Future Disco Interview Tom Trago

Tom Trago Tomorrow evening sadly marks the end of our residency on the Sunset Terrace at Space for this year, but what a year it's been! Mario Basanov on a boat, Huxley streamed live on Mixmag TV, the chaos that followed after Ben Pearce dropped 'What I Might Do' and not forgetting last week seeing Kink playing his mind blowing live set.

So how are we going to round up thus year we hear you cry? Well I think we can safely say we've saved the best for last as for our closing party we welcome the one and only Tom Trago to the Sunset Terrace. The Amsterdam based Rush Hour affiliate has not only gained a reputation as a prolific collaborator (having worked with some of dance music's heroes including Tyree Cooper, Seth Troxler, Breach and the late Romanthony) but also as a talented DJ who's not afraid to experiment on a dancefloor. We thought it was only fitting that we had a chat with Tom before his set on the Terrace to gain an insight into the music scene in Amsterdam and to talk about 'The Light Fantastic' his new album due to drop on Rush Hour on October 21st...

So we are all really excited to have you coming over to Ibiza for our closing party! Is this going to be your first time on the island?

I've been coming to the island since 2006 quite regularly. The first time I was invited by Phillipe Zdar (Cassius) to come and visit him, which was an amazing way to discover the island. From there on I started coming back to relax and make some music with friends. More recently I have been coming over to play clubs like DC10, Space or Sankeys. This is the first time I'm playing at a closing party so that's a premiere. I'm stoked to play the terrace again, because I love that room for its sound but also for its 'space'.

We are big fans of both ‘Voyage Direct’ and 'Iris' here in the office, so we were really happy to see you’ve got a new album coming soon. What can we expect from ‘The Light Fantastic’ and how did collaborations with the likes of Steffi and Breach come about?

'The Light Fantastic' has a more dancefloor feel to it, a bit like Voyage Direct. I really wanted to make an album thats also serves the purpose of bringing the album to a club. A sound-vision how an ideal Tom Trago night would feel like, (electronic) dance music across the board. An album that goes deep into your mind but also fuels your feet.

The collaborations just all happened naturally. Ben (Breach) had just moved to Amsterdam. I was working on the track and he kinda walked in. He's a real musician, just totally clicked into the vibe I was in with that track. We got on some r&b space vocoder shit. I wrote the lyrics and he just laid it down in 10 minutes. Amazing.

Tom Trago feat. Ben Westbeech & San Proper - True Friends

With Steffi it also went really natural, I was playing a show at Panorama Bar and was staying at her apartment. We did three days of jamming and a lot of little ideas came out. 'Two Together' was one of them. I remember it was great to hear the track at Panorama Bar hours after we made it.

Tom Trago feat. Steffi - Two Together

How have you approached making this album compared to the previous two? Do you feel like you’ve come into your stride and your own sound with this third LP?

Well, the quest to fully come into my own stride will probably take my whole life, but I do feel I came a lot closer. Its always hard, doing an album according to a vision in your head. It always turns out different. I also like to remain flexible, as I do believe most of these things just happen. I brainstorm about it a lot, but most of the magic happens when the machines are turned on. Sometimes it just feels I'm a messenger, who helps to guide these songs into the world.

I retreated to a forest house outside Amsterdam to create the tracks for this album. It was a great period, a lot of friends dropped by to cook or work on music and vocals. It also gave me the opportunity to be disconnected from the club and city life for a while, which gave me the space to decide which tracks I wanted to be on the album.

‘Use Me Again’, has been such a big dance floor weapon over the past few years. What’s the story behind this track, as ‘Use Me’ appeared on your first album back in ’09?

It's quite fun to see how this track has caught on. The first version came out on the Voyage Direct album and wasn't given much attention as it was more of a loop than a full track. I did an extended version of it, in which I brought out the vocals and created a song rather than just a track, in my live show sometime later and we decided to press it up on vinyl as Use Me Again on my Live Takes release in 2010.

About a year later Carl Craig picked up on the song, played it in his sets a lot and decided to do a mix of it, essentially turning up the kick and adding some effects. That version was released spring 2012 and became one of those tracks that was played everywhere last summer. I still hear it out quite often and it seems to light up a room every time, it makes people smile.

You’ve always worked closely with Rush Hour as a record label and store, where did this relationship begin?

I was close friends with the guys from Rednose Distrikt, which I got to know about 15 years ago when I first started going out in Amsterdam. They were releasing music on Rush Hour and the way they handled the MPC influenced me a lot. They pretty much got me into making music, so when I did my first track, I left a tape at the Rush Hour office and the label contacted me and said they were gonna release it, and I remember thinking ‘wow, it’s really going to happen’. The release was “Live At The BBQ” and came out in 2006. From there I started DJing more and got involved with RH parties. I appreciate their honest opinion about my music, so more releases followed and we are up to my third album release now.

We saw recently you played a headline all night set at your local club Trouw; how did the night go and do you prefer playing longer sets?

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It was a great night. Trouw doesn't have closing restrictions any longer, which gave me about ten hours to play. I love playing long sets, as it allowed me to get into all kinds of music and take the crowd onto a journey. I was glad to see all my Dutch friends at once and to play them all those records I love so much.

Thanks for having a chat with us Tom! We’ve been asking all our guests this summer to pick us their five favourite tracks of various theme’s so perhaps this time, as a prolific collaborator, what would you say have been your five favourite collab's you've worked on?

Bok Bok & Tom Trago - Pom Clash

O.Boogie - Paper Chaser (Maxi Mill & Tom Trago 'Big Business' remix)

San Proper & Tom Trago - Corrupt

Charlie (Soul Clap) & Tom Trago - TBA

Tom Trago feat. Romanthony - Steppin' Out

And I love my collaborative work with Bok Bok (watch out for new stuff in 2014.)

Tom Trago plays the Future Disco closing party Space on Tuesday 24th September, tickets and more information here.

Tom's new album 'The Light Fantastic' is released on the 21st October through Rush Hour Records, keep up to date with his latest tour dates and releases on his website