Inspired by music TV channels playing out trance classics as he got ready for school in the mornings, Jordan Nocturne (formally known as, simply, Jordan) has been DJing parties, clubs and festivals since he was 13 years old. By the time he was 16, he’d played in Ibiza, and to crowds of over ten thousand at festivals streamed live on BBC Radio 1.
15 years down the line now, and Jordan Nocturne is a seasoned professional: producer, DJ, label head, promoter and a resolute supporter of the scene. And after so long on the grind, despite all its setbacks, lockdown actually came at a pretty good time. He’s been working on building a home studio and enjoying a period of productivity, making music of his own and making the most of the time away from gigs by focusing on his label Nocturne— a tribute to the afterhours party of the same name that first got him into promoting. Hosted in the unlikeliest of places
(galleries, noodle bars, restaurants), Nocturne would kick off when all the clubs had closed and after Jordan had personally delivered everyone’s wristbands. The parties sold out every time, and attracted a perfect, unpretentious crowd that were just there to have a good time. Jordan recalls one particular party where he and his crew had to get the sound systems up, and then back down, six flights of stairs without attracting any attention from the authorities.
After cutting his teeth in the booth before his peers could legally get through the door, by the time Jordan was old enough to go out, he wanted for a moodier, edgier clubbing experience, with a more diverse dance floor than the trance lineups he was being booked for tended to attract. For his 18th birthday, he bought a load of flights to take his mates to a M-NUS party at fabric featuring the whole crew — the likes of Richie Hawtin, Magda and Marc Houle. It was around this time that Jordan fell in love with the likes of Roman Flugel, Matthew Dear and became increasingly inspired by the constant evolution of Soulwax.
In his teens, Jordan started toying with production of his own on Cubase, before moving to Leeds to study Music Technology. It wasn’t until a few years after he graduated, making the switch to Ableton, that his practice in production started to fall into place. A string of EPs and remixes have followed since 2016, self-released on Nocturne, and on labels like Phantasy and Huntleys & Palmers imprint Belters. Jordan’s production is uplifting and varied; with a penchant for squelchy acid basslines, crisp percussion and buoyant synth lines plucked from the
80s. Selling in their thousands, his Nocturne Edits series has proved immensely popular, requiring multiple represses. Supported by Midland, Gerd Janson and Erol Alkan to name but a few, the third edition of the series will land later in 2021.
Jordan also uses Nocturne as a force for good, starting the From Belfast With Love compilation series in May 2020. A platform for local artists, the first edition of the compilation raised money for Trussell Trust, with the second donating 50% of the profits to the Disaster Emergency Fund. The most recent release on the label features Philadelphia duo Zillas on Acid (Making Time), whose Sorry I Was in VR EP is a sublime and hypnotic voyage into acid-drenched chuggers.
Community spirit and the energy of a supportive family is at the heart of everything Jordan does, as well a desire to rebel against the money-grabbing world of business techno. Instead, he pours his energy into nurturing the subculture. At the core of Nocturne and The Night Institute
(the Belfast party he runs with Timmy Stewart) is that spirit of strangers having fun and being friendly to one another on the dance floor. Dance music shouldn’t be about extortionate door prices, extravagant riders and superstar DJs, it should be accessible, freeing and sentimental. That’s why Jordan and Timmy made the decision to stop booking guests for The Night Institute and instead the party became a residents and locals party only, enjoying great success.
Jordan’s impact in his local scene hasn’t gone unnoticed, having been invited to contribute mixes for the likes of Beats in Space (with Midland), Truants, Ninja Tune Solid Steel, Feel my Bicep, DJ Mag’s On Cue and as a guest on Tom Ravenscroft’s BBC Radio 6 Music show. Before
the pandemic brought the world grinding to a halt, Jordan was also enjoying gigs across the UK, Europe and beyond, with highlights including two dates in Japan (Circus in Shibuya with O’Flynn, and the Heartland Festival at Mount Fuji), Wilde Renate and Paloma (Berlin), Good
Room (New York), Vitamine (Romania), Culture Box (Copenhagen), La Cheetah (Glasgow), District 8 (Dublin), and The Warehouse Project (Manchester). Had 2020 proceeded as it was meant to, Jordan Nocturne was due to play at festivals like Junction 2, Queens Yard Summer Party, AVA and Electric Picnic, and as the world begins to open up again, he looks forward sharing a stage with Optimo at the 2021 edition of AVA which, all being well, is set to take place in September.
Although this year has proved fruitful for Jordan Nocturne, he looks forward to being back in the madness, back on the dingy dance floors where he feels most at home. A refreshing tonic to those parts of dance music that can feel so clinical and corporate, Jordan Nocturne is doing what he does for all the right reasons, and he’s doing it well.