Interview: Tom Toms

Today we sit down with Tom Toms for a quick interview ahead of their new release “Get The Mix!” on Back Door Records.

For those who don’t know you or your music, can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Sergio, I am a DJ, producer and architect. I live in Medellín, where for the past two decades, I have created and collaborated on various projects, such as Discos Cocinados, La Technoaldea and the local label: Monofónico. In addition to local projects like the Invazion Festival, Medelink, Good Music I Dance and the creation of underground parties in different parts of the city.

Can you talk about a specific concept or idea that has deeply influenced your work and how you have translated it into your compositions?

I see music as landscapes, full of feelings, emotions and movement that change as time passes, kind of what I feel on the The Chemical Brothers’ video– Star Guitar.

As an electronic music artist, you’ve likely experimented with various hardware and software throughout your career. Are there any particular pieces of equipment or tools that have been instrumental in defining your sound and why they resonate with you?

The sampler and the loop. I think it is a wonderful tool where I feel most comfortable at, it also inspires me, I can stay in infinite loops wherever it feels very good.

Have any non-musical sources inspired your music? Certain visual artists, movies or books? Can you explain these influences and how they have shaped your artistic vision?

I studied architecture, this career taught me to relate and be sensitive to space, in a way that spaces tell you stories, they make you feel excitement, they shape shift with light, being one thing during the day and another at night, materials, textures and objects seem different, and even us change as well. I see music in the same way as architecture, seeing the audible space as a great place to create, organize, and program different sound elements according to what we want to express, it could be contemplation or telling a story to escape , to meditate, reflect, it excites you and abstracts you.

Electronic music can serve as an outlet for personal expression and self-discovery. Has there been a particular moment or phase in your life that has profoundly affected your creative process or the direction of your music?

It all started as part of a very small niche where I wanted to pave the way with electronic music in my city, the dynamics were slow, everything was just starting. The later there was moment where I found myself at crossroads between choosing music and architecture. Everything was very murky and confusing, even now remembering that time it still feels that way. But still music never left, it was still always present, we had never abandoned each other. Now at this moment in time we are here still vibrating, stronger than ever.

The process of creating an album or EP can be a transformative experience for an artist. Can you tell us about the journey behind one of your biggest releases and how it reflects your growth and evolution as a musician?

I see each track as a learning laboratory, aesthetically, technically and emotionally, all these variables are mixed at the same time as they have their own particularities. There, is where I find knowledge and growth, reflected both professionally and personally.
The making of the EP: Get The Mix! has been a way for me to talk about big changes in my life, it is a catharsis of emotions, attachments and liberations.

Many electronic artists have a strong sense of social responsibility and use their platform to raise awareness about various issues. Are there any causes or movements that you are particularly passionate about and how do you integrate them into your work?

Depression is something that I have had experienced very closely for many years. Producing music has been a great channel for healing, it grounds me and always makes me feel happy, no matter of the result.
Right now I’m including in some of the tracks, words and phrases that talk about anxiety, and in some others I’m including words from guided meditations.

Music often challenges the conventional boundaries and expectations of genres, walking the line between sounds. Do you think it’s important to sound a little different to the public?

I don’t think it’s about sounding different, I believe more in creating different atmospheres, let me explain. You can listen to the same track, live, to two different DJ’s, and you will feel that specific track completely different with each one of them. They are two d”individual universes. I believe that all creative work involves facing your own limitations.

The role of improvisation in electronic music can vary greatly between artists. Can you share your perspective on the importance of spontaneity in your creative process, both in the studio and during live performances?

I think that very good ideas always come from spontaneity and improvisation. It has happened to me. I have also talked about it with several friends and I have read interviews where dj’s mix different tracks and they get unexpected results that surprise them, that is improvisation, it’s spontaneity, it’s learning, it’s energy, that is art.

Throughout your career, you have probably encountered several mentors or collaborators who have influenced your growth as an artist. Can you share a particularly impactful experience or lesson you’ve learned from someone in the music industry?

There are so many, small and large, and all of them so important. But choosing one here, I once read a caption of Tiga, where he talked about the connection or disconnection that one has with a track. Sometimes it resonates with the emotions that you feel and you can’t find the words to explain them. Sometimes on a night of records, even when things go well, you have the feeling that it could have being better, but ultimately you realize, that this feeling it’s okay too. It’s like an internal meter.

What’s next for you?

I have several projects, including releasing some mixes with new music. I want to release more music this year, put it on bandcamp, maybe another EP by mid-December, send some demos to some labels and continue this sound journey of sharing and contributing to electronic music.

Grab Tom Toms’ Get the Mix! HERE!