Tobtok, is one of the latest, and dare we say it, exciting, producing exports from Sweden. Born Tobias Karlsson, music flows through his veins. We had an opportunity to speak to Tobtok about his battle with cancer and his musical inspirations.
Hello Tobtok , how are you ?
Apart from having some issues with my wisdom teeth I’m all good! Have been in the studio for a few days cooking up new originals for the summer!
Where did the name Tobtok come from ?
It’s an old gamer-name/artist-name for various projects as a teen. It doesn’t really mean anything and is quite silly but it has just sticked around haha. People seem to like it so I don’t mind it.
What made you pursue music ?
I’ve always been interested in music, and it’s been playing a very important role in my life. I remember being 6 years old and heard the album ”Ride The Lightning” with Metallica for the first time, that made me wanna get a guitar and do music of my own. I probably wrote my first track around that age.
’What made me want to pursue music in later years as a profession was just because music is my biggest passion in life and it’s what I’m good at. I wasn’t very good in school and few things interested me, but when we had music-classes I was super-excited! I feel very blessed to be able to work with what I love because it feels like I’m never workin’.
What is your favourite piece of musical equipment ?
Two of my favorite synths are the Prophet 12 and the Moog Sub 37. Unfortunately I don’t own any of them yet but soon they will be mine haha! At home I have quite a basic setup with a pair for KRK-monitors, Focusrite-interface and a few analog synths. I usually work in headphones and use monitors for mastering/mix-reference. I’m planning on moving to more analog gear as they all sound better than the digitalized versions.
How did you come to sign with Perfect Havoc ?
It started when I first discovered my now good friend and colleague Oliver Nelson in 2012. A friend sent me one of his remixes on Spotify and I instantly fell in love with it. I got in contact with him and discovered that he was Swedish like me (and later on we found out that we lived in the same city). We talked about making a collar together, and he introduced my work to his manager Adam which he’d been signed with for only about 3 months or so. He got interested in me and reached out to me about managing me with his partner Robert and ever since we’ve been going strong
I just want to say congratulations on beating cancer , that must have been very difficult time in your life. What was going through your mind at the time ?
Thanks! I sort of shut off my head and just tried to live one day at a time. Thinking to much about death and such didn’t do me any good whilst undergoing chemotherapy. The hardest part was seeing your surroundings with family and friends being so affected by it. I kind of wanted to be by myself and leave people alone so they didn’t have to suffer on my expense, but I truly appreciated all the people who ignored that and made an effort to be there for me! I feel very blessed to have had a second chance in life and to be able to do what I dreamed about in my life!
What made you recreate Tracy Chapman’s fast car ?
Me and my manager Adam was on tour during the summer of 2015, and had been discussing about me doing a cover but we didn’t know which one. After a festival gig in Budapest we had a lunch at Hard Rock Café and the music-video of Fast Car came on and we looked at each other and was like ”oh, this is such a good tune” and my manager asked me ”Do you think you could do something with this?” and a month later I started producing the cover hehe!
What have you got planned for the rest of the year ?
I’m heading off to Indonesia for my first Asian gigs next week, and will follow that up with a few European gigs! The big happening of 2016 is gonna be my first gigs in the US , which will be this summer. Apart from that I’ll be releasing a lot of new Originals and Remixes! Exciting times ahead.
And lastly , if you could pick your top 10 tracks that influenced you , what would they be and why ?
The work of Nile Rodgers has been a big inspiration for me. In whatever genre I’m doing I always try to keep it groovy and happy like Nile! A few examples of his work is:
Chic – Everybody Dance
Sister Sledge – Easier To Love
Madonna – Like A Virgin
When It comes to newer tunes I get inspired by a bunch of stuff across different genres. What has been inspiring me lately has been these tunes:
Snakehips ft Tinashe & Chance The Rapper – All My Friends (99 Souls Remix)
Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP – From Me To You
Nora En Pure – Morning Dew
Sigala – Sweet Lovin’
RÜFÜS – Say A Prayer For Me
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On
Set Mo – Chasing Forever
Follow Tobtok – https://twitter.com/Tobtok