Sharing the stage with the star DJs set to peform at IMS before the Indianapolis 500 this weekend is a face that might look familiar to some local race-goers: Indy native and “house” DJ Topher Jones.
A loyal Hoosier, Jones, who now lives in Chicago, feels nostalgic about the chance to perform in his hometown for the race. “I lived in Indy for 25 years and had never been to the actual race day,” he says. “I can’t wait for this weekend. Indianapolis is always home.”
House music is a subgenre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the 1980’s—which is one of the reasons Jones made the move from Indy to the Windy City in 2010. Since the beginning of the year, Jones has been on the “Hello North America” tour, a clever reference to his hit “Hello Chicago.” It is his first branded tour. “I’m playing a lot of new markets that I’ve never played before, and it’s exciting,” he says. “I’ve hit a lot of angles of the United States that I’ve never hit before.”
Jones has been called a “rising star” and has produced hits such as “Brohammer,” which reached the top 10 on Beatport, an online music community for EDM artists. He has also received praise from renowned DJs such as Skrillex, Knife Party, and Tiesto.
Although European DJs are very prominent in house music, Jones is appreciative that the Heartland has made itself a hub for artists working in the genre. “The Midwest has put out a lot of amazing musical talent,” he says.“It’s pretty surprising.”
Jones, for example, was living in Indianapolis when he got his first turntable as a 15 year old. “I was really into hip-hop, and in the background of artists that I enjoyed they would always have DJs that would scratch records,” Jones says. As he grew older, his taste switched from hip-hop to house music, which focuses more on sound selection and mixing rather than scratching records.
As much as he looks forward to returning to his old stomping grounds, Jones relishes sharing the bill with DJs the caliber of Diplo and Afrojack—and the chance to lay down a little something for his own fans as well.
“Its pretty special that my name is next to them, because those guys are two of the biggest house artists in the world right now,” says Jones. “I think that the highlight of everything is when you play your own tracks and they go over really well, and the audience knows them. I don’t think there’s anything cooler than that while playing a show.”
For more information about the Snake Pit party visit Indy500SnakePit.com.
Photo courtesy Plus 1 Management