Hoosier DJ to open for Tiësto

The DJ from Zionsville, Ind., said he looks forward to seeing a few familiar faces when he opens for Dutch DJ and producer Tiësto tonight at Bounce Music Festival.

Jones’ music reaches across musical genres and has been played by renowned electronic musicians from Above & Beyond to 12th Planet.

An IDS reporter had the chance to talk to him before his first Little 500 experience.

You’re playing with Tiësto tomorrow night. I understand you’ve done some work with him in the past?

TOPHER JONES Yeah, we used to. I think it was 2007 when I first released a song on his record label, Black Hole Recordings. He was a big supporter of mine and asked me to open for him on his 2008 tour. We played two shows in Chicago. One of them was at the House of Blues — that’s still probably my favorite show I’ve ever played. He’s been really supportive of me and the way my music was going. We both kind of took different directions for a while, but we’re ironically kind of heading in the same direction musically again right now. After (the festival Thursday) we’re both playing May 4 in Chicago at Studio Paris, which is a new club.

What’s that like? Has he ever given you any pro tips?

JONES Nothing too serious. After I first played with him, he gave me a call midway through the week. He just said “Thank you” and that he really appreciated what I did. The House of Blues show was so special. (Tiësto) was supposed to play from 11 until the club closed, but he let me play an extra 45 minutes. He’s always just been really supporting.

IDS Are you debuting any new mixes in the near future?

Yeah, I’ll be playing a lot of new music tomorrow night. I’m about to put out a bunch of new tracks over the next few weeks, so I’ll be debuting those. There’ll also be new remixes tomorrow and some new collaborations with some up-and-coming artists. Tomorrow will be the first time I get to test out a lot of new material.

What has been the most rewarding experience of being on tour?

JONES That’s a tough one because different things are rewarding in different ways. I love getting to travel — it’s really cool meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. It’s so rewarding to meet new fans and visually experiencing how your music impacts different lives. I think the most rewarding thing, though, is creating a network of friends that is global. Knowing you can fly 2,000 miles and still feel at home because you’re so close to people and you will be for the rest of your life. Friendships at the end of the day are so much more import to me than music — I know that sounds awful. My music is really important to me, but my friendships are really, really special.

IDS How do you express yourself through your music?

JONES This one’s tough. I ask myself this one. Sometimes you just get in the studio and things happen, and you start coming up with something, and you think it’s completely different than what you were expecting, but you love it. Sometimes you sit at the piano and what you end up with is exactly what you were expecting, and it’s great. I try to be very honest and genuine in my lyrics, and I’ve never released music that I don’t feel represents me. It’s a little different, though, with dance music. When I’m writing club tracks, I ask myself whether this would drop at the club — would people enjoy dancing to it? Even when you’re in a lull in life, you still need to write music that people will want to move to. When I write songs and lyrics, it’s a lot easier to express myself, though, it can be a lot more personal.

IDS What have you been listening to recently?

JONES Just picked up the new Snow Patrol album. I’m really enjoying it. It’s really chill and relaxing. The latest M83 — I’m all about that. I love the new Coldplay. I’m always listening to Sigur Rós, no matter what I’m doing. The Civil Wars is really different than anything I’ve listened to before. I love the two vocalists, a girl and a guy, that are always harmonizing. They’ve got a great thing going, and I really like Explosions in the Sky.

IDS You went to high school in Indiana, so have you been to IU’s Little 500 festivities in the past?

JONES I haven’t, which is crazy because I went to college at Depauw. But honestly, I’ve never made it, and obviously I’m a bit too old for a college kid’s party, but it’s going to be fun to see IU’s Little Five celebration. My manager, Dustin, went to Indiana and has told me all about it.

IDS What is your favorite thing about Bloomington?

JONES I don’t know if I’ve spent enough time there to have a favorite thing. I love that Bloomington is becoming a place where dance music is really welcome. (The show Thursday) will be fun. I’m so excited to see Tiësto’s face as he plays a festival in the middle of rural Indiana. It’s going to be a great time, though. I really think he’ll enjoy it.

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