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Tommy trash

Grammy-nominated DJ Tommy Trash makes music with t2

First, what’s your take on the EDM scene in India?

I heard the EDM scene here is getting a lot stronger; gathering a lot of momentum. I get hit up a lot on Twitter by Indian fans. So, expectations are pretty high for my gigs here. In way of music, I will be playing the same records here that I play in the States or Europe, the same sound that I play.

So, you don’t change your approach at all with geography?

I don’t necessarily change my set based on the country I am playing in, be it a club show or a festival. All depends on how long my set is. If it’s a one-hour festival set everything has to be bam, bam, bam and bam. So maybe I would play different songs, playing stuff that’s perhaps more drawn out. It all depends. You also need to see the audience feel… if the songs are working or not. I just kind of feel it out. Since I have been doing it for a few years now, it has become an automatic thing now.

Dance music is having a huge impact on other genres. What do you think of the crossover of genres?

I think it’s really having a big effect on pop music but that has been on for some time now. I think it (EDM) has sort of snuck up on people. Now it has become very obvious and is hanging the whole pop scene. I think the cross-pollination of genres in general is a good thing because it keeps genres alive, keeps them fresh and I am all for it. I don’t believe in creating boundaries between genres. There are a lot of purists who hate that, talking of electronic influences happening on progressive or on techno…. They want to keep genres separate but that’s kind of an old way of thinking.

At your show do you go with what the crowd expects or do you break free?

I think it’s good to give people a mixture of what they want and also things that surprise them. And I think if we give people only what they want, it would be a safe way of going about things but it may not be pushing boundaries. It’s really important that the set goes a little out of the box and just does new things. At times it works very well but it’s important to do this…

What does the Grammy nomination (for the Deadmau5 track The Veldt) mean to you?

I was obviously very honoured to be nominated but at the same time, I don’t feel like it’s required to validate my music. I am happy with what I am doing and DJ shows. It’s a nice bonus but it’s not a necessity. To win a Grammy or to be nominated, can have a positive effect on one’s career… it has for me definitely. It puts you in a certain league. But one’s (sole) focus shouldn’t be the Grammy; it’s dangerous territory to get into.

How did music happen to you?

I have been doing music since a very young age. When I was younger I thought I would be doing pop music or playing in bands or orchestras. I mean, I went through so many different phases… of different music. Then I ended up doing dance. I guess when I was around 25, it was the first time I felt like wow, I may make this a real career. But then it took time to reach a stage where I felt comfortable calling music a full-time job.

Who have been your influences?

Some very important influences, like my uncle Danny, who is a musician. My dad played the piano and growing up, watching him play the piano was obviously a big influence. I wanted to be like him. Then my uncle was playing in bands and when I was a teenager, I wanted to be like my cool uncle. He showed me a lot of different kinds of music. That’s more on a personal level. As for artistes, there are all these bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam…. The Seattle scene was a huge influence on me. Then when I started clubbing in my 20s, I moved towards guys like Swedish House Mafia… actually before they were called Swedish House Mafia.

Finally, how do you unwind before a gig?

Probably start with a shot of espresso…. Before every gig I always load up my programme on my laptop with my SD cards and I just look through everything, even if I don’t make changes to the set. I just always have a look. This has become sort of a ritual.

Quick-fire round

One DJ you dig: I am really digging this Canadian DJ called Botnek. He is awesome and I am playing a lot of his stuff. He has a different sound.
Dance-floor scorcher: I think that Showtek (featuring We Are Loud and Sonny Wilson) song Booyah is awesome. I play that a lot in my set. It’s not a commercial song but still gets amazing reaction.
The song you want played at your funeral: Smashing Pumpkins’s Today.

WHO IS TOMMY TRASH?

Age: 34
Genre: Electro house
Claim to fame: His 2011 track The End was noticed by DJs like Tiesto, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Afrojack.
Big ticket: Last year he was nominated for a Grammy (best remixed recording, non-classical) for the Deadmau5 track The Veldt (Tommy Trash Remix).