Tommy Trash Speaks on “DANCE (RED)2,” Collaborating, and Not Wanting to Make Another “Reload”

Combining the collective forces of Coca-Cola’s ubiquitous branding, the global popularity of electronic dance music and a need to raise awareness regarding AIDS prevention, treatment and counseling, Coca-Cola and (RED) join to create their latest EDM compilation album, DANCE (RED) SAVE LIVES2. Featuring collaborative work between well-respected artists including Madonna, Dada Life, Empire of the Sun, Katy Perry, Calvin Harris, Bob Marley, Tiësto, Robin Thicke, Avicii, Bruno Mars, Benny Benassi, and RL Grime, the album is the second such work by Coca-Cola and (RED) in this realm.

Unique to this project is the progressive human element attached. Top break dancers like Jabbawockeez, Les Twins, Brian Puspos, Ian Eastwood, Harry Shum, Jr., and 8 Flavahz are featured in a video for the song, which is intended to inspire others to upload video of their own dances to YouTube or Instagram using #CokeREDMoves in the title or as the hashtag. For the first 1,000 videos uploaded, Coca-Cola will make a donation to buy life-saving medicine for someone living with HIV.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Tommy Trash to discuss his DANCE (RED) SAVE LIVES2 collaboration with Empire of the Sun for Trash’s remix of the group’s song “Celebrate.” As well, we discussed his massive 2013 global hit “Reload” with Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso and vocalist John Martin, along with his thoughts about the nature of EDM overall at the moment, plus what he feels are the key ingredients to his career excellence-to-date. Enjoy!

When did you first hear about (RED), and how do you feel about contributing your work to this cause?
I first heard about (RED) a year and three months ago. I had a track on the first DANCE (RED) [compilation] album. While working on that project, I got to learn a bit more about what they do. I’m glad to be on [the (RED) compilation project] again. I appreciate that they would have me back. I’m a big fan. Clearly what they’re doing for HIV and AIDS care is making a difference. I love music because it’s a fun thing to do. It comes to me very naturally. Working on a project like this, to me, makes me feel like everything has a deeper purpose. This is the smallest contribution for a cause that I want to be a part of, and I’m down to help however I can.

You remixed Empire of the Sun’s “Celebrate.” How aware of Empire of the Sun’s work were you prior to the project, and what about the track resonated the most with you when creating the remix?
I was actually a really big fan of Empire of the Sun since before they were Empire of the Sun. I’m Australian, and they’re Australian as well, so I was a fan of [Empire member] Luke Steele’s work in The Sleepy Jackson, too. I’m totally into what he and Nick [Littlemore] are doing. The project originally started off as a remix of “Celebrate,” as the chorus of the song really resonated with me. Everything else all kind of came from there. The (RED) Project wasn’t there, but the track felt like a natural for what the (RED) project is all about.

I wanted to touch on your career for a bit, and given this project is collaborative – and you’re known in mainstream dance for so many huge collaborative records – our thoughts about “Reload” with Sebastian Ingrosso, and the pros and cons of in-person versus online collaboration?
Well, with “Reload,” I’m a big Sebastian Ingrosso fan and was a Swedish House Mafia fan for many years. Collaborating with him was a bit surreal and a dream come true. The whole process happened very easily. There were actually no arguments. We’re both on the same page creatively. I kind of did my thing and handed it in, and obviously we’re both very happy with the end result.

There are pros and cons to it, for sure. When you’re In the room with someone, there’s definitely a lot more pressure to perform, like “oh, I’ve gotta deliver right now.” It’s like a performance anxiety if you will. Over the net you can take your time, relax and your creative process doesn’t change. Also, the pros of being in the room is that if the people are really vibing with each other, it can be special. The instant feedback from the other person [when working in the same room], creates a more intimate feel for the track, too. [Overall] for me, I’ve had good experiences doing both, and horrible ones as well.

Speaking of global touring, I wanted to ask you about a huge issue in EDM these days, that being which is better, Vegas or Ibiza?
Vegas versus Ibiza. That’s a tough one. Vegas can’t replace Ibiza. You just can’t replace that essence. Vegas is definitely paying a lot more money at the moment, so I suppose that Vegas is going to get a lot more popular. I really don’t think they’re similar at all, though. They’re at opposite ends of the spectrum. I love playing both, and I believe that Ibiza needs to stay strong. Oh, can I add one more thing? I think if Ibiza was easier to get to, more people wouldn’t be so quick to have this Vegas argument. Vegas is one flight. Ibiza is always a hassle, always three or four flights. Maybe if they worked on a teleporter things would change!

I also wanted to get your opinion on things moving forward in dance. I feel that trap has come to define the American influence on the global mainstream right now, whereas the UK is definitely heading in a deeper, funkier house direction. I wanted to get your thoughts on the mainstream potential of  both of those sounds and where you think the mainstream is headed? 
If I knew the answer, I’d be making it in the studio right now! But seriously, I think it’s a tough thing to predict. I’m so entrenched in the big room world at the moment, so I’m not sure. I’m certain that the standard styles that have been working will keep brewing. As well, while I don’t play it, I can definitely see where trap will keep evolving. Of course, deep house had a massive year. but I don’t think that’s going to cross over. It did well in Europe, but I don’t quite know about globally.

2013 was arguably your biggest year in the industry to date. Thoughts about things moving forward, and what can we look forward to you career wise in the next twelve months?
I’m pretty happy with where thing are at right now. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I don’t want more success, though. So obviously, I won’t be hanging up the headphones anytime soon. Next year will be an interesting one. I’m making a lot more music that can function well in the clubs. I’m not necessarily trying to make every song “another ‘Reload.’” I’m definitely going to take my sound back to the clubs. I have more records with vocals I’m working at the moment. Hopefully, those will see light of day mid-next year. Until then, I’m touring like a mad man next year, from February 28 straight through until end of summer.