*This interview was done by our guest writer, Catherine Couture. Follow her on Twitter HERE
The man, The king, the emissary of bounce music, which ever title you choose, TJR is the ruling artist of 2013. From an impressive residency at the Hakkasan Nightclub, to a successful Stereosonic tour, TJR has turned the heads of thousands as he stands out from his peers with his signature style and demeanor. We had the chance to catch up with TJR in Seattle before he headed to Decadence to ring in the new year and were able to pick his brain and find out just why he is the unofficial top DJ of 2013:
Your EDM:I read you’re from Connecticut originally, I’m from New Hampshire. How has your transition to the West Coast been?
TJR: I did it like 5 years ago, I moved to LA there’s a big difference, but it was well worth it. At the time when I left the east coast and moved to LA, there was nothing really going on there, they were still really behind on everything. They’re a bit more traditionalist and keep their roots and keep doing what they’ve been doing for years, and eventually catch up. It was a little bit of an adjustment but it was worth it.
Your EDM: Cool let’s talk music. I remember hearing Funky Vodka many moons ago, which has a significantly different sound than your current style. What influenced the transition?
TJR: The way I work is I love listening to samples, I’m always listening for a really good sample to use. And it’s because I’m a product of the 90s, 90s house was all about sampling. Any big house record of the 90s Armand van Helden, Sneak, Daft Punk, its all about the samples that they used to find. So that’s part of one side of me, and that’s all Funky Vodka was. I found a really great sample ‘don’t get in the way of it’ it’s like Puff Daddy Style, just put a drum beat behind it and let the rest do the work. Now ‘Ode to Oi’ and ‘What’s Up Suckaz’ that bouncey sound is actually more or less a sound that’s unique to me that I was developing throughout the years and then I finally figured it all out with ‘Ode to Oi’ and ‘Funky Vodka’. I’ve always been a producer that’s made a lot of different sounds but eventually I stuck with one certain one. I still look for samples but I still look for funky, bouncey stuff.
Your EDM: Your new music definitely falls into the genre of ‘bounce’, which is usually associated with Melbourne, Australia. Do people ever think you’re an Aussie? Do you think there’s a big future for American Bounce, as you are pioneering it?
TJR: I met Porter Robinson over the summer, and Porter thought I was from Australia, like a lot of people do. I champion the sound a lot and it’s new for America so by me saying “Melbourne Bounce” people immediately associate that I’m from Australia but I’m not! I’ve been there a few times and they’re a really big influence on me so that’s where I named my music, it’s from that area. As far as American Bounce I’m hearing more producers do it. I think bounce has a great opportunity in dance music because if you listen to what’s going on right now it’s either really hard, big house, or 120 deep house. There’s nothing really in the middle that keeps the dance floor going that’s funky and grooving, so there’s a lot of opportunity for bounce. There’s a lot of great stuff going on with American stuff like Deorro/Tonic.
Your EDM: On that note, it seems like you and young Will Sparks have a lot of love and respect for each other. Have you met before? Can we expect any collaborations from the two of you in the future?
TJR: We hung out when I was in Australia 6 months ago. He’s a great kid. He just wants to get better, he’s got that hunger but also has the desire to improve his sound and get better so we get along great. We were in the studio together, but the thing about me is I’m awful, which is why I never collab with people, I’m tough to work with because I’m a super perfectionist. I only want the very best of whatever, so we’ve done it together and are planning more studio sessions together because he is so good and so easy to work with and we do want to get something together.
Your EDM: Do you have any new tracks in the works we can look forward to in 2014?
TJR: Sure! I actually have a bunch scheduled. The first one to be coming out is with a vocal from Benji Madden from Good Charlotte. It’s still the same- big room, funky, bouncey but it’s a little more aggressive. I did a song with Dirt Nasty coming out called “Get Polluted”, I have a bunch more too. I kind of waited for the last few months of 2013 to clean up the songs so in 2014 we have a nice run of releases starting in February.
Your EDM: Are you looking forward to performing at Decadence this coming week?
TJR: Yeah! I’ve been seeing a lot coming up on Twitter and Facebook about it, I have not been to Denver in over 5 years. I know everything has changed so much about it. And I know Decadence is going to be a huge event so I’m pretty curious to see what Denver has to bring and what the energy will be like.
Your EDM: It’s almost the new year, looking back on 2013 what was the most memorable thing that happened at one of your shows this past year?
TJR: Probably all the times I played great sets and I turned the song off at the wrong time. I think it happened once in El Paso. El Paso is one of the craziest places in the world and it seems like every time I play for them, the CD stops! So it usually ends up me getting on the mic and talking to them and telling them a story to pass the time while I figure out the next move.
Your EDM: Any new talent we should keep an eye out for in 2014?
TJR: As far as bounce music, I think Joel Fletcher. He’s a great kid, super young but makes dope tracks so I expect a lot of great things from him this year. I’m kind of big on the trap and twerk stuff too, DJ Snake had an amazing year, but Victor Niglio from Philly, I think he’s got a lot of potential. He’s got a good heart and just wants to get better and better.
Your EDM: How long have you had a beard?
TJR: (laughs) Probably for like 8 years now. If I didn’t have a beard, I’d look like my thumb. I try to take care of it though!