Topher Jones is one of the biggest up-and-coming names in dance music. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois Topher is one of the most promising talents in American dance music. He has signed a major deal with Ultra Records and has also worked with OWSLA, Dim Mak, Garuda and Spinnin’. His track Brohammer charted in the overall top 10 on Beatport.
Like the article we did with John 00 Fleming, we got in touch with Topher to see if he would be interested in writing something for the blog. He was more than happy to do so and the product is an honest and interesting insight into dance music in America. He asks worthwhile questions and raises valid points making for an excellent and fascinating read. Here is what he had to say:
It’s crazy to see where dance music is in America right now. I first got into dance music when I was 15 and had just gotten my first pair of turntables for Christmas/my birthday. I remember people telling me how weird “techno” was back then.
I was the only kid in my high school who had turntables. My parents were kind enough to let me blast the music in the basement, so I would mix for hours upon hours. It started out with scratching/turntablism since I was into hip hop when I began dj’ing, but once I was introduced to dance music it was all 4/4 records from there on out.
In college it was much of the same. Dance music wasn’t big at all. People didn’t really understand why I had such a passion for a style of music that people in America didn’t care too much about. After college I played a lot of shows in Indianapolis, Indiana where I was living. The dance music scene there wasn’t one that was blossoming. Some big names would come through every now and then and draw a decent crowd, but on a weekly basis, the scene wasn’t too lively. Every show was a fight. You had to fight to get people moving their feet. You had to earn every person who was on the dancefloor. You had to create a vibe where people would dance to music they weren’t familiar with….
Jump ahead six years to 2013 and America can’t get enough of house music. It’s exploding everywhere. DJ’s are household names for anyone between the ages of 12 and 35, and sometimes even older. My grandma, in Toledo, Ohio, cuts out newspaper articles about DJs and mails them to me. It’s a billion dollar industry that’s still on the rise. Skrillex owns the Grammy’s, Swedish House Mafia are selling out arenas faster than just about any other musical act, and you can find t-shirts at Target with the Deadmau5 mouse head on them. Some people get upset that its gone “mainstream” and that people are “selling out,” but I’m excited. I love that great music is finally getting the recognition it’s deserved for years. I love that people who’ve been doing what they are passionate about are getting paid, and that promoters, clubs, artists, labels, are all finally making money.
What I’m very interested to see in the next few years is…. How does America treat/develop/help its homegrown talent? It seems as if the Swedes and the Dutch superstars put out a new up and comer every week. They’re writing massive hits and tracks that are setting the tone for house music. How will America respond? We’ve embraced a European sound but are we doing anything to push a sound of our own? Do we even have a sound of our own in the house world? Recently America has dominated the bass music world. Skrillex, Bassnectar, Diplo, and countless other talented artists are carrying the flag and pushing musical boundaries. Europe has a huge advantage in that European kids have grown up with dance music for years and it’s been a part of their culture. This isn’t the case in America as kids are just now growing up with dance music around them. But will it take 5, 10, 15 years for it to really turn into tons of blossoming American artists who are shaping the house music world on a global level?
I’m American, so I’d love to see our country support its homegrown talent and really encourage artists to be leading forces in house music. European artists are writing amazing, game-changing music, and have definitely earned their spots at the top. Now, I want to see America respond. I want to see my country push its own talent to new levels and I want to see these artists answer the challenge with some incredible, revolutionary tracks!
Interested in hearing some of Topher‘s music? He recently released his fREeMIX EP Vol. 1 “The Grammy’s” in which he remixes three Grammy nominated tracks by Skrillex, Rihanna and Fun. As if that isn’t good enough, you can download all these tracks for free! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
Also be sure to check out his new track Save Me which will be out on Ultra Music on April 8!