TWK is an extraordinarily new acquaintance and it is my honor to be hosting his thoughts, words and musings on music of his own design, as well as others'. He once again comes to us by way of, well first the UK, but you guessed it, the Netvio Crew (I'm going to soon start referring to it as cult, haha)! TWK, to my knowledge has been a member a fairly long time now, but he was the personality type to observe, or so it seemed. Chat him up and you'll find this notion to be quite to the contrary. As he has became more and more engaged within the Netvio sphere, I learned just what a kind soul he is. Aside from that, though, I sure as hell met one talented musician. This was affirmed to me wholly, completely and without shadow of a doubt upon hearing his forthcoming and debut release, 290617, out 9/18/2020 (Meaning it's out now!!!!!). Be sure to listen here because it's a DAMN doozy of a record and I was shocked by the level of skill and proficiency heard on this, TWK's 290617!!
Okay, before we jump off the diving board into the deep end here - I need to give the readers the 101 on you - It's what people want. It's what people deserve! So! TWK, please enlighten these glorious people as to where you now reside and if that is different from where you grew up, wherever that may be please?
I reside in Exeter, England. I originally grew up in Wolverhampton, England (to anyone outside the UK Wolverhampton is the UK version of a slum like run down city) While Wolverhampton has a huge role to play in English production history it’s sadly extremely neglected and way too chaotic and unsafe for my liking so I took the first opportunity I could to move to a more passive and relaxed place.
For some reason I had this assumption you were somehow older than myself. I cannot really pinpoint why I feel that way, but why not let everyone know just how young you are to be putting out this freakin' monolith of a record that is, '290617.'
Most people assume I am older by the way I speak and present myself as I take pride in the way I present myself on a verbal and mental level. Others that see my IRL human form assume I’m 5-7 years younger as I guess I still have my baby face? But I am 25. Born 01-21-95! (Editor's Note - He had written the date all Euro, but I fixed it so it was decipherable again ;))
Now, this next one I ask everyone with a stage name. Do not feel obligated to show your hand if you do not wish to, but I want the inside scoop! What's your REAL name?
My real name is Tobias Parsons, most call me Toby for the sake of being informal. Going by Toby more than Tobias along with being an avid Star Wars fan...TWK stands for: Toby Wan Kenobi.
I'd like to please ask you to forget about categories, classifications, genres, and all that fun stuff for just a moment as I ask this next question - Who is TWK? You can choose to answer that as the man who is not TWK, you may choose to answer it 'in character', but like I said before, I give my non-existent readers what they want!I know the answer to my next question, but it is not something everyone may know and it will lead to ore interesting questions in a moment - If I may ask, what was your native instrument?
TWK is someone who uses music as a main form of emotional expression, starting as just an ambition to be a well known artist to now a developing emotional outlet. TWK now allows me to present emotions that I struggle with on a daily basis because I can find emotions overwhelming most times. So I find myself hiding behind this mask that allows me to express what’s going on from Happy to Sad and everything in between. I wish I could sing so that I could apply more thoughts and moods to my creations as I have a lot that I suppress and deal with internally. Most assume I’m okay but I have so many internal battles from bullying myself to feeling insignificant and a burden to everyone around me. TWK is that escape, an escape from others of whom I fear to annoy, disappoint and upset. I know it's sad but I don't know how to talk about or express my emotions as much as I'd like to, I know how much that effects friendships and definitely relationships but I only know how to hide and confide within myself.
How long have you been at it? Also, what 'flipped the switch' for you, to make you realize you wanted to branch out further as far as instrumentation goes to synths, keyboards, MIDI, etc.?
Well once I left home and school at 16, I no longer really had a way to practise drumming so I slowly dropped off as opportunities became far and few. While at College I got the chance to learn about Reason 5, Sequencing, Sampling and Midi music creation, from that point I discovered a need. A way to escape reality and express myself even if it doesn’t get released. After 2 years of loosely playing around with Reason I released my first track on YouTube which was my submission for a module “Silent Hill - Alessas harmony (TWK Remix)”
What made you ultimately decide, "That's it. I know what I'm dedicating my Earthly time towards and I'd never have it any other way than the route of music? I can point to a few 'A-Ha' moments such as these, but I'm curious about yours?
