Tommy "LSDJ" Suftko on the Relevance of Industrial Music, Spinning at Sanctum, and How Terry Gilliam Flicks Have Helped His Mixes
The fierce beats and relentless grind of industrial music drives the DJ sets of Tommy Suftko into the stratosphere. The 32-year-old selector, who performs as LSDJ, regularly drops hard-charging hits from Front 242, Skinny Puppy, and VNV Nation into his mixes, blending heavy sounds with bass flourishes to keep rivetheads tromping and stomping on the dance floor.
Tommy Suftko (a.k.a. LSDJ)
While industrial (as well as darkwave and EBM) is considered to be a niche genre, which had its heyday in the '90s, Suftko still feels it's a lively and relevant, which is why local fans flock to weekly events such as Digital Addiction on Fridays at Anderson's in Scottsdale and Fallout Shelter every Wednesday at Sanctum.
Despite living in Tucson, Suftko -- a longtime fan of the genre -- frequently visits the Valley to work said gigs, helping to continue the torch along with fellow local industrial stalwarts like Noiz.Fkr, Self.Destrukt, Defense.Mekanizm. We recently interviewed Suftko about his Phoenix gigs, as well as how absurdist director Terry Gilliam has helped his sound.
Name: Tommy Suftko
Preferred genres: Synthpop, EBM, electro-house, and industrial
Why do you dig those genres?
The structure, those electronic genres produce -- in my opinion -- actual songs with melodies, lyrics, movement, and meaning... all of which you can dance to.
How did you get into the DJ game?
When I was in the Air Force, I was on an eight-month tour in the Middle East. The entertainment had been delayed, so I was asked to play music for about 800 GIs. I downloaded the virtual DJ software and played my first gig on a laptop in the Middle East. This was late 2005.
Why did you continue DJing?
I had been a music and clubgoer since I was 17, knowing what it was like to be on the other side of the booth started more as a curiosity. Once I got a taste of playing for a crowd, I was hooked.
What does you DJ nickname mean?
Life's Slow Digital Journey...it was the name of my first music project.
So it has nothing to do with lysergic acid diethylamide, right?
I actually had a kid hit me up on Facebook trying to get me hook him up. The answer is no, but having those three letters in my DJ name has caused that issue more than once. I shrug it off. My other option is DJ Tommy, which is rather generic and the controversy doesn't hurt getting my name out there. For the record though I don't use nor do I condone the use of illegal drugs. I'm a Jack and Coke guy, plain and simple.
myspace.com/asylum_nightclub The old Club Asylum in Tucson (RIP)
What bygone club do you miss the most?
Asylum by far. It was in Tucson but [was] hands down the best industrial club I had ever been to. Atmosphere, drinks, the size of the venue, the look, the feel...everything. Also it was home to the best industrial DJ [that] I've ever heard to date. Second would be the [old] Nile, but I think that's more for nostalgia reasons than anything else.