As bass music builds in relevancy, an Ambassador of sorts has stepped out from behind the decks to grab a hold of our ears. Seemingly out of nowhere, TrollPhace has rocketed to being a kind of saving grace to an otherwise misunderstood genre within the Electronic Dance Music world. TrollPhace doesn’t deny the ramblings and outspoken namesakes of the movement but he is doing his best to refocus the attitude and bring it back to the music. While on tour, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to the man behind the beard. Sitting in the green room of the Miramar Theater on Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TrollPhace answered some question, told some stories, and then proceeded to melt the faces everyone at the sold out show.
Disclaimer: This interview was recorded live and dictated from the recording. The sentences were transcribed in exact detail to the speech patterns of the artist. None of this interview is edited or in any way changed unless needed for flow. Yes he swears that much.
It would seem as though your career has moved full steam ahead since the Skrillex Reddit AMA name drop and subsequent WMC 2014 cameo with Jack U. Will you tell us about the last 9 months and how your life has changed?
Well… it’s been a flood of love and hate…which was… you know… expected. We kind of all saw that coming, and at the beginning I was taking on the responsibility of being the platform for the quit hating Skrillex movement…and…I was proud to take that role and…I feel like it kind of helped a lot with the underground, so as time has gone on, people have been more open to mainstream and underground… colliding a bit. I’ve seen a few guys getting their stuff played out by Jack U and Sonny. I’ve had my homies hit me up saying like, “Yo! OWSLA hit me up”…so what I really wanted to happen… was it not be something that was all for my gain, I wanted to help this whole thing I was a part of. I’ve been trying really hard to use my momentum to help all my peers and everyone around me because I realize, when you skyrocket to the top you come to the realization that you aren’t s*** , as a DJ or a performer or a producer… without the arsenal that you get from your friends. I knew that if I had gone up alone… I’d be up there with nothing to DJ, with no homies to relate too and I would have been lost in a whole new world. So… I’ve been really pushing forward in helping the underground world move forward. On the side… I’ve been realizing that I used to write the music for the fun of it…and to express myself… now, I have to write music to please people which is cool and s*** but like… I notice I have my “OG” TrollPhace fans that have been around for two years and then I have all these new commercial fans, which I love all the same…but I realize that when I write my wink – wonk – wonk – wonk s*** My “OG” fans are going to love it, but commercial fans are going to be like “Dude you wrote the same song for the last four songs!”… And I’m sitting here like… “I’ve written eighty songs in last two years that you don’t know about, so you should go explore my discography a little bit.” So if I write something commercial I’m going to piss off all my “OG” fans and they’re going to call me soft…So I’ve been trying to juggle where I’m going to go with my music. I’m not going to not stay true to my origins, I’m going to maintain my integrity as an artist and who I’ve always been and what I stand for… I’m not going to change for s*** or for anybody… but at the same time I have to respect all the things that have been put in front of me all the new fans and all my old fans… I got to please everybody because I wouldn’t be able to do what I doing if it wasn’t for everybody involved.
As far as my productions are concerned since all of that happened, it’s really made me step my fucking game up because I was pretty lazy in the studio before all this happened and now I’m investing a lot of time… seriously dude…there’s tunes that I’ve been working on for the last 14 months….so I’ve been busy as f***, that coupled with the tour that I have going on, being picked up by Circle, everyday there’s something new… it doesn’t stop.
You are signed to Circle Talent who happens to be the major name in bass music bookings. Was this a no-brainer signing? Tell us about the experience.
