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Creating Tenshun

Jonathan Calzo's 2016 is just ramping up

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Creating Tenshun
    Nightsmoke

    There's an interesting dynamic with music and siblings, particularly younger ones. There's an exchange that happens during the formative years as awkward teens search for a sense of themselves and often discover who they are through their taste in music. Sometimes the biggest influence on those early sensibilities comes from an older, more sophisticated, more self-aware sibling via hand-me-down sounds and band recommendations.

    That's part of Jonathon Calzo's story. He started DJing in 1994 after his older brother introduced him to a mixtape that featured Invisibl Skratch Piklz pioneer DJ QBert. Impressed by QBert's scratching prowess, Calzo, a.k.a. Tenshun, absorbed the project. Subsequently, he found an old turntable in the family garage, bought himself a mixer and started spinning.

    From there he studied: Mix Master Mike, DJ Premier and D-Styes. It was home schooling, lessons in turntable music. He practiced, developed his own techniques, entered DJ battles and naturally evolved into producing. "I was fascinated at how people made beats," he said. Once his drum machine "manifested," Calzo was set.

    The equipment upgrade resulted in a prolific outpour, small runs (usually 10-20 copies) of limited edition cassettes with a catalog so deep that he's lost count. "It's hard to keep track of... I don't even know," he said, not quite sure how many projects he's responsible for.

    They're heavy noise productions from a nonstop creative who churns out ideas. It pays off too: Calzo has quietly developed a worldwide following. With listeners around the globe, he's been afforded the opportunity to travel, and last year he toured overseas, for five months, playing dates in Greece, Germany, Serbia and the Czech Republic.

    Calzo's always working and is looking forward to a productive 2016. There's an upcoming project from his noise outfit Skrapez and the Heaven's Gate European Union tour slated for May. For now though, you can find bits of his vast catalog and all things Tenshun on his Tumblr.

    J. Smith, aka 1019, is a San Diego native, rap fan and one half of the rap duo Parker & the Numberman.You can follow him on Instagram at 1019_the_numberman or on Twitter.