With the ambition to become the world’s largest drug lord, the physique of a clown and the brains of an elephant (his words, not ours) Amsterdam native Tom Trago started to make music a few years ago—he’s part of the new school of Amsterdam producers. His first output was in 2006 via Rush Hour Recordings. His latest is a collaboration EP with Bok Bok for the Sound Pellegrino imprint dubbed, “Night Voyage Tool Kit.” The EP marks the first chapter of Pellegrino’s “Crossover Series” that has the imprint pairing artists from different scenes, horizons, countries and generations. It’s out now—cop it. Also via Sound Pellegrino, be on the lookout (Nov. 28th) for Matthias Zimmermann’s “Isla Dub EP” and a Joakim & Bambounou collaboration EP in late December. The label even has an iPhone app.
When Tom Trago isn’t doing the KGB’s dirty work, he plays records on the weekends. He’s been doing it for over 10 years and thinks clubs and bars are the perfect hideout. Some of his side projects include playing with bands, remixing and editing. His album Iris came out earlier this year via Rush Hour and covers a bunch of ground from soul to techno, from hip-hop to electro and even some classical and disco. He’s also part of Alfabet (together with Awanto 3) and Parra Soundsystem (with Mr.Wix, Lyrical Tie, Gee and of course Parra) and runs his own imprint Voyage Direct where he releases music by Dutch producers like Dexter, Legowelt, Awanto 3 and Maxi Mill among others. On 28th November you’ll be able to score (via Rush Hour) his 4-track EP featuring dubs off his last album. 2012 will be filled with a bunch of new releases. If you’re the Internet radio type, check out his Voyage Direct Radio show on redlightradio.net. As you can probably tell, dude is super enthusiastic for a lot of different things. He also gets bored rather quickly, which is why it’s important for him to stay working on multiple projects. Oh yea, he wakes up everyday feeling artistically free to do or make whatever he wants.
When I was 18, they showed me how to make music and look at life as a time to do what you want, not what you are supposed to do. Create your own legacy and try to fulfill your dreams. It’s definitely possible.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
Take the haze train, look outside the window and imagine a pleasant landscape of robots living in harmony with humans and aliens in fully colored 2040 outfits.
What was your favorite toy as a child and when/why did you stop playing with it?
I guess that would be my Walkman and I still play with it.
Any colorful incidents involving a fan?
Somebody punched me in the face because he liked the set so much and was mad he didn’t hear me play before.
Favor us with a moment in life that changed the course of, or defined, your aesthetic philosophy.
That would be meeting the boys of “Rednose Distrikt.” When I was 18, they showed me how to make music and look at life as a time to do what you want, not what you are supposed to do. Create your own legacy and try to fulfill your dreams. It’s definitely possible. Try to find your own “niche” and cultivate that.
Your creative arc. Alpha to omega, go.
Wow. Well I guess you should always be open to an outcome you didn’t plan. Feel free to embrace accidents and surround yourself with loving people. Then you should smoke some good haze, get to the studio and get an MPC or something. Use hardware, it’s much more fun and better sounding. Play around with some synths, or listen to some records and steal little ideas.Then you kinda know where you wanna go and then make sure you do editing and such a few days later when you can understand the track from a fresh point of view. Oh and NOT everything you make is meant to be released, accept that and the actual process of making something becomes more fun.
The movement from CD to MP3 was a big paradigm shift in the music biz. Crystal ball time. What will be the next big shake up? How are you going to come out on top?
I am already communicating with aliens about distribution of my music in eight different solar systems. By sending radio airwaves into space I already contribute to intersolar distribution of music from the heart.
Do you think there are any commonly held societal beliefs that are false?
I am not who people think I am.
Tom Trago "We Like Dubs"
Tom Trago "Choice Or Dub"
Tom Trago "Dubtopia"
Voyage Direct Radio XL
BOK BOK & TOM TRAGO "Night Voyage Tool Kit"