Written by: Ivanna Munoz
Do you remember the way you felt when you heard your favorite track for the very first time? It’s a feeling most people get; a mixture of excitement, happiness and anticipation. Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has taken over pop culture. It’s a universal music genre that needs no words to express a feeling, because the energy is a language of its own. The thrill of a DJ performance is addicting, and once you’ve experienced it you are hooked.
You know him as DJ Trill Tone, but to friends and family it’s simply TJ. T.J. McCloy is a 23-year-old Producer/DJ from New York that has made a name for himself among an ocean of electric dance music DJs. It’s never an easy decision to start a life in music, especially when you’re a full-time employee and student. TJ maintains a position with Steve LeVine Entertainment as a Marketing and Promotions Coordinator and an integral part of our DJ company. He’s been a lover of EDM for as long as he can remember, and once he was introduced to it, it became one of the most important facets of his life.
While attending Arizona State University (ASU) TJ found his passion of DJing and transpired it into a career. We had the chance to interview DJ Trill Tone to collect a further insight into his personal and professional life and what it’s like to be in the music business.
Q: What was your entrance into the EDM world? When did you start DJing?
A: I’ve been a huge fan of dance music for as long as I can remember. I was introduced with artists like Tiesto, Daft Punk, the Benassi Bros, David Guetta, DJ Antoine, and Klaas. However, I really fell in love with the scene when the whole bass culture started to take over the states. From there, I started to attend music festivals and shows at every chance I could get around 08’. As for DJing, I feel like I’ve always been the DJ for my friends. Growing up in NY, I was obsessed with finding new Hip-Hop mix tapes and would always create new CDs for my friends. While DJing has always been an interest, it wasn’t until I got to ASU that I started to really pursue it. Before even having turntables, I would carry my computer around from party to party, DJing the music I had off “some software” I downloaded on-line. Around 2010, I finally purchased a set up and really invested in the craft. Starting out with fraternity parties, I continued to learn and dedicate time towards improving my skills. DJing at Greek life events helped me grow my network tremendously and eventually led to me getting booked around town, which then led to all my different residencies. In addition to performing regularly, I really learned a ton about DJing and the entertainment industry in general, through my work at SLE. Working with our team, especially DJ Soloman, has really helped me achieve so many of my goals. The same goes for everyone over Maya Day + Nightclub and S.W.A.T Events. With their help and support, I have been able to turn some of my dream into a reality. I am definitely thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way.
Q: Starting out, who were some of your biggest influences?
A: My biggest influence would be just life in general. I’m a firm believer in following your dreams and investing in the things that you are truly passionate about. I find my motivation and inspiration through the people and things around me. Family, friends, traveling, other artists, events, art, co-workers, etc. I guess I can pretty much find new inspirations in anything I genuinely care about or I am interested in.
Q: What is your own personal music style?
A: I don’t think I necessarily have one to be honest. If I had to describe my style I would say, eclectic. I really enjoy all music, not just strictly dance music, so I try to incorporate that as much as possible. I guess it all really depends on the gig and venue that I am playing at or the mood that I’m in. If there is one thing that I always try make clear, it’s that no set will ever be the same.
Q: If you could partner up with a producer, who would it be? Why?
A: Rick Rubin, Diplo, Zeds Dead + Omar Linx, or Pretty Lights – Just because I would want to pick any of their brains on how they go about writing their music, as well as their outlook and thoughts on the industry – past, present, future.
Q: How do you find your new music?
A: I take much pride in finding new music. If you ask any of my past roommates, they will contest that you can find me digging on the internet for hours upon hours to find new tunes. I mostly just use Soundcloud and click until my fingers feel like they are going to fall off.
Q: What has been your favorite event to DJ at?
A: Probably playing direct support for Adventure Club at Maya Day + Nightclub a few months ago. We’ve worked with Leighton and Christian (Adventure Club duo) on several other shows and they are just really down to earth people. Not to mention Arizona goes nuts every time they come to town.
Q: What is your favorite aspect about working with SLE?
A: My favorite aspect would be just simply working on things I enjoy. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to say that, and to be at a place where I am able to continuously grow and learn new things.
Q: Do you agree that “EDM” is very common on the radio now?
A: Yeah, I think “EDM” culture is everywhere now. T.V., movies, bars, restaurants, billboards, the radio…literally everywhere. Obviously it has the potential to bring both positives and negatives to the scene, but I really think it comes down to however you look at it. No matter what, there’s always going to be the longtime fans who still want it to be underground, the newcomers who have no idea about the history and culture, the on-line trolls who would rather spend their day online complaining about why or why not someone is considered a certain sub-genre or another, and then the people who don’t care. Personally, I used to hate the whole commercialization of this culture, but now I couldn’t care less. Instead of complaining, I try to do the things I can to progress the scene and community around me, and appreciate all those who do the same.
You can catch TJ’s set on the following dates:
August 15 – Maya Day + Nightclub (Opening act for SJRM)
August 16 – Maya Day + Nightclub
August 23 – Maya Day + Nightclub
August 24 – Ocean Bar- Hermosa Beach w/ Panic City
August 26 – I Love House Tuesdays @ Zuma Grill – Mill Ave
August 31 – Maya Day + Nightclub (Opening act for DVBBS)
Instagram + Twitter: @djtrilltone