Interview with Tobtok

I recently made a blog post about a track released by the Swedish EDM and French House producer Tobias Giorgio Karlsson (more known as Tobtok). It was just a co-incidence that we were lucky enough to have the Swede on a visit to our small town Vaasa in Finland, just a few weeks ago. Over a couple of beers I made an interview with the young producer before he entered the Miami Heat-stage on Leipätehdas.

1. So far, you’re relatively unknown to the EDM audience and many don’t know who you are. Tell me who’s behind the name TobTok.
Well, that’s a really hard question to answer, because so far, I don’t really have a public face. Fans don’t recognize me for anything other than through my music. I’m just a normal young guy that’s passionate about the music I’m creating. I’m like the opposite to Lady Gaga. She’s a public face but she’s maybe not the brain behind the whole act. In my case, I’m the brain but have no face.
2.  What do you call the music you are creating? Do you have any genre you go by?
The music I’m doing is very hard to categorize. I’m creating what I feel like I wanna create. I don’t have any borders.  If you look at what I’ve released so far, you’ll realize that every track is a new thing. Some tracks that I have could be called pure French House, others Big Room and I also have done some Progressive stuff. The latest remix I did could be called 90’s Chicago Acid House together with some Funky Bass, yeah. Really hard to categorize. Let’s say Electronic music.
3. Why did you end up doing electro?
I started listening to my fathers 70’s disco music when I was young. And I’ve also always liked Michael Jackson. And then I came across the phenomenon of making house music out of old disco tracks. That was maybe something that caught my attention.
In school I also attended a class where we learned how to create electronic music. I started playing with some disco samples. Of course it wasn’t any serious in the beginning. If you ever hear something from that time, you will understand what I mean. Then, suddenly I became very passionate about it and here I am. I’ve always tried to evolve, and I try to find new ways into electronic music.

Here's some newly released material from TobTok. Have a listen before or while you continue reading!

4. You already told me about Michael Jackson, but you must have more sources of inspiration.
Yes, Michael must be one of the biggest inspirations. Daft Punk in 2001 might have given me the first invitation to electronic house music. Back then I didn’t have a clue about that genre.
5. I already mentioned that you’re a new artist. You seem to have the qualifications of becoming much bigger. The fan base is constantly growing and that must feel really great. How do you plan to keep the upward trend going? Do you have any tricks?
I don’t think about that too much. I just make the music I feel like. I’m trying to be productive with a lot of releases. But I’m still evolving and it’s just really a big bonus that people like what I’m doing. 
6. It seems to me that EDM have become bigger, especially the last few years. Do you have any thoughts of that? Do you think there’s a reason?
I’m not really sure, but something actually happened. The House-thing has become really big, let’s say, the last three years. Electronic music really seems to be the 2010s biggest thing, just like hard rock was the thing in the 1980s. I don’t think there’s a reason, this is just how it goes. People try to find new music and new music becomes popular. So it’s a question of trends.
7. Becoming bigger means more live shows. Where have you performed so far?
Actually, I haven’t done anything more than local shows in my hometown so far. Being here in Finland is a very big step. It’s my first gig out of town and abroad. Aside from performing as a DJ, I’ve only done 2 live shows as Tobtok before.
Tobtok on Miami Heat 4.2.2012 at Leipätehdas.
8. Have you gotten any weird invitations to shows yet?
Not really. Being here in Finland is actually quite weird because I think my main fan base is located in France or USA. The kind of music I do could be considered as underground in Sweden, so how did I end up in Finland?
I also talked to an American guy that wanted to arrange a festival in the future. He wanted me to be there when the plans are implemented.
9. Tobtok have been signed to a few record companies. Many of the readers would like to have their acts signed. How did you succeed? What do you suggest for unsigned artists?
As long as you have ambitions and keep fighting you won’t have any problem. Something very practical is to use SoundCloud. That’s the new MySpace now, and most of the music on SounCloud is Electronic, so that is probably the best platform to start on. I posted one of my demo tracks to Stardust Records own SoundCloud page and they liked it. Now I’m signed and they like what I’m doing.
If you want to be signed, practice the art of making music. When you feel like you are satisfied with what you’ve done, post the music to a couple of record companies. Use e-mail and post on SoundCloud, try to be eager. Someone will eventually find your music interesting. It’s not as hard as you think to be recognized. And when you finally get some interest, then things start happening, and that’s always fun.

Finally, have a listen at one of my favorite remixes from TobTok. Then, don't forget to visit his Facebook page to follow the young and promising french house DJ!

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