We've partnered with the United Project to bring you this exclusive interview with TNO. The United by Music for Charity album features 17 tracks from 26 artists around the world. Continue reading to learn more about TNO and their experiences with the Indian EDM scene Cell Recordings as well as their track on the United album coming December 10th!
Let's start at the beginning of your journey through the industry.
It all started when I was about thirteen. My brother used to watch VH1 so that exposed me to a bunch of new genres of music. At the time, Hardwell's "Spaceman" was really popular and it made me wonder how he made all those sounds because they didn't sound like any instrument I had ever heard before. I didn't have a computer or internet connection at home so I had to go over to a cyber cafe to start doing some research on it. That day, I found out about FL Studio and spent hours watching tutorials on YouTube. A few months later, my dad bought me a laptop and I immediately continued my research and watching tutorials on music production. I started my journey under the name "Rexogyn" and later decided to form TNO as a duo with Abhishek Rajak in 2016.
Since then, you have grown to the point where you've played around India quite a few times. Tell us what that scene is like from your first-hand experience.
The crowds in India are incredible. There's this trading of energies where I'm putting out everything can and they're giving it back and that just gives me even more motivation to keep the show going strong. Whenever we were starting out, we had to go through this rough phase of playing shows for free but pretty much everyone goes through that in the beginning.
What resonates best with the Indian crowd?
It's different every time. You have to read the crowd and keep experimenting with your sets while also maintain your own style. It also depends on where you are performing. Our set for a festival gig is a fusion of big room, trap, hardstyle, remixes of pop songs, and a lot of live mashups. On top of it all, keeping your crowd engaged is equally important. Like we have a signature track which says "Where's the party?" And then the crowd yell back, "Here's the party." Moments like those have the biggest effect on the crowd and gives them something to remember from our sets.
Tell us about your experience with CELL Recordings so far.
My experience has been out of the box! In the early days, our team consisted of myself, GLDN, and Danilo who is also the owner of TNC. Our first release on CELL was "The Final Countdown 2k16" by KEVU and Luke Alive which did outstandingly well globally and was played by a lot of renown DJs at various festivals. The label started getting the real exposure after we released our ADE Sampler in 2016. After that, every underground artist wanted to release on CELL. Our releases started getting regular support from Hardwell, The Chainsmokers, Dannic, W&W and all the renowned artists. People started to look up to our label and expected more and more out of it. Not only did this make me feel like I was a part of something big, but also made me want to put in everything I had to make even bigger each passing day. We got to the point where we were able to organize label nights which gave our artists a stage and audience to play their stuff. In total, CELL organized six label nights in different cities on our India tour. It was definitely not an easy task for us but it represented a really big move for the company.
How did things change after your PR nightmare epitomized by this article on EDM Reviewer?
When you are on the rise, you'll always find people trying to pull you down. Unfortunately, the situation we were put it gave them a chance to just that. The situation was that we had a guy who was helping us out with the promotion was partially buying fake plays and charging us a ridiculous amount for "organic promotion." We never asked for fake stats and clearly mentioned that we want real promotion which is why we were paying him. By the time we noticed that something fishy was going on, other people did too. We fired him as soon as we found out what was going on, but after he was gone, other labels started to do bot attacks on our releases. They just wanted a reason to slander our label and take us down. Artists we rejected also started to join in and spread shit about us as well. For us, we never really cared much about the play count or stats because it's about the true exposure in the end. We made the decision to hide all our stats from Soundcloud because people thought CELL was all about the statistics. That's definitely not the case, it's about quality music.
Should we be expecting more future bass like your latest release with KEVU?
There will be a bunch of genres and future bass could be one of them although we don't have any more future bass releases coming up. Our primary genre will be big room always as those tracks are the roots of the label, but we do like to keep variations in our release style.
What can you tell us about your involvement with United?
I still remember how excited and interested I was when I first saw the invitation to be a part of this amazing project. It feels really great to be able to contribute for such a good cause through our music. Also to see all these artists teaming up from all over the world and working hard to help the people in need is something that touched my heart. All the revenues generated from this album will be donated to UNICEF which does some really amazing work around the globe.
Where do you hope to go next with your career and TNO?
The only way is up now! We are growing every day and working on more music. Performing at big festivals have always been our dreams and so our goal this year will be to go even further than the last!
A huge thanks to TNO for taking the time to answer our questions! Be sure to follow them below for all the latest updates.
Chris W. Lao
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