Jonty Skrufff, an eclectic and influential DJ/producer, music journalist and radio presenter, died on Friday, March 6, following a battle with cancer.
Skrufff’s longtime partner Fidelity Kastrow shared the news in a heartfelt Facebook post on Tuesday (March 17), writing that Skrufff had kept his diagnosis confidential until days before his passing.
“Jonty loved DJing, bringing joy to others, making and sharing music, reading, writing, spreading knowledge, sharing ideas, initiating change and trends, counterculture, clubbing, connecting (with) people, dressing up, autonomy, integrity, supporting & inspiring others, traveling, cycling, going to the gym, chilling on his chaise lounge, cooking, great food and living as an original punk,” Kastrow writes.
Cutting a striking figure in black leather with bleached-blonde hair, Skrufff (born Jonathan Adderley) was a fixture in the global dance music community over the past three decades. Always private about his age, he became recognizable as a regular panelist and moderator at top industry conferences and helped curate programming at Amsterdam Dance Event, Russia’s Sochi Music Conference and Brazil’s Rio Music Conference.
A veteran dance music writer who helped launch Muzik Magazine and EMI’s dancesite.com in the mid-90s, Skrufff also led the successful Thirst Aid initiative that resulted in UK lawmakers requiring nightclubs to serve free drinking water to clubgoers. He maintained an eponymous weekly newsletter from 2001 until 2016.
Skrufff began DJing in London in 2004, holding residencies at notable clubs like Fabric and Pacha Ibiza, and presenting for Pioneer DJ Radio, Ministry of Sound Radio and more. He made a formative move to Berlin in 2008 and immersed himself in the city’s rich underground techno scene, becoming a resident at beloved venue Sisyphos and releasing on its Sisyphon label, while co-producing and presenting weekly radio show Berlin Soul with Kastrow. In 2015, Dutch publication DJBroadcast recognized Skrufff as one of the “11 most important people in Berlin’s music scene.”
Kastrow’s post also contained tributes from various artists and industry executives across the dance music scene, including the Pet Shop Boys, Peggy Gou and Honey Dijon.
“A genuine and generous person, Jonty supported my development as an artist from day one,” recalls Gou. “If it wasn’t for him I’d probably still be playing CDs. He celebrated my successes as if they were his own, and only ever pushed me to go further.”
“Jonty was one of a kind, a true original,” adds Terry Weerasinghe, Beatport’s chief strategy officer. “His passion drew people in and his generosity grew friendships. Whilst he appeared extravagant and alternative, he was genuinely one of the kindest most caring people I have ever met.”
Per Kastrow, details for his funeral service and memorial party are forthcoming.