Jon Carter is back after what seems like an age away from the studio. And for The Rabbit, his new single as Stretch Carter, he’s roadtesting some material from a forthcoming album of collaborations…

There once was a time when Jon Carter’s name was everywhere. Ignoring the fact that he became tabloid fodder as the boyfriend of Radio 1’s Sara Cox, he was all over clubland with his big tunes, big remixes and big DJ sets. From the soundsystem stylings of his outfit Monkey Mafia, to his more acidic alias of Junior Cartier, Jon was making tonnes of good music and tonnes of people were listening. Then it all went a bit quiet.

That’s all about to change though as Jon returns with monstrous new track The Rabbit. The track’s a collaboration with Stretch Silvester (of Stretch n Vern fame) – hence the Stretch Carter alias – and it’s the first single to be taken from Jon’s album project titled Gentleman’s Agreement, a longplayer which will see him collaborating with a whole load of different artists. EQ finds out more…

The Rabbit’s a real floor-filler isn’t it? It sounds like it was made to get people dancing.
Yeah, I made it a while ago, and it got people from the off. There was an instant reaction, so I was really chuffed about that. There’s no two ways about it, that was what I wanted the effect to be. I’ve been making all sorts of things, but I wanted to start off with some real club monsters.

It has been a while since you had anything out…
Well, there was Freakshow on VeryWrongIndeed early this year, but it’s been a while before that. I’ve actually been in the studio for about a year doing some stuff and playing it out – it’s just been finding a home for it.
Before that though, my ears went nuts – they were just screaming. I used to have these huge speakers on when I was working. It was in the orchestral room at Abbey Road, so you can imagine how loud they were. I had them on full, doing these 40-hour sessions on my own. I could take it for a few years, but… It was a bit reckless of me.
So I was working on other things for a while, but then coming back to the studio wasn’t like just getting back on a bike. You’ve got to learn again. So I’ve spent time getting back into it, getting into the right frame of mind, getting some stuff together and now it’s ready to come out.

Has your ears being done in affected the way you work in the studio?
Yeah, I don’t have it so loud. The tunes seem to come out louder for it though. I don’t think my stuff’s so pummeling and in your face now – I’m maybe trying to get more effect out of keeping things a bit quieter.

You must have been battering the new one out though?
Yeah, it’s good for playing loud. And that kick on it is so massive. I’m really pleased with the effect of it. It really seems to plug in with people.

It’s a bit like your old Monkey Mafia stuff. It’s got that big…
Bottom end? Yeah, I suppose that’s a bit of a trademark. It comes from loving the sound system side of things.

Is this the sort of direction you’re going with the album?
The singles are quite 4/4. The next one’s this big, screaming acid wobbler – something else I’ve loved all along. After that there’s a deeper thing which is also completely weird. It should get people going: “Bloody hell. What’s happening now?” That’s another thing I’ve always liked – things that are unexpected and pointless. Then I’ve done a track with Horace Andy and Ashley Beadle, a cover of the old Wailers track Hypocrite. That’s a biggy, but a completely different style. Then there’s a carnival-bothering, dancehall-style 118bpm monster. So the album will be a real mish-mash of styles – how it all sits together will depend on the remaining tunes. I’ll finally see the whole picture when I’ve got some vocalists on board.

Has the idea of the album come out of the blue then, with you working on tracks rather than working on one big record?
Yeah, but it’s a different day and age now. When I made the Monkey Mafia album, it’s was all more fluid and you’d work in one style. But now, people pick and choose the tracks they want, so you have to think in a different way when you make music. So many artists now just make singles, but I’m a bit old school and think: “I’m making music – what’s the album going to be?” So now I’m thinking about how these tracks are going to work together.

Have you been approaching people to work on the collaborations, or has it all been quite natural?
Well, with Stretch, he just phoned me up out of the blue at the same time as I was thinking about phoning him. We both suddenly wanted to do some stuff together, so it seemed a bit serendipitous to do it. Then I’ve been working with Alex Blanco, Andy Chatterly, Ashley Beadle, lots of proven producers, and that’s great because it gives me someone to bounce off in the studio. I prefer that way of working these days. It’s been really good getting back in the saddle again.

And what are you doing out of the studio?
I’m still really busy DJing, and I’ve got a pub company now – I run 10 pubs with some partners. So we’ve been doing a few nights based around them, like Adventures In The Beetroot Field at Fabric, the Field Day Festival in Victoria Park. Then the Lock Tavern in Camden is starting up some old back-to-basics, throw-down, anything-goes block parties every six to eight weeks. The first one’s me, Billy Nasty, Justin Robertson, Ashley Beedle, Barry Ashworth, all just throwing down stuff we’ve loved all along. Billy’s an old Northern Soul DJ, Justin loves his reggae and soul, so it’ll be a proper old-school mash-up.

You must get some pretty good pub DJs playing for you then?
Oh yeah. Weatherall and David Holmes do a regular thing that’s free, Mylo plays for us, Erol Alkan, and loads of live bands as well. It’s a good old thing to be involved in. And it’s one of the things that kept me busy. I wasn’t just twiddling my thumbs when my ears went.

The Rabbit is out now on Pieces Of Eight Records. The first Lock Tavern block party is on Sunday November 16 from 3pm to 11pm. Visit and






“It’s good for playing loud. And that kick on it is so massive. I’m really pleased with the effect of it. It really seems to plug in with people”