Often in life we find that we are the product of our environment. In Australia we are lucky to be surrounded by surreal landscapes, from stunning beaches to thick bushland. There are close links from these settings to the sounds that emerge from the country’s own artists. Melbourne producer/DJ Luke McPherson, aka Jon Jones, affirms this connection with his recent release Warrandyte Bridge Reno. A 3-track ambient trance EP that absorbs the energy of Warrandyte’s bushland in Melbourne’s east to create an organic, Australiana vibe. Nothing feels forced throughout the EP, with every layered wave and synth falling gracefully into the next with the addition of chirping birds, didgeridoos, and gentle streams.
As the inaugural release for Southern Exposure Records, Luke has found the Melbourne community to be incredibly embracing of the Jon Jones persona with an overflowing amount of love and radio play.
The creation of this EP began in 2017 in Warrandyte, where Luke grew up. He would regularly venture out and immerse himself in the nearby greenery for inspiration.
“I think good music is a reflection of your surroundings,” Luke said. “I like to think that my sound has a natural vibe to it as well, so that’s why walking around the bush is a big help to get a bit of the creative juices flowing.”
Finishing the songs midway through 2018, getting the record pressed would turn out to be the most time-consuming stage, taking almost 2 years. However, despite the extended wait, the decision to put the EP out on vinyl never wavered in Luke’s mind due to his deep love for the vinyl community.
“I chose vinyl as I do like to hold music in that kind of format. I’ve always liked collecting, but at the same time the community is probably the main reason.”
During visits to his go-to store, HUB301, casual browses would always spiral into endless chats about music with like-minded people. Many of the records Luke spins during his DJ sets are the result of long hours of crate-digging, as he adds a level of authenticity to his natural vibe.
In this pandemic period, Luke is now living with his good mates from Handle. Like many in isolation, he is struggling with being productive, admitting to some days being complete write-offs.
“I really believe in balance, and when you’re stuck inside glued to a screen you can really feel irritated and you don’t really have an escape,” Luke said. “I still find I’m getting songs finished at the same rate. Even though I’ve got so much more time…there are days I can’t even just sit at the computer because I’ve just exhausted myself mentally...”
Despite the creative battles that this pandemic has pressed on Luke he has managed to put together a mix for us to kickstart our T-Rex Soundcast series. Working to the energy of an imaginary dancefloor, this mix encompasses Jon Jones’ style, blending several of his favourite genres from ambient to fast-paced dance music.
“I selected a lot of tracks that I really, really like. I think touching on with that whole kind of nature thing, a lot of tracks really represent that. I think there’s a really good Japanese ambient track at the beginning of the mix leading into some upbeat, but not in your face, and still sharing that natural theme throughout the whole mix…”
Under the Jon Jones persona, there is another anticipated release to come later this year to launch local label Whitvoir. With a desire to be more experimental and adopt new styles, we can also expect to hear some heavier, more ragey music under his other project Melinda.
To find more from Jon Jones: