The ClubPlanet Interview:  TJR

The ClubPlanet Interview: TJR

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
11.26.2014

Producer/DJ TJ Rozdilsky (a/k/a TJR) has unleashed a steady stream of bouncy club tracks on his own (Funky Vodka, Ode to Oi, Juke It) and in collaboration with others (“Bounce Generation” with VINAI, “What’s That Spell” with Dillon Francis, and “Ass Hypnotized” with Dances with White Girls). The unwaveringly energetic and happy vibe is the common thread through all his music, which is what he brings to all of his live sets.  He is also that rare producer that can have a huge pop hit (“Don’t Stop the Party” with Pitbull) yet not change his sound to chase another one.  We caught up with him in Nashville at the opening night of the Dillon Francis tour and managed to lure him away from his laptop for a quick chat.

RS: Thank you for pulling yourself away from your track, what are you working on right now?
TJR: I am working on a second version of a remix, I submitted one version but I am making a second version as well.

RS: What kind of feedback did you get from the artist or the label about the first one?
TJR: They liked it, but there is another version that I initially made and stepped away from, but then I went back to the original idea and they like that one as well. That’s the way I am, whenever I do remixes I do multiple versions because I am very indecisive. I submit one and then I end up submitting another one later.

RS: How was the Mad Decent Boat Cruise?
TJR: It was insane. My sleep schedule is still screwed up from it and I am still tired. We were all just talking about it on the bus, it is just a 24-7 nonstop party and everyone goes crazy like it is their last and final days on earth. It was a ridiculous amount of fun and I want to go back- hopefully it happens next year as well, it really seemed like a great success this year.

RS: Do you ever feel like you are trapped in that space and can’t get out?
TJR: I am used to life inside a little studio working on music, so when I am in my little cabin on the boat I don’t care. It was great because of the fan interaction, which is my favorite part of it. It’s not too often that we get close and personal and are drunk in a cafeteria at 5 am having the most ridiculous conversations with everybody. That is what makes it really special and it was fantastic.

RS: This tour with Dillon Francis you are starting here in Nashville, have you been to Nashville before?
TJR: Yes I have, I was at the Mad Decent Block Party over the summer. It was sick; I had never been here but heard great things about the city and obviously about the amazing music history here. I am excited to get back here again and to see what’s up.

RS: With Dillon Francis you did "What's That Spell?" for his album, was that your first time collaborating with him?
TJR: Yes, it was.

RS: How did the two of you meet up?
TJR: I play his tunes and he plays my tunes and we have always supported each other in that way. We met on Twitter and I moved to L.A. a year ago and it just happened. We were both in L.A. and he brought up the idea, and I had always wanted to work with him anyways. We have similar personalities and senses of humor and that is kind of why the sample and the song is the way that it is. I always had that sample idea and I knew that he was the perfect choice to get inspired by it and that’s what happened.

RS: Of his different Instagram characters, which is your favorite one?
TJR: I like Trevor. I love Australians and Australia and I think it’s hilarious.

RS: Now that you have made the DJ List, how has your life changed?
TJR: I still eat the same amount of eggs every morning and I still use the same razor to shave my head, so not much has changed.

RS: Are you noticing more interest, gigs, or opportunities?
TJR: Not yet, but it is a validation. I know that it is like a popularity contest and half the people say that it is rigged, so I don’t know. I didn’t ask anyone to vote for me or talk about it or anything, and I got on that list, so obviously it is not rigged. It just shows me that my fans feel that strongly about my DJing that they would actually vote for me. Like I said, I never asked for anything or talked about it, but they wanted me on that list and that’s why I thought it was so cool. It feels good and feels like I connect with my fans and that they feel strongly about what I do.

RS: That is really awesome, because I am so sick of seeing those tacky and wannabe viral videos that say “vote for him, he’s cool.”
TJR: Yeah this and that and who cares, at the end of the day it doesn’t do anything and people still want to know what’s coming in the future and what you’re doing next. That’s all anyone really cares about and that’s where your focus should be.

RS: I want to go back a little bit, because one of your big buzz tracks in the beginning was “Baby Got Jacked.”  Now that Nicki Minaj has reworked the Sir Mix-A-Lot classic, what is is your take on her version?
TJR: I thought the version was all right, but producer-wise I thought that they could have done more with the sample. Video-wise it is pretty interesting, because in the ‘90s when Sir Mix-a-Lot did the video with the butts and he was on top, everyone was in shock and thought it was the most amazing thing and now where we are today and what she got away with on that video is unreal. I think that it’s great and that song needs to come back for this generation so that they remember it. I think that it was still the best booty song that was ever made. She was the right person to do it and in that video she basically had to top his and she did, for an X-rated version of it. 

RS: As a booty expert yourself, your video of "Ass Hypnotized" went off the wall too.
TJR: Yeah, it was a spoof of that old horror flick They Live, so we went the opposite direction with a little more of a freaky video like the booty is attacking you.  I don’t have Nicki Minaj’s budget to get that many high priced video hoes all in one scene.

RS: Speaking about high-priced video hoes, as the ass expert you are, between Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lopez, and Kim Kardashian, who has the best ass?
TJR: People are saying that the latest Paper Magazine cover that Kim Kardashian is on is photoshopped, and I heard that Nicki Minaj has ass implants. I hate saying this, but I really like Kim Kardashian’s ass the most, though, she just looks very well-proportioned. Nicki Minaj’s ass is freakishly huge and I don’t know if it is real. J-Lo did back in the day, and I am not into Iggy, so as of now, unfortunately, it’s Kim K.

RS: Getting back to your music, what is your favorite mashup that someone has done with one of your records?
TJR: I don’t know, kids love mashing up my tracks. It sounds arrogant, but I love “Ode To Oi,” I did “Ode To Oi” and AC/DC, and that was kind of why I was inspired by it. I always play that version and someone did “Cold As Ice” with “Ode To Oi.” I don’t really listen to other people’s mashups too much, I usually make my own.

RS:  Speaking about “Ode To Oi” did you ever see the cartoon video of it?
TJR: No.

 

RS:  I’ll have to send that to you. How did you hook up with Pitbull?
TJR: The record label that I was on wanted to get a topline for “Funky Vodka,” and he was their number one candidate for getting on the record. They reached out to him and he immediately wanted to do it and already knew about the song before he got approached, so it was a perfect marriage. That is why it went off so well, he was super into it already.

RS:  Did you get any blowback from your fans for doing a commercial record like that?
TJR: Yes- 100%, so many of them hated me for it. My scene was San Diego and it was where I kind of got my name, and I felt like half of them completely turned their backs on me and they were so disappointed.  I was like their guy and now Pitbull stole my song or something, which wasn’t the case at all. I guess that is just what has to happen when you make certain decisions to better your career, and it may not be the best in some people’s eyes but you know it is in your heart.

RS:  And are you happy that you did it?
TJR: 100%, I would do it again. 

RS:  Another big track that you did was “Bounce Generation” with Vinai. Were you in the studio with both of them at the same time or was that done remotely?
TJR: It was done remotely; they are in Italy. They hit me up on Twitter and we talked about different ideas and they sent me their first drop and I loved it. We both work in the same DAW, so they just sent the project file and we just worked back and forth in the project file.

RS:  Did you actually ever get to meet them in person?
TJR: I love those dudes, but we have not met yet, hopefully soon.

RS: Which Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) do you use?
TJR: I use Ableton.

RS:  One of my favorite mixes of yours, which was probably a bootleg, is of Krewella’s “Alive” - the Booty Bounce Mix.
TJR: Oh cool, awesome, thank you.

RS: We cut the video to that and everything, and I am wondering if you ever heard from those Chicago kids about it.
TJR: I think that I asked permission and they liked it and said that I could release it. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to have the acappella or not but they said that it was cool so I guess everything was fine with them.

RS: I also heard about your loss and how upsetting it is that Calvin Klein has changed their v-neck, I feel your pain.
TJR: I know! They changed it and I had a big conversation at the Macy’s Mens department and they said that they get so many complaints because they have had the same shirt for a while and they decided to change it. It must have been a financial decision on their part, I bought cheap Hanes v-necks and I am actually wearing one right now. Every few months I would buy a bunch of their shirts- you lost me, Calvin Klein.

RS: What did they do to it that made it so different?
TJR: They increased the neck and it got bigger, I didn’t want a deeper or wider V and that is what they did on the neck. It felt way too open and felt more like a scoop and they are just changing their design.

RS:  It’s so people can show off their chest tattoos, probably.
TJR: Maybe that is what they are trying to do, but I am old school style- just rocking it by itself and I am not trying to show off my body hair either.

RS: If you were sitting right next to yourself at age 18, what advice would you give him?
TJR: Oh man, I am so lucky I really think that my life turned out to be the best. I would probably say don’t get hung up on an ex-girlfriend as bad as you do. I suffered too many bad relationships with girls that set me back, but I am here and I am super happy where I am. My other direction was in golf but I am glad that I didn’t go there, I would have been miserable.

RS:  If I look up TJR one thing that comes up is total joint replacement; if you could change any one of your joints which one would it be?
TJR: I need a new back. My joints are alright- I need a back and disc replacement. I always see total joint replacement and then there is another artist named TJR.

RS:  He has really shitty Christian music.
TJR: Oh yeah! I got TJR copyrighted so I could tell him that he can’t use it anymore, but I’ll let him be.


RS What is coming out next after "Ass Hypnotized"?

TJR: I did the Jack U remix “Take U There” and Crookers remix “I Just Can’t” that is coming out. My original is done and I am just getting the topline for it and it will probably be out in January or February. That is all I am doing right now, I’m just getting a bunch of music made for next year but those are the next three releases.

RS:  What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
TJR: I’ll see you guys out, I always have fun when I see everyone. I’ll keep making weird bouncy music and you guys keep bouncing on the dance floor.

Interview conducted at Marathon Music Works in Nashville - November 2014.

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