“I’m a makeup artist. I work for MAC. I’m a business woman by day, rock star by night.” And thus begins On Tap Magazine’s conversation with Washington, DC ar
ea-based DJ Jett Chandon. Though she spends her days under the bright lights, it’s at night that she finds her true groove.
Born Tara Algios and raised in Long Island, New York, this 27-year-old DJ’s development is about more than discovering a path to success, it’s a story of how the right sounds set free the right emotions - creating happiness and realizing her dreams.
“I’ve been singing, dancing and acting since I was eight years old,” Chandon tells On Tap Magazine. Always musical, her father has been a guitarist for 40 years, and served as her musical inspiration. Chandon went to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA to study vocal performance for opera. However, that didn’t last long. “I quit,” Chandon says. “I quit because in my whole life, I made every single play and every talent show. There was one play I didn’t make - when I tried out [for the role of playing] Belle in Beauty and the Beast – so, I quit, which I later realized was from exhaustion from being so hard on myself.”
Post college, the soon-to-be DJ moved back to Long Island, and her friendship with Morgan Tepper (aka top local house and disco spinner DJ Lxsx Frxnk) began, centered around their mutual love (and passion for) dance music.
“I enjoyed bass music,” Chandon tells On Tap. “I built upon that by searching out drum and bass, and dubstep. Recalling her early dance years, the DJ says, “[Long Island] was a very mainstream scene. There were a lot of parties that played a ton of music by Armin van Buuren and Tiesto. So, to find the bass I was into, I would travel, often weekly, from Long Island to Manhattan clubs like Webster Hall and warehouse parties in Brooklyn.”
The desire to expand her now growing interest in DJing led to her 2011 move to Washington, DC. Regarding the move and her acclimation, she tells On Tap: “It’s crazy. I came to DC for music. NYC is supportive, but DC is better for getting your feet wet. I moved here and had one turntable, a mixer with two channels and a monitor that I blew out while playing my first party at someone’s house. There was definitely a period of getting out of my insecurities and shyness, too.
Venues like the recently re-branded 9:30 Club Backbar and U Street Music Hall are venues that, at present, favor the sounds that Chandon’s tastes currently trend towards. “My sets tend towards dark, sexy, vulnerable and romantic sounds, but I’m inspired by and getting into deeper and more organic rooted bass music. While going through some personal issues [at the end of 2012], I discovered artists like [UK “future garage” producer] Burial. While getting into his music, I utilized my time to develop as DJ and improve skills and ability to get people to connect to music like I have.
Chandon is also active in the city’s burgeoning dance community, working alongside the 88DC collective’s David Fogel and Graham Jackson in the development of the yearly FORWARD Festival. Describing that work as “pure artistic passion, where [we] bring a community together and share culture,” it feels as though the woman who has traveled miles and years to access the styles and sounds she loves has found peace.
In best describing what makes her tick, “When you love something, you make it work. It works because it’s your lifestyle. Ultimately I’m doing exactly what I want to do.”
To learn more about DJ Jett Chandon visit www.soundcloud.com/jettchandon.