By Aurora Wetherill, of LightsOn w/ Aurora, Thursdays@10pm.
So, Thero is amazing. “Who is Thero?” you might ask. Well, he’s the man. He’s producing some of the most innovative and invigorating tropical house music to date. He’s the man out-doing his heros. And you definitely haven’t heard of him yet.
You might also be wondering what tropical house music is. It’s house music characterized by synthetic bongos, steel drums, and flutes, and it floats somewhere around 110 beats per minute. It essentially makes you feel like you’re lying in the shade of a palm tree sharing a cool drink with the love of your life. If you don’t like it, you probably don’t like anything lovely and you probably don’t use your vacation days either.
Thero, which is the tropical house moniker of Connecticut-born TJ Sarda, has been twisting lesser songs into full on badass sax-infused low-BPM tropical bangers for about 6 months now, although he has been producing for three years. He says he really only found his sound this past Spring, and that he was heavily influenced by tropical house innovators Kygo and Klingande. He has no formal musical training, but he has an obvious comprehension and proficiency with his material. He began producing after he saw Avicii play at Red Rocks (in CO) back in 2011– he says something just clicked, and he knew he needed to make music.
So this guy is pretty young. He only graduated from Notre Dame University this past May, with a degree in entrepreneurship. He’s got a day job as an innovation consultant at a small firm, and says that music is just his “side hustle.” I asked him if he felt like he was about to get mega-famous, and he responded with great humility: “I’m just doin what I love and people dig it. What more could you ask for?”
We talked a little about the state of music these days, and how there’s really only money in live performance. He gives all of his music away for free on his Facebook and his Soundcloud, by the way. These days, people don’t just want to see their favorite artist perform; they want to see him blow their damn minds with insane lasers and confetti and champagne showers. I asked Thero if he was ready for it, to which he responded, “if people want to see me play, I’ll play. That’s how it’ll be.” Thero is going to do Thero and he doesn’t care if the world isn’t into it. But for reference, the world is totally into it. He’s got over 800,000 plays on Soundcloud.
Thero’s two all-time favorite bands are the Dave Matthews Band and Slightly Stoopid. I asked him if he would assess himself as a “bro” and he gave me a hard “maybe.” I think he would have been an IBNM major if he had attended Dickinson. His current jam is the sweet soul song, “Coming Home,” by Leon Bridges, and he says he’s been into Filous and Snbrn lately as well. He also mentioned that he’s a dog person, which he followed up with “sorry.” He’s definitely not sorry.
I’m personally a mega-fan of this guy, and when I nerd out to him, he always responds to my messages and sometimes he sends me his works in progress. The man knows how to build rapport. Thero gained a fan for life.
I asked Thero how he keeps it tropical on frosty days like today, and he gave me some truly wise words: “Just remember to smile. People get so caught up in life. Sometimes you just need to step back and appreciate everything.” Keep it tropical, folks.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, he’s got plans for a Spring ’15 tour. You can find out more and download all of his sweet tropical beats here:
Don’t forget to follow him on twitter! @TheroMusic
Follow Aurora @rortortle