DJ Hoj Is Making Daytime House Music an International Phenomenon
Hoj Jomehri, right, playing an All Day I Dream party with friend and DJ Lee Burridge
DJ Hoj Jomehri was finishing up his set at the BPM Festival in Mexico back in 2010 as partygoers continued to dance with liquid movements through the humid air of Playa del Carmen’s La Santanera nightclub. Night’s veil was being lifted by an imminent sunrise when Jomehri, who DJs under his first name, was approached by a friend who offered up his tropical villa (complete with sound system) as an after-hours destination.
Hoj packed up his gear and, along with friend and fellow house DJ Lee Burridge, trekked out to this luscious Mexican villa. As friends and party seekers began to stream in, the only thing flowing more steadily than the cocktails was the endless mix of uplifting, melodic house music. Hoj and Burridge felt that this much softer and more musical style of house, which at the time was not being played at festivals or in clubs, was the perfect soundtrack for daytime parties.
“This after-hours turned into a pretty legendary and really inspirational experience,” Hoj recalls. “Everybody’s been at the clubs all night and everybody’s coming to this villa and just hanging out with their friends. I think Lee literally played for two days. We were at that house for 40-plus hours just playing nonstop — other people would play but then Lee would come back on.”
DJ Hoj Jomehri
Born in Iran and raised in the Bay Area suburb of Walnut Creek, Hoj discovered his love for house music in the underground electronic scene of Northern California; he started DJing college and house parties in 1998. Becoming friends with the now-legendary Syd Gris, founder of Opel Productions and the Opulent Temple, one of Burning Man’s most iconic sound camps, Hoj quickly found a home within this community of forward-thinking, free-spirited music lovers. Though he eventually moved to New York, Hoj remained connected to Gris and his San Francisco–based Opulent Temple crew.
As one of the original founding members and builders of the Opulent Temple, Hoj became fully immersed in the Burning Man scene, attending the Nevada festival almost every year for more than a decade. It was at Burning Man that he fortuitously met Burridge, an English DJ and producer whom he had long admired. Their burgeoning camaraderie quickly turned into a lifelong friendship, both socially and professionally. One of Hoj's favorite memories of his and Burridge's adventures took place around five years ago at Burning Man atop Robot Heart, an art car known for its nonstop supply of blaring house and techno music.
“Lee Burridge does an epic sunrise set on Robot Heart every year, and the set after his is a very difficult one to play because he’s already given everybody such a magical experience,” Hoj says. “The first time I played that set was pretty memorable because everybody stayed — well, some people left because it got hot, but other people showed up that were starting their days, and Lee came back and we ended up playing together for another four or five hours.”
That joint Robot Heart set, combined with their two-day villa bender in Mexico, inspired Hoj and Burridge to throw their own daytime party. What started on a barren rooftop in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn eventually developed into All Day I Dream, which is now an international touring event.
“That experience just reinvigorated my passion for DJing,” Hoj says of his time in Mexico. “Then Lee said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had a place to play that stuff during the day?’ We wanted to throw a party like at that villa but where it wasn’t the afterparty, it was the main party. At that time in New York and Brooklyn, that wasn’t really happening. There were three-day festivals but there wasn’t a Sunday, daytime, outdoor affair.”
Inspired by a popular mix that Lee had produced titled “All Day I Dream of Her,” this now-legendary Sunday party — where people can rest the night before, come in refreshed, then leave just after sundown — was a new concept for the city that never sleeps. With a background in design, Hoj also created the All Day I Dream logo of a single cloud, based on Burridge's love for and fascination with the sky. Clean design, daytime house music and high production value courtesy of stage guru Matthew Holt are what solidified All Day I Dream as a global brand.
Hoj on the decks at an earlier All Day I Dream event
Growth was exponential as these parties transformed from intimate gatherings of friends and family to sold-out events of up to 3,000 attendees. They took the show on the road, touring to places like Beirut and Dubai, with upcoming shows in Barcelona, Toronto and Montreal, spreading their groovy, melodic brand of daytime-friendly house music across many cultures. They also turned All Day I Dream into a record label run by Berlin-based Philip Soeffker, releasing music from ADID residents as well as newcomers.
After two years of success with these parties in New York, Hoj moved to Venice Beach in 2013, bringing All Day I Dream with him. The past four years have cemented ADID as a fixture in L.A.'s underground electronic music scene, as well as a favorite of Hoj's because of his tight-knit group of friends who are always in attendance. This year, All Day I Dream will be touring in more than 10 countries; its next Los Angeles event takes place in Chinatown at Gin Ling Way on Sunday, June 11.
“I think there’s something happening in L.A. right now,” Hoj says about why the Los Angeles events are his favorites. “I don’t know what it is, but it feels really good.”
An All Day I Dream party that took place during their five-week residency in Dubai
As both the All Day I Dream record label and events continue to grow organically, Burridge and Hoj are starting a sister project called Tale and Tone. This record label and eventual event will feature a deeper, darker style of house music that's more appropriate for nighttime. “You’ll know it when you hear it,” says Hoj of Tale and Tone's signature sound. Will Tale and Tone's nighttime parties match the success of its daytime predecessor? Hoj and Burridge can only dream.
For now, Hoj says All Day I Dream's biggest challenge is managing its expansion and “continuing to give everybody the experience that you want to give, while sharing it with more and more people. Wherever we are in the world, we want to stay true to our intimate, warm vibe.”
All Day I Dream of L.A. Rays comes to Gin Ling Way in Chinatown on Sunday, June 11, with Hoj and Lee Burridge. Tickets and more info.
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