Toman Podcast
Toman Biography here...
Ibiza Voice Podcast 569 :: Toman 
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Toman is one of the artists bringing a sleek minimal sound back to the Amsterdam scene after techno and sick have dominated in recent years. Also inspired by the Romanian sound, he takes their knack for sound design and pairs it with his own skills on the drums to create stripped back, rhythmically inventive tunes that have deft details that elevate them above the norm. 
He’s had tunes on labels like Mihai Popoviciu’s Cyclic Records and has found himself lodged in the Top 10 of the Beatport charts for weeks on end. Rather than add pressure, he says that gave him a real confidence in his own music. Here we speak to him about that, the formal training he had at Herman Brood Academy, who he’s backing at the World Cup and much more. 

How much is your sound a product of the Dutch scene - do you think you are mainly influenced by local peers and the music you grew up around, or do you look outside that for inspiration?

At the moment House and Minimal are definitely back in Amsterdam, we had a few years where Techno and Disco took over, but I think the guys from VBX, PIV Records and Slapfunk definitely changed that. I get some inspiration from their parties, but I mainly get inspired by artists that I have been following for quiet some years. I listen and play a lot of stuff by Terry Lee Brown Junior, Mihai Popoviciu, iO (Mulen), Archie Hamilton and Underworld. Also the Romanian sound I find very interesting. I’ve had some gigs in Romania this year and always stayed until the end (which can take forever). After a trip like that I can lock myself in the studio for days.

Your bio says you focus on deep but complex music —what do you mean by that? How can music be minimal but also complex? Is it to do with rhythm, timbre, harmony?

When I started producing music I always thought adding more and more to my tracks would make it sound better. This was when I didn’t really go out. When I started going to parties, I realised that it's all about the individual sounds. I played the drums for 7 years and this is why my tracks are mostly about rhythm. I like a strong groove with a deep bassline, small changes and subtle sounds will keep it interesting but minimalistic. I must say I’m not really a melodic guy.

You graduated the Herman Brood Academy in 2017—what did you learn there? How important was it in helping you find your own sound?

During those 3 years I learned a lot about the basics of music production, but also about the music industry and “DJ life”. Besides that it was a very special part of my life where I got to know myself better. I was very insecure about my tracks, but my teachers always pushed me to do my first release and after 2 years I did my first solo EP, which hit the Beatport Top 10 in a week. This boosted my self-esteem and was sort of a confirmation the level I reached was good enough.

Do you think more people should have formal training to make dance music? Would it raise the overall standard or is house and techno more about raw feeling and expression?

You can learn about every button in Ableton, but in the end its all about the music itself. It was nice to learn about the technical stuff and it definitely made my music sound better. But you can’t learn how to be creative or talented. The idea’s have to come from yourself. 

Your first solo EP starred in the Beatport Top 10 for three months—how did that feel? Did it add pressure for the next release? Did you stress about how you would reach that success again?

I was waiting for that release for over 4 months and it was at one of my favourite labels Cyclic Records. In the first week after the release I didn’t even check the charts because I never thought about getting up there. But then I got a message from a friend that it reached the Top 100. For me this was so special as it was just my first solo EP. Few days after that it reached the top 10 and stayed there for even longer than three months. This was the moment where I realised my stuff was ready and got a lot more confident. I don’t think it made me stress. I was just happy and besides that I got so many messages from labels and DJ’s with requests for other releases.

How did you record the mix and what equipment did you use?

2x Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS2, Pioneer DJM-900NXS2, Tascam DR05

Was there an aim for it from the start, did you have a certain thing to say, certain records to play, a sound to represent?

The recording is fully improvised, selecting some of my favourite tracks on the fly.

Where do you get your music from and how long do you spend looking for it each week?

Nowadays I get a lot of promos from people I meet and people I like. If its good stuff I definitely play it. Sometimes I spend a few hours checking out new releases on Beatport. I’m also buying vinyl lately and will start adding them soon.

What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to?

Next week I’m playing at Awakenings Festival, which is one of my biggest dreams coming true. Sharing the stage with Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones, Joris Voorn, Konstantin and Maceo Plex.

Finally, how sad is the country on missing out on the World Cup? Will you support anyone else in Russia?

Haha, we didn’t deserve to be in, maybe in 4 years. Part of my family is Italian so normally I would support them. Since they are also not in, I’ll just be the outsider.
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