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Trash Talk

30 May 2013 | 9:45 am | Sean McKenna

"I started sending [my own] stuff into Ministry of Sound and they were like what’s your name? And I was like, ‘Oh fuck, oh okay – Tommy Trash!’ It was a name made out of desperation."

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The LA based DJ/producer Tommy Trash has carried his hard hitting dance anthems across the globe via Ministry of Sound to just about every major international dance festival, much to the delight of electro-house disciples from Coachella to Wonderland. On top of his own ARIA and Grammy award nominated production, the Queenslander's juicy house cuts have earned him remix approval from the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5, Tiësto, as well as Steve Aoki and Zedd. But what's more impressive than the 26-year-old's daunting resume and rock star reputation is the fact that he's somehow managed to maintain a boy like sense of simplicity and humility throughout, unlike so many of those around him. He recently offered an insight into this profound modesty during an interview over a no doubt lavish dinner from his no doubt lavish pad in LA.

The City of Angels is a far cry from Bundaberg in rural Queensland where Trash or Thomas Olsen as he was known back then, was raised. This country upbringing offers the first few hints into his self-effacement. Given his obvious talent for composition and layering, it comes as little surprise to learn that Olsen's initial musical introduction came in the form of a classical piano “around the age of four or five”. After school he spent time between bands and teaching piano in Brisbane and later Sydney. “The band I was in wasn't really getting enough work so I had to go get an office job at the Bureau of Statistics – it was an interesting time,” he reminisces.

Inspired by the sounds of Felix da Housecat, Axwell and Swedish House Mafia, Olsen simultaneously developed a curiosity for electro-house, and flirted with amateur production himself. “I basically got into it by just going to nightclubs, I just really wanted to be a part of it,” he reflects. Moving to Sydney meant the next step in this fascination was a subsequent DJ gig in Kings Cross, the ideal platform to hone his skills. 

Prior to going solo, Olsen had been part of a two man trance outfit,Trashthetic, which later provided the inspiration behind the individual pseudonym. “I started sending [my own] stuff into Ministry of Sound and they were like what's your name? And I was like, 'Oh fuck, oh okay – Tommy Trash!' It was a name made out of desperation” he explains.

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Whatever it was made from, it rang true in the ears of Ministry of Sound, which subsequently helped Trash climb the ranks of the international club scene quicker than most through a succession of club bangers and collaborations including that ever dividing jingle: The Bum Song. “It was a beer inspired dance tune that just happened late one night. It was always really meant to be a nonsense song, which is why we were so surprised at how well it did.”

In case you haven't picked up on it by now, Tommy Trash is not your typical international DJ sensation. On the contrary, he's an unassuming dude pumping out masterful dance anthems, all the while simply enjoying the ride, “We're making and playing party music so it's really difficult not to get caught up in the whole party lifestyle; it's just so much fun, why wouldn't you do it”?

With the standard bottle of Grey Goose in hand, expect to see Trash banging out some unreleased material as well as all the regular goodies during his time in Australia as part of an international tour in between his latest residency at Las Vegas's newest dance mecca, Hakkasan Nightclub.