Interview with DJ and producer Tom Fall. EDM aficionados often posses an insatiable desire for new talent that can deliver a refreshing twist to their ears. For Tom Fall, the challenge seems to come naturally. A native of Lohja, Finland, the 27-year-old producer began his journey into the realm of music at age 10. Like every ambitious child with a musical passion, Fall began to experiment with a variety of instruments, but most commonly found himself learning to play his brother’s guitar by ear. It wasn’t long until those ears became mesmerized by the sounds that one can only find within the elusive world of electronic dance music.
As his love for trance, progressive, and house increased, the 16-year-old set his sights into the complex, fascinating world of music production. The self-taught talent began his production endeavours with the legendary Modplug Tracker, and continuously challenged himself further, ultimately with Cubase. After a few years performing live DJ shows, and fine tuning his production skills, the budding talent saw his first and only demo, “Cubic,” released as a single on AnjunaDeep in 2010. After releasing a handful of tracks, including his own Sirius XM BPM radio hit single, “Untouchable feat. Jwayden,” Tom Fall has become one of EDM’s most highly-requested remixers and producers in just a few short months. Fall has reworked tunes, such as tyDi & Sarah Howell’s “Acting Crazy,” into monstrous hits, flooding airwaves across America and top DJ radio shows for months. He continues to remix records for a slew of heavy hitting producers, including Estiva, W&W, Aruna, Cosmic Gate, and tyDi.
The constantly-evolving-producer recently received a coveted spot on Armin van Buuren’s “A State of Trance 550” event at Ministry of Sound in London. His set showcased his ability to seamlessly mesh a variety of EDM subgenres into what became one of the most widely welcomed sets of the night. Currently, his new collaboration with Ben Nicky, “Hammer,” is destined to climb the charts. The video garnered an astounding 100,000 views within a few short days of its release on YouTube. With a slew of hot remixes to complete for iconic artists, such as Cosmic Gate, the self-proclaimed studio rat will soon begin working on his debut album, slated for release on Armada Music. Fans can expect the album to encapsulate the different sonic elements that make an original Tom Fall record unique, infectious, and memorable.
We will enjoy very soon his brand new anthem, “iRok,” which is set to be released on June 4th on Trice Recordings, the brand new house label on Armada Music.
Definitely it’s a very productive and creative period for Tom Fall, so we requested an interview, and we are delighted he found the needed time to reply to it. Dimitri: First of all, I would like to ask you when and where you were born. Do you come from a family that has any kind of connection with music, and maybe particularly electronic music? Did you have the support of your parents to pursue your musical career as DJ and producer?
Tom Fall: I was born and raised in Lohja, which is quite near to Helsinki, Finland. My parents weren’t in anyway musical, other than listeners, of course. My brother is the other musician in the family, though, but he focuses more on the progressive rock/heavy scene. He’s always been either a bassist or a guitarist, and he was the one who tried his best to teach me how to play some guitar. ? My parents have always been very supportive of my DJ’ing, especially as they know I make my living doing it.
Dimitri: Is it possible to list your Top 5 DJs or EDM producers that have had the most influence on your style and productions, and give us a short comment about each of them?
Tom Fall: - Nicky Romero – He’s really the man whose sound I love the most right now. His productions are just so simple, but yet also very interesting and powerful.
- Armin van Buuren – To me, he’s my hero in trance; there’s really no need for explaining! :P
- Dada Life - Powerful bass lines, infused with very simple elements that works like a charm, and on top of that, humour.
- Eric Prydz - The master of melodic prog house! Much like Armin, he doesn’t need extra explaining. ;)
- Swedish House Mafia – They make pure productions. They’re always big arena tunes. All three of the guys are talented producers, and together they make every track count. Dimitri: Is there any particular track that you believe was the driving force to encourage you to get involved with dance music? I mean, that evergreen classic that had a massive impact on you.
Tom Fall: - Binary Finary – 1998, is the one track that got me totally hooked on EDM. Dimitri: Do you have professional training in music composition or are you self-taught? Do you think it’s very important for a young producer to attend music composition classes, or do you feel (as many people) that formal training kills creativity and innovation, and nowadays it’s easier to learn to produce with amateur video tutorials from YouTube?
Tom Fall: I never had any musical training or anything like that. Everything is self-taught by listening to music in a very detailed way. If I heard a bass line or synth riff I loved, I looped it in my headphones, and tried to do that myself. It’s really the best way to learn in my opinion. I don’t feel like formal training would your kill creativity if you use the skills you’ve been taught in the correct manner. If you know when to look outside the box and use the skills to create something new, then it works. Even so, nowadays it’s also super easy to get involved in producing, and to learn most of the tricks yourself.
Dimitri: Please take us on a virtual tour in your home studio, and let us know the kind of hardware that you use. Do you have favourite music composition software that you love to work with which you can recommend to our readers who wish to get involved with music making?
Tom Fall: Haha, well, it’s going to be the shortest tour ever. Hardware-wise, I have my iMac and my M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface and that’s it!