I guess I have lived a life where I felt more of an inconvenience and burden than anything due to medical difficulties that led me to be exceedingly more dependent on others. As I said before music is my escape, when I don’t release something it’s for me because it captured a certain moment that I couldn’t clarify with simple thought. When I do release it’s because I feel like I have something to offer for once. I am SHIT with expressing feelings, especially positive! I’m good at hiding but shit at expressing. I try, but I find most times those struggles outweigh all and music is that personal mental translator. It doesn’t have to be my music either, I connect with others' pain and find myself lost in sad music more than happy.
When I learned that Drums were your natural baby as well, I knew we were full-fledged friends, haha. I recall asking, "Are we related?" After listening to this record in the morning and before learning this tidbit that same day in the afternoon, I'd have sworn up and down your native instrument was Piano. This album features some absolutely pristine piano playing. Sometimes knocking me loose from my chair, your fluidity on the keys is jaw-dropping. How long have you been playing some of the other instruments on the album and, to be hyper-specific, what are the instruments?
I can only play drums, I can’t play anything else for shit and Piano I use as a means to carry out certain sounds, offtimes, dynamics and sustains for that emotional investment and translation that sequencing lacks. I do everything by ear, I imagine the sound I want and I often can recreate that melody after a few mistakes. I have absolutely no idea about melodic theory or any ability to play a melodic instrument. I just make do I guess.
This is a fun one to just throw in the middle and leave you scrambling for an answer, so EXCELLENT TIMING, MWAHAHAHAH!!!! PRESENT GEAR RUNDOWN! WHAT YOU ARE USING AS OF TODAY!!! GO, GO, GO!!!
As of today I am using: Erazer Gaming Notebook, Reason 5 and Alesis Vmini. I understand this is nothing compared to others setups, I often see others in Netvio with some crazy nice setups and here is me with utter peasant gear!! And yes you did see Reason 5, I’ve learnt to make do with what i have and I’m fine with that, I like the certain old rawness that comes with it. I often see younger producers wanting to be the next big thing and their biggest mistake is thinking they also need the newest DAW, with the shiniest hardware with all the latest presets and samples to make it, but in reality it's the difference that makes it.
Not even regarding this forthcoming LP of yours, I'd like to ask you to think in extremely general terms when answering this next questions, please - You're sitting down in your music space. You are itching to write a full-fledged song and not just mess about. So, with your most serious face on, please enlighten me to the TWK process of songwriting, how do you get from A-B, then ultimately A-Z?
I often have inspiration from my favorite artists: Bring Me The Horizon, Jaden, Woodkid, 6lack, Deftones & Childish Gambino. The moment inspiration strikes I often have a certain mood and tone in mind (BPM & Chords) . From there I create a simple drum pattern and the chords with a specific sound to drive the desired tone. From there I expand on the main full drum pattern with all the desired sound and most EQ done. If my drums are bad I often lose interest and motivation quick.
Once I have a satisfying rhythm and tone I start expanding on chords but layering in different octaves with different sounds. Maybe a cello, detuned violin or brass section that flows parallel with a Reese bass, Sidechained house bass or toned 808. Then I expand on a high octave chord layer. Maybe violin, harp, sax, pluck, Rhodes piano or toned mallet/percussion. From the high end I play around with rhythm and notes so create some form of memorable hook to match mood.
Once I have those sort of routine fundamentals I start messing with different sounds with the midi melodies I now have. I always consider different types of orchestral instruments to add that dramatic organic grounded feel as that tends to most people's idea of organic sounds. I'm a huge fan of vocal chop manipulation as it often can breathe both comfort and discomfort at the same time with the human voice being something we all hear more than anything.
Once I'm happy with the overall instrument lanes I then start to fill out space and structure with some foley sounds that are gated, distorted, somewhat toned and stretched. Along with various percussion elements to compliment.
All my tracks stages of creation can vary, depending on the mood and influence. One thing I've found that tends to add more of a unique feel to my music currently, is straying away from common practices like generic structures and builds/drops.