Indianapolis native Topher Jones returns for a hometown gig on race weekend to share the Snake Pit stage with Diplo and Afrojack. Below, we chat about the Indy dance music scene (past and present).
MOJO: You’re originally from Zionsville, so you’ve had the Indianapolis 500 in your backyard all your life. Do you have any special Race Day memories or traditions?
JONES: I’ve actually never been to the Indy 500… but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of memories after next weekend’s race!
MOJO: How often do you make it back down to Indianapolis? What’s on your agenda while you’re here besides playing The Snake Pit?
JONES: I make it back to Indy every other month at least. I love getting to see my family there. I’ll only be home for about 18 hours on this trip, so I’m only going to sleep and go to the show before I have to head back up to Chicago!
MOJO: In an interview with The Palladium Chicago from two years ago you said that Indianapolis “has to fight to get anyone to come through the city because the scene there is small.” Do you still think that’s an accurate statement?
JONES: I do think it’s an accurate statement. Indy isn’t one of the major markets. It’s a market that has to work to get international talent to come through. Slater Hogan and John Larner are doing an amazing job of really bringing in quality DJ’s. Those guys deserve a ton of respect.
MOJO: How has the Indianapolis scene changed since you were living here and active in it?
JONES: Dance music has become so much bigger and widely accepted in America since I last lived in Indy. Average music listeners know the name of big DJ’s and big dance music tunes. This has only opened up the doors for more events and more talent to be exposed in Indy.
MOJO: Everyone knows that Chicago is the birthplace of house music, but a new generation of dance music and dance music producers is upon us. Who do you consider to be your peers in the Chicago house music community? Who should Indianapolis dance music fans be keeping an eye out for?
JONES: Krewella is killin’ it right now. Blowing up. I wish Chicago had more people really trying to make a statement on an international level. I think more will start popping up soon.
MOJO: Are you performing anywhere around town after the race? Where’s the afterparty? (nobody has to work the next day!)
JONES: I’m actually heading back to Chicago that night because I have friends in town that are going to EDC Chicago and I need get back for them. There will also be a zillion artists in town so it will good to see them and catch up.
MOJO: What was the hardest thing for you about breaking out of Indianapolis and getting noticed for your work on a larger scale?
JONES: I think the hardest thing was the lack of other kids in my area of Indy that were into dance music. It was very isolated for me. It was hard to work with other producers to try to learn. One benefit from coming out of the Midwest is that Midwesterners work very hard and are usually down to earth. That goes a verrrrry long way. Talent takes you so far, but hard work trumps everything.
Check out Topher Jones’ latest release below (a remix of Steve Aoki’s “Singularity”) and make sure you’ve picked up a Snake Pit wristband so you can partake in the madness on Race Day!