An Escape from New York

DJ Escape returns to North Carolina

No, you’re not the first to think that he looks a lot like Vin Diesel. Escape (the DJ moniker of Jeff Jonas) has the same sexy vibe, confident attitude and charming demeanor that makes you want to take your shirt off — quickly. Stand in line Sally, most times this boy appears he has a whole dance floor of Triple X hunks shirtless, and usually wearing the soles down on their dancing shoes. But baby Jesus be praised, North Carolina gets a chance to be closer to this tasty turntable jockey when he returns to Legends on at the end of the month.

We spoke with DJ Escape right before his planned trip to Raleigh on Jan. 31.

Are you glad 2008 is over?
Not really. 2008 was a pretty great year for me – both professionally and personally. I’ve actually had a pretty decent two years. 2006 was the sucker.

What happened back then?
It was just a bunch of professional drama. I had to re-evaluate my entire situation. I made a lot of changes with my management team and it was rough at first, but I can finally say with confidence it was well worth it.

Many of your young fans probably don’t realize you’ve been spinning for quite a while.
Yeah, nearly a decade. I started when I was nine (laughs).

You were once a regular in the Miami club scene. What happened to that town’s nightlife?
Miami changed so much! It used to be amazing, then well… It’s come back a little. Score Bar has a good night. The last White Party was pretty fun. It’s not anywhere near where it used to be, though. The gay scene is kinda hurting.

Manhattan’s nightlife?
It’s changed too. With all the large floors closing, there are a couple of different parties vying for dominance. After the Roxy closed, the club scene diminished!

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What can we expect to hear from you at Legends?
You can expect a lot of fresh music, stuff that is new from me and my peers. Plenty of staples and favorites with new edits and versions. But a whole lot of fresh sounds.

Your remix of Beyoncé’s “I’m Not a Boy” is tearing up dancefloors.
I knew we had a hit with that one. I love Beyoncé. That girl knows what sounds good in clubs.

I still get excited if I hear Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women”.
I’m with you. That track is a classic.

Speaking of Beyoncé, your remix of the “Dreamgirls” theme appeared on the film’s DVD.
Yes! That was in 2007, right after all the drama from the year before had finally begun to settle. In fact, landing that gig was a true turning point for me.

Has it been all uphill since then?
It really has. I’ve been fortunate to get some great commissions in the last two years.

What have been some of your favorites?
I remixed Kelly Rowland’s (from Destiny’s Child) solo album with Tony Coluchio, the man behind “My Love is Your Love” and so many Jonathan Peters records.

That was a fun track.
We approached it as a classic mix, lots of pianos and very uplifting.

You also remixed Sunshine Anderson.
I’m impressed you know that! Jonny Vicious and I worked on her “Force of Nature” track together. It was a vocal anthem with a groovy Mary J. Blige feel.

Have you always been into vocals?
Actually, not really. I used to be more of an after-hours DJ. It wasn’t until a few years ago, at the advice of my publicist Len Evans, that I started to explore vocals.

You listened to a publicist?
(Laughs) Well, sure. Who knows trends better than publicists? And truthfully, he was right. The dance floor has gone in the direction of more vocals.

Well, I suppose if you are going to take music advice from a publicist, Len would be the one to listen to.
Project Publicity reps all the DJ superstars from Junior Vasquez, Manny Lehman, Tracy Young, to Brett Henrichsen, Tony Moran. The list goes on and on. Len knows what he’s talking about.

What projects are you working on now?
Several Beyoncé tracks including “Diva” and “Halo.”

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What do you think of little sis, Solange?
I’m actually working on a track for her too.

Between us, she’s no Beyoncé, right?
No one is Beyonce.

But would Solange even have an album deal without Beyoncé?
I’m also working with the Perry Twins on their new track, “Bad Bad Boy”.

Oh, trying to change the subject, ay?
My New Years resolution was to only say positive things about other artists.

Well that’s no fun.
Yeah, but it’ll keep me working.

That’s true, times are tough. Now’s not the time to lose jobs by running off your mouth.
Amen to that, sister.

Escape, what’s your relationship status?
Single.

Are you still straight?
I am.

Damn, I thought by now you would have crossed over to the other side.
I’ve had my opportunities, trust! If being gay didn’t include the whole sleeping with guys thing, then yeah, I probably would consider myself gay. I have more gay friends than straight.

Why?
I don’t really know. I guess I just have more in common with gay guys than with straight men. I like to party at clubs and have a good time. I’m not ready to marry some chick and have kids and stuff. I’m still a kid myself.

Where do you stand on gay marriage?
Are you kidding me? I support it, of course. The fact that anyone should have a problem with two consenting adults marrying is ridiculous. I can’t believe it’s even an issue.

Then marry me.
I said two consenting adults.

You’re certainly as bitchy as any gay guy.
Takes one to know one.

I can’t wait until you’re back in our hood.
Great. Meet me at the airport. I’ll letcha carry my bags to my room.

— Groove with DJ Escape at Legends in Raleigh on Saturday, Jan. 31, 10 p.m.
Get more information at DJEscape.com. Mike Barr and Len Evans of Project Publicity
contributed to this story.

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