Disrupting the ebb and flow of an often stale breed of musical neophytes lands Troy Kurtz as the cut above the fray. Having never been married to a particular genre or niche, he has the freedom to rely on his consummate taste to expertly serenade whichever circumstance he finds himself in.
He cut his teeth in Miami where he was the most in-demand young talent. He was called upon to be direct support for everyone from Richie Hawtin to Luciano to Duke Dumont at clubs like LIV, Space, and Story. He launched the legendary Slap & Tickle party at the Electric Pickle which would later be awarded by the Miami New Times the best party in the city.
Now, Troy comes with a new release on Slap & Tickle Records titled ‘Lost In Your Love’. We sat down to chat with him and this is what he had to say.
Electronic Groove: Hi Troy. It’s a pleasure to have you at EG. Tells us, where are you right and what are you up to?
Troy Kurtz: Happy to be here. I just watered some plants on the rooftop of my apartment in Los Angeles waiting for the morning’s fog to clear.
Electronic Groove: You’re about to release ‘Lost In Your Love’ on Slap & Tickle Records. What can you tell us about the inspiration and production process behind the EP?
Troy Kurtz: This track came together around a year ago last summer. I had gone surfing in the morning, and on my drive back from Malibu I landed on this phenomenal Nigerian disco tune on a personal playlist that’s loaded with pretty eccentric sounds. I transferred that warmth into an Ableton session and over the course of a few hours ‘Lost In Your Love’ was born. I spent the rest of the summer testing it out at gigs and tweaking the mix, but this one came together rather quickly.
Electronic Groove: When producing, are you looking to generate any particular emotions/feelings on the listener or is it crafted based on your set and how you play?
Troy Kurtz: I have to have some sort of creative direction before I start a session, or else I’d just be aimlessly jamming for a few hours which I don’t find is too productive. I can find inspiration in something like a specific tempo, but thinking of a place I haven’t visited yet and trying to create something I’d imagine playing there is a technique I often try. I try and let the memories I haven’t had yet fuse with some of my favorite memories from the dancefloor dictate my visions.
Electronic Groove: Interesting! Talking about djing, how do you go about your sets. Do you plan and execute, is it “pure feel” of the moment, or a balance of both?
Troy Kurtz: I’ve had the odd fortune of curating music for dancefloors for around a decade, so my arsenal of tunes goes pretty deep across a span of different genres. I keep my USB stick meticulously organized, and I’m always discovering gems both new and old. I try to take dancers on a journey. Where I start is never where I end, and I love to connect dots with tracks I’ve never played before. It’s the best feeling when you nail the marriage between two tunes you haven’t had the chance to play and you get a reaction from the floor. It’s certainly what keeps me going.
Electronic Groove: Can you share with us some of your favorite tracks on rotation?
Troy Kurtz: Saraba’s ‘Barlia’, Terr’s ‘Tale of Devotion’, and Hugo Massien’s ‘Twist & Turn’.
“It’s awesome to create some green in this concrete jungle and provide a habitat for the bees and other
creatures that like hang out”
Electronic Groove: The summer is in full force. Are there any special plans or gigs you’re looking forward to the rest of the season/year?
Troy Kurtz: I’m looking at taking a little vacation for my birthday which is coming up next week, and then once I’m back I’m really looking forward to playing this boat party called Dreamboat on August 3rd with Eli Escobar, Turbotito (Poolside) babck-to-back Daniel T and a handful of others. I also have a remix coming out in a few weeks and will be prepping my next few releases. Also, I recently got booked for this 2-day festival here in LA called Secret Project which is taking place on October 12 & 13. This year’s artist lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s one of the most tasteful and forward-thinking rosters I’ve seen in recent memory, so I’m buzzing to be a part of it.
Electronic Groove: Would you mind giving us a little insight about yourself? What do you like to do when you’re away from music? Any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
Troy Kurtz: I’ve been surfing all my life, so I try to get in the ocean as often as I can. I also really enjoying cooking, so I treat myself to a couple of home cooked meals a few nights out of the week. I live with my brother, and he has transformed our rooftop into this magical nursery of plants, vegetables, and flowers. It’s awesome to create some green in this concrete jungle and provide a habitat for the bees and other creatures that like hang out. It’s a good place to meditate, read or have a drink.
EG: As a resident of LA, how does the scene compare to your beginnings in Miami?
Troy Kurtz: They’re vastly different cities. LA is just so huge. It’s a never-ending sprawl with all these different scenes and sub-cultures, whereas Miami (for the sake of nightlife) was just Miami Beach and Downtown. When I started DJing in Miami in 2007, Wynwood was slowly on the come-up, but most of the action was at these mega bottle clubs on South Beach. Across the bridge is where you’d find some great parties, and there was an awesome stretch of underground bars and discos located Downtown that I’d love to play or go for a drink. I’d often have a residency at a place like the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach that would end at 2 am, and then I’d get cab across the way and have another set Downtown that would start at 3 am. I was active in that circuit for a number of years before moving to LA in 2012.
“Art gives us a medium for connection that is one of the most powerful tools humans have”
EG: Your Slap & Tickle events started at The Electric Pickle. What memories do you have from the now-closed institution?
Troy Kurtz: I’ll never forget our first few Tuesday nights at the Electric Pickle. Inbal and Will (from the EP) gave us a chance to start something on Tuesday nights, and we really had no idea how our night would perform, but we really wanted it to be successful because it was THE spot. I remember it would be crickets until 1 am, and Eyal, Santi and myself would nervously drink tequila with the bartenders wondering if anyone would show up. Then all of a sudden there’d be this huge rush of people up the stairs and by 2 am it would be completely slammed with sweat dripping down the walls. I remember “Battle For Middle You” by Julio Bashmore had just come out and it was really hot at the time, and I would tease the first few bars of the bass wobble and the place would erupt. I’ll always cherish those nights.
EG: Where can we catch you if we land in LA?
Troy Kurtz: I have a couple of residences on LA’s Westside at Elephanté and Nameless, and am always playing some undisclosed locations that you’ll just have to reach out for.
EG: As musicians, what is your definition of art?
Troy Kurtz: If you were to strip away art, what would we have? We’d be a binary collection of zeroes and ones feeding into an algorithm. Art is an escape. With art, we’re human. We’re able to relate and communicate with people we’ve never yet met, and art gives us a medium for connection that is one of the most powerful tools humans have.
Troy Kurtz’s ‘Lost in Your Love’ is now available on Slap & Tickle Records. Get your copy here.