"It's been a fucking roller coaster," he admits …
Thomas Jack is one tired soul when he calls us to chat about the upcoming debut at Red Rocks — the one where he’s opening for Big Gigantic at this year’s Rowdytown. It’s a work day, he says reluctantly after letting out another deep yawn, but that doesn’t stop him from taking a few minutes to shoot the shit with us about the rigors of a crammed touring schedule, picking up on a crowd’s vibe and feeling a little out of place in the midst of a bass heavy line up like the one he’ll join at Rowdytown. By the sound of it though, talking on the phone with us for ten minutes is a welcome break from a loaded workday.
Besides being one of the premier names in the astonishingly popular world of tropical house, Thomas Jack is just a dude who loves chill vibes, good tunes and kicking it on the beach. After growing up on a dairy farm in Australia, he relocated to Sydney where he attended college and fostered a taste for house and electronic music.
“I started with this program called EJ, which was a sample based music program, and then I got Ableton and fucking loved it,” he says of his early production days. He began throwing weekly parties and delving deeper in to the production side of things until he was discovered by his manager and given the chance to turn his hobby into a job.
“When I was at university, I started doing my own parties on Tuesday nights and making some music when my manager hit me up from America and asked if I wanted to do that full time, and I’ve just been at it ever since,” he says.
Fast forward to a few years later and he’s playing one of the most coveted stages in America with one of Colorado’s biggest electronic acts. What a ride. “It’s been a fucking roller coaster,” he admits somewhat apprehensively.
Many children, and even some adults, often dream of one day becoming rock stars, touring the world, visiting new places every day — it sounds so damn cool! But after discussing his relentless schedule, Thomas Jack makes touring sound like a fucking nightmare.
“It’s very intense,” he admits. “I’ve been travelling pretty much non-stop for the last year and a half.” he says, adding that he wishes he could spend more time at home with family and friends in Australia. Despite his fun-loving appearance and laidback attitude, he says that one of the hardest parts about touring all the time is avoiding the temptation to get a little silly every night.
“Living in this party world, you’re always surrounded by drugs and alcohol, so you have to adapt and not let that sort of thing destroy you,” he admits, “but I’ve found that if I drink, I can’t work the next day. I can’t make music. I can’t do anything.” However, in spite of the pitfalls, Thomas does seem to embrace the stardom that has been bestowed upon him in the last year.
For Thomas Jack, the thing that keeps him up and motivated is the challenge of putting together a set that will get people on the dancefloor, vibing to the beat. It’s a challenge, he says, because every crowd is different and has different criteria as to what will get people moving. “I played at sunset at Burning Man, and if I played that same set at Red Rocks, I don’t think it would work,” he says, “but it worked at Burning Man. Everyone was dancing and partying, and there were all these naked girls everywhere — it was fucking amazing!”
Hopefully that same vibe will be present at this year’s edition of Rowdytown, as hordes of ragers will gather to squeeze out the very last drops of summer before digging out the flannel and sweatpants once again.
On top of trying to bring some Playa magic to Red Rocks, Jack does have his work cut out for him being the chilliest (possibly most out-of-place artist) on the bill. In addition to the ever-raging Big Gigantic, night one of Rowdytown will see Thomas Jack playing alongside electro-soul maestro Defunk and the newly baptized bass monster known as Jauz.
After seeing the line up, many would be forgiven for thinking someone wasn’t totally aware of Thomas Jack’s music stylings. “This happens to me when I play Mad Decent shows. I feel like I’m just placed in there randomly” he notes with a laugh, “but we’ll see how it goes … sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Even though tropical house is arguably the best music to smoke weed and drink tequila to, Jack will have to bring the heat for a Colorado crowd that is ready to get buck wild.
Big Gigantic’s Rowdytown 4 lands at Red Rocks on September 25th and 26th, featuring two unique Big G sets each night, a massive new stage setup, projection mapping on the rocks and support from Thomas Jack, Jauz, Defunk, Two Fresh, RL Grime and Snails. Though Saturday is sold out, grab Friday tickets here while you still can, and get ready to get the funk down!