By Hannah DeuPree
It's Friday night in San Diego. Gaslamp's 5th Ave is filled with San Diego's most beautiful people. As you fight the hustle of getting to your destination- a hidden building illuminated by intense purple lighting catches your eye, and as you get closer you feel the energy and the sounds fill your entire body. Voyeur, in every sense of the word- will captivate you, lure you in, and pleasure your mind. Tonight, LED is once again housing superstar talent in the green room upstairs...
Dorian Tomasiak is a 20 year old EDM culture DJ, Producer and Remixer based in Poland. We know him today, as EDM's new breakthrough artist, Tom Swoon. His career began in 2010, remixing EDM hits under his alias, Pixel Cheese. Swoon's age is far from being a career hudle- with his obvious raw talent, you would think he's been doing this far beyond his years.
While remixing was the launch pad for his career, Swoon's natural ability to produce new electronic music has had an unparalleled response. Tom Swoon's 2013 singles, "Not Too Late," a collaboration with Amba Shepherd, and "Wings" featuring Taylr Renee have each hit huge numbers on YouTube, and have had major recognition on Beatport, Soundcloud and various social media outlets.
Here is what the rising star has to say about his inspirations, growing up, and handling the world one single at a time:
MM: Tell me about your big shows this year. You played at both Ushuaia, Ibiza and Ministry of Sound in London- those are two huge venues for established DJ's- that must have been insane, and rewarding for you!
TS: For me, these were two very special shows because for a DJ as young as me, it's really exciting. Last year I saw a few big names play at Ministry of Sound, and now I had the opportunity to be there on my own, so it was very exciting. I'm going to seriously remember these two shows for a very long time.
MM: Awesome, and congratulations on that. Do these accomplishments act as the driving force behind producing for you? Your last 2 collaborations with Amba Shepherd and Taylr Renee are lyrically very deep tracks, and both have had phenomenal responses-- tell me though, how do you get the inspiration for tracks like these?
TS: I think that my Inspiration is random… it comes from random events in my life. Sometimes it comes from my experiences with friends or family… But the whole traveling thing really makes me inspired. When I am going back home, I have a new energy to produce. There is no specific rule for my producing, my inspiration just comes to me naturally.
MM: So basically, you're just really talented. Besides natural inspiration, who would you say your biggest musical influences have been for your career?
TS: My biggest musical influence was when I started producing 3 years ago, and that was Avicii. I was following him from the very first productions and his whole process, I followed his development of his sounds and he was definitely my first example to follow as a DJ, as a producer, and I guess as my career. So, yeah Avicii was the first- and now I am really into stuff from Seven Lions, Madeon and Porter Robinson.
MM: There's some diversity in sound there, that's great. 3 years ago, you were known as Pixel Cheese. Tell me something about who PIxel Cheese is. How did he evolve into Tom Swoon and what is the difference between the two?
TS: Well Tom Swoon is the guy who already knows what his life goals are. He knows what he wants to do. Tom Swoon is definitely a more mature version of Pixel Cheese. As pixel cheese, I was treating this stuff as just fun. It was something I was just doing after school… Then after I got signed to Ultra records I started to tour internationally and see the world, and I said to myself, I have to change myself- I am representing me and in such a major way. So I think that Tom Swoon reflects that.
MM: So what is next for Tom Swoon? Is your focus going to stay primarily with remixing, or are you planning on producing more singles? What about an album?
TS: Right now I am focusing on singles. I just got vocals for a track I started, and there are a couple big collaborations coming but I cannot say too much about that because it's not 100% confirmed, but there's a lot of single material coming out! In terms of remixing, I mean I made a lot last year- now I really want to focus on the singles. I want to really focus on finding and creating my own sound. I want people to see that Tom Swoon isn't just about remixing, he's about his own sound too.
MM: Finding your own sound is so important. What are three keywords that you anticipate for the new Tom Swoon sound?
TS: Okay- So first thing is I want my tracks to be full of energy, lots of energy. Second is I want my music to be danceable, and most importantly I want it to be full of emotions.
MM: I couldn't agree with you more about putting emotion into your music. It makes a track so relatable… But where do you pull emotion from? And how do you put your feelings into music?
TS: I think there is a lot of emotion that comes out of my house. I still live with my family. You know, this job has me going on tour. So when I come home and spend time with my family- my parents and my siblings, it gives me inspiration. It's a very intimate environment and I'm producing music literally two meters away from my bed. And I also bring inspiration from my tours. It's a combination of that and growing up at home- going straight to the computer and creating a sound. Inspiration and emotion comes from that, you know, home.
MM: That's intense. I think that a lot of fans can relate to that. Speaking of fans, you must be someone's fan... Tell me, if you could pick one person to do a back-to-back set with later on this year- who would you choose?
TS: Definitely Porter Robinson. I was playing a set in Scottsdale, Arizona- and it was amazing. This guy and I really understand each other. He was playing before me, and he extended a set to play after hours. So you know, he asked me and I said yes and I got on the decks and we just started raging together and had so much fun- he's just a really cool guy.
MM: Rage to the grave! I think that the fans are really going to dig this goal. It's going to be a loud and crazy one- looking forward to that collaboration! A little further down the line, where do you see yourself in 3 years?
