Monday, 6 January 2014

James Trystan: Filth & Splendour on the Thai Islands

On tour to the Thai islands this festive season, DJ Producer James Trystan was making waves even before he got here. 

I'd seen the promo for The Castle Koh Tao, Dreamers Koh Samui and MAYA Koh Phangan lauding his arrival, and it seemed to be something to get excited about!

And as I found out at MAYA on Dec 30th, James Trystan was indeed about to cut the musical mustard - and rock our island socks off!

Half of the South London duo Filth & Splendour with Oli Cassidy (who remains in London), James took the time out to answer a few questions about his Thailand tour... and our knockout island venues. He is due back at The Castle Koh Tao on Jan 7th, and finishes up his tour on Jan 9th at Secret Garden Koh Phangan.

James, welcome to Thailand! Can you tell us about your success and the idea behind Filth & Splendour?

The name was a spin on what we played really, lots of big epic tunes with filthy basslines, we tried to sum it up and Filth & Splendour hit the nail on the head. Everything thinks we’re one or the other but it’s more of an act name than our names. 

Over the past 6 years we’ve released over 50 tracks on 25 labels or more including Armada, Perfecto and Plastik Park. Played pretty every major club in London and a few beyond. It’s been a bit of an exciting journey! 

We’ve been remixed by some great producers like Umek, Paul Oakenfold, Beckers & Betoko and loads of other great artists, which is a real honour. 

We also get supported by the top dogs like Carl Cox, Groove Armada, Dave Seaman and Nick Warren to name a few which is normally a good sign you’re doing something right. 

Tell us about your Thailand experiences!

I’ve travelled here a fair bit, doing most of the country over a three month holiday and have been back twice. I played Bed Supper Club in Bangkok which was a great venue… such a shame it’s closed now! 

I’m in love with the country, it’s not only one of the most beautiful places I’ve been lucky enough to travel to; there’s something very special about the local people here. 

I’m here for two and a half weeks this time, going between the Samui islands. I’m doing two shows @ The Castle (29th dec & Jan 7th), MAYA (30th), Dreamers on NYE and Secret Garden Party on the 9th Jan. 


Has the Thai island party scene lived up to your expectations?

I first came here 5 years ago and the music was very like 10 years ago in England on the illegal rave scene, it felt a bit dated and hadn’t kept up with other places in the world. I kind of liked it in a way though, as it reminded me of the music I loved when I was younger. This time around it feels like the islands are on top of the music scene

They’ve opened up and let more foreign DJs in and with that bringing all the new sounds from around the world. Some of the sets I’ve seen from the other DJs like Marco Loco, Hawie & Baz Sanders have been pushing the envelope. 

I’ve had a lot of people come up to me after The Castle and say they’d not heard music like that before - that felt good. If I’m doing what every other DJ is doing, then what’s the point?

How was the Castle Koh Tao for you?

Awesome! It's obviously the leading night on Koh Tao, people go there because they know it’s going to be good DJs every time. That’s why the club has become the institution it is today. Playing a long set was great, it gave me a chance to take the crowd on a journey and play all the music I like. 


There’s no buzz bigger than playing a track you love and people going nuts to it. I’m back on the 7th so I’ve pulled out some of the numbers that went down well and added a new load of weapons to mix it up a bit. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a special night. I'm on the main stage alongside Darragh Casey and I’ve heard he’s one of the best DJs on the islands. 


And your experience at MAYA Koh Phangan?

Wow what a venue! When I rocked up I knew it was going to be a good party! It had a great festival feel to it. Sound system was kick ass and it was a really nice mix of people attending. As I understand it’s a new party but can I see this becoming a party staple in the next few years. The way the DJ booth is set up is one of the best I’ve seen for a long time. I hope I get an invite back next year!  

And Dreamers Koh Samui on NYE?!

Dreamers NYE was cool, that club is super slick. If you want to rock out in style, then that’s the place to go. Three levels with pool and private VIP area all set on the beach front. I played on the stage outside on the beach 10pm til midnight. 

Seeing in the NYE was pretty mad, all the fireworks went off and bits of the fireworks started coming down on me and Marco. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen in the UK... but hey that’s the fun of it!  I really enjoyed the rest of the night, it went off upstairs for hours with Baz Sanders dropping tune after tune. 


Marco Loco is another of our all time fav DJs - how did you like his set at Dreamers? 

He knows how to get the crowd going, he’s a real pro. I was sort of jumping between the rooms trying to take it all in - but I did catch a big chunk of his set and it was world class, as you’d expect. He’s a real crowd pleaser and what’s more important is he’s a nice guy. 

There’s too many DJs on the scene who have an over inflated opinion of themselves because they’ve had some success. Marco has his head on his shoulders and that’s why the crowd buys into him because his music is good and he’s genuine.     

There were eight DJs at Dreamers on NYE - whose music did you like the most? 

At the moment I’m really into my deep house so Baz Sanders set for me was perfect for me. I love all types of music though, so enjoyed what all the other boys we’re playing. Everybody brought their 'A' game to the evening and that’s what made it so special.  

Are you looking forward to playing Castle Koh Tao again?

Of course!! After seeing how much it went off last time I’m even more pumped for it this time. I’ll be throwing everything I’ve got at it, I have no doubt it’s going to be one hell of a night! 


2014 is shaping up nicely! As always it'll be keeping the focus on the productions and doing the occasional show & tour.


Thailand has been rocking… I can’t wait to return!

Happy new year guys x

With a string of record label productions in the offing, both on solo projects and for Filth & Splendour, James Trystan is returning to London a busy man!  We look forward to welcoming him back to Thailand in the future!

Photography and artwork:
James TrystanDreamers Beach Club & The Castle Koh Tao

Filth & Splendour: Beatport - Latest Music Video - Soundcloud
AKA James Trystan: Beatport - Latest Music Video - SoundCloud