Dance Music’s Next Big Thing? Chatting With London’s TroyBoi About Trap Drums + Chinese Dragons

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Remember the name: TroyBoi (it’s actually too catchy too forget). The Brit dance music sensation was chosen by Billboard as one of their 15 Dance Artists to Watch earlier this year – and he’s been setting tongues wagging on the London scene for a couple of years now.

His debut album, the tellingly titled Left is Right, was released in late August. At 20 tracks long, it’s stunningly ambitious. And it’s also rife with experimentation, fusing hip-hop, trip-hop, house, trap…and all with the sort of dark, eerie overtones that hark back to the heady days of the Bristol Wild Bunch. Curiously, for such a sprawling work, there are very few actual collaborations on Left is Right – the most notable is an appearance by Ice Cube on the electrifyingly forceful “Look at Me,” within its machine-gun beats and guest-rapper boasts of “Ice Cube, aka the West Coast Warlord / the Grand Wizard!”

There’s also a palpable Asian influence running through the music and the artwork, which gives his entire aesthetic a whole other level of intrigue.

As he embarks on a major North American tour at the Santa Ana Observatory in Southern California tonight, we caught up for a quick but enlightening chat with him.

 

 

I’ve heard your music described as “experimental trap.'” Can you elaborate on that?

Hip-hop and trap are some of the main foundations of my music, but I usually blend it with other musical elements that are not typically fused with those genres. For example, I’d create trap style drums, mix it with African and Indian percussion, and instead of an electronic synth, I’d use a Japanese Koto mixed with orchestral strings for the melody. I love world music and real instruments, it’s real music.

Is there a significance to the album title Left is Right?

Left is Right represents creating your lane and believing in yourself, because in the end, you will succeed. My music is considered ‘left’ of center, but in my mind, it makes sense and is ‘right’ to me.

The album artwork is intriguing. Are you generally influenced by Chinese culture?

Thank you. It was designed by the incredible Marwan Shahin. He listened to my album over and over on repeat and then illustrated what he felt.

Is it related to any heritage?

I’m part Chinese and I use a lot of Asian and Oriental influences in my tracks, including this album. So Marwan definitely caught on to that by using the Chinese dragon.

You’re playing some considerable venues on the tour. What is the stage show going to be like?

It’s gonna be an amazing experience for any fan of my music: all original tracks, stunning entertainment, good vibes and a lot of dancing. I’ve put a lot of effort into my Left Is Right tour, and can’t wait to share this experience with everyone who attends.  If you like my music, you must come.