Haçienda resident and one half of The Other Side of Midnight alongside A Guy Called Gerald, Jon Dasilva was right there at ground zero when Tony Wilson’s famed nightclub had its glorious, era-defining moment in the sun. In fact, he was right there—on the frontline, personally sculpting moments in rave history that are still rippling out and inspiring the new vanguard in music and style.

Like a lot of Jon Dasilva’s contemporaries, his voracious appetite for innovation has kept him one step ahead to this day, but the iconic club has always kept a special place in his heart. That’s why, along with fellow FAC51 luminaries like Graeme Park, DJ Paulette, 808 State and Justin Robertson, Dasilva will be heading to London’s new club The Beams for a special rave headlined by Detroit techno supergroup Cybotron. Also on the bill are Chicago house legends Marshall Jefferson and DJ Pierre, and psychedelic house and ambient duo The Orb. Meanwhile, joining Graeme Park in Room 2 will be Smokin Jo, Terry Farley, Stuart Patterson and Dave Jarvis.

Ahead of this truly one-off night of rave history—taking place at The Beams on Saturday, October 29—we caught up with Dasilva, who made us a masterful 60-minute mix, to pick his brain about what makes the ideal set and his hopes for the future of rave culture.

Press play on the latest Complex Sessions mix below, and enjoy.


Tell us a bit about your selections in this mix.

My approach to sets is quite broad. I’ll trawl through music for days, making a folder of stuff that interests me and that could be from today, two years ago or whenever. So, in this mix, you have an acapella from 1987—Fast Eddie’s “Can U Dance”—which peppers the mix; the latest from Josh Caffe, “Do You Want To Take Me Home”; a promo from Mod Man; a 2020 cut from DJ Rush, and a recent DJ Seinfeld remix of Anfisa Letyago. The sound is preferably raw, maybe medium rare, in this instance! They just manage to make sense—to me, at least. The defining principle is that the mix has to be more than the sum of parts. Otherwise, you’re just playing tunes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but nothing wrong in trying to elevate it either. The mix includes a lot of edits, me having fun with elements from different tracks to create something fresh like the opener of Arttu’s “Move” with Masarima’s “Freak Like U”. 

What was the one track you absolutely had to include?

“(It’s All Gone) Pear Shaped” by Digital Justice. It’s about to be re-released on Floating Points’ Melodies International label, having originally been released on Manchester’s Rob’s Records back in the early ‘90s. An utterly beatless beauty which, of course, I go about ruining by editing the fucker! Including beats from Sylvester and a freakin’ bassline, too. Gawd! It came about after Si Crompton, from Digital Justice, sent me the new mastered version. I had to use it and messed around to the point it became a disco edit. Kind of sacrilegious, if you know the track. So, that’s a special treat for you on this mix—created especially for you! Hate mail to the usual address.

Any tracks that narrowly missed the cut?

A lot. The new one from Lauren Flax on Jerome Hill’s essential Super Rhythm Trax label, and Gary Gritness’ “Silver Zinc”. I would have loved to do an hour of electro, and Paranoid London’s “Suck A D*ck”—which I nearly used but is still awaiting release. I feared the PL wrath. Life is never that easy at the coal face of acid house!

What’s the first single or album you ever bought?

Jean Genie by David Bowie. 49 pence of my pocket money in, I think, 1973 or ‘74, which took me two weeks to save up for.

What’s the last physical record you bought?

Future Unit‎’s “Porn Wax Eleven”—a 10” of Sleazy disco dubbiness.

What do you want to see happen musically over the next 12 months?

People not being a—fill in the blank—and ruining everyone’s night by having the arrogance to; a) charge too much money; b) not be creative; c) look at the people in from of them and react, and d) steal another DJ’s set time. Basically, don’t be a dick.

What trend or scene absolutely needs to die right now?

Inflated fees in a cost-of-living crisis. Those tech bros, ten-year get-rich plan boys, should maybe take a bit of a review. But, they won’t. See above.

Tracklist:

1. Fast Eddie – Can You Dance (Accapella)
2. Arttu f/ Diamondancer – Move (Field Mix) (Edit)
3. Masarima – Freak Like U (Freakapella) (Edit)
4. Delta Funktionen – Droids (Original Mix)
5. Pledit – Tone Control
6. Josh Caffe – Do You Want To Take Me Home
7. Mod Man – Reload
8. Traxx – Saturn V
9. DJ Rush – I Believe 
10. Donna Summer – I Feel Love (Glenn Underground Remix)
11. Anfisa Letyago – Insidia (DJ Seinfeld Remix) 
12. Digital Justice – (It’s All Gone) Pear Shaped (Disco Edit)
13. Will Clarke – The Hymn 
14. DJ Octopus – What’s Going On