Thomas Ingamells, known in the EDM scene by his alias Tom Staar, is a London-born DJ and producer specializing in high-energy big-room house music. His versatile sound has appeared on several notable record labels including his own Staar Traxx, as well as Armada, Maustrap, Size, Spinnin and now Axtone – working with industry legends Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell. The soon-to-be father of two has graced the stages of Tomorrowland and Ibiza, and played numerous sets throughout east Asia, with his fast-approaching return to Indonesia including highly anticipated performances in Sky Garden, Bali.
What sparked your interest to make music in the first place and how long have you been producing for?
I started going out clubbing when I was about 18 or 19 and I really wanted to get involved with it so I bought decks and started to DJ and just felt that I wanted to make my own music to play you know? And yeah, just started like that really. I’ve been producing for god, a long time now, for about 12 or 13 years, it’s been quite a while now.
Can you describe your personal history in the industry? What’s the road been like from where you started to where you are now?
I mean it’s been long. I’ve been through various sorts of scenes with it, all within the house music sort of scene but some various sorts of sub genres of house music with various different names over the years. The Tom Staar thing sort of started maybe five or six years ago. I started off with a bit more of an electro-y sort of sound, which developed into more of the house-y sort of thing that I’ve been doing now really.
Tell us about your music style for those who are unfamiliar.
I’d say it’s big-room house music. It has the energy and power for the main stages but with more of a house-tech feel than the other straight up EDM guys.
Did you grow up playing other instruments or did you know you wanted to get
into this kind of music? How did this career evolve?
Nah I’ve never played any instruments, but have always known I wanted to be involved in dance music. Ive been DJing and producing for over 10 years under various guises in various music styles and have been doing so professionally since I was 17.
What kind of music do you like listening to in your free time and who are you major influences?
From right back people like Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and Basement Jaxx were a huge influence. But more recently people like Axwell, Tommy Trash and Sebastian Ingrosso.
As talented as you are, I get the impression you’re just as big a fan of artists and being a raver fan. What was your first show that you attended?
Ah man I have no idea, I used to go to places like Gatecrasher, Gods Kitchen and the like back in the UK when I was like 17, I’m from the dancefloor and still hit it when I can!
You’ve played in venues and festivals across the world, have you had any stand out favorites along the way, and what makes these so special?
Ah, that’s one I always get asked but its so hard to choose. I’ve been lucky enough to do some amazing festivals and parties over the years. Exit festival in Serbia was def one of my faves, I did it back in 2013. Tomorrowland is always a highlight of the summer for me too, I’ve played it that last 5 years now.
Can you tell us a little about your recent collaboration with Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano and how the idea for “Bombs Away” came to fruition?
Sunnery and Ryan play pretty much everything I do, they are really big supporters of my Tom Staar sound. We spoke about doing something together a few years back but with their schedule and mine its been hard getting round to it. I played for them in Ibiza over the summer at their party at Hi and finally got on to making the record. We wanted to do something that was housey but still playable on the big stages that we do over the summer festival season.
You were quoted saying “these days progressive house is a very different thing to what I know it as,” tell us what has changed?
The term ‘progressive’ has just changed into something totally different for a lot of people. For me progressive house is the stuff from guys like Sasha and Digweed, although now the term seems to refer to the melodic EDM stuff from guys like Vicetone and Dimitri Vangelis+Wymann.
You have a 2-year-old daughter and another baby on the way, how do you balance your busy DJ schedule with family life?
Yeah, it’s really hard finding the balance. It’s something I’m still working on.
Based on your daughter’s name, we assume you’re an Atari fan. What are some of your favorite games?
It wasn’t really because I was a huge fan of the old Atari computers, I just thought it was a really cool word and worked as a name.
You’ve worked with iconic artists like Knife Party, Galantis, Wolfgang Gartner and Nervo, what was your most memorable collaboration?
It was great working with Knife Party. Rob Swire is a producer I’ve looked up to for years so to get to work with him was amazing!
If you had to completely wipe out one subgenre of electronic music from existence, which would it be?
Would you rather give a full body massage to DJ Khaled, or open a show for DJ Pauly D?
Ha. I’d rather open a show for Pauly D.
Finally, What’s in store for 2019?
2019 is already shaping up to be a big one for me. I have a big Ibiza residency confirmed for the summer already, and some huge collabs with David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren and Steve Angello on the way. I also have a new project away from Tom Staar that I’ve been working on ready to go too, so it’s looking good!