We’d really like to cover Brighton’s Tropics a little more, but with only one release, the massive Soft Vision EP, a video (or watch below) and a couple of mixtapes, there is little to cover. So we got in contact with Tropics via his SoundCloud page and did a little interview, our 1000th post!
I wonder myself how I first came across your music, so maybe you can start by introducing yourself. Who is Tropics and what does he do?
Tropics is me, Chris Ward. Im 23, in my final year at Southampton University studying Digital Music. I sing, play keys & guitar and produce my music.
Is Tropics your first musical project, have there been other projects before?
I count it as my first as what came before was pretty dire in my eyes, Ive been producing as Tropics for about three or four years. It started out as a bedroom project and over those years evolved all the way to me producing my first debut album and performing a live show with a band.
There’s a lot of space in your music. How are you working, are you a hardware or a software guy? How do you achieve your sound?
Software for synths always. Id love to buy a hardware synth one day. I use all hardware for bass guitar and electric guitar instruments though. And I also have a drum kit i record hits or loops from. I’ve played the drums since I was about 10, I love it and get a bit jealous of Morgan’s job when we play live!
Your music awakens memories of the stuff I listened to as a child, yet I can’t figure out what it reminds me of. Something between Kate Bush, Vangelis and Steve Reich maybe, but it could also be on a Sophia Coppola soundtrack. What are your influences?
Yeah the tracks on the ep were very 70’s and 80’s sampled-based music apart from Soft Vision, they were a few early demos Id be working on over the last couple of years. Around the time of release I knew I wanted to go down the Soft Vision route for an album, I picked up the singing and use of more live instruments so that’s what Ive been working on over the last year. Mainly taking the inspiration from the kind of artists I’ve previously sampled and performing an ensemble how they would, rather than just sample them!
I’m feeling a bit unpleasant about the next question, but would you describe your music like? I’ve seen the word “chillwave” here and there, but I can’t really make anything out of it. What do you think about it (I think I’ve seen you using it yourself) and can you explain it to us? Just a another word?
I really don’t mind what people call it, genre definitions I always find tricky with my music. I’d describe it as quite emotional, hot and atmospheric. Very nostalgic in places, and soulful?
Is that why you’ve chosen to call yourself Tropics? I think of certain colors and your music is bringing those colors on my mind.
I chose the name Tropics when I started the project out about three or four years ago, at that time I wanted something that gave hot and colourful imagery, which is the vision I had for the music.. I was making a mixture of sounds, most very ‘tropical’ so the name’s always fitted.
How’s the work on the album progressing? Can you share any details with us yet?
It’s very nearly finished, however I say that a lot and continue to make new tracks haha. I believe It will be out in September.
And is there any other music coming from you before that?
Yep, look out for an EP prior to the album in summer. It is finished and the album’s nearly there. The EP is called ‘Mouves’ and will be released early July, it will be showcasing my new style with my vocals and more matured approach to Tropics that I’ve developed since gigging with my band, and the album will follow it up in September.
You’re playing a wide selection of styles in your DJ mixes, are you interested in doing side projects where you go in a different direction or maybe collaborations?
Sure, after this album finishes I have a couple potential collabs and as for side projects I’d like to produce some film music or bands/other artists.
Already got any projects in sight? Do you consider yourself being a movie guy? What are you into?
There’s nothing much on the film horizon yet, i do have a friend making films so may try to get some experience working with him there. I love all sorts of movies but im real big on my old school style gangster flicks!
What new music have you been feeling in the last year?
Keep Shelly In Athens who are currently remixing a track of mine, great music. Bibio’s new album is also a winner. So many debut albums to come out this year, very exciting!
Let’s sum up those links one more time, so you can listen or buy some of Chris’ music. Planet Mu is the label that puts his music out, he blogs on Tumblr and uploads new tracks and mixtapes on SoundCloud. Please check him out!