About Jonathan Toubin

NEW YORK NIGHT TRAIN is the party machine of dynamic DJ/nightlife visionary Jonathan Toubin who is currently changing the world one wild 45rpm hoodang at a time! Making life a spicier by prompting folks to dance at rock shows, bars, art galleries, and other places that used to be no fun. And simultaneously offering a more extciting and exquisite “maximum rock and soul” alternative to the music typically spun at night clubs, discos, raves, loft parties, etc. In just six years, Jonathan Toubin — rock and soul 45 DJ and proprietor of the New York Night Train brand party production enterprise — has charted a career that is culturally and commercially unparalleled. With a visionary take on nightlife and an obsessively curated collection of obscure 7-inch records, he has sold out clubs and performed at major rock concerts and festivals across the U.S. and around the world. Though known for the burning immediacy of his “maximum rock and soul” sets at the weekly Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down dance, his instructional Land of 1000 Dances spectacle, his elaborately grandious multi-media worldwide “Happenings”, and other trademark parties, Toubin’s take on 1960s soul music, the Soul Clap and Dance-Off, has left the biggest footprint on contemporary urban nightlife and put Mr. T on the map as soul man . Working over 1200 gigs the last six years, Mr. Jonathan Toubin has managed to keep one Beatle boot in the counter-culture from which he emerged (punk bars, DIY basements, loft parties, art galleries, music venues, and shady afterhours spots) while crossing over to dance clubs, prestigious festivals, boutique hotels, museums, ivy league colleges, fashion parties, arena pop/rock shows, and even raves – garnering press in highbrow publications and receiving nominations for nightlife awards from the fancier side of New York culture in the process. Jonathan Toubin conceived the Soul Clap and Dance-Off in March 2007 as a monthly outlet to play his growing collection of soul 45s to a small north Brooklyn underground art/rock social community in the spirit of the mid-1990s indie/punk scene parties. He added a brief dance-contest to the mix to make the event more interesting. As this humble makeshift neighborhood underdog evolved into an institution, Mr. T employed the party’s popularity as a weapon against tired hit nights, 80s nights, and other mediocre contemporary dance culture – offering an alternative in the possibility of dancing to exciting music most of us have never heard before with the unparalled sound of the original recordings. The epic size, frequency, and geographical breadth of the Soul Clap the last few years has been a seed for a new wave of soul dance culture among indie rockers, punks, and hipsters first in Brooklyn, next in Manhattan, and, within two years, around the world – inspiring slews of imitators and developing a new nightlife economy everywhere from Portland, ME to Portland, OR, from Canada to Mexico and even as far away as the Middle East. When Jonathan Toubin began regularly DJing punk/garage/noise rock weekly at the Lower East Side’s infamous Motor City Bar in 2006, he was a small record label-owner/musician/published academic/professional writer. Within a year, Mr. Toubin had thrown that all away and become a professional DJ/party promoter – working nightly around New York mixing in eclectic genres (psych, punk, rocksteady, etc.) with the garage, rockabilly, doo wop, r&b, and soul sounds that he’s best known for today. Casting aside mp3s, CDs, and eventually LPs once he began hitting dance spots, he stepped up to the challenge of spinning exclusively the biggest and baddest musical medium ever, the 45rpm vinyl record. Switching to an all 45 format not only meant spending all of his time and hard-earned cash obtaining his favorite records, but also taking a step back in his repertoire for a spell. The gamble, the expense, and the hard work rapidly paid off – New York Night Train’s conductor increasingly became known from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side for his 7-inch ragers. Playing to dancers instead of collectors, cutting $1 commoners with $100 rarities with strategic pitching, sequencing, EQ-ing, and transitioning, Mr T distinguished his sets from typical retro DJs by focusing on juxtaposition of beats and developing a playfully unique selection aesthetic. In the process he also stood far apart from the hit-players and computer jocks on the other end of culture by playing uncommon supreme music on all-original vinyl. Years of nightly gigging in a variety of settings offered NYNT’s conductor a huge advantage over his peers in that his labor also served as an infinite laboratory regarding the subtleties of how, without spinning obvious material, to make a variety of cultures and subcultures dance together – uniting even the squarest weekend dance floors under the undeniable power of his live improvised mixes of real deal records. In addition to its notorious dance contest, New York Night Train parties have been made even more interesting by including noteable guest DJs, live music, visuals, and performance to the mix. Andrew WK, Black Lips, Dum Dum Girls, King Khan and the BBQ and King Khan and the Shrines, the Oh Sees, Quintron and Ms Pussycat, Screaming Females, Sky Saxon, The Slits, Wreckless Eric, and dozens and dozens more have played at NYNT parties. In addition to practically every major American 45 DJ of note, the parties have also featured guest DJs from across music: Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening), Danny Kroha and Mick Collins (The Gories), David Johansen (New York Dolls), Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle), Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), Ian Svenonius (Make-Up), James Chance (Contortions), Jared Swiley (Black Lips), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedy’s), Jon Spencer (Pussy Galore), Kembra Pfahler (Veloptuous Horror of Karen Black), Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio), Moses Archuleta (Deerhunter), Sean Yseult (White Zombie), Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and many more. Finally, outside of his own parties, Jonathan as a DJ has shared bills with Black Keys, Bon Iver, Dinosaur Jr, Erykah Badu, Faith No More, F*cked Up, Interpol, Jack White, Kool Herc, LCD Soundsystems, MGMT, MIA, Mission of Burma, Odd Future, Rick Ross, Silver Apple, Ty Segall, Vivian Girls, and hundreds of other notablebands and DJs. An eclectic mix to say the least. December 7, 2011, while Toubin was on tour in Portland, OR, a runaway cab crashed through his first-floor hotel room – running him over and landing on his chest. In critical condition and sedated in the ICU for over a month, the soul proprietor’s friends and fans around the United States took action – throwing him dozens of benefits everywhere from New York to Los Angeles and Detroit to New Orleans – featuring everyone from Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Ariel Pink to Maragaret Cho. Many operations and months of physical therapy later, New York Night Train’s conducter proved that he would not let 26 major injuries bring him down – making his public debut as the surprise DJ for Jack White’s show at Webster Hall April 27 (less than five months after the accident!). While he’s currently working less than half as much as last year until he fully recovers, he’s nonetheless back at what he does best roughly twice a week. Summer 2012 finds Toubin returning to his weekly Friday Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down gig at Home Sweet Home and monthly Soul Clap and Dance-Off (which moves to Brooklyn Bowl September 21) as well as hitting prestigious festivals like Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing, the Village Voice 4 Knots Festival, and All Tomorrow’s Parties, plus a few road gigs per month. Armed with the finest and most unusual records of his career and a higher sense of purpose, more than ever he continues to prove that nightlife doesn’t have to be boring – spicing up an otherwise bland landscape with his distinctively explosive vinyl goodies and legendary parties. Get on board!
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