Music

Svast Differences: A producer finds hope in the city of Sin

Chicago export Thom Svast is making Vegas his home and his mission

Image
After losing everything to drugs, Thom Svast is resurrecting himself in Las Vegas.

You just relocated from Chicago. Why Vegas?

For the first time in my 15 years of doing music … I think Las Vegas is really starting to accept underground music more. ... My management company is also here, Calamity of Noise.

But isn’t Chicago still a great place for electronic dance music?

It’s changed … I used to tell people, “House music was put in my Cheerios growing up.” It’s on the radio. You come out here and not so much. You might get a “Day N’ Night” remix—which makes you want to throw up … You have some of the better clubs in Chicago right now coming here constantly and they see the mash-up format that’s making Vegas successful, but … they try and take that aspect back to Chicago and it killed the music scene there ... I can find more work here than Chicago right now.

Speaking of people that are spoon-fed music, what should Vegas clubgoers know about you and why should they check you out?

One of the biggest reasons is I have a sound that I don’t believe any other DJ in this city has … You’re not going to get the same set every time with me … The biggest thing is I’m an artist and it’s like watching someone paint in my eyes, because I paint my sets. I don’t color by numbers or anything like that.

What’s the difference between “Svast” and your moniker “Auralfixation”?

The purpose of [Auralfixation] is a funny story. My last name, Svast, means “svastika.” So playing in some parts of Europe at my checkpoints, I would be hassled and I would have problems. So as a business decision, at that point, we decided to come up with he name Auralfixation … This was years ago, so now I think with people being educated on the computer maybe a little more they understand [a swastika] was a symbol of peace at one time.

Does the persona differ as well if you’re playing or producing under different names?

I’m a Gemini, so absolutely! ... Who I am now as Svast is a different person, a growing person. Musically, there is a huge difference between the two, but it kind of depends on where I am in my life. But I put the past away in my life and I’ve never looked back.

You’ve said you’re going to “revolutionize the way people perceive electronic music.” How so?

We’re not going invent a new mp3 player or something like that [laughing]. What we want people to do is perceive a different sound and … reaching this whole genre of people that know nothing about our music. We don’t want the drug culture the only ones enamored in our music. We know, unfortunately, it’s a big part of our music, but that’s not what we want.

Can we get past the stereotype people put on dance music and culture?

I don’t think you’ll ever break the stereotype. Just like not all hip-hop is gangster, but it’s a stereotype … A friend of mine and I from LA [were] just having a conversation: “What if Beethoven lived today with the tools that we have now? How amazing would that be?”

I really think it’s reaching a crowd a younger crowd, a more intelligent crowd than the generation of people who don’t understand it … I grew up in the old Crowbar Chicago where you took five or ten pills a night and you just lost your mind ... I can’t tell people enough—and this is very personal—life is the best high that you can ever have or ever get, and I didn’t realize that for so many years.

So no drinking or anything now?

I have a drink every once in a while. I can’t kick the cigarette habit. I love fucking smoking [laughing] ... I have a $70 box of mint Nicorette in my car and two packs of cigarettes next to it. My doctor said, “It’s ok, Thom. One thing at a time. Your mind will freak out if you don’t have your cigarettes.”

Something that is very important that’d I’d like to point out is I am starting a not for profit organization called M.O.M.: Musicians Opposed to Methamphetamines. I’ve been blessed with the gift of life and I want to use that, and I think that’s one reason why I came back – to help people. Meth is an epidemic in this city … Our attempt is to try and get a Prometa Clinic here in Vegas … I want to start having parties at these clubs where they’ll allow me to donate portions of the door, portions of the bar to M.O.M.

There are a lot of good people out here, amazing people. Some of the best people I know are caught up. They don’t have anyone to support them or help them through. And addicts lose everything in their life. I lost everything. I lost my fiancé, I lost my home, I lost my cars, I lost my life, literally. I’m very fortunate to be here talking to you, and that’s why I think I can help people and this is the best city for it … People die for causes. Why not live for one?

Svast's new EP, Walking Proof is out now. Details at myspace.com/svastmusic.

Share
Photo of Deanna  Rilling

Deanna Rilling

Get more Deanna Rilling

Previous Discussion:

  • Hopes are high for Michigan quartet Greta Van Fleet, which has been riding the buzz train thanks to its unabashed re-creation of 1970s rock.

  • The sixth LIS fest will feature The Flytraps, Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout, Snailmate and many more.

  • She’ll be onstage as a presenter at this weekend’s iHeartRadio Music Festival...

  • Get More Music Stories
Top of Story