DJ Trotsky is a Los Angeles, California-based producer and songwriter who works with and develops Pop artists. Dedication is prevalent as he works in a variety of contexts including turning incomplete songs, collaborating from scratch, writing top-line, building tracks from the beat up, and simply producing artists with already-written songs. Through these many guises, DJ Trotsky tailors his perspective to suit the situation. He explains, “Often the best approach in my work is just me disappearing and serving the song.”
Simmering in a time where the world has presented us with uncertainty, discomfort, and all-around angst due to the current state of the world via the pandemic and lockdowns endured, DJ Trotsky has taken this time to self-reflect and most literally listen to that voice inside his head.
Fresh off the release of his latest avant-garde production, “God Will You Say If You Still Love Me,” the vocal descant and lyrical motif of ‘God will you say if you still love me/Even though we disagree on/Some important topics now and then,’ graced the celestial introspection of DJ Trotsky as he arose one morning. The superiority that drips from this arrangement ushers us into a realm of Pop meets Rock virtuosity.
Rhythmically subverting our minds with a profuse composition, the numerous elements that are encapsulated in “God Will You Say If You Still Love Me,” prove that the difference between good and great is in the details. Fashioning an ethereal atmosphere that fixates on ultramodern vibrations, you’re not only entranced by the comforting vocal melodies exuded by DJ Trotsky, but by the upward magnitude of the crisp guitar riffs, and electro-ambiance consistencies that have you spiraling out of control while the thunderous bass keeps you in perfect time with the record.
We’re taken back by the impact that twenty minutes and a double espresso can have on a witty creative such as DJ Trotsky. Exuding the brilliance behind his artistic ventures, we’re here for “God Will You Say If You Still Love Me.”
Congratulations on the release of “God Will You Say If You Still Love Me.” We are completely blown away by the entire composition from the creation process to the final masterpiece. Although initially created in the span of twenty minutes, could you please share what the fine-tuning looked like when bringing this piece to life? Yes, this happened fast. the writing itself happened fast, of course, the singing and recording took a bit longer. When I first sang it into my phone there were a few strange notes in the melody . . . I was sure I wanted those notes but it became tricky to find the proper accompanying chords. I actually ended up singing it into my computer, then figuring out my guitar part. then playing the bass, then changing the guitar part entirely. Also, because the world seemed in such a state of disrepair, the lyric seemed to be coming from a sarcastic place ranting in anger to an uncaring creator. When I cranked up the distortion on my bass and guitar and added an aggressive drum loop combination the sounds of the “band” seemed to express that frustration and anger. How could a loving, caring cosmic force allow such misery to occur in our world? a global pandemic. a lunatic president lying about its reality. black people getting killed in the streets. demonstrators marching with and without masks. The world seemed completely insane. how could a benevolent creator allow such misfortune? Because initially, the song seemed to be of such sarcasm and disdain I allowed it to come forth that way because that’s how I saw the world. As I shared the song with friends, colleagues, even a good songwriter friend who’s a pastor! he said - “this song goes into the category of art and stories that ask god 'why have you forsaken me?'” or questioning God, or having a conversation with God, another friend compared the song to “the song of job." I came to realize that this song fits into a long-standing tradition of artists questioning the nature of the universe? is there a god? is there a divine plan? how do we make sense of senseless tragedy? I just allowed the process to happen fast, not too much second-guessing. it was something that I felt needed to be said, to be asked, to be shared. I was not sure what it would mean but I felt it was my responsibility to let it come out to create a conversation around these issues during a time when so many were wondering similar things about their lives and our world, but we are all mostly thinking this silently to ourselves. As I was until this song burst forth.
With the various capacities that you work with artists and music, how did you know that this was a song you would release solely versus having another artist perform it? This song and even my own changing reactions to it originally had me thinking somewhere between only I can sing it and also that no one else would want to. I’ve now had a shift and will probably record a more country Americana version that might inspire a country or Americana artist to sing it.
You’ve mentioned that maybe one day there would be a more delicate version of this song birthed. Which artist do you see behind exuding the more intimate side of “God Will You Say If You Still Love Me?" Because the song addresses people’s own relationship to the role of spirituality or religion in their life, it’s hard to predict who might resonate with such a sticky message. or maybe it’s direct? I still can’t tell, but that said I’d love to hear phoebe bridgers, st vincent, or any Allen sing it; not that either of these amazing ladies needs any help with the songwriting of course. Who do you hear?
In terms of the theme and message offered up, what does this song mean to you? What would you like your audience to take from it?
We are going through an amazingly strange almost apocalyptical time, of course, crazy things have happened in world history, but not so much in recent memory. not a lot of people alive remember the world wars from personal experience. somehow this pandemic made us all aware that we are literally breathing the same air, spreading the same germs and virus, suffering from universal racism and caste systems. for me as an artist, songwriter, producer. I knew I would have to express this in some way in my music. during the lockdown, I made a lot of music that I’m releasing now gradually, but when this song burst forth. I knew I had made it happen, fast, before I lost my nerve, to say something intimate, vulnerable, difficult. Judging from the reactions of fans and friends who’ve heard this song, it touched a nerve and expressed something that needed to be said, not to be pretentious but we all look to the arts to help us figure out and give words and voices to what we feel, what we’re going through. The changes we’ve gone through in the past year and the implications and shifts that will impact the future will change how we all live in the next decades. the loss. the sadness. the confusion. the connection. It’s totally scary. and with good reason. We should be reaching out and talking to our friends and family and community about the big issues. and listening to people with stories to tell. and we should all be asking the big questions. and wondering what it’s all about. If there’s a higher power or god or universal force . . . this is a good time to improve that dialog. and look at the ways we view our part in the world and our place in creating a new future. I went to a Quaker high school in Poughkeepsie, NY. the Quakers believe that we should address “that of God in every person," I think that’s a great way to hold it and to live and love.