MN2S sits down with Tropical Disco’s very own Tim Burnett and Alex Sartori. To talk through their latest release, ‘Tropical Disco Edits Vol. 6’ and their gilded DJing history.

‘Tropical Disco Edits Vol. 6’ is available to pre-order now – get a copy here.

London-based imprint Tropical Disco exploded on to the scene in late 2017 with a funkified selection of slinky disco edits from label founder and producer Sartorial. Their journey since then has been a meteoric rise, with five sought-after editions of the edits series being released in just under a year, and several releases hitting No. 1 spots across both physical and digital charts. With a bright, bold aesthetic (think vibrant colours and cartoon flamingos) and infectiously catchy tunes that repurpose vintage US sounds for a contemporary dancefloor context, Tropical Disco have truly dominated in the short time they’ve been in operation. The rise of the label has been looked upon fondly by us here at MN2S: Tropical Disco co-owner Tim Burnett also happens to be our co-founder. To get an insight into their story so far, we’ve caught up with Tim and label founder Alex Sartori for another edition of our interview series. Read on.

Q. Tropical Disco is only a year old, but the three of you have been making music and DJing for much longer than that. Could you tell me a little about the origins of the label?

Alex: I started DJing in 1997 and producing music in 2006. Tropical Disco started off in 2016 as a radio show on HouseFM, one of London’s best house radio stations, where I would do a weekly Tuesday show playing edits. At the same time I was also running Tropical Disco nights at the Market house Brixton.

The name Tropical Disco came about whilst having a bath one night. I was brain storming for a name to call my radio show and when I came up with it I was like “yes, that’s it!”. I got introduced to Simon Kennedy just before I put out volume 1 on vinyl. We hit it off straight away as we both had a love for edits and DJing on vinyl, and he released ‘One Number’ on Volume 1 which funnily enough went to Number 1 on digital sales. We also did some collaborations on Volumes 2, 3 and 4.

Q. Tim, you only joined the Tropical Disco team this year. Tell me about what led to you joining the label?

Tim: Alex is an old friend that I have known for around 15 years and was always asking me to play for his nights, but I was playing more of a house sound at the time, as well as doing a vinyl-only night with a friend, so it never actually came to fruition. Then, just after he had his first release on the label in November Alex phoned me, saying he wanted me to release a track for Tropical Disco and be a resident DJ for the events. Despite me turning him down at first, once I spoke to my wife and friends I realised that this was really an offer I couldn’t refuse. I got into the studio in March this year and made ‘Strawberry Jam’, which turned out to be the label’s first No. 1 for vinyl and downloads.  After my studio session Alex asked me to join the label as a partner, but at first I didn’t want to be involved as I didn’t want the responsibility.  However, Alex is very persistent and doesn’t take no for an answer and his hunger and drive reminded me of when MN2S started – eventually his persistence prevailed and just before I released Strawberry Jam we decided to join forces. I first started DJing in 1991 and was playing around in the studio throughout the 90’s – I had some interest in one track that I’d made with my business partner at the time, but nothing was released in the end.

Read More: Interview: Nicky Siano Talks Hallelujah Disco and the Dance Music Gospel

Q. Tropical Disco has made quite an impression over the past year. Did you expect to receive such a positive response?

Yes and no, we still have to pinch ourselves that DJs like Marshall Jefferson, Chez Damier, Soul Clap, Faze Action, DJ Spen, Simon Dunmore, Brian Tappert, JKriv, Terry Hunter, and Full Intention have all supported our music. We put out Volume 1 in November 2017 and we are about to drop Volume 6 in November 2018, so things have happened at an extremely fast pace.  We started this for the love, but deep down we always wanted to succeed and be the best we could, and it shows that hard work and perseverance really does pay off.  The support from the record shops and our distributor has really helped us get to where we are now, and obviously all the fans who have supported us by buying our releases!  We are so grateful that we are in a               position to be putting out music that we love, getting such a positive response.  It’s definitely still a shock that it has happened so fast.

Listen to a snippet of ‘Tropical Disco Edits Vol.6’ here: 

Q. What have been the highlights for you so far?

Alex: There have been a few stand-out moments, going No. 1 in sales on both vinyl and digital was huge! I was out DJing out in Ibiza last week and would hear other DJs drop our music, and that was a real moment for me.

Signing to MN2S was huge as well. If I had to choose my favourite moment it would be the first time I played Volume 1 on my turntables at home. For over 20 years I have wanted to play my own music on vinyl!

Tim:  For me the highlight again would have to be going No. 1 with Strawberry Jam.  It was my first track on the label and the first track I had done under the name ‘Moodena’ so I was pretty blown away considering I was basically a no-name, as far as everyone was concerned.  Then, going No. 1 with my second release on vinyl was again an amazing moment.  This made me think: “we must be onto to something here!” Traxsource has also been amazing and a huge supporter of the label so I would have to say getting ‘Label Spotlight’ was also a big moment for me.

Q. What are your main influences in terms of the sound and aesthetic that you’re going for with Tropical Disco?

Soul, funk, disco and jazz are our main influences – and obviously house music.

Read More: The Dawn of Disco

Q. How would you sum up the ‘tropical disco sound’ in one sentence?

Tim: Edits to make you dance and smile.

Q. So far your releases have come from within the TD camp: do you have plans to broaden the roster and release music from other producers?

Yes, but all in good time. We get sent a lot of music and some of it is very good, but if we are not 100% sure it will fit for the label then we won’t sign it.  We are getting inundated with promos at the moment, as the label builds, and will be looking to release tracks from other artists and start getting remixes finished for current and future projects at some point next year.

Q. What are your plans for the future? Do you have any particularly special releases lined up?

Tim: Every release to us is special.  We just thrive to put out quality music that we like.  Sartorial is championing the disco sound of the label while I bring a more jazz/funk style.  We are hoping this will cover more bases rather than just sticking to purely disco.  Ultimately though, we aren’t trying to make big hits as such, it’s just music that we are vibing and would play out.

Q. Could you tell us about your experience working with MN2S Label Services?

Alex: MN2S are the biggest and best label service out there in my eyes, so I was so grateful to Tim when I asked him if he could help get TD on to MN2S: every release has smashed it since. Signing with MN2S was definitely a highlight moment for me this year. I must give a huge shout out to my man Chris James [head of MN2S Label Services] for all his hard work in helping with getting TD out there on more digital platforms then I ever knew even existed.

‘Tropical Disco Edits Vol. 6’ is available to pre-order now – get a copy here.

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