A couple weeks back at the PHD in Hackney Wick, I had the pleasure of catching up with two of the boys on the bill, Tobias (aka Tobtok) and Oliver Nelson.
These super talented, down-to-earth guys have careers that are only just beginning, and if the careers of their Scandinavian predecessors are anything to go on, I'd say you're going to be hearing a lot more of them in the near future.
Check out my interview with them below -- one of them is scared of bridges... find out who by reading on!
You guys have collaborated together quite a bit, where did it all start?
Tobias: I guess it all started when we first discovered each other’s music! When I first realized that he was from the same country as me, I knew I wanted to collaborate with Oliver, as he was probably the first fellow Swede I discovered that had the same vibe as me. We have done a few remixes together and they all came together very easily, as we sort of have the same ideas and are like-minded when it comes to music-making.
Oliver: It started when Tobtok signed with the same management as me. It was clear to us that we had to bring our minds together because we had the exact same taste in music and especially small details like chord progressions or percussion stuff that we often discussed . We also work incredibly fast together without losing any quality in what we do.
When you have time to just jam, what sort of music do you listen to?
Oliver: That depends on my mood, hehe. I listen to a lot of old stuff right now, like Toto, Steely Dan, Bill Withers etc. but alot of new tunes as well. Hayden James "Something About You" is one of my favorite tracks yet this year, I can't stop listening to it!
Tobias: Music is everywhere in my life, when I don’t make music I always have something on. Recently it’s mostly new and exciting electronic music in my speakers which gives me inspiration as well as an update on what’s hot at the moment. Naturally the old classic stuff comes up every now and then!
Are you playing any festivals this summer?
Tobias: I’m actually playing my first Swedish festival this summer called ”Emmabodafestivalen”. I went there myself in 2012 and fell in love with it, so it’s an absolute honor to be in their lineup this year! It’s sort of a great showcase of the world’s best up and coming artists, for example when I went there Zedd was playing and now he is probably one of the biggest names in Electronic music.
Oliver: Not that I know of right now unfortunately!
What are you working on currently?
Tobias: Apart from remixes that come in frequently, I’ve been in the studio a lot in London and I have a pile of originals to finish!
Oliver: Right now I'm finishing my first single featuring Skogsrå. My plan is to release my EP as soon as possible, so I'm working very hard on that at the moment as well as some remixes.
Tobias, what is it like working with Kitsune?
Tobias: The team is lovely, and it feels like a scene itself, which I really like! The whole brand is very cool and people really respect what they do, so being associated with them is something I really appreciate!
What track are you most proud of?
Oliver: There is something special about my "Deja Vu" remix, I'm quite proud of that one. I think I captured exactly what I wanted to do with that track, so I have to say that one.
Tobias: I have to say my ”The Magician” remix, I really pushed myself with it, and feel that it ended up being quite original in terms of vibe and composition.
You’ve been getting a lot of online attention, how important is this medium to you?
Oliver: Very important! It has taken me where I am today, really. There are so many people discovering music online today! I remember getting a message from Madeon on SoundCloud, which later on led to him liking one of my tracks, and that is where my career started really. Without all the music blogs, music services etc. I'd be nowhere to be honest, so it's very important, to say the least.
Tobias: In this day and age it’s everything. People listen and explore music through their computers, rather than crate-digging and watching MTV. I think it’s great because music is so accessible and as an artist you have a more intimate relationship with your listeners.
You’ve played in London a couple times now, would you say between the Swedish crowds and London crowds?
Oliver: I've had some great gigs here in Sweden. Mainstream EDM is more popular here at the moment, but nu-disco is on its way up and I know for a fact that there's a lot of people wanting new fresh music out there so it will thrive very soon I believe. The crowd in London seems to be more interested in our area of music, so maybe it's easier to play there at the moment, they are more open to new fresh tunes.
Tobias: To be fair, the Swedish scene isn’t ready for us yet. EDM is still really hot here, and people doesn’t really get what is happening out there on the clubs. Playing in London is like nothing else. People generally come to clubs to have fun and listen to the music that they love, and I would say that there is a bigger interest for electronic music in the UK. When playing in Sweden a lot of people think you are like a guy that are handling the Spotify-playlist, and they don’t really care about the music to be honest, but maybe I’ve just been to the wrong venues?
What are you most proud of in terms of your career so far?
Tobias: I’m most proud of being a part of this whole industry, and to be working with and getting to know such brilliant and lovely people.
Oliver: I'm very proud to have such dedicated fans, and making music that people actually love and listen to! Also making music for a living. My principal always told me that I could never produce music for a living because I couldn't read sheet music... that set a drive in me and it feels pretty good to be where I am today.
What’s your favorite music to drive to?
Tobias: I don’t have a car, but when I walk I enjoy listening to tech-house for some reason, it’s a nice tempo to walk to!
Oliver: 70's funk and disco!
Dead or alive, whose career would you most like to emulate?
Tobias: Oliver Nelson!
Any irrational fears?
Oliver: I'm dead scared of flying, especially during take off... I know, wrong career choice!
Tobias: I’m kind of afraid of bridges, I always get the feeling that they are collapsing behind my back!