Dance

20 Questions With TroyBoi: Producer Discusses 'V!BEZ, Vol. 3' & His Rising Career

TroyBoi
Brandon Artis

TroyBoi

It's easy to recognize a TroyBoi song when it comes on. With music that fits snugly within the intersection of sleek, sexy and deliciously raunchy, the London-born, Miami-based producer's distinctive bass output has made him one of the dance world's coolest stars in the four years since he started releasing music. 

Built from layers of complex trap percussion and world music influences, the latest from the producer born Troy Henry is V!BEZ, Vol. 3, out last Friday (July 26) via OWSLA. The five-track EP swings from the hyphy machinations of "PAPI CHULO" to the frenetic battle cry of the Skrillex collaboration "Warlordz" to the come hither lament "High." The EP also includes the official release of his 2015 beats-and-sitar jam "Do You?,"  to which millions of listeners around the world have resoundingly answered, you're damn right we do. Next month, TroyBoi is on tour behind the EP, with festival stops including Moonrise, Shambhala and Basscenter (see the complete tour schedule below). 

Get to know TroyBoi a bit better with these 20 questions about the red-hot producer:

1. What was the first album or piece of music that had a big impression on you?
Dangerous, by the legend Michael Jackson. From the album art to the actual tracks themselves -- simply genius. I was always amazed by the variety of styles of music he made, how fearless he was with his ideas, and how instantly recognizable his songs are.

2. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid, and what do they think of what you do for a living now?
My mum has always been in childcare looking after 0-5 year olds, and dad was a painter/decorator when I was younger. They are super happy and are very proud that I’m doing what I do, my sister too. Making them happy is fuel for me. Taking care of my family is my biggest priority. 

3. Tell us about the very first song you ever made. 
The first song I ever made was back in secondary school on one of the earliest versions of the music production software Cubase. It was some dirty hip-hop/grime-style beat. I’m pretty sure it was inspired by Pharrell or Timbaland, who I was listening to a lot at that time.

4. If you had to recommend one album for someone looking to get into dance music, what would you give them?
Any of the Disclosure albums. They have such a unique sound, quality songs and slick production. 

5. What was the last flight you were on, and how did you pass the time while on it?
The last flight I was on was from London back to Miami, where I live now. I usually pass the time by watching a movie, or I’ll have a glass of red and knock out nicely.

6. What's your go-to emoji?
The smiley face with the tears coming out of its eyes. 

7. What's the last song you listened to?
"COMO UN BEBÉ," by J Balvin and Bad Bunny feat Mr Eazi. WHAT. A. TUNE.

8. What's the first thing you do when you back to your hotel room after a show?
Usually it’s shower, order room service and relax. My shows leave me pretty sweaty after so freshening up and chilling out after is key.   

9. What's distinctive about where you grew up, and how did this place shape you?
I grew up in South East London -- the area I lived and the people surrounding it [were] pretty rough back in those days, but the home I came home to and the people inside kept me from steering in the wrong direction. I’d seen many people from where I grew up make the wrong choices, and the consequences of their life decisions were nothing I wanted for myself. Staying at home, doing what I love -- producing music -- was definitely a deterrent from what was going on outside. 

10. What's the craziest thing you've ever seen happening in the crowd during one of your sets?
Honestly, every time when I perform and I see the crowds reactions to my songs, seeing the crowd recite every lyric and lose their minds at every drop, it gets me every single time.

11. What are you typically thinking about while playing a show?
Don’t mess up, ha. Other than that, I’m relaxed, and I’m enjoying myself and feeling the energy of the crowd.

12. List all the places where you worked on V!BEZ, Vol. 3.
Miami, L.A., London, Bali, Tokyo, Australia & New Zealand.

13. What's one way you pushed yourself creatively on this project?
I love trying new things, fusing genres and using sounds that are a bit left or quirky. My track "Baile," for example: Living in Miami has exposed me to a lot of incredible music from Latin America. Baile funk from Brazil is extremely popular here and I love it, so I was eager to see what I could do fusing it with my style of production. It was a track I’d never done before, but something I have always wanted to do so I made it happen. 

14. What's going through your head in the cover art image for Warlordz?
It was all influenced by the name and vibe of the song. Skrillex and I both had envisioned the same idea of the Warlord, Conan the Barbarian-style battle visual so it worked out perfectly. His team sourced the artist Sanjulian who was responsible for the style of the art we wanted. They then they worked their magic and created us as warlords and combined various Sanjulian paintings to create this incredible piece. It’s hands down the best single art I’ve ever had.

15. How many roads must a TroyBoi walk before you can call him a TroyMan?
After I pass the road that’s led me to a few Grammys under my belt.

16. What's the wildest interaction you've ever had with a fan?
Not too many. I think for me, if I meet a fan and they get emotional, it gets me. That’s real love right there.

17. Skrillex has said that your tracks are instantly recognizable. What makes a TroyBoi track a TroyBoi track?
I’m so honored by that statement. I think the things that makes my music recognizable is the groove/drums/percussion in my songs, my choice of world instruments or inspiration, or... my producer tag, ‘T-R-O-Y-B-O-I.’

18. In the grand landscape of dance music, what role do you play?
The Boi who you can rely on to make music with no rules and which is from the heart, with the hopes of encouraging others [to see] that creating things that are true to yourself, even though a little different, can still be cool.

19. What's the right way to dance to "PAPI CHULO"? 
Let your body take control.

20. What does success for this EP look like to you?
Once it’s out, it already a success for me. My fans would have been fed with new music and I would have accomplished completing another chapter of my story. Whatever good happens after is a huge blessing, I’ll let the music do the talking and the success make the noise. 

TroyBoi Tour Dates:
August 3-4 - Toronto, Ontario - VELD Music Festival
August 9 - Montreal, Quebec - ileSoniq Festival
August 10 - Baltimore, Maryland - Moonrise Festival
August 11 - Salmo, British Columbia - Shambhala Music Festival
August 17 - Magna, Utah - Das Energi
August 23 - Grand Rapids, Michigan - Breakaway Music Festival
August 24 - Columbus, Ohio - Breakaway Festival
August 24-25 - Nashville, Tennessee - Deep Tropics
August 31 - Hampton, Virginia - Basscenter XII @ Hampton Coliseum
September 7 - Los Angeles, California - Zedd In The Park @ The Los Angeles State Historic Park