The thing about Circle… is that, I have always had the same agent for my whole career, named Tony Marino. He’s formerly of Future Events, and he pick me up when I had like 200 likes on my Facebook page. We built an empire…an underground empire in L.A. and we made this huge movement happen. So, he got to a point in his career where he was approached by Insomniac to come on board. It was one of those opportunities where we both looked at each other and I said, “you know you have to do this”. At the same time Tony says “You’ve been getting hit up for circle for a while, maybe you should go!” So…he (Tony) handed me off to Circle. Being on Circle is awesome…not for things like… playing Tomorrow World on my own credentials…Yes, that’s awesome, don’t get me wrong… but its more about those crazy ass little things that come with being on Circle. Like…a green room with a bathroom…that’s a huge step forward for me (Laughs). Seriously… It used to be just a bathroom or I would have a green room and I had to go weave myself through the entire crowd, ten minutes before I had to play. So I would wait in a line formed out the door of the bathroom…I couldn’t just cut in front of everyone, because everybody would be like… “Hey! What the hell?” So…I would wait because I’m not the guy who is like…Sorry it’s me I’m kind of the artist…No…I can’t do that you know? So…yeah like the little things and the markets they (Circle) have been exposing me to have been amazing. My team Mike, Adam and Saleem and all of them are f****** sick and they put up with my s*** …there’s a lot of s*** that comes with me cuz I’m a big guy and sometimes my flights are fucked, sometimes I just want to be in Economy Comfort (laughing), it’s cool… it’s cool as fuck being a part of Circle.
Your tour is in full swing, what is your most anticipated show coming up and what memorable moments can you share from recent stops?
Of all the shows that I have booked over the next year I couldn’t pick just one show that I’m excited for cuz there’s like three that I’m really excited for. First and foremost being Valhalla, my return to Valhalla up in Canada with the Big Tooth family (make sure you shout them out)… f****** that’s like, my home and I can’t wait to return as like…the ambassador of the aggressive bass music. I’m really stoked for 50 Hertz in Amsterdam because I’ve never been to Amsterdam and I’m a f***** stoner…weed is tight (laughs)… and I can’t wait to play Greece because I love gyros. So like the first night is in Amsterdam and the second night is in Greece, so…I’m going to get really f*** high in Amsterdam and then I’m gonna land in Greece and eat a shit ton of gyros…that’s the goal anyway…that’s the plan. As for my most memorable moment so far…it would have to be when I got 15,000 French kids to get down on the ground for my “Get Low” remix…there’s a video on my Facebook of it too.
You are very active on social media, just so your fans know…is it actually you posting your updates?
I’ve had my managers and agents attempt to admin my page and when they do they use such grammatic, straightforward, perfection, that you can kind of tell that’s not you’re goofy, lovable, fat, bearded, stoner, TrollPhace…So I get really mad at them for it… I’d be like dude? There’s not one f****** f*** in that sentence, there’s not one dude in that sentence, everything is capitalized… what the f***? So… my page is 100% me, every f****** time I post. I’m on a huge personal campaign to make the guys who have real followings kinda shine this year and not the ones I paid for it…so I’m trying to say is active on social media as possible to show other artists what they’re capable of…when you don’t pay for following.
In the dubstep/bass music world there would seem to be a persona of rebellion…an almost “F” “U” “we do it our way” vibe. Many of the producer are outspoken and entertaining to hear about. Do you think this helps or hurts the image of what you are trying to accomplish?
The dubstep community is it’s not really about what normal people would consider normal. It’s a really weird, intense, hostile, aggressive, like… community of social rejects on Facebook. Their entire life is consumed with refreshing their feed and like…they’re all good at dubstep because that’s all they fucking do…is sit at home and make it…you know? It’s cool that everyone is so outspoken and s*** but, it’s gotten us in a lot of f****** trouble over the last year with the hole Riddim thing and like…everyone’s at war right now with What’s Dubstep? What’s Riddim? What’s Brostep? What’s Drumstep? What’s this? What’s that? And I’m just sitting here like… just f****** write music…you know? But, one of the things that really pisses me off about the way our Facebook community works and how outspoken everybody is…when people run out of s*** to say…they resort to posting memes. (Laughter.)
In bass music, the terms “trap”, “twerk”, “dubstep”, “drum & bass”, etc. Have all seemed to escape the acronym “EDM”. With “EDM” seeing a backlash of sorts, is it feasible that bass music will rise to the same relevance as house or trance in its heyday?
