10 Questions with ... TJR
October 14, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) How did you come up with the name and where are you from?
People think it stands for something else, but they're my initials. I am from Connecticut.
2) Is it true that career-wise, you wanted to be a golfer?
Golf was really the only thing that was going to get me into college. I really didn't want to go to college, but my golf coach said you can go to school and become head golf pro and manage a golf course, so I thought that sounds cool, let's go do it. That's when I discovered dance music in my freshman year in school in North Carolina. I graduated with a professional golf management degree. I still play golf. I used to be a scratch golfer, but when my career took off in dance music I stopped playing as much. Now I play nine-hole courses and kind of beat it around; I'm probably a 6 or 7 handicap.
3) I read somewhere that when you DJ you want to get up there and destroy everything, which would seem the opposite mentality of a golfer. How did you make the transition of playing golf to getting into making music, producing, remixing and DJing?
If you watched me play golf, I didn't quite control my temper that well and I would usually snap clubs and throw my clubs about 50 feet down the fairway. I always had that kind of fire inside of me and I found a great way to release it was when I started getting into DJing. That's how I look at it; for me DJing is a release. I found when I got into producing, it was more of a way to express myself. When I produce, I don't go crazy. I calmly sit in my room by myself, working on stuff, but I love both worlds. I sit here all week working on music and then when I go out and play, it's my time to let it all out. I A lot of people see it when I DJ; I'm pretty intense and I sweat a lot. I love it.
4) Your set at Ultra in Miami earlier this year was intense and the energy level was through the roof. What can you tell us about it?
That was one of the best sets I had this year. It was cool; they recorded the set, it was put online. Luckily it was captured live and I constantly get kids tweeting at me and going on Facebook and commenting on how great it was and how much they enjoyed it. It's a great one to go online and see what I do.
5) Do you find a big difference between playing at a festival and playing at a club?
Those two worlds are definitely different. Clubs, for me personally, I don't like to have a lot of break downs. The music I choose, it's more of having a solid groove. You kind of go up and down a little bit more and keep the people dancing and going. Big breakdowns kind of ruin the momentum when your DJing in a club. I also think a club is more enclosed so you can play records that are a little more creative and cooler. At a festival, you are trying to fill the space, so it's more about playing the biggest records possible with really big drops because you're trying to have major impact on a mass amount of people in open ai. That's another reason why you have to choose records differently for festivals.
6) You have had a number of Beatport #1's "Funky Vodka" in 2012, "What's Up Suckaz" in 2013, and "Bounce Generation" in 2014. What is the thought process when you are creating music?
One thing that maybe helps me when I am creating music, as opposed to a young kid who is just starting out, is that I have a lot of years of DJing. I make straight-up tracks for DJs to mix, so the first thing I do when I create music is a kind of an arrangement style that makes it easy to mix and that the energy is always there. The other thing is that I have created this sound that kind of works, this funky sound that stands out and people are into it.
7) Your known for Melbourne Bounce, how does a person from Connecticut create this sound ... how did it come about?
I don't know, when I started 10 years ago I was trying to make Acid House like in the late '80s. Even then, to me it was kind of bouncy. I just love that shoulder shrug, up and down, head nod kind of groove. Four years ago when Electro was really big, I could never figure out production-wise how to make my bass lines on top of my kicks. I said I'm kind of over this, I'm just going to start putting my bass on the upbeat and keep my drums clean so I kind of had the upbeat kind of bass. Then I got booked for a tour in Australia and I had no idea they were into my music and that's when I heard the Melbourne sound. At the time I used to use two bass notes, which was the House sound. With the Melbourne sound, they only use one. After that first tour in Australia, I came back and I was so inspired to make more of that sound.
8) In 2012 you did a song with Pitbull "Don't Stop The Party." How did this song come about?
There was a lot of buzz on "Funky Vodka" when it came out. The charts were full of Electro and Progressive and here comes this Reggae House track that goes #1 on Beatport in the most competitive time and there was a lot of talk about this track in the Pop and Mainstream worlds. There was a lot of interest in the track. Pitbull was approached about the song, my management talked to him and he was really into it. He was on tour in Europe and he was so stoked; he was so into the record. He is amazing about business and staying on top of things and being a hustler. He's always listening, researching and finding out what is going on out there. He wanted to do it right away. Literally a few days after they had the management and label meeting, he cut the vocals and I made the track. We ended up meeting each other at the video shoot.
9) Your new single is "Ass Hypnotized" and features Dances With White Girls; is this a group? And what can you tell us about the video as well, which is very creative.
No it's just one guy. His name is Frog; that's the name he goes by. He is hilarious. He is the one that came up with Ass Hypnotized. We just played the beat and he came up with the lyrics. My management and my director came up with the idea for a John Carpenter horror flick type style for a video. I kind of like dark humor and I love horror movies, so it was a cool combination of putting the two together.
10) What else can we expect from you this year? Is there an album?
No, not right now, I'm still one of these DIY guys. I love to produce. I do my own mix downs, I do my own mastering, I do everything and on top of touring and DJing I really just have enough time to make singles. I'd have to take off a year of touring to make an album. I have a collaboration coming with Dillon Francis called "What's That Spell" that's on his album and I have a Crookers remix coming out and a few other projects I am doing with other people. I have the next few weeks off and I going to finish some of these things off.
You have a residency at Surrender in Vegas. Outside of that is there a favorite city or venue that you like to play at?
I love playing in San Diego. They are kind of like my home in a way. When I moved out here, they were the first place that I built my first real fan base and they show me crazy love. New York has a special place in my heart, just growing up being a Rangers fan my whole life. I'm going to Brazil and have to say as a country aside from America, that may be my favorite place to play in the world. They have such passion for the music and they really appreciate it anytime an international comes and they just go crazy and it's such a great experience to play there.
If you could go see one DJ play tonight who would it be?
I would say Crookers. I saw him DJ last year and I have to say because of that I completely changed my style. Not completely, but I hadn't changed my style in a long time. He spans a lot of different genres when he plays but it's so seamless -- and he's got the biggest balls as far as his programming the records he decides to play. I found it so inspiring and challenging not just trying to play a 4/ 4, 128 bpm hour-long set with super-easy transitions. If there is anybody to see, it's him. He finds the craziest music. He is so inspiring to watch play.