Australian DJ and instrumentalist Timmy Trumpet makes dynamic, progressive house music that he often accents with his trumpet playing. Born Timothy Jude Smith in Sydney in 1982, Smith began playing trumpet at age four and initially attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he received classical instruction. After being thrown out for a prank, however, he transferred to a public high school where he became increasingly involved with jazz. Although Smith’s trumpet ability predicted a performance career, it was dance music and not jazz that ultimately grabbed his interest. Around 2001, billing himself as Timmy Trumpet, he began combining his skills as a DJ and trumpeter, a sound that caught audiences’ attention in such EDM hot spots as Ibiza and London. Trumpet has produced tracks for such labels as PACHA, Ministry of Sound, and One Love, and has performed with such similarly inclined electronic acts as the Stafford Brothers, Swedish House Mafia, Armin Van Buuren, and others. He has had several Top Ten singles on the Aria Club Chart, including his 2011 collaboration with DJ Tenzin, “Horny,” which reached number five. In 2014, his single “Freaks,” featuring rapper Savage, hit number one in New Zealand, and eventually reached quadruple-platinum status the following year. Also in 2015, Trumpet released the single “Toca” featuring Carnage and KHSMR.
It’s a well-known fact that you include raw instruments in your tracks. Tell us more about that, what inspires you to do so?
I started out as an instrumentalist first. I’ve been playing Trumpet since I can remember, I’m better on piano than I am on trumpet and I actually played the guitarbongos for a while. So making music with raw instruments feels really natural to me. Some of my best ideas have come from just jamming out on the trumpet until something cool comes out.
Do you feel there are certain boundaries that cannot be crossed when it comes to producing?
Everyone has their own taste when it comes to music but for me, I’ll only release something when I think it’s the absolute best it can be. Boundaries are made to be broken and there is no better time right now to break the rules and create new exciting genres.
How do you get a track started? Tell us a bit about your production process. How long does it take you to complete a track on average, and do you ever get writer’s block?
I don’t always have a solid idea of what I want when I get into the studio. Sometimes I’ve just got a sound or a hook in mind, other times I just play around until something sick bubbles up. I’ve had tracks basically done in an afternoon and other tracks I’ve tinkered with for years. Everyone gets writers block, you just have to put in the time even if feels like you’re not making progress, it will come to you eventually.
Is there something you want to experiment with regarding your sound but have always been afraid to try?
I’ve been using the same FX unit for my trumpet since I started. I don’t want to change but they’re out of production now. I think I own the last few in the world so now is probably a good time to experiment.
What inspires you the most? What puts you in the mood for producing anywhere, anytime?
When I hear something in a track that I’ve never heard before it always fires me up.
The whole process of incorporating jazz into dance music, how did that come about?
Ya look, the Jazz industry is a tough industry. I still love jazz and I love playing at the local jazz club every Thursday night, but I wanted to do something different. I feel like jazz has been done and we don’t like to do what’s been done. We’re always trying to push boundaries. I hope that I can, kind of, try to mould the two together, jazz and dance music or dance and trumpet. I don’t know what I’m doing right now. I’m loving it though, and it’s good fun. I hope you guys like it.
If you could collaborate with one artist performing at TIMEOUT 72, who would it be?
I’d say probably Wiz Khalifa. He’s got the most different sound and I’m always trying to do something out of the box. I have a lot of respect for him and will hang around after the show, but I just really want to see his show.
Besides yourself, who must we keep an eye on in the Australian electronic scene? Who is your favourite up and coming Aussie star?
Check out this techno DJ called Fisher.
You’ve worked with some pretty huge names in the industry, such as Hardwell, Vini Vici and Blasterjaxx among others– who has been your favourite collab and why?
They’ve all been great. I’m very lucky to be able to work with some of my idols. I can’t wait to share with you guys my new collabs though! Make sure to follow me on soundcloud and instagram for all the latest @timmytrumpet.
We know you can rock a trumpet no end – can you play any other instruments? And if you had to choose another instrument to learn from scratch, what would it be and why?
I can play piano and a few other brass instrumentals but I’ve always wanted to learn tenor sax. Such a beautiful sound.
Have you stuck to your New Year’s Resolutions?
I actually have! I always make a year-long list of goals and work hard to hit them. The moment you let one slide, it’s harder to hold up the rest so you really have to stick to it!