Exclusive: Pete Tong Taps Thomas Jack for iHeartRadio Show -- 'He Reminds Me of Myself'

Courtesy Photo
Thomas Jack photographed in 2015.

The BBC Radio 1 host will mentor the new Parlophone signee, whose mixes gave birth to a movement.

Before tropical house rose from inside joke to surging dance sub-genre, Thomas Jack was simply making mix tapes in his hometown of Bemboka, Australia.

"I started hearing these acoustic edits from all these random little artists on Soundcloud, and it was such a different vibe from everything else," says Jack. "There was all this dope music out there, but no one was hearing it."

Jack jokingly coined the "tropical house" term with his mates and began branding his online mixes. His podcast has since racked up millions of Soundcloud plays, helping to launch the careers of artists like Kygo and Klingande.

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Now the style's long-locked progenitor is set to bring his (literally) trademarked sound to US airwaves. Billboard has learned that Thomas Jack will be hosting a monthly tropical house show on iHeartRadio via Pete Tong's Evolution Radio. 

While the deal is still being finalized, the two-hour show is scheduled to start in April. Each episode will feature an hour-long mix from Jack and an hour-long mix from a curated guest artist.

It's the latest development in a growing partnership between the 21-year-old Aussie and the BBC Radio 1 host. Jack signed with Parlophone -- home to Tong's FFRR imprint -- on Monday, and joined William Morris Endeavour, where Tong is a partner -- in January.

Citing how Jack introduced a then-unknown Kygo to their now-shared manager Myles Shear ("He'd kind of become an A&R man before he knew it"), Tong describes being drawn to Jack's backstory and budding ear for music curation.

"He reminds me of myself," says Tong. "He's been championing new music and artists he's excited by, so he's doing a very similar thing in a very modern way to what I've been doing over the past 20 years on the Essential Mix."

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Acknowledging that Jack made his name on mixes in an era when productions more often lead to discovery, Tong sees him as a "modernist take on what a DJ might look like in the future."

"It's very rare that you find a DJ these days because of the way they play or perform, and that's what gets me excited about Thomas," says Tong. "He really embraces DJing in its purest form -- the music he's choosing, the order he's playing it in, and the eccentricity of what he's playing."

Jack describes the iHeartRadio show as a "great stepping stone" towards tropical house's mainstream radio acceptance.

"There's nothing like this on radio at the moment, and I feel like it's such the right time to do this, as people are looking for new styles of music," says Jack. "Especially people who have gone through the more electronic stage and are a little older now. It's the growing factor."

While playing down his own influence in the matter, Tong also hinted that BBC Radio 1 could eventually be in the cards for Jack.

"I'll stand alongside him, behind him, and help him develop his desire and vision," Tong says. "He's clearly a character whom they should consider for a residency as his story builds."


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