I’ve been producing using Cubase for the past 5 years at least, and there’s no way in hell I’m changing that if I don’t absolutely have to. Plug-in-wise, I recommend the WAVES plugins and Native instruments to anyone who produces music. Two of my favourite synths are Lennard Digital’s Sylenth 1 and Native Instruments – Both are massive. ?
Dimitri: Can you explain the way that you produce a track? Do you always start from the start or do you work with the breakdown, and then with the rest of the parts?
Tom Fall: I always start with the bass line, no matter if it’s a remix or an original track, as it is the soul and the core of my sound. I always make the initial drop first and tweak it to perfection, before I move on to the intro and the first break. It’s not that common because there’s always the chance for you to get stuck on that first drop and you never get past that, but it has worked for me the best and that’s how I roll. ;) Dimitri: Did you start as a DJ or as producer? When was the first time that you performed as DJ in front of a large audience and have you felt confident being on stage with so many people watching and expecting you to entertain them in the best possible way?
Tom Fall: Well, in a way I started out as a DJ. I still make some of my living doing these top-40 gigs here in Finland. It’s really basic stuff, but my heart is obviously in the artist gigs. In that perspective, I’m very much the artist first and the DJ second. My very first big (artist) gig was in Helsinki a year or so ago at the Summer Sound Festival. We played on a rather small stage, but still I managed to attract many people to dance, while the big boys played in the big tent. That gave me a huge confidence boost. Also, I have to mention my first big international gig that was the ‘A State of Trance 550’ show at Ministry of Sound in London. It was a huge dream come true for me, and a good test for myself.
Dimitri: Would you like to choose for us your Top 3 Tom Fall tracks which are always asked to play them by your crowd? Please, for each track, give us a short comment or maybe a story that is connected to it.
Tom Fall: That’s like naming 3 of your favourite children! :D They are all very special for me. The third most requested one would be the remix of “Love The Fear”, which is a must play or I think I would be kicked by the fans! :D Secondly, I’d have to say “Stillness,” because even a couple of fans were disappointed that I didn’t fit it into my ASOT 550 set. I’d say the “Acting Crazy” remix is the most requested track to date, which is very much one of my own favourites, too.
Dimitri: You are the remixer that many record labels request to get a remix from. Your remixes for Estiva, tyDi, and lately Cosmic Gate were fantastic. Can you pick up the remix that was the easiest and quick to complete, and the remix that was the hardest one to finish and why?
Tom Fall: The easiest one was the Acting Crazy remix. It’s a bit hard to explain why, yet it almost did itself, and before I realized it, it was finished. :D
It’s very difficult to name which remix was the hardest to make. I think maybe the Cosmic Gate track was the one. They are one of my favourite trance producers, and the song also features one of my favourite singers, Jes. It was really hard to fight the pressure I put on myself for that reason, but luckily, I think I did pretty well with it. ?
Dimitri: Are there any other artists that you would like to do a remix for and why? Have you ever got a remix back from a record label saying that they were not satisfied, and they need changes to be made?
Tom Fall: There are lots of people I would be honoured to make remixes for. Nicky Romero and Armin van Buuren are on top of that list.
I’m not trying to be big headed or arrogant, but no, luckily labels have always liked what I’ve done with the track I’ve remixed. Apart from minor details, they’ve always given me positive feedback. Nowadays it’s even easier, as labels pretty much know what they will get back when they ask for my remix. Dimitri: Currently on AVA, Andy Moor’s top progressive label, you released, alongside Ben Nicky, the massive anthem, ‘Hammer’. Would you like to tell us how this co-production came about, and if you feel satisfied with the end result?
Tom Fall: I feel very satisfied. It originally started when Ben sent me a pad-line he wrote way back when. I really felt the melody and jammed around in my studio, then changed it to this stabby chord riff, how it is in the final version. After that it was pretty much sending ideas to one another, and figuring out how we arrange the track. I finally put together the nasty bass line, and it really took off. When the elements were finally there, I put it together in my studio and we figured out the details together for the final mixdown. Dimitri: Through your Facebook page we are informed that you have signed a deal with Armada Music to release a full album. Can you give us more details about it? When can we expect it, and what collaborations may be included??
Tom Fall: There will be big collaborations with people I truly look up to, and I’m very happy about the future. There’s no actual release date on it, as I really want to take my time to make the album perfect. It will be a wide range album for sure. I can’t say much more about it, as it’s really still at the beginning stages. ?
Dimitri: From the countries and clubs you performed at so far, can you choose your all time favourite club or big stadium event? Which was your favourite country with the finest crowd?
Tom Fall: Well, my touring history has been very limited still, so it’s easy to pick one as of yet. ;) ASOT 550 at Ministry of Sound was hands-down the best gig so far, and the one I will most definitely always remember! Everything about the event was incredible; I can’t say enough good things about it, and how grateful I am to have been a part of it.
Dimitri: You were lucky to perform at ASOT 550 event in London. What is your opinion about the impact of Armin’s show on the trance scene, and your experience of your DJ set there?
