'Voyage Direct' with Tom Trago
A very talented producer/DJ, Tom Trago is the next big thing from Amsterdam's crawling dance music fauna.
His sound is in full color, inspired from disco, house and techno. Direct and straight forward sound with a real touch of class, and talent. Tom Trago begun producing ages ago but it did not took so long that he has been releasing his stuff. Rush Hour people immediately reacted toward his talent and that's why his debut is released from the label as well. 'Voyage Direct' is one of the most comprehensive and shiny albums you can hear in months. It has various consignments to the electronic music scene and sound in Amsterdam which is very rich and diverse.
Of course he is very proud to be the latest ambassador of this unique and ever evolving sound but in fact what he cares is to release and share the tunes he loves, the beats he cares and the sound he adores. This is 'Voyage Direct' with the Amsterdam dance attorney Tom Trago.
Could you please talk about how you started producing and got in touch with the Rush Hour crew?
As a child my parents used to play me a lot of music and take me to see bands, to hear musicians play live. At the age of 6 I started to play a bit on the piano. when I turned 12 I got into hip-hop and started DJing. When I was 18, a friend of mine called Kid Sublime showed me the MPC 2000XL. Before that I tried to make some music on a computer but it never really liked working with that interface. The MPC really got me and I started to make music. From there on I started listening to a lot of different types of music, from techno to jazz, to folk back to rock etc etc. I would go to the Rush Hour store to buy records. And around 2002 I started playing a lot in Amsterdam clubs and so I met Antal and Christiaan (both really good DJs) in the nightlife of Amsterdam. We played together at numerous venues and parties. One day I dropped a little tape with some beats at the office and they called me back to say they wanted to release the track "live with the BBQ". That was in 2006.
What about the history behind the debut 'Live With The BBQ' or 'Passion'?
I made Live with the BBQ on the old E- MU SP1200 from the Amsterdam dance-hall legend "DJ Precise". Back then I was not conscious of the fact that I was making a house/techno track or whatever you want to call it. It was one of the first tracks I made on the SP. it is a lot of hassle because there is so little sample-time, but that forces you to be creative and make it work with the little you have. The Track "Passion" started as a loop in the MPC and I later took it into Logic. my home-boy Maximillion was with me when I made the first idea of the arrangement and after that it used to be a track from the Yuro Trago Live show. It was then changed a bit here and there and it was test pressed. We re-mastered it for the album as you can hear the difference.
What do you think about the long player now? Also why the name 'Voyage Direct'?
I am happy it is out now and people can enjoy it. The name is just the name, it came into my mind and I like it. I can tell you what I thought of it but I want people to make their own interpretation out of it.
How long did it take you to finish it all and how was the production process?
It was made in 2008 and most of it was made in my new and first studio at the old Volkskrant Gebouw. I was never really thinking of making an album. I was inspired by house, techno and disco a lot in that year. The tracks are a sort of homages to my musical inspirations. I made the tracks on different machines and synths. When we compiled the album we looked for the tracks with a similar feeling and attitude.
The album is a full spectrum of dance-billy music surrounded by house-disco-techno textures. Do you have a favorite track? If yes, why?
I think my favorite track is 'On the Side'. It was made at a farm in the middle of nowhere in around the summer of 2008. I always go there every year to chill out and make music with some friends. We made this track in a two day long trip. I still feel it when I listen to the track. Also the words have a certain personal thing for me. As it is about somebody not trusting you with other "chicks" and having then "on the side".
What new projects are you working on these days or forthcomingly?
I am working on a new wave project together with San Proper. We played & recorded every instrument ourselves and did this in one room with one mic. I am very happy with the result so far. And I think we will be able to release it end of this year. Also I am working on various remixes and I am very busy with the project I attend with the Kindred Spirits Ensemble. This is an interpretation of various techno classics that we gonna play with a full ensemble (24 Musicians). I also am also working on tracks for "Voyage Direct 2". Next to this I play a lot with the Parra SoundSystem, a collective of crazy creatives from Amsterdam.
If I am not wrong you have also lived in Paris. Played in various venues. What do you think about the Amsterdam techno/house scene considering the world fauna and where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
I have not lived in Paris but I have been there a lot of times, as we are well connected with the Paris crew "pain au choclat". We now have a bi montly residence in The Regine. Also we used to DJ a lot in Le Paris Paris. I love the city and it's atmosphere. It has lots of similarities with Amsterdam. I think the House and techno scene is well connected with each other and is very lively. Amsterdam has a strong history of DJs and parties so there is a lot of knowhow and experience. Also you can find parties for all kinds of music. It is really inspiring to see so much people do good stuff. I think I will live here for the coming years and I will be keeping on makin' all sorts of music.
Are you still in touch with the hip-hop scene and music?
Not so much as I used to be but I still listen to it and like it. I am also still making hip-hop beats for local and international MC's. I grew up on this music and it will stay with me. Amsterdam and Holland have a strong local scene now which is good to be part of it.
Which labels and producers to you lend an eye on these days?
Black Cock, Sound Signature, Delsin, Stones Trow, Warp, DFA. SoundStream, Pepe Bradock, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Actress. San Proper, Melon, Marco & Orpheo, Theo Parrish and the list goes on, on and on!
What do you know about İstanbul and Turkey, would you like to play here?
I heard a lot of good stories about the lively scene in Istanbul and I would love to play there. I've been to İstanbul once and I had a lovely time, I can say I really love the city although I don't really know it well. I know that the Turkish people really know how to party and have a good time.
What else, would you like to add or say something to your Turkish fans?
I am really happy that people from all over the world take some time listening to my music and for all the Turkish people I would like to say; I hope to see you soon in istanbul! Spread love through music!
Interview: Christopher Çolak
25 June 2009