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Exclusive Interview: Tom Fall « The Top Sound

Exclusive Interview: Tom Fall

People always ask me, “who are the real movers and shakers in dance music? Who is really shaping the genre?” I always respond, “for the most part, it’s not who you think.” Yes, it’s true guys like Tiesto, Afrojack, Steve Aoki, Armin van Buuren, and many others are the faces of our genre, but they really aren’t the artists influencing it. These top tier artists play a huge role in pushing music forward, but it’s really the smaller guys who evolve and shape the genre from behind the scenes. In reality, the top tier artists just follow suit.

When some new kid comes to the lunch table with something flashy and cool, it threatens the popular kids and ultimately they jump on the bandwagon. Wouldn’t you agree?

I recently got the opportunity to interview a well known producer who I believe plays a huge role in shaping the dance music genre. In our interview, he will tell you otherwise, but his contributions to electro-house have certainly influenced the sub-genre’s growth, and his willingness to breakdown genre boundaries has created a tidal wave of others willing to do the same.

You might not be 100% familiar with the Finland native, but I guarantee you’ve heard his music before, and most likely bumping on a festival main stage. So with that said, I give you Tom Fall!

*As usual please respect the fact that Tom’s first language is not English (although he speaks it amazingly). We prefer not to over-edit our interviews in order to keep them as authentic and true to their original meaning as possible.*

Intro: Hey Tom, we really appreciate you being with us — we know it’s been a crazy, busy year for you! So let’s jump right in.

Mike:
Unlike most producers who sort of sit within a particular realm of dance music, you seem to bounce around between several different styles. Yes, the majority of your songs are labeled trance or progressive house, but we also hear so much electro influence across your song library. I suppose this is a very broad question, but we’re always very curious what the inspiration is when an artist takes the difficult road of breaking down genre boundaries rather than playing the safe game. Are you trying to capture a certain audience with your music? Or are you just making the music that you as an individual want to hear?

Tom:
I just love breaking down genre boundaries and I try to bring elements from all the genres I love together into one big package. I always loved trance music with it’s melodies and emotion, but I’m also all about the banging power that electro house and modern big-room house has — so combining all of those elements together comes quite naturally for me. Nowadays, I even get some inspiration/ideas from dubstep tracks — not as primary elements in any way or form, but just to spice things up a bit. I guess you could call me a house guy with trance influences.

Mike:
We briefly touched upon your integration of electro elements into your tracks in that last question. Electro is the “in” style of dance music right now in America, and it’s certainly getting more popular in Europe as well. Your track “iROK” was one of the more popular electro-house tracks this past year, but now everyone else’s music is starting to sound very similar. As a producer, what do you think the future of electro is? Is this a movement that’s here to stay? How are you going to differentiate yourself in the future now that everyone else is replicating a style that you were among the first to push?

Tom:
That’s a good question. I don’t have crystal ball in my studio so I can’t say what the future of electro house is — truthfully, I’m very excited to see that myself. All I know is that I’ll keep doing what I love the most, which is combining inspiration from many different places and not think about stuff like “am I different enough, is this too similar…” and so forth and so on. What I seriously love about modern dance music is that there really are no limits anymore.

Mike:
No matter how “house-y”/electro inspired your music becomes, we can always hear echoes of your love for trance. What is it about the trance genre that you find special? It’s among my personal favorite sub-genres, but I’ve found it one that house/electro producers are often afraid to work with.

Tom:
I can only speak for myself of course, but I think it’s the emotional charge in trance music that is what hits me/inspires me the most. I also believe that most modern, big-room, house producers won’t use the more emotional elements of trance just because, the more emotional the track is, is the “slower” it becomes, and in modern house music, it’s all about a “less-is-more” style of fast paced progression.

Mike:
For those of our readers who haven’t seen your live show, how do you structure your sets being that you come to the table offering so many different styles of dance music?

Tom:
I always have 3-5 core tracks that I know I’m going to play, and basically in every gig I build the set around those tracks. I never plan it past the 3-5 tracks because I want to let the crowd “decide” the course of my set. It’s just absolutely the best way to do it in my opinion, because then that way I never play the exact the same set twice.

