What's Up Suckaz (#1 Beatport Overall)
We come across amazing talent every day on The Music Ninja but there are only a handful of artists that we regularly fawn over. TJR has been delivering tracks with uncompromising layers of natural and unique rhythms in such an effortless manner, his rising popularity surprises no one. A true genius of the craft, we were able to talk to our Resident Artist for the Month of September to discuss his life before becoming TJR, how he actually went to college to pursue a professional golf management degree, his current projects and what we can expect for the coming months. Check it out.
TMN: This month we have the wonderfully talented artist TJR taking over the site and bringing his wonderful music to our listeners. TJ, thank you so much for becoming part of the Ninja family. Let’s start off from the beginning and yes I mean the way back in the day beginning. Tell us about where you were born and something you like best about your hometown.
Born and raised in Danbury, CT. Suburban kid all the way. The best thing and probably the only thing that saved me from not going to jail was the local public golf course, Richter Park GC. I still found a way to get in trouble there but at least I developed a passion for the game which lead me to music later on.
TMN: When you were a kid, did you grow up in a musical household? Did your parents sing or play instruments or listen to music around the house?
My oldest brother was more the musician in the family and my Mom was a hippy folk singer in her day. Music played a big role in my life like most but it wasn’t until I discovered DJing that I found my outlet to express my musical side.
TMN: And what about you, as a kid, what kind of music would you have been listening to in middle/high school?
Middle school was rap and metal. High School was around the time grunge hit (nirvana, pearl jam) and biggie & tupac emerged. Plus the 90’s had an eclectic mixture of music on the alternative stations. 90’s were such a great time for music, very lucky to group up in that time period.
TMN: Now let’s talk a little about college. Rumor has it, you went to college to actually pursue your love of golf is that true? But it was here that you actually started DJing and realized just how much you loved that. Can you tell us about your first time DJing ever and what that was like for you?
My HS golf coach told me about a college that had a professional golf management degree. I wouldn’t have gone to college if that degree didn’t exist, so I went. Discovered raves my freshman year and when I returned my sophmore year I wanted to DJ. A local DJ at the time, Phat Rabbit, taught me how to beat match and gave me my first gig. What I remember the most DJing for the first time was how to beatmatch with monitors. Kids today may not have to deal with this since beatmatching is kind of a forethought but man that shit was hard with shitty club monitors!
TMN: Honest now, did the DJing in college bring the ladies around? Come on, you can be honest
Well I had hair back then so that probably helped more than DJing!
TMN: Now fast forward, you moved yourself from the East Coast to the West Coast around two years ago to really allow your music a chance to grow and expand. And now here you are, playing at such events as “Made in America” and other huge festivals, what has it been like as an artist to see your music touch such a large audience?
It didn’t really hit me until I went to Australia for the first time a few years ago and the Europe tours I had this year. Australia because I had no clue I had a following over there. This was the time of “Juke it” and that’s when I discovered Melbourne Bounce. Europe this year cause I’ve never seen a reaction to my music like I did to Ode to Oi in countries like Italy, Ireland and France.
TMN: You have said that the best thing you did for your music was to not care if other people liked your music or not, because you were going to make the music you liked regardless of what critics thought. That is some great advice to give any artist, writers, painters, musicians etc. What advice would you give some of those young artists out there who are just starting out? What is something you know now that you had wished you knew when you first started out?
I like my path and I’d advise kids starting off to make other music besides “big room” cuz you think you’ll blow up in a year! I think learning how to make other genres makes you a better producer at the beginning. You learn what works and doesn’t for the different times of crowds which is important for developing your own style. If you ONLY listen to big room music and try to produce it, you will probably 99% sound exactly like what you’ve been hearing and that’s no bueno.
TMN: Now let’s talk about the success of that little song “Funky Vodka”. It reached #1 on Beatport and then a certain artist named Pitbull took your beats and made “Don’t Stop the Party” (which you look like you are having a grand time in that music video just side note). What is it like to hear your music being played in commercials and having other musicians approach you asking to use your music?
Best story with that is last winter. I’m a die hard NY Ranger hockey fan and was at the garden for a game when DSTP came on during the 3rd period. I freaked out! It’s experiences like that (and the music video
is why I loved the opportunity. What I always tell people is that the mainstream came to me, I didn’t go to them. I’ve had a lot of pop interest in my music, especially my new stuff and I think it’s a great compliment. Again, it’s more stories to tell my grand kids!
TMN: Congrats on the success of your recently released “What Up Suckaz”. Tell us a little bit about what is on the horizon for you this coming year and, I know it is a few months off but, any goals for the next year?
My goal every year is to stay successful enough to where I never have to go back to working a 9-5 in the corporate world like I did for many years. It’s the honest truth. It’s the motivation to why I’m obsessively passionate about playing great sets and making the most unique and best music I can produce.
TMN: Now of course we have to throw out some fun questions right? Let’s first discuss this golf thing. Where is your favorite course to play and do you have any fun wood covers and who would you caddy for if you could?
My home course Richter Park GC! Nah, I’m pretty boring with my golf gear, just standard covers haha. Caddie? Phil Jackson would be my first choice if I wanna play well, but if I wanna have a laugh, John Daly.
TMN: Do you actually watch golf on television (I will go out a limb and say, it is not the most exciting thing ever to watch).
It’s boring as hell you kidding me! I only watch the majors or when Tiger is in the field.
TMN: Who do people say you look like (and if you google image search yourself, Pitbull comes up with your name, brothers really right?).
Well us bald folk are our own breed! I get Vin Diesel which is why friends call me Vein Diesel cause of the veins that budge on my head haha
TMN: What are three things you travel with on tour at all times?
Dental Floss, Tums, Baby wipes.
TMN: Last person you texted in your cell phone?
TMN: If you could only drink one alcoholic beverage for a year, what would you drink?
TMN: Girl crush…and man crush, we all have them.
I think Cassie is the most beautiful girl ever. I have a crazy obsession for Tiger Woods cuz he’s a once in a lifetime elite athlete.
TMN: Favorite thing about living in San Diego…
Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas, CA.
TMN: Whose music would you play in the background if you were trying to make the moves on someone?
TMN: TJ, thank you so much for taking time out of your crazy schedule to chat with us. Hope the fall tour is amazing and can’t wait to see what you have in store the rest of the year!