Get out your Nightlife primers, students: There’s another genre to add to your EDM vocabulary. TJR (a.k.a. TJ Rozdilsky) may have pursued a professional golf management degree, but now he’s garnered producing credits with Pitbull (on “Don’t Stop the Party”) and more recently with Flo Rida (on “Freaking Out” for the Neighbors soundtrack). But when it comes to his own tracks, it’s all about bounce. Before his May 14 gig at Surrender for his Bounce Nation residency, we learn more about the man who turned in his 9-iron for a set of turntables.
How would you describe the bounce genre?
The only way I could describe it is it’s got an oompah-oompah beat—kinda like a head-bob/shoulder-bob. It’s the easiest groove for any new person in dance music to think about. It’s not a complicated groove at all; it’s just funky, fun and bouncy. As soon as I say “bounce” and they hear my music, they say, “Oh yeah! It makes sense!”
Tell us about your new single with Benji Madden (from Good Charlotte), “Come Back Down.”
That was really cool, because I was just trying to merge a couple of different styles together. Benji’s a sick vocalist, obviously, from a great band, so I’m trying to take a rock element and mixing it in with a heavy, bouncy electro groove when it drops. Then coming out this month is a pretty big song with these guys from Italy called Vinai, called “Bounce Generation.” And, again, it all comes back to that big bouncy, groovy vibe. That’s getting a lot of hype right now, and it’s coming out on Spinnin’.
You’re something of a metal head. Would you consider an all-metal remix album? Maybe “Metal Goes Bounce” or something?
[Laughs.] I really learned about this whole bounce thing when I went to Australia a few years ago. Right now I play a mashup [of my track] “Ode to Oi” with AC/DC’s “TNT,” because that’s their famous song that they use “Oi” in.
Do you wear little schoolboy shorts like AC/DC guitarist Angus Young when you play it?
The schoolboy outfit! That would actually be a great Halloween outfit to wear. But no. I still want to try to incorporate more metal sounds into my stuff. I don’t think I’d ever try to redo [Metallica’s] Master of Puppets, but I just love the riffs in metal; that’s the influence I draw from heavy metal is the riffs. That’s what I try to do with my music: one big memorable riff.
Can you shred on a guitar?
I have no formal musical training. I’m just a self-taught guy with music theory.
Speaking of music theory, you use Rekordbox and organize folders by genres and the key that the tracks are in. Do you prefer harmonic mixing in your sets?
Yeah, I’ve been DJing for 19 years—way before Rekordbox. I remember guys would actually key their songs and the tempo on their records, and I was like, “Huh?” Then honestly, I think two years ago I went to Mixed in Key. Up until then I was using my ear—I don’t have the best ear—but sometimes when mixes didn’t work, I’d always be like, “Oh, those two records don’t go together,” but I didn’t really understand why. Now with harmonic mixing—it’s kind of a curse in a way, too—I’ll be playing a certain key, and I want to play another song that’s completely in the wrong key and it’ll be a shit mix, so it stops me. But in years past, I’d just go to that next song that I liked. It does help when you play the next song in the same key, or maybe go up or down, it sounds like more of a natural progression. But sometimes another song is going to work for the crowd, so sometimes you just do it.
Do you ever golf when you’re out here in Las Vegas?
I’ve been once, because I had friends who came into town, and I told them about how I can play at the Wynn. The only thing is, in the music business, nobody plays golf. So I’m either by myself or I have to find people. But I’ve played Wynn so far, and it’s amazing! It’s the weirdest thing, too: You’re playing this plush golf course, and all around you see Wynn and Encore. It’s so bizarre.