TJ, how about you tell us more about yourself?
Hi, I’m TJ Groover, a music producer and DJ raised in New Jersey, but currently based in Pittsburgh. I started primarily producing hip-hop and RnB music for local artists. Now I have switched gears and been focusing on branching out and building my own brand by making edits/remixes of my favourite songs and DJing around the Pittsburgh club scene.
Do you feel like growing up in New Jersey altered your music tastes as opposed to if you were raised in Pittsburgh?
Most definitely! Growing up in Jersey, in a very diverse area, we were exposed to literally everything, especially being in proximity to Philly and New York. Being exposed to stuff like Jersey and Philly club music and also the entire neo-soul movement was a fantastic experience. These types of sounds formed my musical identity growing up.
What digital audio workstation do you use? Ableton is known to be popular among DJs.
I originally started off using FL Studio 5 (showing my age here lol) as a lot of producers did. After a while, I felt it was time to challenge myself and learn new DAWs. I then bought Native Instruments Maschine about 4 years ago and never looked back. It really changed my outlook on how to make music/beats.
My workflow completely changed after buying this product, and my creativity skyrocketed. It made beatmaking so much fun again. I use Ableton some just for arranging my tracks and mixing, but I prefer using Maschine for creating beats.
Do you feel like one day you’ll be able to play at a big music festival like Ultra? What steps are you taking to get to that level?
I think that I have the talent and creativity to get invited to big music festivals, but not necessarily Ultra. From what I know about the event, it’s a bit more EDM oriented, and that’s now quite my genre. But the goal is to make enough remixes and edits to gain some type of notoriety to DJ in front of large crowds around the world.
What do you do besides music production? Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Besides music production, i also love to DJ. This has become a newer hobby of mine. I’ve been pretty active recently in the Pittsburgh DJ/music scene. I think doing this in the past few years has been an outstanding experience as far as helping me meet some pretty cool people around the Pittsburgh music scene.
Do you DJ full time?
No, unfortunately I do not DJ full time yet. But working hard to make that a reality eventually!
What does a work-life balance look like for you?
Work-life balance is truly challenging a lot of the time. I work in IT (Information Technology) full-time. Working full time in this industry means there are a lot of unorthodox and demanding work hours. Typically, after a long day of work I don’t feel like doing anything, and sometimes that includes working on my craft.
What I started doing recently to counteract this is to wake up earlier in the mornings just to work on music. By doing this, my productivity has improved immensely.
How long does it take you to remix a track?
The process of making a remix doesn’t take me too long. I actually take a pretty interesting approach to remixes. I usually don’t plan on making a remix. I typically create a random beat first, and if I like that beat that I created and I feel like it could use some vocals, I will then select an acapella that fits the beat.
Recently I’ve been chosen RnB and pop acapellas from the early 2000s. My “Big Pun – Still Not a Player” remix on SoundCloud is an excellent example of this. After this, I’ll work on the arrangement to make it feel like a fully fleshed out song. I think my remixes come out way better with this approach because I’m not forcing myself to make a remix.
Do you ever feel like giving up at all?
Honestly, I hate to say it, but it pops up in my head all the time. I don’t doubt my skill level or anything like that, but it’s more like, “Is this going to be worth it?”, “Can i really make enough money with this to quit my job one day and do music full time?”, or “Should I be investing all this time and effort that I put into making music and DJing into something else, like my regular 9-5 job?”
These are the kind of fears and doubts I deal with. But even if my goals and plans never actually come to fruition, I don’t think I’ll ever stop creating music. It’s such a huge part of my identity as a person. I’ll be 70 years old showing my grandkids how to produce music and make beats haha.
How advanced is the music culture in your city? What would you change?
The Pittsburgh music culture is excellent. There’s a lot of talented people here in the city that are doing sope stuff. I got a real sense of community when I first started getting involved in the music scene here.
Everyone seems to support each other which is fantastic. The only thing is that I feel like there isn’t a big spotlight on the city. I think this city is known for their sports team but not for the music scene. It’s hard for a lot artist to get any type of notoriety here because of this.
Before we wrap up, do you want to give local artists who are starting a piece of advice?
As far as creating music and building a sound, keep an extremely open mind. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself musically and experiment as much as you can, even if your experiments don’t sound great at first, stick to them!
Previous Interview: DJ and EDM Music Producer DNVX
Next Interview: Entertainer and Music Producer FobStevie
Liked The Post? - Leave Feedback!
Click on a star to rate it!
Average rating / 5. Vote count: