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In Demand: Tom Morgan

Tom Morgan - In DemandMy introduction to Tom Morgan happened not too long ago when I logged onto my MySpace account and was pleasantly surprised to find that he had requested me as a friend. I didn’t know Tom or his music but I had heard his name on a few occasions so I knew I needed to find out who this guy was with the crazy Scottish accent. I downloaded Tom’s most recent mix and instantly knew he was someone I wanted to learn more about.

Tom bought his first set of decks at the age of fourteen and seven years later he is still one of the youngest, yet hardest working DJs out there. His dedication to the search for only the highest quality music and his obvious ability to mix it caught the attention of Desyn Masiello who coined Tom ‘a DJ who’ll break through’ in the 2006 DJ Mag poll.

Tom assumes the role of A&R for Desyn’s label, Alternative Route. For those of you who don’t know what an A&R is – as I didn’t until recently – it’s a job that entails seeking out tracks that would be a good fit for the label, as well as listening to any demos that are sent to the label for possible signing.

His keen ear for the highest quality House music has constantly pushed Tom Morganto new levels. His most recent achievement being the release of his own label Discoteca, which was founded by Tom and three other Feedback Bookingstalents, Dana Bergquist, Erik Molthe (BalErik)and Somnus Corp.

Stockholm’s Dana Bergquist is creating his own ‘Dana House’ style, a fusion of funk, electro, techno and ultrafresh disco.

House and Techno enthuisiet BalErik, whose name comes from the word Balearic i.e. Balearic Islands, hails from Oslo, Norway. Desyn labeled BalErik “a DJ to watch out for’ in the 2005 DJ Mag poll. Erik is also an A&R for Alternative Route alongside Tom.

Somnus Corp. comprised of Gabriel Sordo, Jorge Lopez and Beto Rodriguez of Mexico completes the Discoteca crew. This trio, best known for their mix “Black Love Magic” brings a darker, minimal Tribal House influence to Discoteca.

With this range in talent and taste, the Discoteca collective is sure to give us some dance floor bombs!

And after weeks of searching for the perfect tracks, Tom has mixed us an exclusive set of the freshest House available today. Every time I hear a new mix of Tom’s I get so excited because I know he’s put a lot of thought into it and it always comes out sounding so smooth. This set is no different, enjoy!!

Inside the IM with Tom Morgan & littlemissbluedress

An insiders look into my conversation with this incredible Scottish talent…

Lisa: Hey Tom…
Tom: Helllooooo! How’s it going?
Lisa: Good, it’s a nice day in Toronto and I’m listening to some good music. What about you?
Tom: Almost the weekend – right up for a heavy one!
Lisa:Very nice, do you have a gig?
Tom: Nah, just partying, my team’s got a big game.
Lisa: What do you play?
Tom: Football, not me playing as such, just the team I support.
Lisa: Ha ok, so what is your team called?
Tom: Dunfermline, we’ve been shite for the last three seasons but we’re starting to get it together now.
Lisa: Well I wish them good luck

Lisa: What’s a day in the life of Tom Morgan like?
Tom: It usually consists of getting up about midday, spending the most part looking for / listening to music. That’s pretty much the top and bottom of it.
Lisa: Sounds like a great day to me.
Tom: Aye really can’t complain.
Lisa: I’m listening to your February promo mix right now; I never get bored of it.
Tom: Ah, cheers. My hands were tied slightly as there were a few tunes I really wanted to use but couldn’t.
Lisa: So you can use them on the In Demand mix! :-)

Preparation

Lisa: So to delve into your curious mind, what do you think is the greatest invention of all time?
Tom: Hmm, good question, bear with me. I suppose the airplane would have to be up there but the Internet’s definitely in the running, as I do pretty much all of my work over it.

Lisa: I was just going to ask you what kind of impact the Internet has had on your life.
Tom: A very big one to be honest. A few years ago I did pretty much all my record shopping in local stores, but now I can’t remember the last time I was in one. Messenger also plays a big part in what I do.

Lisa: So being a DJ next to your turntables, would you say the Internet is your most useful tool?
Tom: Whether it’s speaking to other DJs or acquiring music, without a shadow of a doubt. Actually more so I think; my decks are knackered!
Lisa: Time for new ones?
Tom: I haven’t touched them in too long. That’s partly due to the neighbors though.
Lisa: LOL!
Tom: They at least need a service

Lisa: So you don’t use your turntables much at home?
Tom: Definitely not as much as I used to. It used to be the case that I’d spend hours trying to find out which tracks go together, but the mixed in key software has taken a lot of the leg work out there.
Lisa:
Ah I see, such as Ableton Live?
Tom: Basically just a program that determines the root note of the track playing so u can tell at a glance which tunes will mix harmonically. Ableton’s great for edits as well, but I haven’t really thought about using it in a live situation.

Lisa: So this has eliminated the need to practice before you spin at a club?
Tom: I try to squeeze in a couple of hours a week just to keep myself ticking over.
Lisa: Do you prepare more when you have a big gig coming up?
Tom: I tend to spend the vast majority of the time beforehand hunting for new music or editing tracks.

Lisa: Do you have a set direction you like to take when you are DJing or do you just go with the flow?
Tom: Seems to be the case that whenever I go into a club with a rough idea of what I’m doing, it goes out the window after the second or third track for one reason or another. So I have been playing it more and more by ear lately, just trying to go with the vibe of the crowd.

