Josiah Fontenot/El Natured
With over 23 years behind the decks, Josiah Fontenot is no stranger to the dance floor, nor is he uninitiated to crafting original music in the studio.
With a penchant for creating a unique form of melodic tech house, his expression defies many of the category and genre labels that listeners might throw around in trying to describe his approach to the art.
“I began my career as a bedroom DJ in 1995 when a friend showed me a set of turntables. He put on 2 copies of an electro record and let me have a go at it.” By 1996, he had acquired his own set of belt drive turntables. “One of the first mixtapes I did, I recorded over an old rock tape. I didn’t have a blank tape, so I put scotch tape over the safety tabs and recorded over it until I had a mixtape that I felt was worth repeated listens.”
Today, Josiah’s primary platform for creating music is Propellerhead Reason. He recently discovered Europa, an add-on synth for Reason. “I’ve definitely been digging into that thing. It’s irresistible. It’s a new synth set that I’m exploring. This new version of Reason has really done it for me, and it helps me to be who I am and allows me to express myself freely in the studio,” he chimes during a telephone interview.
Among his formative experiences, DJing on a cruise ship helped Josiah shape his versatility. “It definitely showed me a lot about reading a crowd and holding a crowd. Knowing when to play music, how to build a night over the course of hours. It taught me when a break is appropriate—you need to let the people rest sometimes, not that you’re holding them captive, but sometimes it’s better to slow it down. If a crowd is into it, keep them into it, but don’t just let them down. The biggest reward for me on the boat was making the crowd scream. Being on the ship forced me to be creative, it forced me to do mashups and it showed me what I’m really capable of… I played longer sets, on average 8 to 10 hours in length, and that kind of experience really helped shape who I am today.”
Josiah has releases and remixes on many labels, including Harmonious Discord, Denied Music, Colour and Pitch, Nightshade Music, and the now-defunct Giant Squid Recordings. He has received positive reviews and accolades from Robert Owens, Richie Hawtin, John Selway, Alexi Delano, Will Sumsuch, Paco Osuna, Joseph Capriati, and Billy Johnston.
Josiah’s work has been remixed by Signal Deluxe, Finley, Locwax, Ivan Dbri and Rocko, Will Sumsuch, Daniel Allen, and Mysterons.
In addition to work released under his birth name, you might run into his earlier repertoire published using the name Josiah Burke. Josiah has also produced under the moniker Mr. Lugubrious and the material from that period has since been re-released by Budenzauber.
With releases on a number of labels and more on the way, Josiah aims to expand the way for fellow artists as well as find himself musically.
“Right now, I’m having fun and expressing myself as a producer. My aim is to make feet move, faces smile, and booties bounce.