ToBy may be brand new to the game, but he’s already got the approval of one highly respected producer.
I had a chance to chat with ToBy about his new mixtape, ToBySeason Vol. 1, and learn a little bit more about him as well. The Miami native just moved to Los Angeles recently after deciding to seriously pursue music and he got to work right away. ToBy was able to get in touch with the incredible producer Aleksander Vinter (AKA Savant) and after he was able to complete Vinter’s tests of skill they decided to make an entire tape together. Vinter did all of the production under his other alias, Datakrash, and also designed the album and concept art. Together, ToBy told me they were an unstoppable force, combining Vinter’s work ethic with ToBy’s eagerness they were able to create something that resonates with listeners who are fans of Savant or fans of Rap.
Read the full interview with ToBy:
How has the move from Miami to Los Angeles been? When did you move? Do you like LA?
It was really scary, I’m not going to lie. Saying goodbye to my little brother and all of my friends was surreal. I moved early September so it was like a month after my birthday. I’m loving LA, the energy here is palpable and I get starry-eyed listening to creative people speak passionately about their work, which there is a lot of out here.
How did you meet Aleks (Savant aka Datakrash) ?
I was in a band at the time called “The Kuda Live Band” and our bassist (we call him “Thunderkat”, no relation) went to school with Aleks’ current and now shared manager, Josh. Apparently, he had been looking for a rapper to work with for quite some time and Thunderkat shared a Facebook post calling for talent that Josh had put out. I was loosely familiar with his work as Savant from my electronic music friends and figured “why not?”. So I sent over my Soundcloud and the music video I had just shot with Andrew Garcia in NY for my track “Gold”. Aleks sent back what he called “an impossible beat” and told me to try and rap to it. I laid out an entire song for him the same day and we made plans to have me come out to Los Angeles, to which I eventually ended up moving. Funny enough, that track eventually became “90’s Babies”.
When did you get the idea to make a tape together?
I had been making trips to LA during my final year of college and we would only be able to get a certain amount of work done each time. So when it was decided that I’d move out there it was with the understanding that I was gonna learn what it was like committing to a full-fledged project. So really, once I landed for good I was in production for ToBySeason Vol. I
What was it like working with him? Was it a collaborative effort on every track?
Aleks is one of the most unique individuals that’s ever crossed my path. And that sentiment includes all aspects of our personal and professional relationship. He’s fast, focused, and somehow still very free. His mastery over his DAW allows him the full creative workspace that I don’t think I’ll be able to find too easily again. Our first production meeting (I had luggages in my hand mind you) he sat me down and said “So I made 30 beats for you this week, listen to them and pick the ones you want”. He gave me full creative control and only stepped in when things got technically or feasibly unmanageable. The project is very much about the both of us, but he states his involvement as a translator of my ideas. In both the artwork and the production he was making what his vision of me was in both perception and instruction. It was unreal, and it made me feel like a director more than an artist.
How was working with one producer different from working with a band or having several producers?
Honestly? When its someone like Aleks, not much different. The dude is like an army of people packed into one. He was the engineer, producer, session musician, A&R, creative director, lyrical consultant, all of those things when he needed to be. Which I think is a true testament to how much he cared about making the mixtape amazing.
This tape is different from your other music in a variety of ways, did you feel it was time for a new sound or are you just exploring all the possibilities?
Anyone who knows me knows I’m heavily inspired by Donald Glover and when I heard his sophomore album “Because the Internet” I knew for a definitive fact that I wanted to start singing more. The only thing was, I didn’t know where to start. So by the time I started working on ToBy Season, I had gotten my voice primed for the type of things I wanted to attempt and knew that a more contemporary sounding mixtape was the perfect place to give it my all. All of the tracks are songs I had always wanted to, but never had the means to make. It’s the same -ToBy-, same lyrical sensibility, but on the beats I think I seriously needed to be on.
You said if you had to define the tape with one word you’d use “eager”. Why is that?
Because I’ve always wanted to further my music career but was kind of shot down at every turn (hence my exodus from Miami). So in understanding that I was in a new space, literally and figuratively, I knew that I was going to attack this music harder than I ever have and show the world that I’m ready for the spotlight and that my messages and sensibilities are the type of thing music listeners and rap fans want to hear. I define the tape as eager, because I’m eager and the tape is named after me and my time. It’s ToBy Season. Finally.
Do you have a favorite song from the tape? What makes that song standout for you?
I love C.H.S.G because I love short girls with curly hair. Also I could not stop dancing to that beat in my house for the life of me, it has all the fun, energy, and life that I like to think I carry with me.
What were some of your musical influences that you embraced on Vol. 1?
I was listening to a lot of Kendrick, Gambino, Frank Ocean, SiR, Travis Scott, and ODDLY ENOUGH this new artist that I haven’t been able to get enough of, Phoebe Bridgers. Her album Stranger in the Alps was great mood music when I felt like I was listening to too much hip hop to write in my voice.
Does Vol. 1 tell a story to you? What does it mean to you?
Funny enough, the story of the tape didn’t occur to me until we did the final track sequencing. If you listen to it with this through line in mind, it makes a lot of sense. It’s about this player type, rough-around-the-edges dude who meets a girl who can call him out on his BS and makes him reveal his insecurity to her (CHSG – Lost and Found), they’re happy for some time until he loses her (2AM – Take Me Back), then he goes back to his ways but even harder (Money Rap – Shootaz).
Are you still figuring out who “ToBy” is or do you think you know now?
I know more about ToBy because I know more about myself. The separation between artist and artist persona is necessary but I believe one informs the other. I know I’m not living a hard or flashy lifestyle, nor do I think that theres anything wrong with that if its true and honest. I’m all for it, looks like a lot of fun truthfully. But with me, I know I’m going for something different. ToBy is an artist through and through, he’s gonna do out there stuff and popular stuff and weird stuff and amazing stuff because that’s how he’s designed. He’s definitely not one note and will definitely keep my life as interesting as possible.
Any projects or shows coming up you can talk about?
My team and I are looking at some performance opportunities in the near future, all in due time though.
What’s something that not many people know about you?
Besides the Phoebe Bridgers thing? I’m allergic to shellfish and have the same birthday as Barack Obama and Dylan & Cole Sprouse.
You can find more from ToBy on Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud