If you’ve been around the bass scene over the past five years or so, there’s no doubt you will have heard a Tsuki tune. Whether it’s catchy jump up melodies or bouncy bassline, Tsuki’s music has reached all corners of the globe as he has coined his high-energy style.
With support from Crucast and other heavyweight labels such as Rampage Recordings, Tsuki – real name Dom – has found himself in good musical company on his journey to developing a sound inspired by big melodies and the support from ravers. From sneaking into clubs aged 16 and sending bass tracks over bluetooth, he has worked his way up to performing at sold-out shows and collaborating with the likes of Bru-C and Dread MC. He’s living his own dream.
Amongst a global pandemic with no parties or festivals, Tsuki managed to push out a tonne of music including a lockdown album. An array of sounds and styles, this project was a sign of what’s to come for this young artist, whose desire to improve and evolve is driven by a deep connection with his fans.
Not only is he on a path to make dancefloors move with punchy melodies perfect for a bulging nightclub, but also to artistic variation. We spoke to Tsuki recently to uncover more about his journey in bass and how his love of the scene is pushing him to keep improving and evolving his artistic repertoire.
How have you been and how has it felt to be back doing shows?
It’s been crazy coming back to shows and playing sold out festivals. I think it feels like we’re back to normality in that regard and it’s been insane. It feels even better than before because it’s been so long and the energy of everyone is ten times higher than it was before.
Is there anything in particular that you missed from shows or something you didn’t realise you appreciated so much?
I think the connection between the fans and seeing people. There are people out there that go crazy for my music and are there to see me and being able to connect with those people on a level is amazing. I see specific people in the crowd that have messaged me beforehand and I remember their faces, so being able to meet people and take photos and say thank you for coming along is great because without them, I wouldn’t be anything. They are the ones who make me who I am in terms of music.
18 months without human interaction does that to people! Often, it’s the crowd reactions and rave atmosphere that people love most, but for you it’s that feeling of support that means most?
For sure. During lockdown it was obviously a huge struggle to be able to make music when essentially, I am fuelled by seeing people go mad for my music live. I was able to finish my album during COVID, which I had originally planned to push back until we were free again, but I didn’t know when that was going to happen so I thought I could at least put a project out that I was proud of to get some positive out of a negative situation. It was difficult for sure.
So much inspiration comes from ravers – was it difficult for you as a producer during lockdown to find that spark and finish projects?
You can get yourself hyped when you have shows because you know you have a place to play the track and see how it goes down, but obviously in lockdown I had nowhere to play it other than my studio by myself and sending it to a couple of people online. It was hard to find that creativity and push something out. My music is fuelled from the crowd and the energy of a live show, so it’s quite hard to visualise that without performing. You almost have to make it up in your head, but it’s quite hard to put yourself in a rave situation when there are none happening.
The album, Redemption, came out almost a year ago now in November 2020, was it a pre-COVID project?
I’d say it was pushing two years in the making and there was a lot of back and forth with myself trying to decide what to put on there. I wanted to show quite a lot of versatility with my production in terms of the genres that I can make. I am primarily drum and bass but I do a lot of UK bassline as well. I wanted to show that I’m not just jump up, rollers, liquid – I felt like the lockdown was a time that I could sit down and think through what I wanted on the album. I’m proud of it and it shows that I can do all of those things.
It was definitely a good time to think of things objectively – do you think it helped to have that alone time to evaluate your music?
Yeah for sure. It gives you a break to some extent. It can become quite stressful when you are under pressure to find time to make music and have music ready for certain shows, so it’s good to reflect. However, it got to the point where it felt like a lifetime of not having my own life. The album was the most positive outcome out of a bad time.
Thinking of the creative process, writing an album can be quite a transformative experience as you pour everything into one project that represents you as an artist. Do you feel that you learnt or changed anything in your approach during this time?
Yeah, I feel that I can definitely say that I have evolved in my sound and the way that I produce music. The album is good to look back on as an era of myself, but now I can pursue the next album, and future releases will show a difference in my production. I don’t want to change what I’m doing, but the album signifies one era of Tsuki and now I’ll move onto the next one.