TS: Well, I want to develop my own sound. Right now i've been experimenting with sounds and styles and I really want to settle down and develop my set and my music. I also would love to finally hit Tomorrowland and some other major festivals, like Ultra Music Festival. There's so many on the list. I mean, in the next 3 years I want to have a collaboration with a big name, like Tiesto. My life is about raising the bar constantly. So when I achieve a goal on my list, I check it off and go up to the next. I have a list of 5 goals, and when I cross one off then I just go to the next. I'm always reaching higher, you know?
MM: You have an impressive to-do list. Talk to me about the Superheroes podcast! It's getting a lot of recognition, how is that going? Is that on your check list?
TS: It's just a lot of fun, I started it randomly and I wanted to have a multi-show. Eventually I would like to have it be a weekly show, and its going to have structure. It's going to have different materials… like a lot of unreleased stuff. I want to bring serious material to my podcast. I want to support fresh new talent, you know? And of course I want to keep the guest mix, I think it's important. I'll be releasing a lot of my new stuff, but I want to keep a 30 minute guest mix from another world- like trance or deep house- just someone who can change it up 180 degrees. Apart from that I was thinking of changing the whole name and image of the show. I want to eventually do anniversary shows- take Superheroes to the clubs.
MM: This sounds kind of familiar… is Superheroes going to be as big as ASOT?
TS: Wow, well- its a matter of years and a lot of hard work. But hopefully, we'll see!
MM: Sounds good to me. I think a question on a lot of festival goer's minds is whether or not there's an identifiable cultural difference in the EDM scene. Do you see a difference when you play in different countries? I think that every one wants to know how the other side of the world gets down.
TS: Well I think that regardless of whatever culture or whatever country you come from- music is the universal language. If you go to an EDM festival in Poland or Germany or the UK and come to the US- there is no difference because the music connects us and everyone reacts the same to this stuff.
MM: That was pretty much the best answer ever. Do you have any pre performance tendencies? What does your mindset have to be like for a performance?
TS: Im always a little stressed before the set. I get butterflies- you know, EDM labor pain. I mean its motivating also- but it's funny, because it goes away the minute I start playing. I really like to interact with the crowd. When I see that the crowd is getting it and giving me a lot of energy I'm subconsciously taking the energy back and I'm doing a lot more crazy shit and totally loosing myself to it. You'll see it!
MM: Sometimes you just have to let go and loose yourself to the music, on either side of the decks. Anything else?
TS: You know, I'm doing sit ups, push ups, all that. Nahhh, I'm kidding, You won't see me doing that. I guess I do have a list of 50 or 60 tracks that I think I would play, but I end up just choosing them on the fly. I get into more underground stuff not just the main tracks… I feed off the crowd and plan for the next 2 or 3 tracks. I usually know what I want to play- but the people are always the last word.
MM: Ok, well first of all I've never heard of EDM Labor Pain, that's a pretty intense feeling. I think one of the biggest EDM pains is the growing pains for aspiring DJ's and producers that want into this world. What's the most valuable advice you have been given, and can give back?
TS: Definitely have the right mindset. The right attitude. A lot of young people that are starting don't have the right attitude. They may have the potential, but they are getting their feet off the ground too early and thinking that they're some kind of Gods… they send the promos to the labels and it can actually harass them. Don't send the same emails and the same tracks every day. This is a tough industry, especially when you are trying to break out. You have to be patient. And of course, do not give up. I have so many failures, especially before with Pixel Cheese. There was a lack of inspiration, and a lack of response from the DJ's I was sending the tracks to. But you can't let these things stop you or let you down. When you send something to a label or a DJ just take your time. Don't ask for a reply everyday. Send it in, then make a couple more tracks. If they come back, you're going to want to give them something else- give them something new and have it ready.
MM: Great advice, hopefully some upcoming artists come through your promo and make their way to the top! Enough business. I want to know what is your favorite song right now? Will we be hearing it tonight?
TS: Oh my god- there are plenty of them. But right now my favorite is a track by Nicky Romero, Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano, called Underground.
MM: That song goes hard! Definitely a banger. What about a song that defines who you are? If you could pick a song that describes your life, tell me what it would be.
TS: There is a song that could never get old for me, and it's called "You Are Not Alone" by Mason.
MM: Another really great song, it's definitely all about finding yourself. Looks like you have to jump on stage now, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! It's been absolutely awesome getting to know you and I can't wait for your set! One last question… any surprises tonight?
TS: There's always surprises. You'll see. Thanks for having me here!
Promises kept, there was definitely a surprise for us. Mid-set, Taylr Renee jumped on stage with Swoon for the first ever live performance of "Wings." Last month, Myon & Shane 54's Summer of Love "Wings" Mix debuted on Armin Van Buuren's worldwide podcast ASOT #622. This tour is bringing out the best of EDM from one end of the spectrum to the next. Can you guess the song that got the crowd jumping? You guessed it, Tom Swoon's own heavy hitting remix of Nicky Romero's "Underground." Keep watching out for Tom Swoon, he's going to be bringing some massive new talent to the EDM scene, you're not going to want to miss out. A huge thank you goes out to LED, Voyeur and all of the San Diego EDM Family. Tom Swoon's set at Voyeur is not one that will soon be forgotten by anyone in attendance.