“It was the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio”: Tobtok teams up with farfetch’d for a friend-centred EP
From the ‘My Friends’ EP launch party at Reason Studios HQ in Stockholm, the Swedish producers found a new sense of freedom when producing together.
Tobtok (right) and Jerry from farfetch’d (left)
When MusicTech is buzzed up to the office in the Hornstull area of Stockholm, where the party is set to take place, the three are carrying crates of beer down a corridor, helping to set up lighting and making last-minute additions to the growing list of attendees.
“We did the whole EP in Reason,” Tobtok, who’s used the software since 2009, tells us as we sit down on office chairs. “So, that’s the… reason… why we’re doing it here!” Another reason, Tobtok tells us, is because of the software’s colourful, visual interface. He says it’s far more inspiring than Ableton Live’s grey, parameter-focused design, and adds a “feeling of satisfaction”.
They started the My Friends EP in FL Studio, however, Jerry from farfetch’d tells us, then took it to Tobtok’s studio to finish it. They were inspired by the sounds they made in their first collaboration, Seen, which led to the decision to push and make more music in a more liberal way.
Its opening track, I Like When You, is a jungle-inspired rave number that started out at a faster tempo, eventually being slowed down. This style is new territory for both Tobtok and farfetch’d; they’ve mostly dabbled in French house previously. They started with an irregular kick drum pattern usually used in jungle tracks, then “painted around” the pattern with breaks, samples and synths. They couldn’t help but slap a 4×4 kick drum pattern on it, though, to bring things back to their roots.
An important part of the My Friends EP was to make music without any commercial pressure. “We’ve been producing for so long and are so damaged by arrangements and sounds and ‘you need to do this’. But I think we felt a spark that we hadn’t felt in years,” says Jerry.
“We decided that we were not going to follow any rules. Throughout the years, we have been trying to make things commercially radio-friendly. And those records have a certain formula. We were both in a position where we felt like we’d lost a spark. So, we wanted to just go in the studio and have fun and not worry about something being a commercial success or anything.
“That’s how we started,” says Tobtok. “When I started, I was just a kid having fun in Reason, you know, in front of my computer. The way I made music back then was by just having fun. I didn’t even think about formulas or anything like that. This was about going back to the feelings we had when we made music when we were 18. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio.”
Evidently, this was a special collaborative moment for the duo and Tobtok, as they rediscovered a sense of freedom away from commercial demands. It also sparked a heartwarming appreciation of friendship. As we talk, friends and fans are drifting into the office, quickly greeted by either a hug or a sincere handshake from the trio, before being shown towards the dancefloor.
We all step out of the desk space, walk through the office and on to the dancefloor, where the launch party is taking place. It’s not a dancefloor usually, of course, with a kitchen in one corner, sofas pushed to the sides and a stage set up in the corner. As a disco ball spins, the producer’s friends hop on the decks to warm up and Tobtok and farfetch’d get to work serving drinks. Even Reason’s CEO, Niklas Agevik, is decanting bags of crisps into bowls and asking what people want to drink.
For Tobtok and farfetch’d, who step up for a fun back-to-back DJ set to the encouraging cheers of their friends, the My Friends EP was perhaps a pivotal moment for all three. No more constraints in the studio; just find that feeling of fun again with friends.
Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.Subscribe