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Toby Emerson Talks Deadmau5, New Singles and Model Filled Hot Tubs!

by Carolina Galli

Published Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Toby Emerson‘s beats and bass lines rumble low, underneath addictive hooks and grooves that are guaranteed to rock the club! A producer of elite quality; Toby’s music is meant to be felt as much as heard on the dance floor. His tracks expertly maneuver the musical space between big room electro, house and peak time progressive and have sold in excess of 45,000 copies worldwide. Check out what Toby Emerson has to say about the best advice Deadmau5 ever gave him, his unique sounds and all the good stuff on his rider… hot tubs and models anyone?


If you could only describe your music in 3 words, what would they be?

Funky, Weird, Epic

Did you always know that you wanted to be a part of the music industry? 

Ever since I downloaded a copy of FL Studio (back then fruityloops)  I was hooked.  If anybody is remotely interesting in creating music I highly recommend downloading the free demo and checking it out for yourself.  I think my then passion has grown to somewhat of an unhealthy obsession.

In addition to being a DJ and producer you also play guitar and sing and can be heard singing lead vocals on your track Never Coming Down. What made you want to add your own vocals to the track? Is this something we can expect more of in the future?

Adding live instrumentation and vocals is definitely something I want to do more of in my future tracks as well as incorporating that into my live sets.  Sometimes electronic music really needs that human element to allow it to break away from sounding like something that was made by machines.  I hope to work with some more live vocalists to bring some variety into my songs as well.   I don’t consider myself an expert singer so it would be nice to get some serious talent vocal wise on board.  It is also much more entertaining to see someone perform with live instruments.

How do you think growing up in Victoria, British Columbia shaped your music?

Living in Victoria for the past few years has definitely had an impact on my style.  There is really a wide range of DJs here so listening to many different styles has really opened my eyes to new sounds.  Every year here the Victoria Electronic Music Festival (VEMF) gets bigger and better which is hugely inspiring to anyone involved with electronic music.  In the summertime generators and decks are often packed down to the beach and excellent times are had by all.  There is a great crowd of people here.

You completed the Recording Arts Program at the AI center for Digital Imaging and Sound in Vancouver. Do you think having that background helps you step up your game?

It has definitely helps in certain areas (mainly the engineering aspects of the productions) but I wouldn’t say it’s totally necessary to go to school in order to make professional sounding tracks.  People shouldn’t be discouraged from creating music if they cannot afford to go to school for it (it can be really expensive!).  Another really good way to learn how to produce without having to shell out the thousands for school is to get in touch with as many established producers as you can – I’m sure many of them are willing to give paid lessons.  Also the amount you can learn in youtube tutorials these days is ridiculous.

I read that while you were in school, you shared some tips with fellow Canadian artist Deadmau5. What was the best advice he gave you? And what do you think the best advice you gave him was?

The best advice I can remember him giving me is to spend an entire day just making weird sounds and one shot samples without focusing on creating an actual song – then when it comes to writing a tune you have a whole new palette of sounds to work with.  Also to not overload your songs with a lot of sounds if it is meant to be played on a big system.  Keep it simple and the sounds will come through bigger and better.  I can’t really remember if I gave him any useful advice or not – I really wish I had saved all those chat logs.  He always seemed to be a few steps ahead of everybody and that always inspired me to work harder on my own stuff.

Your later remixed Deadmau5’s Sofi Needs A Ladder finished in the top ten of the official Beatport contest! That’s a pretty cool accomplishment, what was your favorite part of the process and what was your inspiration?

It was a lot of fun to work with the different stems used in the track since all the elements were well produced and sounded great already.  Getting something going for the first little bit was fairly frustrating as I couldn’t settle on a direction to take it but  once I realized that there were probably going to be a ton of electro clone remixes and I wanted to take a more progressive minimal approach it came pretty easily.  I ran out of time towards the deadline so I don’t think it came out quite as good as I would have liked it to so I’m pretty happy with how well it did in the contest (still pretty devastating to make it that far and not win – I can imagine what it is like to take 4th place in the Olympics now!).

What do we have to look forward to from Toby Emerson?

I really hope to have a full album finished by some point in the next year or two.  Until then I have more tracks coming out with Robb G and Jon-E Industry (as The Afterschool Special) as well as some other singles of my own in the meantime.  I’m hoping to play in some new places in the next year or two and expand my live show a bit.  For anybody interested in my sound design work I will have a lot more sound libraries coming out through Beatport and sample magic/soundstosample and I am hoping to eventually establish my own sound design website.


The Afterschool Special & Robb G – Roboduck

Deadmau5 – SOFI Needs A Ladder (Toby Emerson Remix)

Lighting round…

What’s your favorite club to play?

Hush Nightclub

Who is the craziest artist to play a show with?

The craziest I’ve seen is Longwalkshortdock.  The craziest I’ve actually done a show with – Miles Dyson (EPIC).

You’re on the road a lot. What’s your favorite time of year to be at home?
Well I hate to travel in the cold, but I also just love the summer time in Victoria.

Track you’re most proud of?
Hmm hard one as it changes a lot.  Right now Roboduck (upcoming), Inappropriate Electro, or Fall Silently

Favorite DJ?
Even tougher than the above one… Wolfgang Gartner, D-Nox & Beckers, Umek, Sebastien Leger, Miles Dyson, Deadmau5 (not a DJ though!)  no way I can narrow it down to one.

Favorite Band?
Monster Magnet

What’s the most embarrassing track you have on your iPod?
Either Fred Penner – The story of Blunder or Raffi – Banana Phone

Do you have any superstitions or lucky charms?
I have a fake bonsai on my left speaker, and a golden elephant & dragon on my right speaker.

What’s on your rider?
Hot Tub, Fridge Stocked with beer from every continent, an assortment of models to go in the hot tub.   Actually I’m not demanding at all – usually just a couple of drinks at the gig and I’m ready to go!


Get more info on Toby Emerson HERE!


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