Tommie Sunshine Interview:

Tales By The Tree

While the Krewella girls refer to Tommie Sunshine as the “Gandalf” of EDM, I’ve always thought of him as an EDM version of “The Dude,” from The Big Lebowski. Regardless of our thought up versions, the EDM Community sees Tommie Sunshine as a cultural staple and music icon.


Raver, activist, and artist Tommie Sunshine,

came to The Castle in Tampa, Florida,

to play at their annual

Hallucination Before Christmas party

on December 17th.

Don’t know what a Hallucination Before Christmas party is? Imagine a goth and fetish dance club meets The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The entire club was drenched in themed props.  Dancers and bartenders dressed in their Nightmare Before Christmas versions of holiday costumes and the club-goers were with outfits and accessories that really made you feel like you were in the animated movie.  The main room where Tommie Sunshine played had snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, skeleton reindeer floating above the crowd, and the large screen behind the DJ booth displayed visuals from the dark fantasy film. The Jack Skellington decor would have made Tim Burton proud.

Though experiencing Tommie Sunshine play live is something to live for, the magnitude of a Nightmare Before Christmas themed engagement, with Tommie Sunshine as the headliner, is next level shit.

I’d have to say, the most unique part of the night was when someone sprayed Tommie and the crowd with a fire extinguisher! There was no physical fire, but Tommie’s set must have ignited a phantasmal flame that evidently needed to put out. For a minute is was hard to breath and see in the room. The first few rows of people by booth evacuated, seeking clean oxygen and an explanation as to what substance their elaborate costumes were coated with. The music never stopped though.  As the white dust settled, there was Tommie Sunshine, raving away as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.

Tommie later joked that he hadn’t realized something was wrong until he looked up to see the absence of people on the dance floor; only then did he notice the white gritty substance thick within the air.  He said it reminded him of the time he and a friend dropped acid at an early 90’s rave.  After indulging by the speakers for most of the evening, their attention shifted to the fact that they were nearly alone in the room.  They found out that pepper spray had gone off inside, clearing out the venue; but the effects of the chemical had gone unnoticed to them, as they believed it to be part of their trip!  Tommie’s simile for his perseverance was, “It’s like a freight train. I ain’t stoppin for nothing!”

We continued our talk sitting beneath a Christmas tree at the hotel where he and his wife, Tiny Daniela, were staying. I was most excited to tell him that I had heard his story on Insomniac’s Wide Awake Stories Episode 1, where he mentioned growing up in a town called Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.  It was so cool to learn that about him because I grew up right next to him in Lisle, and I even lived a short time in Naperville too!  Not only did we take a moment to revisit our Chicago memories, we also talked about his record label, Brooklyn Fire Records, how he has been raving for 20 years, the “EDM” term, and how he was on one of the panels at EDMbiz, an annual conference and expo for the electronic dance music industry.

Having watched his Red Bull TV Series, After the Raves, I also wanted to find out if he were going to film a second season with them.  He was hesitant to answer, first joking that it was a secret.  I told him I was excited for the second season.  Tommie satisfied my inquiry by saying, “I think we all are.  Everybody who worked on the show, we’re like a little family; a little rag tag crazy family. We’re all excited to get the band back together.”

Written by: A. Re



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