Since then you’ve been putting out even more music – did you find it hard to get back into making music after finishing an album or did you have a hefty backlog to work from?
Once the album was finalised, the tracks that didn’t make it on there were left out because I wasn’t happy with them or they didn’t meet the standard that I wanted, so a lot of them are still just sat on my computer to this day. I felt like I had lost so much in a music sense because all the music I had been sat on for so long was now out there, so I was pushed to get on it and make music again. That managed to fuel a couple of bangers because I made Closer pretty much instantly after the album was finalised and it sort of opened my eyes to new sounds and a new vibe to work with. Just from putting the album out I felt that it was a massive weight lifted off my shoulders and now I can get back to working on new stuff.
You’ve had a couple of tunes out just in the last month and both are very different – is switching between genres something you particularly enjoy about being Tsuki?
I’ve always wanted to make the music that I love. I’m a huge fan of both drum and bass and bassline. I’ve been drum and bass my whole life – it was the only thing I really cared about when I was younger – but then I discovered bassline and I wanted to give it a go. I was really enjoying it and my first ever bassline tune was really well received from my own fan base, which pushed me to realise I could do it as well as drum and bass. I love making anything and everything that I vibe with. I’m an artist so I don’t want to be put in one category.
Dutty with Bru-C came about because I’d worked with Bru-C in the past and we have made some bangers together like Wavey One and Megaman. I made an idea which was originally a lot different to what it sounded like on release, but he was really vibing with it and he sent me the Dutty vocal so I was able to work around that. I had to try and make something a bit more dutty than my usual style! It took a while to get out there after trying to get it perfect in the studio but it’s been received really well.
Since then, Hard Hitters with Dread MC has been released too. Originally, we were working on something else but I was cooking up a bassline tune that I thought he could sound sick on. If you listen to the start of Hard Hitters, I added the voice note of him first listening to the tune which is a nice add on. We linked up and it was a banger to start with, and I knew that Dread MC was going to bless it. The response has been great, especially from some US DJs.
You mention loving drum and bass since you were younger – who/what were your influences growing up and how did you get into the scene?
The artists that got me into drum and bass the most would probably be Camo & Krooked. For me there was something almost euphoric about their melodies and that’s where I get a lot of my melodic influence from. A melody can pack so much emotional and energy and I feel like a good melody ticks every box, hence why I’ve followed that melodic route for most of my songs.
Funnily enough I went to a handful of raves before I started making music when I was 16 and wasn’t supposed to be in clubs. I was always into it ever since I was a kid – I remember listening to Skibadee and Shabba Helter-Skelter sets on my Sony Ericsson Walkman and bluetoothing drum and bass tracks to my mates.
Since then, how has your experience of the scene changed?
I think the thing that is most surreal to me, if I was to go back and be that younger kid that was listening to drum and bass, is that I’ve become that person I was listening to – it’s something that I can’t get my head around. It still doesn’t make sense to me because it feels like just yesterday that I was a listener, and now I’ve got listeners. It’s surreal.
How do you feel that you’ve progressed since you started? Is there an end goal?
I feel like I’ve progressed so much and it does make me happy when I listen back to my older stuff and I think the difference in production is insane. I feel that I’ve been constantly learning, which I think is the best part about making music – every day you learn something new and you can implement so many things from other genres, tutorials, or even from things you’ve heard or seen elsewhere. I’m constantly learning and evolving as an artist every single day.
I wouldn’t say I have a goal; I just want to keep making the music that I love and make sure that the fans that I have stick around. I want to make music for me but also make people happy with music and, if I can do that, those are all of my goals achieved.
What’s next from you?
Loads of shows and I’m working on a lot of music. I’m planning on getting a lot more music out throughout the rest of the year and next year. There are a lot of big things coming that I can’t speak about just yet, but people need to definitely stay locked in because good things are going to happen.