Joel Trzcinski

Joel Trzcinski

Co-founder, Manager and Drummer

February 18, 2020


Electric Fun // Bliss Nova


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

For the last decade I’ve worked as a digital account/project manager at local agencies Hanson and Whitelabel. During that time I also played drums in and managed Nathan Roberts, and most recently, Bliss Nova. Between both projects I’ve released 3 albums, 3 EPs and a handful of singles.

What current projects are you working on?

My new venture is a boutique creative agency called Electric Fun that I’ve just launched with my longtime friend and creative collaborator, Jon Spencer. We worked together at Whitelabel for a few years. He also directed and edited a Bliss Nova music video, helped create our live light show, and completely redesigned our website. We found that we worked amazingly well together on various creative projects and it made all the sense in the world to start a company. We’re planning an official launch party for late spring. My current band is synesthetic synth-pop duo Bliss Nova, a project with my brother Daniel that got its start in 2015. We recently released a full-length album called Going Places that we’re super proud of.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

It’s one of the best areas to test and improve your creative efforts — meaning it’s okay to grow as an artist in front of people here who will support you the entire time. You won’t be too harshly judged when you’re just getting started, which is really important. And when an artist really starts to find their voice, the right folks here will take notice and better opportunities will open up. And there’s room for whatever you’re creatively attempting. The DIY scene is strong, so I’ve found that with the right crew you can bring your vision to life. Also, for a band it’s extremely affordable to live here, while having the advantage of easily getting to other cool cities nearby.

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

This would be the time to name drop or include some massive Spotify metrics, right? Haha, but for real I think genuine success is something that’s a little closer to the heart. So for me, it was recording an album completely on our own terms with a number of amazing creative collaborators and then seeing it all come to life towards the end of 2019 with a completely packed local release show. I’ve never been more proud of creating something. And I’ve never felt more support from my hometown.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

I get inspiration from a lot of different people and things. But the source is generally the same — immersing myself in amazing music/comedy/films/art, going to shows, and exploring interesting places when traveling.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Toledo and have lived here my whole life. I have two younger brothers, both of which are amazing songwriters. Since our mother is a classically trained pianist, we all learned piano as our first instrument. I moved on to drums and found it to be the perfect instrument for me. I started taking drum lessons when I was 12 and then later in high school started my first band. I grew up in a super-strict Christian household, so I had to find ways to entertain myself. It was always comedy and music. Those things saved me. My dream growing up was to be on SNL, which sounds ridiculous saying out loud. I used to make goofy videos with my friends, and to this day still have the need to do impressions. But ultimately the more I played drums and discovered cool bands, the more I wanted to focus on making music, and it has served me well. Being a performer has always been in my blood, but I’m also into the business side of things. I’m half creative, half business.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

“Things of quality have no fear of time.”

Favorite place for local culture?

Toledo Museum of Art is incredible and sets a high bar for art and culture. For a number of years I took it for granted, but I now make a conscious effort to go regularly. I’ve had friends from out of town come visit per my recommendation and they always love it.

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

Right now I’d say it’s Dream Louder, which is Ben Cohen’s recording studio and event space. It’s a gem for recording artists and DIY shows, and it’s where we had our album release show.

My favorite place to chill locally is . . .

I’ve really been digging Bellwether. I think they have the best cocktails in Toledo, and I always run into good friends when I’m there. I will definitely be around more often and occasionally DJ’ing, especially as it warms up.

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .

The older I get, the more I appreciate things like the Toledo Botanical Garden.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .

Culture Clash digging for records. Been trying to control that expensive addiction though.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

I believe in enacting the changes you want to see with a group of likeminded people. We’re going to be doing more pop-up parties, similar to what you’d see in Detroit, Chicago, NY and LA. Electric Fun will be hosting one in the coming months that will spotlight art and music. Bliss Nova is also partnering with local DJ Bishop Ramiz to throw some parties. We’ve already done a few to test the waters and it seems like there’s high demand for it. But I’d really like to see a proper music venue or even an awesome space that’s specifically designed to house shows/creative events, etc. It needs to be done right all the way through, from creative execution, to quality bookings and management, to the right vibe, acoustics and location. Haven’t ever seen Toledo do it right 100% of the way. Mickey Finn’s was nice, but not in a good location. I’m hopeful someday it’ll happen.

Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

In 2016 I connected with Paul Meany from MUTEMATH over Twitter and he became somewhat of a mentor for Bliss Nova, especially in the songwriting phase of our new album. It led to their bass player, Jonathan Allen, doing a remix and becoming a friend. For our new album, Erika Spring (Au Revoir Simone) provided her vocals on a track, and when we played in New York she joined us on stage to sing it. That was amazing. We are going to try to do more with her. One future collab is with photographer Bliss Braoudakis, which we’re trying to make happen also. I have a whole list of dream collaborations that we’re chipping away at!

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

It would be difficult to collaborate with a deceased person, so I’m gonna say Chaz Bear from Toro y Moi. Working on that, too!

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

I’m obsessed with Ghostly International. Everything they do is fire. They create and curate some of the best art, design, products, music and parties you can find and are a huge inspiration. Their Instagram is something I’m always keeping an eye on.

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Purposeful, passionate, unconventional

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Porches - Pool

Toro y Moi - Anything in Return

LCD Soundsystem - self-titled

Washed Out - Within and Without

Radiohead - In Rainbows

My biggest vice is . . .

Consuming caffeine too late in the day.

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

More creative risk taking

What’s the last dream you recall having?

My dreams are always sort of a mishmash of weird things. The last one I remember I was with an ex and some other people at a mall. At some point it shifted and I was hanging out with Marc Maron. I have some things I need to talk through on his podcast.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

“If it calls you

Embrace it

If it haunts you

Face it

If it holds you

Erase it”

~ Lost in Yesterday by Tame Impala

One movie character I identify with is . . .

Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) in Greenberg. I can totally see part of myself in his character, and very much empathize with where he ended up in life. It’s kind of like watching a worse version of myself down the road if my dreams didn’t pan out. I think the film is really about the struggle to embrace the life you never planned on, and it really resonated with me.

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

The Space Jam soundtrack on cassette tape as a kid and on vinyl as an adult.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

In 2016 I parted ways with the company I worked at for nearly 6 years. Bliss Nova was only a year old but we got a van, booked a tour and hit the road. So many great things happened because we just went for it! There were a lot of inspiring moments that year, from hanging out with the guys in MUTEMATH on their tour bus to randomly meeting Washed Out at a hotel bar. We also wrote a lot of what became our newest record “Going Places” after being in sort of a writing slump. It was the year that we proved to ourselves we could do whatever we set out to achieve.

I want my last meal to be _______________.

Tacos with the hottest salsa

Additional links:
Electric Fun


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