Thomas Jack talks Mad Decent Block Party, 'Tropical House' and new music

It’s about time the world learns about Thomas Jack, the Australian DJ and producer behind “tropical house,” a relatively new music genre that is ushering in a relaxed and fresh sound to the sometimes “stale” electronic dance music scene.

In light of his upcoming performance Friday at Mad Decent Block Party in Phoenix, I spoke with Thomas Jack about success, partying and new music.

You just got done playing Burning Man. Tell me what that was like.

It was my first Burning Man. It was actually my favorite festival in the entire world. Everyone is in the most amazing costumes and everyone is so nice there. It was cool because when I played there, people gave me gifts and explained why they like my music so much. It was really cool. I’m pretty tired now because I definitely partied very very hard.

Ego Trip camp ❤️

A video posted by Thomas Jack (@thomasjackmusic) on

So how are you staying alive on the road if you’re constantly going from party to party?

I try to sleep as much as possible and know when the right time is to party. When I’m traveling so much, I try and not party that much cause than I just get worn out. It’s just about being tactical and knowing when the right time to party is and when the right time to work is.

You go from this guy who has put out a few mixes online, you have one single, you go from nobody to now playing some of the world’s biggest stages in a relatively short time. How did this happen?

Everything that me and my manager have ever done was all planned, like with the mixtapes and everything, with all the shows and stuff. We’ve just always really planned everything that we’re doing ahead of time. We know everything. We have goals and we’re just trying reach those goals. We’re very lucky and just worked very hard. These goals are happening now which is cool, and now we’ve just got bigger and better things to do.

There’s a new genre in this type of dance music all the time, from dubstep to trap, and now it seems like it's “tropical house” coming from you and Kygo. Was this intentional and do you eventually see yourself creating a “tropical house” record label on par with OWSLA or Dim Mak?

Maybe, but I’m trying to figure out what music I want to make still. There’s a lot of different stuff I want to make. I just want to get there first. I discovered so much amazing music at Burning Man that really inspired me to do some different things. It’s hard to change straight away. I got some different ideas for what I want to do. But they’re a bit too weird to change so I’m just gonna keep cruising. I’ve got an album to finish at the moment which is pretty cool.

When can we expect an album from you?

I have no idea. As soon as it’s done I’m getting it out there. I just want to get it out and I’ll be happy.

What’s the recording process like for that? Is it all in hotel rooms or do you set up studio time?

No, I travel, but then I set up studio time so I can work in studios and record with artists. Once I’ve recorded everything, I try and piece things together and go over it on planes and s--t because I travel pretty much everyday now, which is pretty f---ing tiring because I would definitely like to have a home and it’d be nice to set up a studio and be grounded, which I’m excited for. It’ll be nice to have a little bit of a break.

Will the sound be similar to your single “Rivers,” or will it be different?

It’s actually a little bit darker, but it still has a really nice vibe. But I’m very happy about it, so hopefully people think the same.

This kind of lifestyle is something that maybe you looked at from an outsider’s perspective and really wanted. But now that you’re there, is it more tough to maintain now that you are actually living it?

When it first started, I was like “oh it’s cool.” Now I’ve just gotten used to it. It’s a very confusing lifestyle because you’re surrounded by partying the whole time. You’re living in a reality that people escape to. It is pretty intense, and it’s f---ing awesome, but it’s just figuring out the balance, but I think I have a balance now which is cool.

You’re playing Mad Decent Block Party here in Phoenix soon. How did you get hooked up with the festival?

I played the Mad Decent Block Party last year, and they hit me up for some more shows. It’s cool because of the lineup. It’s cool to try and reach a new market which is exciting. Hopefully we get to more fans.

Does it feel weird playing on these shows where fans are expecting a Diplo type of artist and then you come on?

Some people are kind of like, “What the f--k’s going on?” and some people enjoy it. It’s kind of like that shock cause also the Mad Decent people, they are like 16 plus events. Those kids have never heard this style of music. Sometimes it confuses them.

Catch Thomas Jack Friday at Mad Decent Block Party in Phoenix. For tickets, click here.


Reach the arts editor at jhgolds2@asu.edu or @misterjacobgold on Twitter.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.



Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.