Tom Fall: Well, Armin’s ASOT radio show has had a huge impact on the trance scene, which is undeniable. It’s the one show that every Trancer out there listens to, to hear the newest and biggest tracks out there. It’s a huge milestone to reach 550 shows, and it’s still going strong.
As for the DJ set, I really wanted to make my set sound like me. I did have to think about the tracks I was going to play, since obviously the majority of the crowd was there to hear some big trance tunes. While my sound is somewhere between progressive, electro house and trance, I really feel that I did a good job to somewhat blend the different styles in my set to give people the right idea of what my own sound is like. As for the experience, there’s literally nothing quite like it, like I said. A jam packed Ministry of Sound, and knowing that hundreds of thousands of people are listening to you online…. Goose bumps all over man! ?
Dimitri: Can you choose for us your current Top 3 tracks, preferably from other artists, that you like to include in your DJ sets, and give us a short comment or short review for each of them?
Tom Fall: First, Hard Rock Sofa’s “Quasar.” I always play a mashup that I played initially in my ASOT set. “Quasar” is such a huge track for me, and it’s really close to what I make in the studio myself. Rockin! Next, I’d pick Hardwell’s “Cobra.” I usually play my mashup I did using the legendary “We Are Your Friends” vocals. The bassline in this one is pure bliss! Energyyy! To top it off, I also play “Love The Fear of Free Falling (Aruna Mashup)”. I love both of the original tracks. The melody in the original “Love the Fear” is amazing, but Aruna’s vocals from “Free Falling” add a nice twist. Aruna did an amazing job with this mashup on her podcast. As I said before, I think the crowd would kick my ass if I wouldn’t play this in my set. ?
Dimitri: Do you actively and passionately use the internet and social networking websites? Do you believe being visible within social media is vital to your promotion?
Tom Fall: These days social media networking is the essential part of anyone’s promotion and marketing - so yes, I do. I try to be quite active, especially on twitter, and it’s really fun and important for me to keep in touch with my fans.
Dimitri: What is your opinion about the explosion of radio shows hosted by well known DJ’s and online radio stations? Do you have your own radio show, and have you noticed that the radio show helps you to increase your fan base?
Tom Fall: Well, I don’t have my very own podcast yet. It’s in the works, though. At the moment, I have a monthly episode on the Silk Royal Showcase radio show. Obviously a radio show will get me closer to the fans, so yes, I think it would help me a lot. ?
Dimitri: One of my favourite questions to all the DJs is that one about self-reflection and self-criticism. Out of 10, with what score do you rate the various elements of your DJ performances and why?
a) your mixing skills: 8, mixing is a routine these days, but there’s still some glitches every now and then.
b) your ability to choose the right track for the right occasion: 7, this comes with experience and I feel like I still need more of that. ?
c) your friendly attitude towards the fans who come to shake your hand when you perform and afterwards? 10, this is very important to me, I always try to make time for the fans that have bought a ticket to see me.
Dimitri: What other things do you enjoy doing aside from producing music or listening to other producers’ music?
Tom Fall: I like to watch movies a lot and play with my greyhound, Elli. I like to spend time with friends, obviously, and relax.
Dimitri: You are from Finland. Is it possible to describe what the EDM culture is like at the moment in your country? Do you see many young people who aspire to get involved within the EDM scene, do you have many clubs that focus on their favourite kind of EDM?
Tom Fall: We have quite a small scene here in Finland, but it’s a very active one. We have some big promoters here who can bring the biggest names in here. So yes, we have loads of clubs that people can go to listen their favourite music. There’s everything from minimal to progressive house, trance, Hardstyle, and Psy-trance.
These days there’s a lot of young people getting into EDM, as the EDM scene is getting more and more involved with modern pop music. Many people see it as a bad thing, but I really love that fact. Dimitri: Your new single, “iRok,” is set to release June 4th on Trice Recordings (Armada). What is different about this track from your previous releases?
Tom Fall: Well, it’s on Armada’s newest sublabel, Trice Recordings. Trice Recordings has been added to the Armada family to explore more of the house sounds, and it’s something I’m really grateful for. “iRok” is an original track that explores my housey influences, but will still “rock” the dance floor, just like any other track you’ve heard from me in the past. It’s an aggressive record, and I’m excited to see the positive response from it thus far. I always say I’m not a “trance producer,” because I try to infuse elements from a variety of EDM subgenres, so hopefully this formula works with “iRok!”
Dimitri: Many thanks for the interview, please give us your message to the people who will read this and aspire to reach your level of success.
Tom Fall: Never give up, never give up, and oh, Never give up! It takes time and dedication, but if you really want to start producing and/or DJ’ing it’s never too late if you put your mind and heart into it. Thank you for having me! ?
Many thanks to Tom Fall for finding the precious time to complete this great and very interesting interview.
Many thanks to Carlos Anino for assisting to organize this interview.
Many thanks to Paul at 1mix radio for proofing the final version of this interview
Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Radio/Club DJ & Music Journalist
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