How TroyBoi Channels His Rich Cultural Roots to Produce Impactful Electronic Music
"I'm showing people that what I'm doing is undeniable."
You'd be hard-pressed to find two identical TroyBoi tracks, yet his music is immediately identifiable. Comb through his catalogue and you'll find a collection as culturally rich as his DNA coding.
Crack the lid on TroyBoi and you'll find Chinese, Indian, Nigerian and Portuguese roots. "Do You" is arguably the most popular example of his diversity at the forefront, but that's only scratching the surface. "Kinjabang" is a nod to his Chinese background. "AJA AJA" pulls from his Indian heritage. Then there's "Mother Africa," a direct nod to Nigeria and the greater continent. The fusion spread is tied together with TroyBoi's unmistakable, sultry spin on trap music.
The British DJ's assortment of influences has opened his eyes and heart to just how much richness cultures can bring to electronic music.
"I am definitely going to be touching on my African roots, that's for sure," TroyBoi tells EDM.com about his future projects. "I've done that like a few times in the past. For example, 'Mother Africa' is one of my tracks. But I really want to delve into that again with the rhythms and the drums of African music. It's one of my favorites. So in the future, you will definitely be seeing me zone into that for sure."[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=oQQHa35NOws[/embed]
TroyBoi's musical diversity expands beyond his genetics. Touring the world has afforded him the opportunity to connect with new cultures as much as it's allowed him to build a deeper understanding of his heritage. TroyBoi's INFLUENDO EP was a billet-doux to experiences traveling Latin America; meanwhile, his "mind-blowing" tour of India brought him closer to home.
"When I'm on tour, one of the things I like to do is just take a walk on the streets and sort of just feel the environment, feel the areas. Sometime people on the street, there are local musicians and people like that," TroyBoi says. "I love to look out for local musicians and I sample—whenever I kind of get a chance—if there's like an interesting guy playing the drums. Especially the drummers. I love that. Of course, when I'm in India, if there are people like playing the zither and I've caught little things like that. But usually it's when I'm doing my digging for ideas and songs on the net or on Spotify or just on YouTube. I love digging for the obscure. So that's how I like to do it."
"The Indian people, I love them so much," he continues. "They're so warm, so welcoming. They really rock with my music. It was very, very overwhelming. I remember when I first came to India, there were people coming to the airport to meet me. I never experienced anything like that before. So, I mean, they love hard and I love them back just as equally."[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=PyrLaCOhK_0[/embed]
An additional gift of TroyBoi's pursuit of creative excellence is the showcasing of various national genres on the global stage. It's something he certainly does not take for granted.
"I've definitely had that kind of feedback, especially when talking about Indian culture," TroyBoi explains. "For example, one of my songs, 'AJA AJA,' I've had a lot of feedback saying, 'You know, thank you so much for allowing this kind of sound to come through, allowing it to be seen by everybody.' For me, it's very, very humbling and I'm very, very happy with that because that is obviously the goal: to expose people to these new types of sounds, new types of rhythms. It's an homage to my culture."
TroyBoi's genetic roots are traced to China, India, Nigeria and Portugal, but his musical makeup can be mapped to the SoundCloud era. He recently hosted a family reunion with various trap producers for his new EP, Say Less.
"[Say Less] is a homage to the O.G. SoundCloud era and to the O.G. trap producers... The sound is just trap as hell," TroyBoi says. "So this is a big one for anyone who's a big fan of trap music and of that whole SoundCloud era, which we all came up in. I'm just super, super excited about this. Trap is truly alive and well."
"SoundCloud was where everybody started to take notice of my music and it was the platform where you were purely able to upload your music, see in real-time what people are saying, the ability to download," he continues. "It was just brilliant and it was where, like I said, it started to really kick off for me. I owe everything to those years of my life and the hard work and growth that I put in to get my music out there. It's an homage to that whole time."
You can stream Say Less below.
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