Given Amsterdam's reputation for loosely licensed cafe culture, it comes as no surprise that hotshot producer and DJ Tom Trago's a bit of a space cadet. Having collaborated with the likes of Romanthony, San Proper, Awanto 3, Cinnaman, Tyree Cooper and Bok Bok, Trago's steadily built a reputation as one of Europe's finest practitioners of perfectly crafted dancefloor weapons.
Since the latter half of the last decade, Trago's divided his time between Rush Hour, another Amsterdam institution, and his own Voyage Direct label. First Mission, a cosmically inclined compilation of far-out house and stratospheric techno that features Dutch delights by Boris Werner, House of Jezebel (AKA Legowelt) and more, is dropping on a trio of vinyl releases before coming together on a nice, shiny CD at the end of this month.
As well as the compilation, Trago and his crew have strapped on their moon boots for an extended jaunt round the continent's best clubs. With that tour underway, we decided to have a chat with the man himself that went beyond earthly realms. Here's what went down. Or up, rather.
THUMP: Is techno's fascination with space-exploration and sci-fi a pretty understandable phenomenon or some kind of weird affectation?
Tom Trago: Both are about the unknown; in a techno set you're unlikely to hear recognisable hits or a sing-alongs. Techno music is also about trying to push the boundaries of what is possible with machines and technology.
There are different possibilities when it comes to space exploration. You have space travel in which we as humans are still very young and un-experienced. Then there is also cosmic traveling. This state can be reached best by meditating, or by taking strong psychedelics like DMT. This allows you to truly be traveling the universe without actually going there. For me it feels like there is an obvious connection between cosmic traveling and music. Both tap into your core, your soul, detaching your mind from your physical body.
How cosmic is the First Mission tour gonna get?
A cosmic as possible. We've got some great astronauts on board so get ready for the launch. I'm sure Dr Prof Overlast will get you into some higher levels with his outer space music. Actually, he did research for years and years in other solar systems and dimensions but he decided he wanted to return to earth and smoke herbs and play us his music.
Do you have a favourite planet?
The Sun is God, but I also love planet Earth for its complexity and her great inhabitants. And then there is Uranus, which is still pretty unexplored, ha!
Which one do you think would be best for partying on?
I kinda like the idea of a nightclub on the moon. I know that it's not a planet but imagine dancing and looking down on Earth. That would be quite a thrill.
Which DJ lives with their head highest in the clouds?
It differs from all the time, but, as the name suggests, Interstellar Funk is up there. Also my bro Elias Mazian, was born in the clouds and Maxi Mill often hangs out there too.
You've been selected by NASA to represent mankind on a recently discovered planet. What book, film, painting, and record do you bring them to show these new found friends the best of humanity?
I'd pick 1984 by George Orwell, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gesamtkunstwerk by Dopplereffekt, and Joan Miro's Blue.
Tom Trago and the Voyage Direct team touch down in London on the 10th of April at Village Underground.
The First Mission compilation is released via Voyage Direct on April 27th.