Somebody’s Smokin

Time Out catches up with DJ Smokin Jo in anticipation of her set at Rocca

Somebody’s Smokin

So Jo, why are you Smokin?
I wanted a DJ name that was not specifically female. When I started DJ-ing 25 years ago it was a still a novelty to be a lady DJ and I didn't want my name to hold me back from getting bookings. Also my fave record label at the time was called ‘Smokin' Records.’

When and where will you be DJ-ing in Doha?
I will be DJ'ng at Coco Latté's monthly dance party at Rocca at Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel, ‘Divas On The Decks: Part 3.’ Rocca is an intimate venue so I will be able to connect with the crowd and play some fierce music for everyone.

What’s your music style and what kind of sounds do you most like to play?
I play right across the board of all styles of house music. Depending on where I'm DJing I enjoy playing tech house and deep house. I also love playing down tempo, soulful grooves.

Who have been your biggest musical inspirations and why?
There are so many. Grace Jones has always been an idol of mine. She is such a strong, eccentric, black female. When I was young girl she gave me the hope that I would someday be making music myself, doing what I love.

What you did this summer.
As well as my usual hectic schedule of DJing gigs in and around London, I spent a lot of time in Ibiza, putting on my own parties with my friend Skin of Skunk Anansie. The parties were called The Electric Tiger Cave and we held them at the infamous Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes Hotel. The parties were crazy and a huge amount of fun.

I know you’ve DJ'd in Doha before. Do you think the music vibe in Doha needs modernising and/or changing?
I don't think you can force people into a certain genre; it is a slow and growing process. If the DJs in Doha play good music then the people will catch up slowly and as long as everyone is having fun, that’s what counts.

Which has been the best club you have ever played at and why?
Panorama Bar in Berlin is undeniably the best club and vibe you can get as a DJ, and what a sound system. I still enjoy playing the terrace at Space Ibiza. The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd there is an incredible buzz.

What's your greatest or more memorable musical achievement to date?
Winning DJ Magazine’s DJ Of The Year award in 1992 after only a year and a half of being a DJ.

A little birdie tells us that you used to model and work for MTV?
I did a few shows for MTV Dance, interviewing DJs in Ibiza and also hosting a snowboarding show. I thoroughly enjoyed working for MTV.

What do you do to unwind after a gig?
Have a cup of herbal tea and go to sleep.

What would you advise any budding DJs out there?
Be yourself, do it for the right reasons, start your own night and know your music inside out.

Smokin Jo will be DJing at Coco Latté party DIVAS ON THE DECKS: PART 3, at 9pm on Thursday 4th December at Rocca, Grand Hyatt Doha. For info email For reservations, call (+974) 70218096.

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