Exclusive Interview: T.Ø.C.
Turning a hobby into a career takes persistence and talent, especially in the music industry. The grueling reality of treating a love as a job is that maintaining the passion behind your love can be difficult. But this is not the case for T.Ø.C.
I watched T.Ø.C., which stands for “Totally Outta Control”, play at Skylab 2016 and was blown away by the connection he made with the crowd. He radiated passion in each unrestrained head thrust, even running out from behind the decks to dance along.
T.Ø.C., real name Tom O’Connell, was nice enough to sit down with Mix 247 EDM to talk about his influences and all the things in store.
Interview with T.Ø.C.
You’re a young gun at 22-years-old and your Facebook page describes you as “a new artist producing the sounds of Beatology, Glitch Hop, Hip-Hop and Dubstep and Trap.” How new are you to the scene and what got you into those genres of EDM?
I was a huge hip-hop fan for my most of my life, but I grew up listening to heavy rock and metal while I had a sweet spot for funk, r&b and jazz. I found that many EDM genres derived from all these styles of music I grew up listening to, so I have been really interested in creating a genre of music that feels as heavy as Denver Dubstep and with the swagger of trap and hip-hop. So I prefer to call it “Colorado Bass Music”.
I could tell you were loving your time at Skylab 2016. I’d love to hear more about how you get involved in DJing, and specifically EDM DJing?
I have been DJing for about a decade now and have been able to play really big shows for the past couple years! But my real drive for becoming a DJ and producer came from my best friend Chris Couillard. He was an inspiration for me to do music because of his talent and success at such a young age of 13 as a heavy metal drummer, EDM DJ and producer. Unfortunately, he passed away a year later. That is why I continue to push everyday and work hard to become a new upcoming artist; I pursue the dream we both had as an EDM DJ.
You played the Silent Disco Portal and made a splash with the audience there. What was it like to DJ to, minus some heavy breathing, a silent room? What were your thoughts on the silent disco in general?
I am huge fan of silent discos! The crowd is in control for once! They have the choice on who they listen to by switching between the DJ’s with their headphones. So it’s kind of like a live DJ contest, you want to get the crowd to switch to your color of headphones and that is something I’ve been very good at doing at these shows. I love capturing the attention of my audience with my music and theatrics while I perform. So when I play some really aggressive music like Dubstep I go crazy behind the decks. That, in return, gets the crowd to switch to my color and they absolutely loved the heavy music! I have never seen a mosh pit happen inside a silent disco, it was just a bunch of excited people screaming, breathing heavily and pushing each other around! I thought it was so much fun!
You also played the Space Academy stage; I believe the only artist to play two stages at Skylab 2016. How did that set differ from the silent disco one?
The rush of knowing I have to pack up my stuff and migrate over to another stage was really exciting! That is a huge accomplishment for me to play two sets at a huge annual event like Skylab! It was just as fun as the silent disco, but with even more people and more noise! The Space Academy Stage was the stage of local students associated with The Global DJ Academy, which is where I went to learn how to advance my DJing skills and learn more how to produce, organize and share all of my music.
You have a diverse list of genres under your producing umbrella. What are your musical influences for producing EDM?
My musical influences are the producers who can do it all. Pharrell Williams was my first idol as a producer. He sang, rapped and produced the entire song! That really opened my eyes to the possibilities of making music. Then comes producers like Bassnectar, Gramatik, Griz (Grizmatik) and all these other Electronic Music producers come up with all these creative and complex songs that just get people dancing and moving their bodies in ways that they didn’t even think was possible. That’s the kind if music I want to show the world.
What do you think about the EDM scene compared to other genres? Anything we’re doing right/wrong compared to others?
Denver is the bass capitol for a reason! There is something about listening to bass music in Colorado that just electrifies everyone in the crowd! That’s what I love about this scene!
You radiated passion for the music you were playing and the crowd could feel that connection. At many points you even went out into the crowd and danced your tail off with them. What is your approach to making these sets and DJing in general?
Life is a party, so let’s dance the night away! I show my audience that its OK to move your bodies however you want to! If I can get out of my box and jam out with them and make it a fun time for everyone, I will!
What is your approach to producing and is it different?
I can DJ on the fly whenever, but producing is a longer process for me because I try my hardest to bring the ideas from my head out onto Ableton. Most of the time I don’t even know what I’m looking for, but once you start messing around on random sounds and modulating them for hours on end, it becomes more and more clear of what the project should be.
Which artists are you listening to right now?
Anderson Paak is my newest favorite artist. I love his style of hip-hop mixed with soul and r&b. For EDM I’m a huge Laxx fan! His music is so clean and heavy it shakes my heart listening to it just in headphones. I want my music to impact others like his music impacts me!
Future projects in the works?
Im gearing up for a new tune I’ve been saving for a while. I always play it live but I haven’t released it to the public yet. It will be released before the new year!
Would you like to discuss any prior work you’re proud of or would like to highlight?
The last two years of my music career have been HUGE for me. I won an award for 2014 Colorado Solo Artist of the Year by Bridging The Music. I played Red Rocks three times now, once for Global Dub Festival and twice for winning the Global Dance DJ competition! Then comes the other shows like Foam Wonderland, Skylab, Hallowfreaknween and Colorado’s biggest NYE festival Decadence. I just recently won a DJ contest to open for artists like 12th Planet, Megalodon and Jantsen for a show called BassControl! Surely I night I will never forget!
Anything else to say to your fans/Mix 247 EDM subscribers? Upcoming shows to promote?
Don’t forget to check me out at this year’s Hallowfreaknween! I will be going back to back with a good friend of mine! It’s gonna be one hell of a good time!
How to reach you/connect with you about your music?
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