This series intends to shine light on the producers around Australia, praising and appreciating their hard work, this week, the spotlight is on Brisbane producer tomtom.
tomtom is a talented producer who has produced songs for some of Brisbane’s most prolific Hip-Hop artists, from Tides and I AM D, to APEman and G Elenil. We had a chat to the rising artist on his production style, working with so many talented artists and what producer will feature in next weeks Producer Spotlight.
OTC: How did you get involved with production?
tomtom: I’ve always been drawn to music and things that make noise, learnt a bunch of different instruments young and ended up at Uni (shoutouts UQ) studying classical voice. It turned out I really didn’t want to do that, but in my first year I took a course called ‘Intro to Music Technology’. I was just curious to begin with, but as soon we got past the basics and started to make music on old PCs I was hooked. That was 2007, I got a cracked version of Propellerheads Reason 5 on my parents computer and just made terrible song after terrible song.
When did you realise that production was something you really wanted to go hard with?
I think I knew straight away, because I kind of dropped all the other instruments and singing and just made beats for about 5 years. But when I was 24 I kind of realised that I was treating it like a hobby and I wanted it to be my career. I had this mindset that if I just wrote mad beats and posted them to my soundcloud somehow they would get found and I’d blow up, which seems hella dumb now. So I switched my mentality from “this is something fun” to “this is going to be my career” and began approaching it from that mentality instead.
How would you describe your style?
I just love beats that are a bit different, a bit weird, but still something that has a good groove and vibe to it, and probably a punchy bass and kick. I listen to everything from ambient to choral music to anime soundtracks to Jimi Hendrix. As a producer as well I love having the ability to really sculpt sounds and play with different styles, mashing things together and seeing what happens.
Who are your musical influences, and why?
SO MANY. I was making electronic music when I started producing so people like Mr Oizo, Daft Punk, Justice, MSTRKRFT, Boards of Canada & Crystal Castles were some of my early production inspirations (shoutouts the bloghouse era 2007-2011). MF DOOM, J Dilla and Madlib really got me into producing Hiphop tho- especially Dilla’s Donuts because it introduced me to the idea of making hiphop beats interesting without a rapper. Jeff Buckley is a big influence on me as a singer, the amount of energy and soul he put into his performances is still incredible. I was playing in guitar bands before I started producing so back then it was bands like TOOL, The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In, Radiohead, Elliott Smith. Too many to mention them all haha.
Its always great to work with other artists because its a big change from working solo on a piece. Producing for rappers is a varied experience; sometimes you’re working closely with them, either building a track up from scratch or working with a demo production they’ve brought in (which was the case for APEman’s Nek LVL EP, JayCee’s Calm Pt.1 and G Elenil’s Inner City Flights). Sometimes I just write a beat, send it off to someone, they like it, they buy it and a few days later I get a demo of what they’ve done with it (which was the case with I AM D’s 2R2D and Tides’ track Bones).
Are there any exciting projects/songs/artists you’re currently working on/with that you can share with us? What can we expect from tomtom and his collaborators in 2017?
Theres a few things in the works, really excited to see the impact my girl Miss Blanks makes when she starts dropping the music we’ve worked on together, she’s really talented and very driven which is a dangerous combination. G Elenil has a bunch of new music we’re working on that I’m super pumped about too- her work rate and dedication is really inspiring to be around. I’ve also got a few tracks I’m working on, one featuring Bilby from NSW, on a bit of a darker rap vibe. My goal for this year is just to be a part of or producer as many records as I possibly can so expect a LOT more music.
I had to shoutout my guy HARVEY because his beats are absolutely dumb and he is such a frothlord.
Catch young-gun Brisbane producer HARVEY on next weeks edition of Producer Spotlight.
Written by Jarrod van der Staay