Yannis Dardes, aka Join John, was born and raised in Athens. His Instagram pics reveal a passion for archaeology and architecture, but life had other plans in store for him: he’s been working on electronic audio and video processing for years. He’s one of the most genteel presences in the world of advertising. To let some steam off –his own words, mind you– he started DJ-ing for various bars in Athens and in 2013, encouraged by radio producer Aphrodite Simitis, he was recruited by joinragio.gr, where you can listen to his show every day – except Fridays – from 4 to 6 pm. He loves reading, he loves books, and he wanted to share with us some of his favourite titles and authors.
What kind of music do you listen to? What type of music do you like playing on air?
I listen to all sorts of music. You could say I’ve diverse interests. Or you might think I’m a psycho, if you were to come to my house and realise that I could listen, with the same ease, to Hadjidakis and Kate Bush, to traditional polyphonic music from Bulgaria and Southern Italy, to Pulp and Blur, to 80s New Wave and German electronica, bands like Moderat. I usually play a wide selection of melodic electronica on the show (mainly from central and norther Europe), interspersed with a touch of indie, alternative, and shoegaze.
Do you read? Do you recommend books on you show?
I do read but I rarely recommend books on air. If I do, it means I’m thrilled with the read and I recommend it as heartily as I would do to my friends.
What are you currently reading?
I happened on a book which I literally put down to start answering your questions; it’s a short story by Marguerite Duras, entitled “The Man Sitting in the Corridor”. I’m only on page 8, but I’ll finish it soon, it’s only 29 page long!
Is there a book you feel like you want to come back to, again and again?
Yes. I have been rereading various theatrical plays as of late (from Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams, to the ancient tragic writers), probably because I am reminiscing (and acting like) my youth, like I’d want to go back to when I was in my twenties – which is when I first devoured these texts. Of course it’s hugely interesting to look at how different your comprehension and interpretation of a text is now, as opposed to twenty years ago.
Have you ever found yourself identifying with a literary character?
Never (*shock*). Oh, maybe when I was a kid, with some of Enid Blyton’s characters. I usually lose myself in the plot of a book, as if I were watching a movie.
What’s your favourite literary genre? Crime fiction? Historical fiction?
Like with music, I don’t have a “favourite” literary genre. I’ve had great times reading science fiction (David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas stands out), crime fiction (Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood is on the top of my list), even biographies. I recently finished reading Letter to Costis, by Xenia Kalogeropoulou. I was thrilled by her direct, unadorned prose, and lured into her world: I really did understand the emotional state that drove her to write this book.
What’s your favourite bookstore in Athens?
I like Politeia and Ianos. I used to love my sister’s little, neighbourhood bookstore, but it unfortunately closed down due to the economic crisis. On a recent trip to Rome I fell in love with another tiny bookshop, right next to the river Tiber.
Any Greek writers that truly stand out for you?
Two: Theodor Kallifatides and Maro Vamvounakis
Would you a buy a book only because it’s been awarded a prize?
Why not? Even though I regret buying Orhan Pamuk’s Snow! Alright, he wasn’t awarded the Nobel Prize for this specific title, but it’s the only book I have put down without having finished it.
I usually read books recommended to me by people whose taste I appreciate in general. If I am not familiar with a writer, I look at the synopsis on the back page – or even the cover itself; if I’m intrigued, I buy it.
Would you ever used an e-reader? Or do you prefer hard copies?
Oh, hard copies by far. It’s the combination of sensory stimuli that make reading so exciting: when you hold a book and turn its pages you can smell the printed paper. How can an e-reader compensate for that? It’s the same thing with music, if you compare the “warmth” of an LP with the coldness of an mp3.
Is there a song that’s stuck in your head lately and which you play on air all the time?
I have this thing for a London band called Hælos lately. Their latest album is called Full Circle and it’s one of those albums where all tracks are wonderful – you can’t pick a favourite one out, a very rare thing these days. I play all of their songs on my shows. It’s one of those albums I’ll never get tired of listening to. Here, check it out:
Also, I am stuck on this one song, by Washed Out. Don’t be fooled by its upbeat rhythm; it’s a really sad one!