Troxum — the nom de musique of Jan-Tosh Gerling — has had some success in the realm of electronic music locally, most notably when he played the VIA Festival main stage last year, at the Union Trust building. But he wasn't quite prepared for the breakout success of his recent video, "Lucky Sun."
It premiered Jan. 9 on the U.K.-based Clash magazine website ("I feel like Europeans get me," Gerling notes), and a month later it had over 30,000 views on YouTube. "I always say the best compliment you can receive is someone making an animated GIF of you," Gerling says impishly. "Going on Tumblr, seeing people make animated GIFS [from the video] was cool, and seeing hundreds of people sharing these." British site Dazed Music then chose the video as a top pick for January, alongside artists like FKA Twigs and Sia. "I feel like I'm on the right track," Gerling says.
Of course, once that exposure happens, there's pressure to produce more. "I know the next video is going to look 10 times better," says Gerling, noting that the "Lucky Sun" visual was made on a shoestring budget. It was made from footage shot around Western Pennsylvania (Spring Hill, Presque Isle, the power plants at Shippingport), and constructed painstakingly through a digital process called "pixel sorting."
Gerling, who moved to Pittsburgh from Lubbock, Texas, and started playing music in earnest about three years ago, has always been one to mix music and digital art; his earliest musical experiences were with video-game music, and he likes to perform live with projections supplementing the live show.
"Lucky Sun" was the first track released from Troxum's upcoming album, Gaia Lesson, a follow-up to last year's EP Gaia Omen. But — while taking advantage of the momentum from the video is important — Gerling isn't setting a release date for the full-length yet.
"It's about 90 percent done; it's going to come out sometime this year, hopefully summer," he says. "I just want it to be perfect.
"I want it to be this fully realized thought, before I tell people to download it. Because once you put something on the Internet, it's there forever."