David-H Percussion :: The Bongoman ::

I am writing my biography. It is spoken from the heart. Let’s begin…

Family life

My name is David Johnathan, and my birthday is April 16th. I was born and raised in Eastbourne, East Sussex, U.K. I am the youngest of three children. My parents loved music and dancing. I grew up listening to Disco, Pop, Funk, Soul and my parent's favourite artists, which included Nat King Cole, Earth, Wind & Fire, and sounds of ‘Big Band Jazz’ such as Stan Kenton and Count Basie.

As a lover of rhythm, I found myself tapping on everything possible. I loved how the rhythm pulsated and offered a melody, too ( now I know why both my parents loved the Vibraphone ). I remember using my mum's knitting needles as drumsticks hitting the kitchen pots & pans and improvising as drums.

Recognising talent, my parents organised me to join a local marching band named the ‘Shows Stars’. I was only seven years old, and the snare drum reached down to my knee. It was great fun, and the Show Stars travelled up and down the UK performing their fabulous routine.

School life

I was eleven years old and attending Ratton Comprehensive School in Eastbourne when an introduction to the ‘Head of Music’, Mr Cane-Hardy, changed my life. I owe this man so much. He recognised a talent in me, and it was encouraged and nurtured. After winning a class competition, I was invited to join the ‘Ratton Players’, where I started on percussion. I remember playing the congas in the Ratton School show of West Side Story. At 13 years of age, I purchased my beloved Pearl ‘Maxwin’ drumkit. I started with a three-piece kit and began working in Eastbournes hotels washing dishes to pay for them. Over the forthcoming years, I added many extra drums and cymbals, creating a fabulous seven-piece kit. With this fantastic school orchestra, under the guidance of David Cane-Hardy, the Ratton Players toured the East Coast of America and North of France and recorded a ‘Live’ album, all before I was sixteen years old.

Growing Up

As a school kid growing up in the eighties, I was exposed to great pop music. I loved Tears for Fears, James Brown, Micheal Jackson, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, George Michael and Ultravox ( to name but a few ). I played in many synth bands, copying the latest Simple Minds or Duran Duran tracks. However, 1986 Steve Silk Hurley released ‘Jack Your Body’, and I was hooked on House Music. I remember Marshall Jefferson releasing ‘House Sounds Of Chicago’. My tape machine was going overdrive!

After going to all the local nightclubs in Eastbourne & Brighton and waiting for the DJ to stop playing Wham or Madonna and to start playing ‘House Music’ or ‘Acid House’, I realised that perhaps my core musical taste had changed. In the summer of 1991, I discovered ‘Rave / Hardcore music. I religiously visited underground and illegal ‘Hardcore Raves’ and danced until sunrise. Except for ‘Sterns’ in Worthing, I was bored of the local scene; I travelled to London and became a regular at the Saturday night ‘Crazy Club’ in Astoria. Afterwards, I frequented ‘TRADE’ in Turnmills, dancing until midday Sunday. ( Little did I know how synonymous TRADE would be in the world of ‘After-Hours’ clubbing ).


The UK ’Hardcore / Rave’ scene and its music impressed me. I loved dancing all night to DJ Carl Cox and Grooverider on the ‘Ones & Two’s’. In 1992 I released my first ‘White label’. The four-track EP ‘Engram’ was signed to Bizarre Management and Vinyl Solution.

In 1994 I moved to London, living in Crouch End, Finsbury Park, before settling in Greys Inn Road WC1.

Answering an advert in ‘Loot’ magazine, I was introduced to Mark & Clayton, owners of the imprints Trouble-On-Vinyl and Renegade Hardware. Together we pulled our resources and created a recording studio in Vauxhall called ‘Mixing Lab’.

After recording my latest track during studio ‘downtime, I would take my DAT cassette and get a ‘Dub Plate’ cut in Holloway Road. I would go to TRADE that weekend, and DJ Tony De Vit would spin my latest track to the hedonistic crowd.

TRADE had a profound influence on me. Here, I met DJ Paul Newman ( Tall Paul ), who 1994 came to my studio in Wandsworth to produce a demo track together.


