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 25 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: Womb and Aghea (Tokyo), Panorama Bar (Berlin), Warung (Brazil), Cavo Paradiso (Mykonos), Crobar and Vinyl (New York), Space (Ibiza and Miami), Zouk (Singapore), Fabric (London) and Cocoon (Frankfurt,) are just some of the venues she has played in recent years. She holds a residency for We Love at Space in Ibiza each summer and is still the only female DJ to have ever won DJ magazines coveted DJ Of The Year Award.
Where did it all begin?
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 .