The Life of Tobi, Enzo and Music Hour UK
Tobi Davis is known to many for his producing with well-known indie artists such as Katie Ellen, Jon Magnusson, Lillias Hobson, Danielle Feinberg and the most recent work ft. Fans of Jimmy Century.Interview Questions for Tobi
As so many do in the music biz, Tobi also plays roles in many other facets including the running of popular Spotify playlist, ‘The Monster Playlist’ and co-host of the trending ‘Music Hour UK’ on Twitter.
The one thing you will notice, is that we don’t see a face anywhere across social media; instead, we see a beagle who’s either sniffing the headphones, sitting on a stool in a studio or watching who’s eating what.
We had a bit of fun and wanted to find out a little more about Tobi.
MT/Tracey : My first question is; What’s with the beagle? Who is he?
Tobi: ..that’s the boss. El Hefe. My partner in crime. My family. My superstar beagle, Enzo. I’m very much Alfred to his Batman. His reputation precedes me.
MT: When did you begin producing music?
Tobi: I’m not sure I’ve started yet. I use ‘Producedbytobi’ as a ‘catch all’. Most of my time is spent mixing/mastering. When I do Produce, I prefer to co-produce with the Artist/band as the senior partner. That way I can act as a sounding board and give advice/offer options, as to the arrangement in regards to how it mix (or not, as the case may be).
Every great mix you ever heard started a great arrangement first. I have a reputation as a ‘creative mixer’ and it’s true, i can solve a lot problems in the mix. But not all of those solutions suit every genre of music. Electronic and pop productions are more forgiving of ‘mix’ solutions. Folk/singer songwriter, not so much ; the fans of those genres like music to feel ‘in the room’.
To get round to answering your question ..a lot people don’t realise, I’ve only been doing this for a few years. It’s intimidating trying to work my way into a industry that is pathologically obsessed with what’s young and new. I’m 41. I have to be so much better than the next guy. And the next guy can be 15 years younger than me, often with more experience and credits.
MT: Most people were introduced to music or inspired by someone; who inspired you and gave you the music bug?
Tobi: My most vivid childhood memories of music, are long car journeys in my Father’s car. The A1 and Queen’s Greatest Hits, Tina Turner, and Deacon Blue. ..wow, haven’t thought about Deacon Blue in years. Wonder what happened to them? (I’m listening to ‘Real Gone Kid’ on Spotify now).
MT: Do you write and play any instruments?
Tobi: If I practice every day, I’m an impressively below average guitarist. And I had piano lessons at school for about five minutes. I can play really, really, really simple stuff. ..as long as it’s really simple. Did I mention it needs to be simple? Okay. My music theory is steadily getting better. I like Rick Beato’s videos on YouTube. He explains music theory in a way that make sense to my brain.
As for writing parts for the Tobisonics tracks, I work the parts out on the keyboard or guitar. I’ll either record the midi of the keyboard or simply program what I’ve played. It depends. Playing, however badly, always feels more emotional to my ears, than programming.
MT: Musicians and producers often have a favourite in the studio which is their go to equipment, plug in, effects units or tool etc. Do you recommend or have a favourite tool or piece of equipment that you have preference to?
Tobi: I do most of the ‘bridges and tunnels’ of mixing with Fabfilter plugins. The interface is very intuitive and offers great possibilities for creativity. The Schepps Omni Channel is a ‘swiss army knife’ plugin. The saturation alone is worth the price of admission. Joey Sturgis Transify allows you to work the mix is a very different way and is well worth looking at.
MT: What genres are your personal favourite’s?
Tobi: Genres confuse me. I pretty much only listen to music released in the last two years. Need to get my old man’s ear in, with all the new noise. I’ll listen to a lot of different music, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the DIY, Lofi and home brewed. I’m a sucker for a bunch of kids, trashing it out on guitars. I love my music garagey.
MT: Can you tell me how the radio gig come about?
Tobi: Musichouruk asked and I answered. I’ve been doing it now for over a year or so.
MT: Do you make the decisions on what/who to play?
Tobi: We have Chris Leon’s weekly selection of new music. I’ve found a bunch of new noise that way. People are free to share whatever music they like. I write reviews in real time of Chris’ selects, plus a few others. Keeps my mind sharp. Writing ‘live reviews’, is my equivalent to doing the crossworld.
MT: How does the Music Hour work on twitter? Can you describe how people can tune in?
Tobi: People tag their music tweets with the hashtag #musichouruk. You’re then expected to return the favor for other music tweets with the hashtag #musichouruk. Not everybody does, of course. To follow the live stream and participate, you can catch our Thursday night hour at 8pm (UK Time), by searching Twitter for ‘#musichouruk’ and then click on the ‘latest’ tab.
MT: What kind of music is played on ‘Music Hour UK’?
Tobi: We get a lot of singer/songwriters sharing. A fair stack of rock / indie. And quite a bit of electronic music. And I share a lot of 80s Hair Rock. Much underappreciated genre.
MT: Other than music, can you tell us what other interests and hobbies you may have?
Tobi: I work crazy hours, seven days a week, so I don’t have time for much else. If I’m not working, I’m taking the boss for his walks etc. I like to bake. It relaxes me. I’m terrible at it, but I like doing it.
MT: How involved is Enzo in the music process of production and radio shows? )))
Tobi: Enzo is always there. Making sure I don’t overmix. He’s old school, though. Prefers everything on tape and mixed through a console.
MT: Does Enzo’s have a favourite food?
Tobi: Yes, all of it.
MT: Christmas is almost here, what are your plans for Christmas and does Enzo get any special treats this time of year?
Tobi: Enzo will get some new toys. Plus some practical things like a new collar etc. No plans in particular. A little family time. Extra long walks for Enzo. Go exploring the countryside some more. Hopefully, he’ll get some snow to play in.