It wasn’t that surprising to me to be met with the strong, sweet smell of freshly squeezed pineapples in Thomas Jack’s artist trailer. His tour manager was busy carving out the inside of the fruit and filling them with alcohol before his set — pretty badass cups if you ask me.
“Watch that knife mate you might cut yourself,” Jack said laughing, watching his manager attempt to wrangle a large-ass butcher’s knife.
Between his relaxed outfit, almost-gaudy puka shell necklace and a permanent vacation-like demeanor, it quickly made sense why the Australian DJ has been credited as coining the explosive dance genre “Tropical House.”
In between gazing at alcohol-filled pineapples, I spoke with Jack before his set at Diplo’s Mad Decent L.A. festival about his new tour, the track that put him on the map and his avid love for tequila.
I saw that you announced the first “Tropical House Express Tour”, which is really cool. Where did you get the inspiration for this, and how long have you been working on this?
It was me and my manager’s idea. We’ve had this idea for like fucking two years or something. And we wanted to do what Pete Tong was doing with parties and what Mad Decent does but in our own sort of scene, because no one had really done it yet, and we just wanted to throw sick parties around the world. We’re going to go to every major city in America and then I’m going to go over to Europe as well.
Did you ever think “Rivers” would get as big as it did? And what has it been like since then making new music?
No I really didn’t think it would get that big. I’m trying to make music but I’ve been touring so much that it has been hard. I’ve been finishing up my new single which should be coming out soon though. But yeah, “Rivers” has only been out for a month now and it just hit platinum in Scandinavia. It’s pretty cool. It would be sick if we got it in America.
Fingers crossed — I loved the video concept for it as well.
Yeah we didn’t want a typical video for it. We had a small budget for the video, and I had this crazy idea that they were like, “uh no this isn’t going to happen.” So we filmed this video in the Greek Islands, and the girl in it was super hot.
Always have to have a music video vixen. So your sound is super unique. What artists have influenced your style?
Enya, I love Enya. I always grew up listening to an artist called Dixon too. Those were some of my main inspirations, which I really love. But i’m always trying to be unique. Now everyone is copying and shit, so I’ve changed my vibes a little bit to be a bit more Latin. Especially considering since I lived in Miami and lived with three Latin guys, so Latinos surrounded me all the time. And yeah I get a lot of influence from that and the percussion in the music. My music is definitely going more house but with a jungle twist. I’ve been listening to an afrohouse label called Boomba, and it’s just the coolest fucking house music from Africa. And that’s the one thing I’ve been listening to the most. I try and always hunt for music, but I always like to be different from everyone else, but these guys are just making the sickest fucking music.
When you’re making music is it super difficult to put yourself on a deadline?
Yes, 100 percent. I’m the worst person in the entire world when it comes to deadlines. But when I make a song I make a song, I hate being rushed. Sometimes it takes me ages and other times it doesn’t. It’s also so hard to do it on tour. It’s ridiculous. So it’s nice that it’s the end of the summer and I have a bit of a break.
A lot of people aren’t sure what exactly Tropical House is. What are three words you’d use to describe it?
It’s just happy music. Beach vibes and fucking pleasure.
Okay I’ll extend it four words because that last one was great. So I know you just experienced your first Burning Man. What was it like?
I fucking loved it. I want to go every year.
What was the weirdest thing about the experience?
Well, having no food.
You had no food?
We didn’t get any food and we were totally struggling on that.
So, a total liquor diet?
Speaking of liquor, I heard you’re quite the tequila lover.
I love tequila. My favorite way to drink it is straight. I used to do Red Bull and tequila, but I’m a huge fan of Mescal and yeah that’s my vibe.
I know that you travel all over the world, but what’s one of your favorite things about playing in L.A.?
The crowds are different everywhere in America. I find that every city you go to in America everyone has a different taste or style in music. Like here it is definitely more house oriented sort of stuff, and the house music scene is certainly more accepted now which is exciting for me and everyone else that does house music. I’ve had one of the best shows I’ve ever played here, and it was at the El Rey Theater and it was a fucking awesome show. It was insane.