Australian electro house king Tommy Trash takes over Hakkasan Saturday night as part of the club’s “Forbidden City”-themed Halloween lineup. We caught up with him on the road to talk about his Vegas residency and brainstorm costume ideas.
How’s it going? It’s good! We just got into Vancouver. I’m in the middle of a bus tour with Wolfgang Gartner for our North American tour. We just crossed the border, basically got strip searched and all of that, so that was good times.
Always fun. How do your bus tour gigs differ from your nightclub shows? On the bus tour, my set is very focused around my own music. The bus tour stuff is more like a concert than a club gig. But with the club gigs, it depends more on what club you’re playing. With the Vegas clubs I find that the set you play needs to be a lot more vocal-heavy. But that said, you can still bang it out in Vegas and everyone’s into it.
Why do you think that is? It’s a very mainstream crowd a lot of the time, and not necessarily people who are the super hardcore EDM fans. Those fans don’t care if there are vocals or not; they just want to rage.
What was the EDM and DJ scene like when you were growing up in Queensland? Who influenced you? For me there was nothing really happening dance music-wise until I was probably third year uni, when I was living in Brisbane. We started going to a nightclub called Monastery, and there were these great DJs playing all this funky house and really underground bangin’ electro. I used to go there religiously -- Thursday, Friday, Saturday, maybe Sunday if I had enough energy. So I just lived there, and that was the really big influence on me for wanting to make dance music.
So there was always kind of a scene for it? I wouldn’t call it a scene. There was just a handful of nightclubs that played this kind of stuff. I guess it really started to take a hold over the next four years. By about 2007, Australia was really peaking for electronic music. It almost reminds me of where America is right now, except America is way more intense and it’s a much bigger scale. It’s more intense in terms of the whole clubbing culture, and it’s gone a lot more mainstream. But maybe it did preempt what’s happening in America a little bit.
You’re playing a special Halloween gig at Hakkasan on Saturday, which obviously is after Halloween. How does a post-Halloween Halloween show work? Maybe you can tell me, because right now I have no idea yet. But I’m sure we’re gonna have something planned. Probably lots of ghosts and ghouls. I have this intro I’m playing on my tour with Wolfgang right now, and it sounds very Halloween-ish, so I plan to turn that into a song. I’m definitely gonna play some more spooky kind of sh*t. But I think if I played a whole set of spooky music the club would clear out pretty quickly.
Are you a Halloween person? Any costume ideas so far? We have Halloween in Australia, but it’s nothing like it is here. I’m a newly-converted Halloween fan. And yeah, I’ve got loads [of ideas]. Leader of the pack right now would have to be Nacho Libre. Everyone calls me the EDM Jack Black, so I’m like, f*ck it, I’m just gonna own it and dress up in the tights and mask.
What are you working on right now? What’s next for you? I just released a song with Wolfgang Gartner called “Hounds of Hell,” and that’s the song we made for this tour. I guess I won’t release anything for the next three months while we do that and get a bit more room to breathe. But we’ve got a video coming for that track, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. It’s actually got a bit of Halloween vibe to the clip. I don’t know if it will be out in time for Halloween. I hope it is. Now you’ve got me all thinking about Halloween sh*t!
It is the greatest of the holidays. People seem to go the craziest on it. I think when people put on a costume and a mask and stuff, it feels like it’s their license to go absolutely nuts. Which is good.
Do you think Halloween is boring for some DJs, like the ones who wear masks and costumes and stuff all the time? (Laughs) Maybe like [for] Daft Punk, their Halloween costume could be just going as normal guys?
Yeah, maybe they just wear sweatshirts. Ah, yes! (Laughs) That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all week.
Your other costume should be Out-of-Costume Daft Punk. Yeah! That would be kind of cool. I could get some kind of plastic prosthetic to put over my head ... You know what I mean? No ... maybe I’m overthinking this. I’m just gonna go back to Nacho Libre. Much easier.
Tommy Trash November 2, 10 p.m., $30 men, $20 women. Hakkasan, 891-7888.