TJR, the acclaimed electronic music producer known for the mainstream dance-floor anthem, “Don’t Stop the Party” featuring Pitbull will be making his highly anticipated debut this Saturday, Aug. 30 at Made Event’s Electric Zoo Festival in Randall’s Island Park, New York. Garnering much buzz and acclaim within the dance music community for his stellar productions for the hit-tracks that include, “Only Getting Younger,” and "Bounce Gneration," the artist's performance this Labor Day weekend has become that much more anticipated as he performs on Electric Zoo's Mains Stage East from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday Aug. 30.
New York EDM Examiner received the venerable opportunity to speak with TJR prior to his Electric Zoo debut where he provided some insight regarding his upcoming performance and disclosed why performing at Electric Zoo is like, ‘a dream come true’ for the him. Please see below what the artist has in store musically for the future and what he had to say about his upcoming performance this weekend at Electric Zoo.
TJR will be one of sixty-one other artists making their debut at Electric Zoo this Labor Day Weekend. Other artists to grace the festival's stage for the first time will include: Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Deorro, and Jack U. Recently named one of the, “most anticipated destination festivals” in the New York Times, there is no better way to close out a summer. Delivering cut-above-the-rest entertainment, scenic views of the Manhattan skyline, and a global selection of music and food, Electric Zoo becomes the perfect way to end a summer memorably. For more information on Electric Zoo NY or for ticket information, please visit their official webpage or the following social-media platforms: ElectricZooFestival.com, Facebook.com/ElectricZooNY, @ElectricZooNY
(New York EDM Examiner): So you're actually from the Tri-State area and are going to be closing in your summer at Electric Zoo. Is there anything in particular you're looking forward to, considering you're from the area? You probably know about the festival. What was your reaction when they told you they wanted you to perform there?
(TJR): I was thrilled. I love playing New York City, obviously. Growing up in Connecticut, New York City has had a big influence on me, especially in my early DJing days and just always going down to the City and buying records at Satellite and Sonic Groove. The opportunity to the play the actual festival in the City, that's outdoors, it's like a dream come true. I was really, really wanting to get on the lineup. That's why this year I'm pretty excited about it.
You're performing at an awesome time of day too. You're performing at 5:00, which is just when the sun is starting to set, so I’m excited.
Yeah. I like it. At nighttime, it has a different vibe and at the daytime has a different vibe.It's cool. I can play different type of records during the day than I would at night, so that's why I look at as a fun opportunity.
So what has your experience been like with the festival since it began in 2008? Did you ever attend in the early stages? It's been going on for six years now I think.
This is the thing. It's pretty interesting. I left the Tri-State area. I left Connecticut for LA six years ago because like New York, the whole area, didn't quite catch up to what LA was doing. When I left, it was like that following summer is when Electric Zoo started, or the fall. I left the fall of 2008 I think, or something, then.
That's when it started.
That's when it started, so it's cool. I can finally now come back and see how much it has grown and how much it has developed.
It's true because EDC was going on in LA back then, right?
Yeah, EDC was going on in LA. LA has always been kind of big with festivals. Back in the day, they used to call them "massives." They used to have them in airport hangers and stuff. They were always into those big things. It's cool actually to see that it's finally happening over on the East coast now.
That's awesome. For anyone who hasn't seen you perform, what should they expect going into your performance on Saturday? Do you typically plan [your sets] out like, "I'm going to perform this?”
I play a lot of bounce music.
[Laughing] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
That's my thing, but I mix it up a lot though. I play a lot of tracks. I go a lot of different tempos. I always throw in like familiar [tracks]. I'll throw in, let's say a, "Baby Got Back ..." later. I go across the spectrum. I just keep it fun and keep it fun and dynamic. I also like to DJ too so I also do some technical stuff just to keep it interesting.
That's awesome. So have a remix that just came out recently. When I heard it. I was like, "Oh my God. This song is ridiculous." It is with Skrillex, "Only Getting Younger.” Holy moly, that song is amazing. How did that remix come about? Were you specifically given that track to remix?