Mike:
Talk to us about being a part of A State of Trance 550 — There are very few honors as a producer/DJ that can match being a part of Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance events.

Tom:
Absolutely a dream come true moment for me! To be invited by the man himself to play in one of the biggest and most followed tours of the scene left me pretty much speechless. Also on top of that, the ASOT550 set I played in London was my first time I ever played in Ministry of Sound and that combined with the honor to play in ASOT… really no words to describe it.

Mike:
Your library consists of a ton of really amazing remixes. How do you approach producing a remix? What’s different about it in comparison to producing an original track? Naturally, you can speak about this in relatively simple terms, no need to go real deep into the production side of things. We’re looking to get an idea of your mindset, what parts do you enjoy about remixing a track? What parts don’t you like about remixing a track? What about for originals?

Tom:
Remixing is really fun for me — to have zero pressure about the actual writing of the melodies and/or vocals, etc., and at the same time, have the total freedom of making the track “sound like you”. I started remixing quite early in my career just because I found it to be the easiest and the most fun way to learn new tricks and new ways to enhance my productions — it seriously helped me out a lot. I approach every remix as a new project; what I mean is that I never use a template or the last remix project I did as a base for the new remix. It keeps me on edge and keeps me from repeating myself too much. Obviously, I want people to recognize my remixes, so there are a lot of similarities as with any producer’s productions. I try to use as little of the material from the original track so that the remix is actually a remix and not just the same track with a different bass line. There have been projects where I totally re-wrote the melody if I had the right idea and doing so helps to keep it “original” in a way.

Making an original track is obviously much, much harder, just because you have all the pressure of writing the track, as well as producing it. Then again, if you have a clear idea in your head and have a great day and mindset — you can write, produce, mix and master a track in 10 hours or so, like I did with iROK.

Mike:
Speaking of originals, your publicist mentioned that you’re currently working on your debut album. What can we expect from your album? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Tom:
I will keep doing what I do best. It will definitely not be a single genre album and will have music from all over the spectrum. I don’t want to give too much away because I want to take my sweet time to finalize it. There’s not one specific goal I want to achieve with this album, I rather just want to express myself as clearly as possible.

Mike:
Let’s talk a little bit about the past couple of years. We’ve seen the rise of dance music in the United States, the rise of dubstep, and now the taking over of electro-house. As an artist hailing from Finland, and one who has been working with dance music since age 16, you’ve seen this progression and have been a part of it. Are you happy with where dance music is currently at? I know there are a lot of artists who are not happy with the “mainstream popularization” of the genre.

Tom:
I don’t mind it at all actually. I see it as more of a good thing than a bad thing that the mainstream is now closer to our scene. Having said that, I must admit, I haven’t given it a lot of thought just because it doesn’t affect me. Even if dance music is becoming/is the new mainstream, I will still keep doing what I love regardless. But I will say this, I really do like where the EDM scene is right now, because in my view as a producer, I love the fact that we don’t have any boundaries anymore, and that we have limitless possibilities to make our productions grow and evolve.

Mike:
Where do you think dance music is going to go over the next 5-10 years? What do you think your role will be in the genres development?

Tom:
I really don’t have any idea where this is going. That is a huuuge amount of time when you think about it. But I am excited to see what happens next… and after that. As for my role in all of this — I have to say that I really doubt I will have much of a say in it at all. Let’s just let the music evolve as it is and try to keep up.

Mike:
Haha, I think you have more of a say than you think, but it’s ironic… Some times I think that it’s us writers and bloggers that force the genre forward in certain ways, and that can certainly be a bad thing. I guess you guys just want to make music :)

Anyway, Back to the more immediate future; what do you have in store for us over the next year?

Tom:
Next year will be all about new originals, exciting collabs, and of course writing tracks for the album. 2013 will go BOOM!

Mike:
We wish you nothing but luck in the future, and expect really big things for you! Thanks so much for being with us Tom, and we can’t wait to review your album! Definitely hit us up anytime you’re in NYC!

Tom:
Thank you so much for having me. Was a lot of fun!

Tom recently released his absolutely outrageous remix of Aruna’sSave The Day” — trance on steroids! Check it out below, and click here to purchase via Beatport!

-Mike @3nVMusic

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