Jul 7, 2022
7 min read
The amount of talent coming out of the United Kingdom can be overwhelming sometimes. For DJs from the UK, it is a hyper-competitive micro-community where standing out is never a foregone conclusion. Discovery can take years. Farrow, however, got the formula bagged with his first EP, Let's Just/Can't Explain, in 2020, which set him on an immediate upwards trajectory. The lead single released on Stress Records earned him a nod from BBC Radio 1 as the "Hottest Record in the World."
Growing up in a musical household, Tommy learned how to DJ from his sister. She introduced him to Disclosure, giving him an early love for garage and breakbeat. She then handed down an old set of decks when he was a teenager, and everything changed from there. Tommy immediately dove deep into the world of electronic music and began crafting incredible tracks with a unique style reminiscent of the 90s while adding his modern flair.
He's garnered deep respect from industry titans like John Digweed and has compared to the likes of Bicep for his deeply touching music that stirs emotions and keeps the dancefloor in motion.
You managed to come out of the gates super strong on your first EP. But, it would be foolish to assume that your career started in 2020. You learned to DJ as a teenager, following in the footsteps of your older sister Katie. Did you always know you wanted to give this life a shot, or would you say Katie played a significant role in pushing you to try it out?
I've come from a very musical background! My dad used to listen to music 24/7 and show my sister and me his collection of CDs all the time. It was mostly soulful house and R&B music. My sister was into dance music first, and she then got me into it when I was around 13. The first song that transformed me was Disclosures remix of Jessie Ware's "Running." She started DJing, and she passed them down to me. I was instantly hooked and formed a duo with my best mate, Josh, when I was 14. We named ourselves 'Bad Standards,' and we absolutely killed it! We broke the servers of our debut radio show on our local station and were gigging at birthday parties and whatnot. Relating to the question tho, if it weren't for my sister, I would not be where I am today!
How did you first discover electronic music? Was there a strong local scene in Sheffield where you grew up?
I think what got me into underground house music was Social Festival and Creamfields in 2016. My taste went from deep house and EDM to tech house and techno, and I was hooked! Sheffield has a great music scene too. It was a lot better while I was at uni, though. There were parties left, right, and center! I became a promoter during my first year in 2017, and that helped me get my foot in the door as I was always djing at the parties and booked some pretty big names! Detroit Swindle, Jasper James, Big Miz, Hammer, and Prospa, to name a few.
Can you give us some insight into your later teenage years, exploring clubs around the UK and Ibiza? What did you learn about the electronic music scene during that time?
My first Ibiza season was 2018. I didn't know a single soul on the island. I learned a lot about the culture of music and how special and almost life-changing some of the club nights can be. As cringe as it sounds, going to the right party can take you on a journey, and the people you meet and connect with on the dancefloor are like no other. Everyone is so like-minded out there, and you truly realize the power of music.
Following up on this, I want to talk about your musical style. Your tracks evoke history, borrowing themes from the euphoric trance days of the 90s while also implementing modernized melodic techno. You've mentioned artists like Agents Of Time and Ejeca as influences. Take us through your musical style and how you would describe your sound. Do you feel the area you exist in is appropriately represented?
It's always tricky how to define my sound; it changes quite a lot depending on what I'm inspired by. I like to make big room records that take listeners on a journey. My records always have emotion, as I find that important to keep them timeless and to really connect with the listener. I think breaking through the scene as a melodic artist in the UK is hard. A lot of parties and festivals prefer housey or electronic artists in my opinion. The marker is smaller for progressive house and melodic artists. Camelphat are great leaders in this and are paving the way for young artists like myself.
What was your reaction when you got the call from Hot Since 82 to remix his track "Rules?"
This was crazy, to be honest! My manager at the time rang me and told me he needed a remix, but it had to be done by the weekend— three days! So I spent three 12-hour days writing the remix, and each day the remix was completely different. I was about to give up on the last day. I was like a man possessed! I had the lead for it and knew I was keeping that, as I wanted it anthemic, but I couldn't get the drums right. Anyway, I decided to use the bass stem from the original track, and then after that, everything just glued together, and I knew it needed breakbeat tops because of the sustained bassline. After my manager sent it off, they got back 10 mins after saying it was accepted! Mental.
Do you find it challenging to incorporate your sound into an existing track when making remixes?
I love writing remixes. I normally only take the vocals from the original and then make the whole track my own. I don't listen to the original after I get the stems, as I want my imagination to be limitless and create something completely brand new.
Do you have any pieces of hardware or software plug-ins you find yourself going to often when producing?
I don't own any hardware! Just use my Mac keyboard and monitors. I feel I'll be procrastinating too much if I had hardware at the moment. Maybe something for the future. I use Serum for nearly everything now. Ana 2 is amazing too.
"Running From New York" carries major big room energy. Tell us about producing this track and what inspired you to go so big on this one?
Yes, maybe my clubbiest record to date. So this record started as a remix that got rejected. I took the kick bassline and pads from it and made it my own, but it did take a year to get it right with so much back and forth. I nearly gave up on it many times, but the record label believed in it, and we finally made it work. It started dark, but I wanted to create more energy and brightness to it. I think the piano helps that a lot.