DJ Trill Tone steps into Arizona dance music spotlight

A dance music force is taking over the Arizona nightlife scene with an array of alluring beats and an ear for what the people want.

Trill Tone, aka T.J. McCloy, is a DJ that has progressed from playing ASU fraternity parties and Mill Avenue to prominent clubs such as Maya Day and Nightclub in Scottsdale.

Originally from New York, McCloy moved to Arizona about five years ago to attend ASU, where music became a priority in his life.

“I was the one always digging for new music,” he said. “My sophomore year, I started Djing different parties and events and slowly progressed onto having residencies on Mill Avenue.”

McCloy graduated last May, and now works to perfect his craft as a DJ and performer, using his time to search for unheard music that still works with a crowd in a club or venue.

“I spend an hour to three hours a night looking for new music pretty vigorously,” he said. “I like to keep a happy medium where it’s still new music, but it‘s something that people can relate to.”

Trill Tone’s online mixes allow the DJ more freedom to experiment with sounds and samples from different genres.

“When I’m making mixes, I get to play what I want and feature whatever track I want,” he said. “I like to keep it very eclectic and have styles from all over the place and samples from different kinds of genres just so it relates to a broader crowd. “

An important of aspect of being a DJ is reading a room to figure out what songs work for that night’s specific crowd. McCloy knows this technique well and uses it to enhance his Trill Tone performances.

“I do a lot of gigs opening up for established DJs,” he said. “So my responsibility is building a dance floor and creating good vibes to set up the main headliner to go on and take it from there.”

People will always want to hear a commercial sound, but McCloy said Arizona crowds are becoming more accepting of new dance music genres.

“I’ve been noticing that people are a lot more open to new sounds,” he said. “It’s allowing subgenres of dance music to get out there, which is cool to see.”

McCloy just signed with San Diego-based promotions company Fortune 421, meaning Trill Tone won’t be shutting his turntables down anytime soon.

“They do a lot of events out in LA, Vegas, Miami, all over the place,” he said. “They’re going to be a lot of help with my bookings.”

McCloy also works at Steve LeVine Entertainment, overseeing the marketing and promotions for the company’s music events, which include some huge upcoming dance music shows.

Read more about Steve LeVine Entertainment here.

“I’m really excited for this pool season at Maya,” he said. “Livewire is also a great new spot that is going to progress the dance scene.”

McCloy attributes the success of Trill Tone to staying humble and taking advantage of opportunities when they show up.

“With this day and age, there are some DJs that are more technical than others, some that are better networkers, some with more money than others for equipment or to help market and brand themselves,” he said. “There’s a lot of different factors. It just comes down to being a humble person that’s appreciative of all the opportunities that you get.”

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

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