Tomislav Brusač, better known as Tom Bug, has been slowly creating his path as a DJ, producer, promoter and entrepreneur for the past 15 years. Based in Croatia’s capital city Zagreb, he is most known for his performances in clubs like Aquarius, Sirup and Lemon, known for performances of international acts like DJ Rae, Andy Ward, Bagi Begovic and Audiowhores. Technical skills behind the decks and an unlimited amount of energy proved him as one of the best artists in the country. Blending all sorts of dance music in his sets, he’s not committed to one style, always keeping a groove throughout his set and letting the creativity run the show.
We recently had the opportunity to attend the season closing party of his brand, Dobar House, held at the spectacular Sirup club in Zagreb. He impressed us with his modesty and kindness which lead into a relaxing conversation about his career, thoughts about the scene and plans for the future.
First off, we’d like to thank you for the hospitality in Zagreb. Tom Bug, you’ve been performing for more than 15 years. Do you remember, how it all began?
I always like to host quality of the region, so thank you guys as well! First time I met with electronic music was at the turn of the millennium. At that time, I was simply fascinated by the techno and trance music of the time, MTV and German Viva were the two channels, where I regularly watched reports and videos from the biggest raves, for example Love Parade in Berlin. Then, I gradually began borrowing various compilations and my interest in electronic music has only intensified. The first ‘party’ I experienced was at 17 years and it was something, I have never experienced before. I just fell in love with the ‘vibe’ ... it was that simple. My older brother and his mates were into House music, so I kinda switched to house myself.
At the time, when I first started to play, I played under the name Tom B. However, I soon found out that almost every European country already had a DJ with this name. It was in 2009, that I first started using my actual DJ name of Tom Bug. Given that this is the name proposed by my colleague, and all the people in school used to call me ‘Bug’, I immediately liked the name.
Last year you won the attractive Burn Residency contest in Croatia. Winning the local competition brought you the opportunity to compete for the ‘Grand Prize’ in Ibiza. In the end, you were very close to victory, but could you still tell us a little more about your experience?
Exactly one year has passed, since my victory in Croatia. The experience was undoubtedly phenomenal. Finally, I managed to experience Ibiza from all angles, to top it all, I got to meet the ‘giants’ such as Carl Cox, Marco Bailey and others. It was really amazing to listen to lectures and advice from such masters. I met and became friends with many people, gained a lot of knowledge and it was also quite emotional. In short: all you could wish for. You know, how you mock reality shows?
After 8 days of intense socialising with a group of people, who have the same aspirations and goals as you, you quickly make friends and share feelings. To me personally, it all brought together some solid new friendships and, above all, a lot of will and determination to raise my knowledge (DJ skills, production, event management) to a higher level.
It can be concluded that there was a Tom Bug prior to the competition and that you’ve now raised it to a much higher level?
My desire and passion to be professionally involved with music have always been there, but it was only after the competition, that I figured out in which direction I need to go to achieve it. And behold, one year later, it’s all beginning to show the first concrete-solid results. I am promoting my own night called ‘Dobar House’, I’ve managed to evolve my production and to become confident about my sound.
I am also the A & R for BlackSoul Music and together with Tom (Blacksoul), I'm working on the EX-YU organisation and promotion of the infamous Defected Croatia festival. Things are definitely going in the right direction, which fills me with optimism and happiness.
Dobar House. Tell us a bit more about this project.
I won’t tell you anything (hahaha)!!! As far as music goes, its focus is only on a quality house, and that’s how line-ups will be constructed. On the other hand, I have a lot of ideas when it comes to the business side and I think I’ll actually use most of them. I don’t want to uncover too much for now, but what I will do is a hint that the following season will be much better.
Every summer people travel to Croatia for its festivals, on the other hand, there are also club events throughout the entire year. What’s the clubbing situation like in Croatia?
True, the festivals are known practically all over the world, therefore it’s the club scene that’s still lagging. Last two years were the strongest in a very long time, regarding our clubbing scene. This is very good because I think that the whole Balkan region is growing significantly. Croatia, as well as its neighbouring countries, are one of the few that haven’t been fully explored yet, and that’s why we’re now standing at the premises of enormous potential, which we’ll certainly use and abuse in the years to come.
As you mentioned, you recently became the A & R at the Blacksoul music label. How did this happen?
A: Tomislav Pasanec AKA Blacksoul, is my longtime colleague and friend. He started the label in 2006. We joined forces after the conclusion, that it’s an appropriate moment to try and raise the project one step further. The goals are quite high because we think that the Balkans deserve a rich musical imprint, which will showcase regional talents and excellent foreign artists. Blacksoul’s pretty busy at the moment, so we decided that my help’s more than welcome. Definitely expect good things in the future.
In 2015 you released your first track at the aforementioned Blacksoul music label. Tell us more about your production.
Actually, I’ve been producing for years and it was, in fact, primarily for the exploration and prospection of myself as an artist and, of course, for learning various techniques and fundamentals. With my colleagues, I signed my first tracks in 2010 under the name ‘House Fusion’. It was not until 2013, however, that I decided, the time has come to seriously dedicate my time to production.
Currently, I'm focusing mainly on solo projects, of course, I am planning on collaborating with other artists as well, but collabs will be the minority. By the end of this year, I’d love to release two more EPs, but I’ll say this: I’m more looking forward to 2017 as it’ll definitely be my year.
Now that you’ve mentioned your brand House Fusion, can you tell us more about this project?
House Fusion was launched in 2002, by Dj Grooveline. He was a resident at the now-closed club Arion, where their evenings dubbed Fusion House, and soon we joined him with my brother Andrija. In 2007, we started to throw House Fusion evenings in numerous clubs such as Aquarius, Londoner, Lemon, Sirup ... In 2013 we celebrated the 10th anniversary, but, unfortunately, we haven’t taken it any further than that. The brand’s still ‘alive’, but only as my music broadcast on d3ep.
Looking at your calendar for the coming months, one can easily notice it’s quite varied. Please, shed some light on where it was that you played and what’re the plans for the future?
This summer will be a madhouse! Before I head towards the coast, I’ll be playing at a huge party in Zagreb at a truly great location the Medvedgrad fortress. I’ll play regularly at Club Deep on the Zrće beach for my residency. Among other things, I still have a couple of other bookings like Carpe Diem in Hvar, Revelin in Dubrovnik and, as the cherry on top, I’ll be playing two gigs at the Defected Croatia festival, of which I’m particularly proud of. In short: the summer will be pretty busy, who knows, we might add a couple of more dates to this already hectic schedule.