My imprints Planet 10 & Indalo Records, earned a worthy ‘Press & Distribution’ deal with Mo’s Music Machine. Along with airplay from Kiss FM and support from DJ Pete Wardman, I was approached by EMI A&R man Dave Cross who singed my first club smash, ‘Passion’ (Remixed by Tony De Vit), released in 1996. To be recognised by a major label was a big step for me.

In the summer of ’96, a lovely lady named Ruth Rothwell at MCA / Universal Music Publishing signed the rights to ‘Passion’, and she hooked me up to remix Victor Imbre's latest track. Victor was basking in his successful world smash called ‘Gimme Luv’ by ‘Alcatraz’. Ruth then offered some vocalists she was considering signing the chance to write and sing over a new music composition I made called ‘So Pure’. A fantastic singer named Antonia Lucas wrote the lyrics to accompany my ‘So Pure’ track, and ‘Subsola’ was born.

In 1997, with heavy airplay on Friday nights Radio 1 show, the ’Essential Selection’ BBC Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong singed Subsola's ‘So Pure’ to his infamous FfFr ( Full Range Frequency Recordings ) and in 1998, Netherlands label Purple-Eye released ‘So Pure Remixes’ courtesy of Ferry Corsten ( The man responsible for ‘Outta the Blue’ ).


I began remixing under the guise of ‘Pure Seduction’. My Remix discography is quite long and without boring you to tears; my favourite Pure Seduction Remixes are ‘Outta the Blue’ by ‘System F’ and my track ‘Passion’ which was featured on Danny Rampling's ‘Love Groove Dance Party’, selling over 60,000 units and certified with a BPI Silver Disc Award.


I left London in 1999 and moved to Brighton. It was here that I regularly attended ‘The Pussycat Club’ on a Friday night at the legendary ‘Zap’ club. I wanted to DJ in the main room and to sweeten the promoter; I offered to play my congas upstairs in the back room… Well, what a great idea that was !!! - I had no microphone, nothing… Just a big smile, lovely attitude and great confidence. That night, it changed my life. I remember a girl approaching me and saying, “Wanna play on my bongo” as she pulled her bra up! - Needless to say, I was asked back, and in time, this platform would be the stepping stone towards becoming ’The Bongoman’.

I would play the bongos with drumsticks back to front if you didn't know already. This technique is very unorthodox. It is my idea and unique to me. I find it funny how I’ve inspired a lot of percussionists to play with their sticks, back to front, as if it's a performance prerequisite!

This little factual story will explain all… New Year's Eve 2002, and I was accompanying BBC Radio 1 Dave Pearce at the Pussycat NYE party held in the Brighton Centre. Unfortunately, earlier that week, I had cut my index finger quite deep. As I hit the congas with my hands, the plaster on my finger fell off, and the sweat was painful. I had been given a new set of bongos for Christmas, so I picked up sticks and started hitting them instead; the sound was fantastic and even better when I reversed the drumsticks. That was it! - What a great idea… What a revolution in Bongo playing!

I find it strange to see new Percussionists playing the bongos with their sticks reversed as I do. It’s as if the performance style is a prerequisite to being accepted as a modern bongo player accompanying DJs to dance music. Ironic that an accident hurting my finger would inspire so many people!


The summer of 2003 changed my life. I went on a week's holiday to Ibiza and took my bongos. Through an introduction by Dave Pearce, I met Ray Davis, who asked me to accompany him at the opening party of Eden nightclub in San Antonio. During the evening, I was approached by Tony Hannan ( Promoter of ‘Up Yer ‘Ronson’ ), and he asked if I would come to play the opening party of ‘Kanya Bar’ that he was managing. That was it; I played Kanya and was offered my first Ibiza residency. To cut a long story short, by the end of the summer season, I was living in Ibiza and resident at Tonic in both Eden and Space, Manumission in both Privilege the carry-on at Space, Four-04 at El-Divino, and Superfreak at the very infamous ‘Underground’. I enjoyed guest spots at Cream in Amnesia and Circo-Loco at DC10. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my bongo style would be so popular.

