonbury in 2018 for Block9 and Greenpeace. Summer 2016 Jo was headlining the Ibiza Space opening party and playing at the Final ever closing party, she was resident DJ for 3 years at the uber cool Sexy Fish in Mayfair playing to the likes of Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford and the Beckham’s and is now playing regular monthly gigs at The Ned, White City House, plus London’s coolest East End venues. Jo also played at the prestigious Vogue Magazine 100 year event at Tramp in London.
At London Fashion week for the past four years, Jo has produced the music and played live at Julien Macdonald’s stunning shows. Previously Jo and Skin from legendary rock band Skunk Anansie launched their own amazing new concept called “The Electric Tiger Cave”, where they played back2back while Skin sang over the tracks, last summer they took over Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes in Ibiza for a crazy run of parties.
In the past, Jo was booked by actor/DJ Idris Elba to play alongside him at his club night. In summer 2013, Jo hosted her night at the infamous Pikes Hotel in Ibiza, booking DJ’s to play with her such as Mark Ronson and Dave Morales. Jo also produced the music and played at the aftershow for collaboration between designers Julien McDonald and Melissa Odabash for their swimwear show on the roof of the gorgeous ME Hotel in London.
Jo’s international credibility has led her to work alongside numerous iconic figures in the world of music, film and fashion. One of her career highlights was being flown into Prague by Daniel Craig to play at the wrap party for his first James Bond film,’ Casino Royal’. She has opened for Grace Jones at one of her concerts, played at The Pet Shop Boys end of tour party, Skunk Anansie’s album launch party, Jamiroqaui’s South African tour parties, and at fashion shows and events for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Julian Macdonald, Melissa Odabash and Michiko Koshino. Jo was also asked to play for Naomi Campbell at her villa party in honour of the great Quincy Jones.
Jo’s story began in 1990 when after years of attending many of the early raves and illegal parties she noticed a distinct lack of female DJs. As a massive fan of this exciting new music that was sweeping the nation, Jo decided to buy some decks and started mixing. From those early days, it was always the deeper side of things Jo preferred, soulful sounding tracks that take you on a journey, no matter what style she plays from Techno to House it has to have meaning and a bass line to kill. Taking her stage name from the boxer Smoking Joe Fraser, Jo felt it provided ambiguity over an obviously feminine name as at the time it was seen as a novelty to be a female DJ (how times change!) It’s thanks to women like Jo that these shifts in attitudes have taken place.
While working in the Jean Paul Gaultier shop in London’s Soho, Jo made her first mix tapes and gave them to friends and customers to gauge their response. The reactions were better than expected and her first gigs quickly followed at fashion after-show parties. In 1991 Jo was given a chance to play at London’s legendary after-hours party Trade at Turnmills. Seizing the opportunity she smashed the club, blending her mixture of deep house and techno and as a result was given a residency that lasted three years. Trade was her stepping-stone into the big league. At that time Trade was the only after hours in London: all the promoters, DJ’s and industry people came down to party religiously each week so in no time at all Jo was being booked to play at club events like Puscha, Boys Own, Tribal Gathering, Back to Basics, Cream and Full Circle. These gigs were the basis for her winning DJ Magazine’s highly coveted DJ of the Year Award.
After winning the award Jo headed off to Ibiza to play at Space for the first time in 1993 when the island was still relatively untouched. During that period she played at Amnesia, Pacha, Ku (Privilege) as well as many infamous secret beach and villa parties. This was when Jo’s career took off on a global scale, seeing her regularly travelling all over the world every weekend, as well as maintaining a hectic schedule of the UK’s top clubs: her demand was such that she often played up to 5 gigs in one night.
Thanks to her knowledge of the Ibiza scene, in 2002 and 2003 she was assigned to present a ‘Postcards from Ibiza’ report on Pete Tong’s Essential Selection on Radio 1, giving weekly reports of all the latest club news and goings on there. Also, 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.
Jo went on to mix the Terrace CD for the Space Album that was released on Azuli Records in 2003. This followed on from the other successful compilations she had under her belt such as ‘Defected Sessions 14’, ‘DEF Com 2’ and ‘SJ01’ released through Trust the DJ. At this time Jo was signed to Defected where she produced some successful releases for the label, including Yanu and Psycho Bitch, however, Jo’s demanding schedule meant that her productions at that time were few and far between. She also mixed a cover-mount CD for Muzik magazine in the summer of 2001 and more recently in 2006 she mixed the cover-mount CD for Mixmag, which was hugely popular and was re-released last year.
In the past, Jo had been signed-up by Storm Model Agency in their Celebrity Section and was the face of a major billboard campaign for the Sega video game Mortal Combat. 2002 saw Jo become the centre point of Pioneer’s advertising campaign for their HDJ 1000 professional headphones. And on top of all this in 2002 Jo entered into the world of television and made her debut as a presenter for MTV: Dance in Ibiza as well as presenting for Radio One at Mardi Gras and Ibiza in 2002.
In 2004/5 Jo was rocking the planet as one half of the dance floor phenomenon that was NastyDirtySexMusic. The parties were ultra-underground, word-of-mouth affairs with the ethos heavily geared towards cutting edge music and not making a profit. The success of the NDSM parties saw it become We Love… Sundays at Space’s newest resident that year, introducing the electro-house sound to an unsuspecting Ibiza crowd (not bad considering it started life as an illegal rave!) By late summer 2004 NDSM were weekly residents in The Red Box at Space; fast-forward to summer 2005 and NDSM were fully-fledged terrace regulars, a massive achievement in an incredibly small space of time. A full tour of Asia and Australia in the winter of 2004 also cemented NDSM’s status, as did a double CD mix compilation, released through Ministry of Sound in June 2005. MOS also played host to NastyDirtySexMusic nights on a bi-monthly basis, which was among the busiest nights at the club for some time. After a whirlwind couple of years, the guys decided to call time on the project on New Years Eve 2005.
Following on from NDSM, Jo promoted her club night “Nude” with Terry Hart from Go!Zilla/Redlight. Nude held parties at warehouses in London’s East End and for two years hosted the terrace and discotheque at Space in Ibiza. The ethos of Nude was “anything goes”, with outlandish freakish performers and cutting edge DJ’s. These parties were the ultimate in debauchery and underground sounds. Guest DJ’s included Dan Ghenacia (Freak “n’ Chic), Clive Henry (Circoloco), Giles Smith (secretsundaze), Radioslave and Moby.
One thing’s for sure that with bags of energy and a wealth of experience to draw-on it seems Jo still has plenty up her sleeve for the months and years ahead!