DJ Life

Lisa: What kind of differences do you see in the types of crowds in the places you have traveled to?
Tom: I’ve been really impressed with the crowds in South America. Pretty much everywhere I’ve been they’ve been great, there’s a real buzz about the scene that’s missing a bit in places back home.
Lisa: How so?
Tom: There’s so much enthusiasm over there. Buenos Aires for example, they’ve got a really healthy scene there at present. It’s strange here in Scotland, there’s always been quite a big clubbing market but it’s a little stale right now, but I think it’ll pick up.

Lisa: Do you like all the traveling involved in being a DJ?
Tom: There’s still a big novelty factor for me, but I would imagine that’d change quite significantly when it becomes a more regular occurrence. For now, I really don’t mind it too much. Though I’ve been stuck in a few airports in Mexico, which wasn’t a great deal of fun.
Lisa: Traveling can be exhausting.
Tom: It’s definitely toughened me up a bit.

Lisa: Do you have a girlfriend at the moment?
Tom: Nope, they’ve been notable by their absence lately, still young, free and single.

Lisa: Do you think being a DJ will make it easier or harder to find one?
Tom: I can’t see my present status changing in the immediate future, as I don’t know many women who’d put up with the hours I spend on the Internet.
Lisa: Ha!
Tom: So the answer is definitely harder.

Lisa: Are you more of a casual relationship type guy then?
Tom: As it stands I don’t really feel like I have the time for one just now.
Lisa: It does take time… and money!
Tom: Ha, I wouldn’t rule it out by any means, but I think it would be hard work at present.

Lisa: Being only 21 makes you one of the youngest traveling DJs at the moment, what are the benefits or disadvantages of that?
Tom: I actually got ID’d twice when I was playing in Mexico last year, once going into the club and once in there when I was pouring a drink behind the decks. It’s hard to be taken seriously when that’s happening
Lisa: Any benefits?
Tom: Getting into it at such a young age means I might be able to put off going out and getting a real job. I’m quite happy playing records for a living.

Lisa: How do you handle all the late nights required in being a DJ?
Tom: If I wasn’t DJing I’d definitely be out clubbing with my mates, so in that respect my situation hasn’t really changed since I started playing out a little more. I’ve spent the last few years practicing. :-) I tend to keep it sensible during the week though, especially as there’s hardly anything happening here Monday – Thursday.

The Industry

Lisa: What do you like the most about the EDM industry?
Tom: Definitely the amount of amazing people I’ve met on my travels. I always enjoy meeting like-minded individuals from different countries and I really can’t think of a job that is better tailored to this.
Lisa: I think that would be my answer too, along with it being the best music there is!
Tom: Ha, well that goes without saying.

Lisa: Is there anything you would like to change about this industry?
Tom: As with any industry I suppose there are a number of people in it for the wrong reasons and are out to take advantage. I think credit has to go to Ricky Ryan and company for what they’re doing with Feedback. Looking after a bunch of relatively young guys and ensuring they get good promoter handling, are fairly paid, etc., which I appreciate can be difficult without the profile of more established DJs.
Lisa: I love the Feedback guys – great talents.
Tom: Yeah, a lot of really talented DJs on the books. I think in a couple years time a lot of them will be giving the A-listers a run for their money.

Discoteca

Lisa: It seems like most DJ / producers out there now are starting their own labels, why did you decide to create Discoteca?
Tom: Basically to get access to a lot of exclusive tracks and to have a bit more creative control than being simply an A&R. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really grateful to Desyn for getting me on board with Alternative Route, and I am still doing that on the side. And I can appreciate people would probably rather release their tracks with AR as it’s an established label. Also, it’s a privilege to be working with Dana and Somnus (and Erik!), as they’re both making music that really inspires me.

Lisa: How will Discoteca be different from the other labels out there?
Tom: Well, as its run by DJs, we’re looking to release music that will work on the dance floor primarily. And I think between us we have a fairly decent idea of what’s required. Also, I suppose there’s an element of quality control as most of us will have to agree on a track before we sign it.

Lisa: So who is going to be signed to the label and what will you be looking for in the producers you sign?
Tom: We’ve been trying to get a lot of talented up-and-coming producers on board. For instance, we’ve signed a track from a guy from Finland, Jay Lamar, who has a bright future ahead of him.
Lisa: How did you find him?
Tom: Surprisingly enough, the Internet. I think with the whole MySpace boom it’s been a lot easier to find really good unsigned music. And it means I can postpone getting a proper website for even longer; been meaning to do that for an age but I haven’t quite got round to it with the label and all.

Lisa: When will the label be launched?
Tom: I’ll go out on a limb and say a couple of months, but don’t quote me on that, as the original plan was to have it up and running for Miami. We just didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of releases purely for the sake of getting them out there.

Lisa: How will it be launched? Website? Party?
Tom: A website and MySpace will be up soon. We’ll also be doing a series of parties in different countries. Erik’s already had Dana over in Oslo and the plan is to do a few more.
Lisa: Any in Japan?
Tom: I wish. Not unless easyJet started offering significantly cheaper flights.

Lisa: If you could choose one super power what would it be?
Tom: I suppose it’d have to be flight. Aye, definitely flight. That would make things so much easier.
Lisa: And cheaper.
Tom:
Haha, and cheaper.