DJ John Kelley

DJ John Kelley Biography

For the past decade, Los Angeles native John Kelley has been considered one of North America’s foremost breaks DJs - a true pioneer of the West Coast sound. Over the past few years, he has been busy perfecting a selection of edgy, well-crafted tracks that combine his signature desert breaks with a new flavor of hard tech-hop and broken beats. The release of his debut artist album, A Night in the Park, marks a new chapter in Kelley’s long-standing career and, most notably, his transformation from DJ to world-class producer.

John Kelley was originally known for his sets at Full Moon Gatherings. The influential series of raves held in the deserts outside Los Angeles during the mid-'90s created an emergent sound, led by breakout producers like Crystal Method, Überzone, Bassbin Twins, and Electric Skychurch. Fused with the breakbeat genius of UK acts such as Leftfield and Underworld, Kelley pushed the intensely funky, hard sound of breakbeat techno from the underground into the masses.

In 1996, Kelley released his first mix album with Moonshine -- patterned after his desert sets -- with the title Funkydesertbreaks. The compilation became an instant hit, sparking a US tour with Kelley spotlighting the style. With 1998’s Knee Deep, he exhibited a transition into a more club-friendly mix of house, techno, trance and breakbeats. The release of High Desert Soundsystem and High Desert Soundsystem 2, released in 1999 and 2000 respectively, launched a massive tour with Crystal Method, Orbital, Carl Cox, Frankie Bones, Darude, and Christopher Lawrence. Another mix, United DJs of America 19, followed in 2001. This compilation was well received and went on to become nominated at the 2002 Winter Music Conference as one of the best DJ mix albums of 2001.

After five grueling years on tour, Kelley began to focus on writing his own music. Along with friend David deLaski (aka Lord Runningclum), Kelley launched the label and production company Ball of Waxx in 2002. Teaming up with the talents of deLaski, Simply Jeff, Moontribe’s Brian Seed, and Brian Saitzyk (aka Eastern Sun), Kelley created a multitude of productions, including two songs on the Ball of Waxx downtempo compilation Groove Closet. With the success of the collaboration, Eastern Sun and Kelley followed up in early 2005 with a full-length downtempo CD, In Emptiness.

Kelley is back with his ear-shattering techno-beats on A Night in the Park, set to be released on August 23. The legendary breakbeat master will hit the road in fall 2005, delivering the beat to a city near you. Keep an ear out for John Kelley!

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