Thomas Jack Talks Darker Direction, Shares Collaborative 'Versus' EP: Exclusive

Neil Favila
Thomas Jack

It may be summer, but Thomas Jack isn't serving the frothy rum drinks. The once-tropical titan has a new groove, and it's deliciously dark and stormy.

“After I started getting into hardware gear, it really changed my inspiration,” Jack says. “I was like, 'Wow, that’s pretty cool, I can make this sound on a Model D with all the growing baselines,' and then so much more came out of that.”

His latest two-track offering, the Versus EP, is all about collaboration and exploration. He's feeling his boundaries and pushing his own limits in the studio, and this time around, he enlisted the help of some of his favorite peers, Australia's Ry X and his trio The Acid.

“I've always been a huge fan of RY X and The Acid's music and how clean and crisp their tracks sound,” he says. “I think this was all about experimenting and navigating where I want to take my sound. It started with my love for growing bass lines, and then using a few lead apps off Dave Smith synths to really make a great combo. I'm so fascinated with this style, and I feel there is so much to explore with this vibe.”

Versus opens with “Shortline.” A pulsing beat lays the foundation for atmospheric chords and a playful arpeggio. It builds slowly and then envelopes your body with bass, like walking toward a fog and suddenly plunging into a cloud. RY X's ethereal vocals add a soulful element its warm electricity. “Basic Instinct” follows in the theme, building on a repetitive strum with punches of enunciated bass. The vocals add to the unsettled groove as the vibe builds with tribal textures, like dancing in the warm night of the rain forest.

“I just think that after going to so many different parties and watching so many artists play over the years really inspires you to create more and more,” Jack says. “New styles and sounds are constantly developing my own sound. It's just like how people's taste in music changes over time, it can be the same with producing your own stuff. You want to constantly be evolving, otherwise it gets boring making the same thing over and over again. I think it’s exciting to face the challenges of doing something new and see how it will be received.”

Both the tunes off Versus are late-night offerings, perfect for perking a hypnotized audience up in the middle of a marathon set. In that sense, it's very different from the so-called tropical house anthems he was once so favored for. “You can't play pan flutes for eight hours,” he jokes, but it's true.

"That sound is old and outdated now, and that whole genre went so pop,” he says. “The focus always went to radio, radio, radio. That was never my aim … I think this is all the start of something that will continue to evolve over the next year. I'm looking forward to sharing more releases following Versus. This summer is definitely my time to continue developing into my new sound and really find my groove in the process.”

The Versus EP is out now on Parlophone Records. Listen to it in full below.