Jose Gomez's music stands out — even if he doesn’t. Whether the 25-year-old is producing hip-hop, acting as one half of an ambient/downtempo band or making electronic music, his work has always garnered just enough attention for him to stand out from his peers. Yet his real name and face are largely unknown in Dallas’ local music scene.
These days the Oak Cliff-based producer is beginning to generate buzz under the name tnght/tmrw for his electronic music, but this is only the latest in a line of musical endeavors that have gained traction in Dallas. “I’ve always liked to be in the background and let the music speak for me,” Gomez says. “I’m very shy and introverted and definitely not talkative.”
So shy, in fact, that his friends and collaborators have to sing his praises for him. “He's the shyest dude I’ve ever met,” says Marcus Luera, also known as DJ bemyfriend. “His versatility is ridiculous. He can transition from one genre to another genre and still be himself and not sound like anybody else. He doesn’t sound like anybody to me.”
Luera has always believed Gomez is a special artist. That's the reason he nudged Dallas artist Dustin Cavazos to work with the unknown producer nearly five years ago for his 2012 album In and Out of Sleep. Gomez wound up producing six songs and co-producing several more for the project. The two worked so well together they eventually did three more projects and became close friends in the process.
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“It’s all about vibe. If you have the right people around you and you click, that’s bigger than anything,” Cavazos says. “Gomey and I clicked right away. We filled in each other’s gaps. My strengths are track sequencing and the execution of a record. Gomey’s strength is that he’s so good at picking sounds and always having the right sounds.”
Gomez was able to produce tracks that complemented Cavazos' work with “eery” production, rich in minor chords and heavy use of pads. "I’ve never liked happy chords. They always sound weird to me. They sound funny. It’s over exaggeration," Gomez says. "Church music always makes me feel stuff, so I’ve always wanted people to feel stuff when they listen to my music. I want it to be emotive."
For Cavazos, Gomez's ability to evoke those emotions was crucial to the development of his own work. "My music was always emotionally driven and he kind of just matched the stuff lyrically and sonically," Cavazos says. "He was just able to match that, enhance it and take it to the next level."
Eventually Cavazos’ new music attracted attention from producers outside the city, and as he began to expand his network beyond Dallas, Gomez could see the writing on the wall that their collaboration was slowly coming to a halt. Undeterred, Gomez and Jaramiah Marquez, who also worked with Cavazos, really dove into a side project they started, called ourskeletonbones. The duo made ambient, downtempo instrumentals that eventually garnered high praise from the influential Mishka NYC blog on two occasions and also earned them slots opening for artists such as Slow Magic, Kevin Abstract and more around town.
The duo grew comfortable releasing singles on a consistent basis, but after being featured on the Mishka blog, the streetwear brand’s record label division asked them to put together an album demo. Before that could come to fruition, real life began to get in the way. Day jobs and relationships began to slow down ourskeletonbones’ momentum.
And then disaster struck: One day while running at Kiest Park in the summer of 2014, Gomez’s laptop and music gear were stolen from his car. “I lost over 1,000 songs, stem files — just everything I had,” Gomez recalls. “It was horrible. I went through three months of not making anything. I was just depressed.”
The tracks ready for the ourskeletonbones album were gone along with the rest of his career’s work. All the work he’d done for Cavazos was gone as well. It was the worst case scenario for a producer. “That was a major setback but he got back on it and it didn’t stop him,” Luera says. “He knew what he had to do. He couldn’t stop making music if he wanted to.”
In 2015, Gomez — who until recently had always preferred to offer up finished music to other artists rather than collaborate on its creation — was able to rebuild his library back up to almost 500 tracks, although none of that work has been backed up. With a brand-new catalog of music, Gomez wanted to start releasing music on his own, and that’s when he adopted the tnght/tmrw moniker. The name was gifted to him by Luera, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Luera has looked out for Gomez since day one and Gomez credits him as a “big driving force” in his career and as always offering encouragement when he’s needed it.
“I’ve always known that he had it,” Luera says when asked about his support of Gomez. “Some people got it but they don’t use it to their full potential. He uses it to his full potential. Just the other day he sent me an email with like 10 beats, and it’s just crazy stuff.”
Now that Gomez is on his own, he’s experimenting with his freedom. If he feels like releasing two songs back to back on the same night, he does it. He’s beginning to perform sets under the new name and feels comfortable in this state as tnght/tmrw. History suggests he's likely to stray from strictly making the electronic music he’s making now, but those transitions are what have made him who he is. Both Luera and Cavazos agree that the more music Gomez can make the better, because it allows him to grow as an artist and producer.
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The future for tnght/tmrw is unclear, but he’s beginning to garner the attention his last projects have, with a production credit under his new name set to be released soon. His Soundcloud posts boast thousands of plays, he’s been featured on local bills, and just recently he was an in-studio guest on a Radio UTD broadcast. Now it’s just a matter of how much he can branch out and move out of anonymity.
“That’s just his character. He’s a very low-key person regardless,” Cavazos says of Gomez. “Everything that I’ve seen, all the big names are behind the scenes. All the guys clocking in all the records are low-key. That parallels to a lot of producers and creatives. He’s just like a true artist.”