INTERVIEW: Tropicool

As purveyors of pioneering dance music, it’s always been a pleasure to alert the area of some of the great acts and artists coming to rock the city. Lucky for us, in preparation for his DC debut at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar on Friday, Blisspop got the opportunity to chat with one of the freshest producers/DJs in the game: Tropicool, AKA David La Melza!

Coming all the way from Santa Barbara, CA, Dave is not only a rising star in the American dance scene but is also a founder of world-renown blog, Gotta Dance Dirty. Tropicool has been ripping up the West Coast with his unique style of Deep Disco and serious Tropical Funk. His remix of Miami Horror’s “Real Slow” has had rave reviews, and he has provided his top notch curating skills in organizing the entire Sole Fixtape series! Moreover, we wanted to get a feel for what to expect from his set and how he plans on bridging the disco gap for younger generations of house fans.

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Welcome to DC! This is your first time touring in the area; does location ever affect the kind of tracks/vibe you decide to play? Anything special planned for your DC fans?

Hey! Thanks, stoked to be heading to DC. I haven’t been there since I was like 8. My set isn’t contingent on location; however, I always try to be as creative as possible in my sets while mildly catering to the vibe of the night. For the most part I play the jams I want to, no matter what, but being a tastemaker and a founder of GDD, I definitely have some gooey heaters lined up.

Could you describe the feeling you might expect from a Tropicool show?
I always try to introduce a ton of sounds, especially organic ones that are rare in EDM culture. I’m a big fan of building tracks and rolling basslines that have ‘special’ elements to them. I also always try to induce euphoria by playing a blend of funk, happy house and touches of deep disco. I always play a ton of unreleased stuff, so music junkies will always get their fix. Overall, I try to play music that I think will stand the test of time. Always frothy, yet never bloated… It’s the in sound from the way out.

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What are the Top 5 adjectives to describe a night out with Tropicool?
Funky, fresh, frothy, goofy, drunk

Do you like to ease the crowd into the set? Or do you like to start off with a bang?
I usually start off with something rare that has an orchestrated build. Once they hang on for the first couple minutes of something that ISN’T dance music, and then the beat drops, they’re hooked, line and sinker.

What are your top tracks these days? Anything the crowd should be prepared for?
Some new soles on their Chuck Taylors, hah. Zimmer stayed at my spot about a couple weeks ago and we shared some music, so I have a couple French funk numbers that are just beyond insane by producers I’ve never heard about until then. I never set up what I am going to play prior, just make a special playlist, and vibe it out from there – so far it’s been working out great!

Yuksek has been killing the game lately, and some of the unreleased Casino Gold is insane. Those tracks have been staples for quite a while. Can’t give too much away!

You say you’ve had a hand in the rebirth of Disco in America, and I’m all for it, but it seems like a lot of people are still really caught up in the EDM scene. How do you plan on bringing the funk back?
The funk never left, it’s about keeping the funk alive. I’ve been a purveyor of funk and disco since day one with Gotta Dance Dirty ‘waves ≠ raves series’ & my countless Westside parties in LA where it’s strictly disco, funk, and happy house–even all vinyl nights. The problem I’ve encountered is that there is a lot of shit taste out there, and also ignorance. I feel confident with an open mind; the soul of this music will shine through. I haven’t met too many people that dislike it, and the shelf life for this style of music seems to last the longest as well.

I try not to classify music as much; I treat it all the same. I’m looking for rhythm, something that makes it special, and most importantly, soul. There is a lack of Soul in EDM. However, I believe people are catching on; for example look at what’s happening currently in the North American Deep House scene. Genres like Progressive House will never die, because that’s the ‘pop’, but with the advances in the way that we’re communicating and discovering new music, more and more people are catching onto these sub-genres that really have amazing production and invoke true feelings rather than “I’m raging my dick off right now.”

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What do you think about the deep house infusion that’s happening in the Nu Disco genre? The up-tempo, French touch days of disco house seems to be fading into heavy bass lines and lower BPM.
I love both, and play a mixture of both. It’s true that a lot of disco producers are touching on the deeper areas, but I believe that is helping bridge the gap for the younger generation to discover the more true disco genres. Deep sounds are sexy but when laced with French touch and glistening highs, it’s like nothing else. Believe me French disco isn’t gone, some of my favorite albums as of late are Yuksek’s Partyfine Vol. 1, Sebastian Tellier’s new album, and the Dimitri from Paris compilation. On the other side of the coin, yes, people like Lane 8, Duke Dumont, Tensnake are all killing the game. There’s room for all types of music, and to me, it’s the producer’s & DJ’s job to bring it all together and really curate a special set with many different feels.

Finally, what makes the perfect night out for you? What’s the recipe for an amazing show?
Emulating vibes, unity and a good sound system; let’s have fun together.