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The Nocturnal Times Exclusive Interview: Justin Oh & Tom Swoon



Read our full discussion with Justin Oh and Tom Swoon


Before this amazing year in music comes to an end, The Nocturnal Times sat down with DJs and producers Justin Oh and Tom Swoon. These talented, emerging young artists are respected in their own right and are rising rapidly in the EDM scene. We discussed their collaborative efforts, solo career accomplishments, recent productions and future goals.


Highlighting a year in review for Justin Oh is his recent release with DubVision, “Under The Stars” out now on Revealed Recordings. While Tom Swoon garnered a successful single of his own with an experimental future house track titled “Phoenix.” Amidst busy touring and hectic schedules, the two teamed up in the studio to create Justin Oh – “Start Again (Tom Swoon Edit)” and it is only the beginning.



The Nocturnal Times: How and when did you first begin exploring music? Did you know the style of music you wanted to pursue from the very beginning?


TOM: Not at all, in fact, the first genre I pursued was rock music. I spent 3 years playing guitar in a band before I got attracted to progressive house vibes. It was when I first heart  ‘I remember’ by Deadmau5 and Kaskade – that was when I decided to put my heart into dance music.


JUSTIN: I come from a musical background. I played a lot of instruments growing up, but for me, it was the first time I saw Armin Van Buuren play when my world changed. And once again when I saw Eric Prydz play for the first time. Those performances where what made me realize I wanted to pursue dance music



The Nocturnal Times: Who are some of your biggest musical influences both dance music and non-dance?


JUSTIN: Growing up, Armin Van Buuren was always a pioneer for me; he really helped take electronic dance music to the next level! For non-dance music, probably M83. He is pure genius in the sense that his music takes you to his world, his universe.


TOM: Laidback Luke is definitely the person I’m looking up to. He is a great model of how I would love to see myself live in the future. As for the non-dance influence… Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters.



The Nocturnal Times: You’ve recently released Justin Oh – “Start Again (Tom Swoon Edit)” via Armada. How did the original track first come to formation?


TOM: Me and Justin met in Miami during UMF and we hit up the studio together in Europe after that. We had a real good vibe in the studio together and “Start Again” was the outcome!


JUSTIN: Yeah, and we debuted it together almost 6 months later in Japan. Crazy how fast time flies!



The Nocturnal Times: Do you have plans to collaborate together again on new music in the future? Collaborate on a tour?


TOM: Currently we are focused on continuing down our own paths, but you never know what might happen in the future! Justin and I really clicked – I like this dude and I can’t deny there could be more stuff from us together one day!


JUSTIN: We shall see!



The Nocturnal Times: What can you share with The Nocturnal Times regarding your experiences at Ultra Music Festival’s across the world (Justin Oh)?


JUSTIN: Ultra is world class. The production for each Ultra is always unique and never ceases to blow people’s minds away when they first see the scale of it. The crowds are always crazy excited to be at an Ultra event. And, it brings together some of the best artists from around the world in one place. It’s awesome to be able to see your friends, meet other artists and tour together. Everyone is chill too. Backstage all the DJs are hanging out and partying together and by the end of the night we all sneak over to the VIP area and watch the show from the front of stage. I think that’s pretty cool. In the end, we are still all fans of dance music.


Listen to Justin Oh’s new single with DubVision, “Under The Stars”:


The Nocturnal Times: You we’re recently featured in the Korean Tag Heuer commercial. How did this come to be and what can you share with us about this opportunity (Justin Oh)?


JUSTIN: It was a huge honor! They were looking for brand ambassadors in different fields like sports, art, and music. And they chose me to represent music for South Korea. It is kind of funny though because I’m not really that great at acting. I’m definitely more comfortable in the studio or behind DJ decks rather than on camera with a film production crew. But, I loved every minute and second of that experience!



The Nocturnal Times: You’ve recently released your single “Phoenix,” which reached 3,000,000+ streams on Spotify. How does this massive success feel for you and what can you share with us about the creation of the track (Tom Swoon)?


TOM: Back then when it came out, “Phoenix” was a bit of an experiment, since I never tried making a future house song before – but it worked like a charm! Seeing it get so many streams and love from people made me real happy. I decided to work on ‘Phoenix’ right after Dank showed me a demo back at UMF Miami and the main reason I did that, was because of the amazing vocal, which I think delivers a really beautiful message. I love when music can be something more than just a good beat and gives the listener a bit of self-reflection time. I think the ‘message’ was the main reason behind the success of “Phoenix”.



The Nocturnal Times: Do you have any plans for a follow-up to “Phoenix” as of yet (Tom Swoon)?


TOM: Right now I’m working on a bit more downtempo stuff, which is pretty new for me, but I like it so much! Keep an eye for “Mirage”, which is coming out in December! 🙂 On the other side, I’m preparing a few big 128bpm tracks in a more house-y style, but they are definitely less about vocals and more about the energy and groove. Maybe next summer will be the time for a follow-up to Phoenix, as that track was out in July and in my opinion it’s the perfect moment for such a record, because it clearly reflects the summertime vibe!


Listen to Tom Swoon “Phoenix” with Belle Humble & Dank:


The Nocturnal Times: Are there plans for a follow-up for you as well, Justin?


JUSTIN: I released a track of mine called “Under The Stars” with Revealed Recordings. It’s a big room melodic track that I wanted for the peak time of my festival sets. It is a collaboration with Dubvision and has been really rocking it lately! We’ve been playing it at all our shows and received support from guys like Hardwell, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, W&W, Afrojack, Firebeatz, David Guetta, and more!



The Nocturnal Times: What types of music organization tactics do you follow in terms of selecting tracks for your DJ sets? How do you keep up with the flow of weekly electronic releases?


JUSTIN:  Usually, DJ friends would send tracks in advance or often I’ll hear a track somewhere and reach out to the artist for a promo. I like to test them out at my shows and if they go really well and the crowd loves it then they become a regular in my sets.

TOM: My promo email is an essential place to keep tabs on what’s going on in the dance world, as I get loads of the upcoming releases from the major dance labels on there. There are some cool demos from up and coming talent too though! I check it all the time, since I put together my own radio show every week. If I like something enough, then it goes to my DJ sets from there.



The Nocturnal Times: Where do you both see yourselves five years from now, on both a personal and professional level?


TOM: Personally, I’d love to see myself more organized for sure [haha]! On a pro level though, I think I have three main goals to deal with in the next 5 years, which are always there sitting in the back of my head – those would be to create my own label, first album and a Grammy.


JUSTIN: For me, it’s to keep making music. I have tons of ideas and I want to explore different genres a little, but still keep it all in line with my live show. Bigger and better is what my team always tells me. But to be honest, personally I want to bring more attention towards Asia; I think there is a lot of talent, and the scene is really growing here. It would be great to bring exposure and help out a lot of the emerging talents in Asia!


Keep with with Tom Swoon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow Justin Oh on his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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