Oh! I’m about to say some ballsy s*** right now… (Long pause)…Bass music won’t be allowed to become as relevant as all that s*** until the promoter monopoly ends…and we start getting booked for those shows. One of the cool things though is like…Way back when Insomniac started the Bass Rush night…and Bass Rush is strictly Drum and Bass, Dubstep and Trap pretty much and they always have a Bass Rush stage at EDC and Nocturnal and all that other stuff they’re throwing and So like…now they’ve got Tony in there, who’s the talent buyer for them.. I was able to play at the Palladium in Hollywood on New Year’s Eve for Insomniac. The headliner for that was Eptic and Protohype and Dieselboy… how f****** sick is that? You know? That’s New Year’s Eve, in a mainstream theater in Hollywood, California and its all bass acts, you know? That’s f****** cool, and that’s the s*** and people starting to jump on that train…that’s what’s going to help bass music stay dominant and relevant.
Not to rehash all that’s been said, it is known that you have experienced some dark days. Do you have a message for those fans that may be teetering on the edge and have lost their way, maybe a gift of guidance?
Weed…(laughs)… alright I’m going to break it down basically like this…, Basically…no matter who stopped believing in you, whether it be your parents or your friends or your significant other…your cats… whatever the f***, your computer is blue screening on you know? Whatever…everyone hates you… you know? You’re always in control your own f****** future and destiny, everyone knows that s***. But if you’re having trouble reaching for where you want to go, you have to think of it as like…your time is money and you’re always going to get what you pay for, so if you want to become this (an artist) and your only investing a couple of years into it and then giving up because no one believes in you and everything is going to stop…well…what big profession ever came out of a two year education? You know? Doctors are doctors and lawyers are lawyers because they went to school for eight years…I’m where I’m at because I’ve been doing this for seven…you know?, It’s all the same s***, so for all the people that gave up on me and didn’t want to be a part of it… in the end they saw that they were wrong and they came back and sought forgiveness. So… let that basically tell you that us collectively as human beings, have the capability to come back around. So… no matter how dark it gets, nothing is as selfish as taking yourself out of the equation. So don’t ever ever ever ever ever go down that road cuz you’re just shooting yourself in the ass…. and I learned that the hard way.
With this being your first show in Wisconsin, the buzz around the show is intense. Do you prefer the more intimate show like you are playing for React Presents at the Miramar or the massive festival setting?
I prefer grungy kids… right in your face, hands over my mixer… like…their humid sweat pouring on me, while my humid sweat is pouring onto them and like I get all their emotion and all their angst from their work week, and all their frustration from their finals and all that energy pours on me and like I get f***** mad for them and I pour it all right back out through the speakers and that is what the s*** is all about period. Now, when I’m on a big huge festival stage 65 feet away from the f****** barrier that separates them from the stage …I can’t feel s***, you know? When I was at Ultra it was amazing to look at in a sea of 80,000 people because it looks just like a mountain of flesh colored barf with neon streamers, you know? I have a song called Unicorn Barf that I wrote two years ago and it looks just like that. But that’s special in a whole other way, that’s more of like a… WOW, I think playing big ass festivals is more of a personal experience than it is like physical…I mean it is but there’s nothing like when you have 40 people in front row reaching for you and you’re just slaying on the decks and it’s hot, and everyone looks like s*** and everyone smells like s*** and like… everyone’s raging their asses off….that’s where I’m at and that’s what I prefer and no one’s throws down like that, better than Montreal.
We appreciate your time this evening is there anything else you would like to say before you bring the filth?
Yeah man! I’d just like to shout out some of the people who have helped me along the way… Shout out mom! Shout out Pa! Shout out Supra! Shout out Big Tooth! Shout out f****** Sky Hi Kids, Executive League, f****** OWSLA, Circle, Phase Management, Smog, React, Weed…you better put weed in there, Shwarma and weed, Oh! And Vape bar.