Yeah, they hit up my management. I really don't remix. I'm not into remixes. I just like to make originals, but I loved the original and I loved their vocals. Usually, if I’m going to do a remix, make a remix, I like to flip it into a bounce version. If I'm given a remix, that's what I always look for. 'Can I flip it to a bounce?' That's what I was able to do on that. It was a lot of fun. I made it pretty quickly because it just flowed really easily.
It's amazing. Everybody that I know that I know that has heard it is like, they're like, "Oh my God. This is a really good song." so kudos to you. It's an awesome remix.
Obviously, I have to talk about “Funky Vodka." You have a phenomenal catalog of productions. You're a really strong producer. You started with “Funky Vodka,” which is when you broke out. Did you have an idea it would grow to become "Don't Stop The Party?" Pitbull obviously picked it up, but did you know it was going to get as big as it did?
No, no. I had no idea. At the time, when it came out, the charts were heavily influenced by electro. It was just pretty much like heavy electro, progressive. I'm like, "Here's this fun little reggae house tune." I thought it would just get lost in the shuffle because everyone was into super electro right now, but it didn't.
It’s kind of one of those things people were unexpectedly into it because it was different. It was fun. It was the completely opposite of what was going on. I think also that's why Pitbull picked it up too. Sometimes I’m not going lie, I get insecure. I make music so different. It's so opposite of what's going on that I think it's going to fail.
It stands out.
Sometimes it stands out so much where ... I guess that is a good thing a lot of times, if you can make music that stands out, you have an opportunity for it to get pretty popular. I think that's just what it was. It's like a soulful reggae house track that I don't really think has been made any time soon. That's why I think they picked it up. They knew it was special.
I remember when I heard it, it was right before,WMC, Winter Music Conference, which is when I'm like, "Oh my God, this is going to be played probably all the time there" which is kind of like what happened.
Exactly. It came out a month and a half before WMC. It's how we planned it.
It was perfect.
It was great. The planning and everything happened.
We is it like working in the studio with him? I think you worked on some stuff for his album.
We haven't been in the studio. It's like what happens most of the time in the music business is you just send, I send him beats, and then they send me back vocals.
[Lauging] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool. When you're producing music, do you have an idea as to what you're going to create or do you usually just do things off the cuff? How do you go about producing what comes out?
I always start with the drop. That's kind of like where I start. I want to create the main riff and the main melody. It's either that or I usually look for a sample. I look for like a vocal sample that would get me inspired. That's kind of usually where I start.
Whatever the vocal sample says ... It's funny. That's the way I made Funky Vodka. I found this sample that said, "I said y'all having a good time out there?" I was like, "Oh wait, I think I know where I'll have this work." Then that's kind of where I merged the two together. It's usually a vocal either inspires me or I just kind of have a bunch of coffee in the morning. Then I literally get all worked up from coffee. Then I'll just go down to my studio and I'll just try and write a lead.
That's awesome. Do you have any upcoming releases that we should be looking out for? Are you going to drop any on Saturday?
Yeah. I have one that is called, ‘Ass Hypnotized.’ That's my next big original in the studio. It's with this guy called Dances With White Girls. He's the vocalist there. I'll be playing it on Saturday. I think it comes out in September.
Awesome. Cool. This is my final question. I don't want to take up too much of your time. Long term, you've done so much, but what are some things [goals] still on your list that you want to cross off? Is there any long term goals that you have for yourself?
Yeah. I think what I'd like to do is actually go on tour and have my own production and a going into venues, hard ticket venues, with a couple of guys and just create a theme.
I just want full control over a night one time, from beginning to end, musically, the programming of it and then the production and the sound. That's an area we've been looking at and starting to make plans for.
Awesome. I'll be looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to your performance on Saturday. Super pumped. Best of luck to you. I'll see you on Saturday.
All right. Take care.