Dutch DJ & producer Toman has been one of the most exciting prospects in the last few years. His debut EP on Mihai Popoviciu’s Cyclic Records, which was released back in 2017, quickly caught the attention of the underground dance community. Since then, Toman has released music with various labels such as Inermu and Blind Vision just to mention few.
After few years of experimenting with different styles, Toman found his sound which is based on techy grooves with strong house influence and sophisticated minimalistic touch. We spoke with him after a busy summer which lead him to play at festivals such as Awakenings, Extrema Outdoor and many others.
Hi, Toman. What’s life like in Amsterdam at the moment?
For me, Amsterdam is the best home base. I like to be around people so I just moved to another part of the city sharing an apartment with a good friend who is also involved in the music business. Every weekday I bike through the city on my way to the studio which is on the other side of the river. It’s a relaxing and inspiring bike ride that really helps me to stay creative.
Your musical journey is a bit different from others. After all, you managed to graduate from Herman Brood Academy in 2017. Can you tell us a bit about this experience? Did you produce music before that as well?
I was about 4 years old when I was playing around with pots and pans and (according to my mom at least) it didn't sound so bad! So I started playing the drums shortly after and in 2004 I began making electronic music. I started out using FL Studio making my own hip-hop beats soon after.
When I began clubbing and going to festivals a few years later I switched to Ableton and from then focused on minimal and house. One of my favourite tracks at that time was 'Mountain006.1' by The Mountain People. Actually's it's a track I still play today from time-to-time.
My 3 years at the Herman Brood Academy was a great period where I met a lot of like-minded people and learned a lot about myself. After that time I was 100% sure I wanted to make a living out of music.
We know that Amsterdam is one of the most important electronic music epicentres, especially for mainstream music. What’s the scene like there if we go a bit more under that radar?
We do have a lot of mainstream superstars but I think the underground scene actually overrules that. Amsterdam has so much going on at the moment. New talent is always popping up and clubs like Shelter, Oosterbar, Bret and De School are all places worth hitting up. I particularly enjoy going to PIV or VBX parties to get inspired.
Electronic music is moving forward really fast and trends are changing almost every few months. How do you deal with that? Do you pay attention to trends and try to follow them at least a bit or do you just listen to your inner self?
I always listen to my inner-self, but of course, I always get inspired by new music. It's not like I'm purposely following a trend but I do get inspired by it. During my bike rides I often listen to disco, hip-hop and drum & bass and find them a constant source of inspiration too.
What’s your studio like? Do you use any fancy hardware gear?
Actually, I like to work inside the box. I do have an Ableton Push which I use to jam and record my drums with. In the near future, I want to get a cool synth, I just haven’t found the right one for me yet.
When speaking about your music career, what would be your ultimate goal? Maybe running your own imprint, releasing an album or something deeper?
There are so many goals I still have to achieve, from managing my own label to travelling the globe, sharing my music with as many people as possible, playing big stages, playing intimate bars and releasing my own album. But I think the most important thing is not to forget to enjoy it all.
Despite the fact that you’re a newcomer in the music scene, you’ve already managed to perform at some major festivals such as STRAF_WERK, Extrema Outdoor, Awakenings and others. How did you get involved with them?
I released my first solo EP a year before which hit the top 10 for a few months. This gave me a lot of confidence and I started releasing more tracks. I did a few label showcases with Cyclic and Monocord in Romania and a few weeks later I got an unexpected call saying Awakenings Festival was already confirmed. A brilliant moment!
Could you take us through your future releases? We’re pretty sure that you have some sweet gems lined up ahead, right?
My first vinyl-only solo EP will be released via Cinthie’s we_r house in November. There will be another digital EP with Cyclic and for ADE I have something new coming up also.
Lastly, what's your favourite coffee shop and club/venue in Amsterdam?
I drink my coffee at “De Waterkant” ;). My favourite club is Shelter and I’m playing there for the first time on October 12th. Can't wait!