Tom Trago has long been one of the leading lights of the Dutch electronic music underground; a globe trotting DJ, producer, live performer and label owner who enjoys nothing more than championing both overlooked gems and fresh sounds from his own country. He once claimed that he felt a physical need to make music every day, and it’s hard to think of anyone whose immersion in music is quite as complete.
For Trago, there is no “typical day”, but an average one would include a combination of studio sessions – either solo, or with friends and like-minded musicians from the Netherlands or beyond – DJ gigs and live shows.
Although now widely considered to be among the top tier of European DJs, capable of working big rooms, intimate spaces and wild festival crowds, Trago’s rise was built on years honing his craft.
As a DJ, he first earned his stripes barely eking a living playing in Amsterdam’s coffee shops as an enthusiastic teenager. While waiting for the evening to roll around, he would pour his heart and soul into making music, first blending elements of experimental hip-hop, jazz, Latin, Afrobeat, disco, boogie, and soul-flecked broken beat, before slowly developing a distinctively colourful, emotion-rich, synthesizer-fired style of music that also draws influence from house and techno.
Trago’s first big break came in 2006, when hometown label Rush Hour released his debut single, “Live With The BBQ”. In the years since, Tom has continued to turn out much-played, club-ready cuts, including such timeless jams as “Use Me Again (And Again)”, “Hidden Heart of Gold” and his 2015 hook-up with Seth Troxler as T&T Music Factory, “De Natte Cell.”
It’s on his acclaimed albums, though, that Tom showcases the full breadth and depth of his unique musical vision. This was first evident on 2009 debut full-length Voyage Direct (his record label of the same name followed in 2010), with the two sets that followed – Iris (2011) and The Light Fantastic (2013) – showing further signs of open-minded musical development, along with a penchant for collaboration with like-minded musicians, vocalists and producers. In the spring of 2018, Tom will release his fourth studio album, Bergen, on Dekmantel, before heading out on tour with a brand new live show.
As time moves on, Tom will continue to pour his heart and soul into music, whether DJing, performing live or making new tracks. If you bump into him in the corner of some dark, sweaty club, you’re likely to find him excitedly talking about ideas for new projects or waxing lyrical about hitherto unknown producers he’s discovered.
His immersion in music may be total, but Tom Trago’s musical journey is far from complete. In fact, it’s only just begun…