Exclusive Interview: Trooko

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GRAMMY, Latin GRAMMY and 2022 SESAC Latina Producer of the Year, Award-winning producer, mixer and mastering engineer, Trooko, today releases “Siempre” – the debut single from his upcoming “BAHIA” EP, across digital platforms via Sony Latin imprint Orianna.

The 3-track project is a mix of varied sounds of electronica, including Indie Dance, Afro, Latin and House, and marks the production moniker of Honduran-born, LA-based Jeff Peñalva’s debut on Orianna.

Following a recent “Album of the Year” Latin GRAMMY Nomination for his work on “DEJA” by Bomba Estereo, Trooko’s latest solo offering “Siempre” begins as a Tropical and Housey escapade of nature and island life, complete with enchanting synths and steel drum shuffles set against the background of birds chirping and calming ocean waves. Trooko then launches the track straight into electronic outer orbit, delivering a joyous and mad psychedelic romp through brightly colored solar systems and otherly worlds. 

Hey Trooko! How are you doing?

I’m doing great! I’m really excited to see my EP to be released. It’s always great to put out new music.

First things first, how has this year been for you? Any special highlights you can speak of?

2022 has been busy and exciting releasing music with Residente, Bizarap, Cami, and Bomba Estereo. The biggest highlight was receiving producer of the year from SESAC Latina, which I never thought would happen. Now getting 2 nominations from the Latin Grammys is wild.

Big ups on the upcoming release of your new EP “Bahia” on Orianna. Can you tell us about the release and what our readers can expect?

Thanks, I’m excited about this one! Expect lots of rhythm and punchy beats, warm melodies, filtering synths, heavy bassline, movement, and constant groove that will make you wanna get up and dance, or go to the beach.

How did you connect with Orianna? Is this your first release on the label?

Hector Romero reached out and we totally hit it off, which I love that guy. I was currently working on one song that after talking to Hector I thought was perfect for Orianna and sent it over to him, and he loved it. I ended up pitching an entire EP the next week to him and here we are now!

Was the EP in the works for a long time? And was there anything that influenced/inspired its creation?

I had started working on Siempre at first but then I thought that I could make it an EP. It had a bit of amapala so I started to dive into that and went crazy with the synths. Then I started Vamos and I wanted to keep the 90’s music nostalgia Siempre had and also the beach vibes. Then the EP felt it had a direction and sound. The last thing I did was reach out to my friend, Citrico and he added what I was missing on Vamos with his lyrics, vocals, and guitars.

Is there any significance or meaning behind the title “Bahia”?

It’s based on the Bay Islands in Honduras (Islas de Bahía). It was my favorite place to go on vacation as a kid – I have amazing memories there with my family.

Going back to your early days, where did you grow up and what was the music scene like in your formative years?

I grew up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The music scene there was very tropical, a mix of Salsa, Merengue, and some Punta. As I was growing up, Reggaeton had a big impact in the country and never left. In my house, my dad listened to a lot of Pink Floyd, The Doors, Mecano, Strauss, and Bach.

I played drums in a Punk band I had with my cousin and was trying to get into Rock and Metal, but then Rap and Hip Hop caught my attention. I loved the rhythm, beats and groove! I started to sell instrumental tracks like the end of a Snoop Dog track. I would record the ending beat to one cassette then to another cassette and sometimes even unroll the tape and cut the sections up and paste it with other cut tape to make other types of loops, then record those to another cassette. Selling those beats got me into production and that got me into producing Reggaeton. I wanted to make electronic music, but had no money to buy DJ gear like samplers and drum machines, so I started producing more Rap and Reggaeton until I ended up opening a recording studio!

What are 5 records that haven’t left your record box recently? 

Trooko – No es mi Culpa Live Edit

Batucada Beach II

Puntamix 2019

Daft Punk – Revolution mix

What do you like to do when you’re not making music?

I love to cook with my wife and drink red wine while playing with my dog, Oji. The usual game is to catch a stuffed toy. This week, it’s a small pig named Joanne. I also love exploring Los Angeles (where I live) to find the newest restaurants and latest art. Now that things are opening up, I go to as many concerts as I can and learn as much as possible about more gear.Lastly, what does the rest of 2022 look like for you? 

Finishing a bunch of records that I’m a bit behind on and then last touches on another EP of my own music. I have a few trips planned for sessions to Miami and Puerto Rico and finally figuring out what to wear to the Latin Grammys.

Trooko – Siempre is out now via Orianna: https://trooko.lnk.to/Siempre

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