Q&A: Thomas Jack on Pioneering Tropical House

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There is a positive aura that surrounds Thomas Jack, with his Australian surfer style, vast array of floral shirts, shaggy long hair and dependable sunny smile. This aura has translated itself into his subgenre of electronic-dance music, “tropical house,” a phrase that he coined himself. With Jack at the forefront, the genre has become a worldwide sensation at festivals and clubs over the last five years.

In recent years, Jack has been dominating the electronic-dance music scene. His latest release, “Rivers,” has amassed 24 million hits on Spotify, and he has been busy curating festivals and parties worldwide. His classic EDM sound, mixed with acoustic samples and Latin flair, has made him a world-renowned producer at the age of 21.

Jack will be performing at Echostage tonight, and spoke with The Hoya two weeks ago for an exclusive interview.

How did you become involved in music production? 

It was just something I started screwing around on with my mates when I was a teenager. We’d get home from a party and instead of listening to music, we’d pick up instruments and jam.

Your latest single “Rivers” is a hit. What was the inspiration behind the song?

The inspiration behind “Rivers” is a light-hearted approach to any type of relationship. So much music is about heartbreak and turmoil, and I wanted to stay away from that with “Rivers.” The track is still very much a tropical-house composition, and the entire vibe of that genre is happiness, sun and positivity. “Rivers,” I think, is just that.

You are known for coining the term tropical house. How did you come up with the name? 

You know it’s actually a really simple story. We were in my manager’s apartment and trying to come up with a catchy name for this very sunny, happy, saxophone-fueled style of music that we were getting into, production and curation wise, and kind of out of nowhere, tropical house came out. It just made sense.

Also, you have paved the way for the tropical-house genre at only 21 years old. What is it like to be such a big-name producer in EDM music at such a young age? 

It’s unbelievable. I’m from a very small town in Australia, so it’s still a very surreal experience. I still don’t like big cities all that much yet! I honestly think I’m still young enough that I’m just going along on the ride without too much reflection on the gravity or meaning of it all.

You are on a whirlwind touring schedule, curating parties and stages, playing festivals, etc. What is that like?

Tiring, mentally grating, but of course, without sounding too cliche, way too much fun. This is what I love to do, and at the end of the day, I’m incredibly lucky to be able to say that.

We are currently living in a great time for EDM music; it seems every month or so that a new star emerges. What is it like being a part of this genre at such an incredible time? 

It’s amazing, it really is. I think dance music has really impacted a new generation of kids, partiers and adults in positive ways. It’s a genre that cultivates friendships and a sense of community. I can’t wait to be a part of its continued growth.

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