So many good things happened because of that summer in Ibiza. For example, this lovely chap introduced himself to me one Friday morning while playing at Space. He said I was a good ‘Drum-Banger,’ and we swapped numbers. Within the hour, I was accompanying him. Professionally known as ‘Mr C’ and better known for being the frontman of the UK chart-topping outfit ‘The Shamen’, he was part-owner of London’s most remarkable underground nightclub ‘The End’ and CEO of ‘Superfreq’. Over the next few years, I could accompany Mr C in the USA and Europe, plus more special events. I owe this man so much, he is a total inspiration of self-belief, and I am honoured to call him a good friend too.


Also, when playing at Space, I accompanied George & Stephen, professionally known as ‘The Sharp Boys’ This dynamic duo was huge on the LGBTQ+ scene. They’ve remixed everyone, including Madonna, George Michael (Twice) and The Pet Shop Boys. After returning to the UK, the Sharp Boys introduced me to Craig Elder, owner of the Orange group, and thus I began a ten years residency at all the parties held in their Vauxhall clubs, including ‘Fire’, ‘Area’ and ‘Lightbox’.

Luckily, I was asked to play regularly at London Pride, and then after meeting ‘Paul Kemp’ and performing at Wildfruit, I was asked to play the main tent at Brighton Pride.

In 2004, I accompanied David Jiminez and Alan K at Fire. Alan & I used to rock ‘A: M’ and ‘Gravity’ in the ‘Lightbox’. Alan introduced me to ‘Chris Selby’, the promoter of ‘Popcorn’, London’s busiest Monday night party in the world’s most famous gay nightclub ‘Heaven’. I enjoyed a five years prestigious bi-monthly residency performing at ‘Popcorn’ in ‘Heaven’, the world's most famous and iconic LGBTQ+ nightclub.

The last great introduction, again, performing at Space in Ibiza was when I accompanied DJ Fubar, who, along with Ray Davis, introduced me to ‘Mark Nordwind’. The Nordwind family had just finished building the UK’s largest nightclub called the Syndicate. After returning to the UK, I left Brighton and moved to Blackpool. Performing at the Syndicate Superclub every Friday & Saturday, I had the comfort of guaranteed weekly work. I was very fortunate during the three years I worked at The Syndicate; I accompanied some of the biggest DJ names in the business.

So, (to cut a long story short), after returning from Ibiza, I landed a residency at the UK’s largest superclub, ‘The Syndicate’. He regularly played alongside MR C at his club night ‘Superfreq’ and in his nightclub ‘The End’. Plus, I had become the most in-demand percussionist on the LGBTQ+ scene…. Not bad for what was just a one-week holiday!


I am lucky to have accompanied the most successful and famous DJs in excellent clubs and parties. Some of my favourite performances have been live broadcast from London’s Regent’s Park as a part of the Radio 1 LGBTQ+ Pride. Also, the ‘Essential Selection’ Winter Tour broadcast live from the Syndicate Superclub in Blackpool. In Ibiza, my favourite performances were alongside Mr C in Space and another BBC Radio 1 ‘Essential Selection’ broadcast, this time accompanying DJ Pete Tong live in Manumission at Privilege.

In 2012 and after a successful tour of Malta, I co-started and co-promoted an after-hours club night in Vauxhall called WRONG! This hedonistic after-hours at Club Union in Vauxhall is still going in 2023. Wrong! This is where I started to DJ and play the drums simultaneously, which is unique.

Over these past years, I’ve been developing the ‘Percussion DJ’. The results are brilliant, and I have invested in digital drums and DJ controllers for my laptop.


Since 2017 I have been performing regularly at European Snow Pride. This fantastic annual music festival takes place high up in the French Alps in the beautiful ski resort of Tignes. March 2023 was a great week!!!

Well, that brings you up to date. I have left a few things out, like LazerSpin and some private parties I play at.

I hope that you enjoyed my little read!

Continuously updated, please pop back for a re-read, and you have my full permission to quote or reproduce any of the above.

Peace & love,