New York native, Jared McFarlin is not your average DJ, producer. The first thing you notice upon meeting meeting the man is his size. Towering over me (I am no slouch at just over six feet tall), McFarlin, known by his growing professional persona Party Thieves, is commanding presence in person and on stage. The four-year West Point attendee was headed to some flash point around the world as a United States Army officer, but multiple knee injuries took away that privilege of serving his country. Instead he has now taken up the flag as a DJ, producer, something which "found him" and he is on his way to a dominant next twelve months with collabs alongside Mako, Flosstradamus, UZI and more.
We had the chance to sit down with McFarlin for a brief chat after his turnt early afternoon set on the Beach Stage at Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival. We discussed how he became attracted to his love, trap music, some of his new music and his transition from being a two-sport athlete (football and track & field) at Army to a burgeoning DJ, producer.
Music Times: You went to West Point. Did you serve?
Party Thieves: I went to West Point for four years and unfortunately I wasn't able to give back to the country in that way and do service. I am always going to be appreciative of the opportunity going there. It is an excellent program and excellent school. A lot of my friends are still in the army and overseas. I have them in my prayers and I am grateful to be around to many great people and leaders.
MT: Could you possibly reenlist in the future?
PT: No for a lot of medical reasons. I had about two or three knee surgeries. So I am not really medically qualified to really perform at the top level with those guys.
MT: What made you choose music over Army besides the medical?
PT: I think just kind of chose me. I started listening to electronic music towards the end of my junior year and I just got hooked. I started making music and I wasn't good to start. I am just a normal guy I had to learn. About a year l started to get a knack for it and more creative with my original productions and started to get attached to the culture. I love it.
MT: Is the life you lead now more difficult then what you do at West Point?
PT: It is demanding what I am doing in a way and a lot more fun. I am smiling a lot more being able to do stuff like this, coming to festivals, have friends around me and have fun. It is different for sure.
MT: What drew you trap as opposed to others genres of EDM?
PT: My hip-hop influence. I listened to a lot of hip-hop growing up. Between Jay Z, Kanye West, A$AP Mob, those kind of guys, trap really drew me in. Trap is really just the same thing as hip-hop without vocals. I loved the fact that I could get attached to something that is music and doesn't have vocals as well. That really wowed me.
MT: Was it difficult starting out?
PT: Yeah I went to YouTube 101 academy, tutorialacademy.com [editors note: not an actual website used for learning production]. It is hard for everyone. I am not classically trained. I played piano, drums and guitar growing up, but nothing serious. I always had an interest in music, but nothing in a serious way.
MT: Since we are here in New York, where would we find the city's influence in your sound?
PT: Maybe the swing and the energy. I feel like New York as culture has a lot of energy. There is a swagger to the New York vibe and in our producers and how they bring out the New York culture. It is very aggressive and very energetic and I portray that as well.
MT: What is something people might not know about you?
PT: I love to golf. I live on a golf course actually.
MT: You any good?
PT: I am actually very good. I am a scratch golfer. I luckily live on a beautiful course designed by Jack Nicklaus, Mansion Ridge and get to play on there all the time. I have also played in Florida, South Carolina and elsewhere.
MT: What do you have coming up?
PT: Musically, I have a bunch of tunes. I put releasing stuff on pause for the past two months because I really wanted to put an emphasis on the uniqueness and value of the productions. I didn't just want to put anything out.
I have a lot of collaborations coming out. I have collabs in the works with Flosstradamus, UZI, Jackal, Stookie Sound and a bunch of other artists -- Mako.
MT: How does the Mako one sound?
PT: Musically that is the track I am most excited for. From a musical standpoint it is a very beautiful sound. I have been working closely with Alex and Logan has been killing it as well. They just bring so much to the table. I have learned a lot from working with them on the other side of music - the progressive sounds and that style. I am really excited for that one.