The founders of Haute to Death on fashion, music and more

DJs Ash Nowak (left) and Jon Dones rest at the Film Lab in Hamtramck, a place they both love for its interior.

Ssince 2007, DJs and husband-and-wife duo Ash Nowak and Jon Dones have created dance parties more akin to penthouse nights for revelers frequenting nightlife hotspots in and around Detroit, including Temple Bar, The Painted Lady and by the pool at MGM Grand Detroit, to name a few. some. While they don’t stick to a particular genre of music in their sets, people can expect disco, house, new wave, post-punk, and anything else worthy of it. dance. The two have taken their parties to Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Miami over the years – but locally you can find them every third Saturday at the Marble Bar in Detroit, where they’ve been hosting monthly since 2018 (minus 15 months, pandemic – induced interruption, during which they broadcast live from home).

Here Nowak and Dones, who recently celebrated Haute to Death’s 14th anniversary, talk about fashion, music and more.

My personal style is …

A: New wave rodeo, remixed. I like to create themes; I like to create dress codes. I have kind of an opening art wine and cheese type vibe, but with something really strong that probably shouldn’t be there. [My style is] about to be booked. When I get up I think to myself, ‘Oh, will Molly Ringwald or Ally Sheedy decide how I dress today? ”

JD: Yes, I really like that you said, “I’m about to be booked” – I feel like I’m about to be loud. I am a big fan of classics in general and as a philosophy.

Where I buy locally:

A: I’m still in the Salvation Army by Book Beat [in Oak Park]. Coup d’etat is excellent. Glasses are super cool. And I’ve been going to Lost and Found since I was in high school.

JD: I feel like [Lost and Found is] a very good watch for us.

Do you have any “lucky charms” that you wear when you’re a DJ?

A D: I have this [Virgo] necklace that I still wear. This is the first adult jewelry I bought for myself, so it really matters to me. It looks a lot like part of my uniform, badge, and qualification.

JD: I always put this cologne on [for] our party: Artek [Standard by Comme des Garçons Parfums] – it always puts my mind in the right place.

What does New Years Eve look like with Haute to Death?

JD: Our surreal ball refers to Salvador Dalí and the Rothschild parties that took place in the 70s. So you had to bring in a surreal inspired look, which is essentially the most surreal and real version you can make.

A: Now is the time to remove the “I am saving this for a special occasion”, and it also works with music. That’s the right policy and dress code policy for the way I think we should present ourselves in December.

If I could only listen to one musician for the rest of my life, that would be …

A: Oh, Depeche Mode.

JD: New order. … I’ll stick to that.

Learn more about Haute to Death at

This story is featured in the December 2021 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more stories in our digital edition. And click here for more MI style.

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