He’s released on almost every big label in bass music: OWSLA, Never Say Die, Disciple, Ram, Rottun, Buygore and Firepower. His music is rinsed by the likes of Skrillex, Getter, Excision, The Chainsmokers & more. He covers every bass base imaginable (and some more) and has recently delivered killer collaborations with Oliverse and Spag Heddy.
It’s got to be Tisoki.
June 15 sees him releasing his next EP – Time Travel – on his own self-titled imprint. Ranging from the electroid hurly burly of the title track to the trapped out G-business of Stussin (with Gravity), it’s another all-corner covering raffish bass collection from the man who’s taken the genre by storm in the last few years.
One of the most frank, honest and singular artists we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing lately, we called him up to find out more. From ghost producing to depression and anxiety via heavy metal cover versions of dubstep bangers, Tisoki goes deep…
2017: A big year in the world of Tisoki?
Sometimes I think so. It ebbs and flows, like life really. At points it feels like everything is happening all at once, then at other points it feels like I can’t do enough. A couple of years ago I started working with Borgore and made the mistake of assuming I’d made it and could relax a tiny bit… I quickly realised you can’t ever do that in this industry. You have to constantly prove yourself.
Good to learn that lesson early, though, right? You’ve since gone on to worked with a bucket list level of labels from Rottun to Ram, Disciple to Firepower. Was that a result of that realisation?
In a way, but these guys I’ve worked with have been friends of mine through musical connections. But yeah after that realisation I knew I needed to put my ass in gear and couldn’t slack. Basically any opportunity that’s come along, I’ve taken it. The lesson I learnt was way better to learn that at the start – if it takes you half way through your career it would be a lot harder. So yeah I’ve made sure I’m open to ideas from a lot people and opportunities
I’ve seen posts of yours advising aspiring artists to think about not signing exclusively to labels
I love and have huge respect for labels I work with. They’re awesome – they give you so many great options and opportunities. If it wasn’t for Buygore then I wouldn’t be talking to you now. But I prefer the freedom and being able to experiment more and mess around with sounds and ideas. For some artists it works really well but for me it would feel like sticking to just one genre and would be very frustrating.
Yeah you cover a lot of ground…. That’s important to you, right?
Absolutely. I used to do a lot of ghost production and back-end work of productions. Being in that headspace has influenced me a lot – I’ve had to take on other sounds and ideas and genres. So I think that’s why there isn’t a defined Tisoki sound yet. I cover a lot ground because I’ve done that professionally
Are you ghost producing now? And was it in just bass music or much broader?
It was a lot of different genres. I don’t do it as much now because it was to just pay the bills. That’s the reality of being a producer now; ghost producing and making sample packs pays the bills and keeps your head afloat. It also gives you a break from your music and puts you in a different headspace. It’s strange challenge to rise to. It makes you think differently. But when it’s done, it’s done – you get paid and move on. I’ve never actively sought after these productions like a sperm donor trying to find his child.
Ha! So it sounds like you work very quickly and prolifically?
Most the time. But then you have those ideas that take all kinds of variations until you get it right. I’ve had one idea that must be 18 months old and I’m still going back over it. The other day I realised how shit my drums sounded so I deleted everything and started again. It sounds so much better now but it took months to work that out. It’s weird how it works but any producer reading this will understand.
Speaking of deleting things – you mentioned in a past interview about deleting soundcloud because you have OCD. Do you suffer from that badly?
I’m never too sure where I am on the mental scale really. I do have ADHD and I am all over the place. I can’t remember saying that in that interview but it might have been to do with my branding / online image because it all feels so sporadic – like the way I work. I can never focus on anything and sometimes I do feel like starting again. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression but I’ve found that most of my peers have also experienced that too. Benga really smashed the doors down with that discussion and got people talking and thinking more about it. A lot of guys were shrugging it off and putting it down to hangovers when in reality they’re seriously depressed. We’re only just beginning to take this topic seriously.
Amen. You made me laugh with the comment about people getting in touch with you and getting pissed if you don’t reply…
Ah that. Yeah… This is what bothers me. You can message the biggest artist in the world by clicking one button. If you don’t get a message from a really big guy then you think ‘ah yeah he’s a big guy so he won’t reply’ But then you go to an artist of my level’s Soundcloud and send a message. If you don’t get a response then suddenly it’s on a more human level. Like we’re supposed to reply because we’re not these untouchable superstars. We’re just as busy. We don’t have to reply.
There’s a sense of entitlement and it’s sad to think that the bigger your fanbase is, the more untouchable you are. In reality we’re all the same – we’re all humans. It’s just numbers on a screen. If someone doesn’t want to reply or doesn’t want to give an unreleased track or collaborate with you then that’s their decision – you shouldn’t get personal about it. Take away the Snapchat and Instagram and everything else and we’re all just regular human beings and we’ll all end up six feet under. That’s why I love Australia so much. They don’t put anyone on a pedestal. They don’t fanboy you. They’re down to earth.
I think for touring artists visiting Australia it’s fun because you may only get to go there once a year and it’s a long way away… They respect that you’ve travelled all that way and want to party with them.
Yeah 100% I’ve got the best memories from my tour there. Easily one of the highlights of my career and that’s mainly down to the people and the whole experience. I didn’t want to go on my own so my manager came out with me as well – we stopped over in Dubai and Singapore on the way there and was just so much fun.
Your EP’s fun too… Self-released, right?
Yeah it’s self-released. It’s been a really interesting and exciting exercise and learn distribution and marketing and PR and how the whole process works. It’s really important to understand that side of the industry and not just make music and throw it around labels. We’ll see how it goes.
Touring as much as possible, a few remixes. Oliverse and I are writing metal covers of each song on the EP. It’s fucking awesome.
Yeah it’s a dream of mine! I would love to get them on a metal label if possible – like a label miles away from dubstep or anything traditional or typical to bass music. And if no one bites then I’ll put them out myself. They’re so different and so cool to do.
Can’t wait to hear them. So, final question. I’m giving you have a time machine. You have three trips. Where are you going to go? WHERE?
Damn! I haven’t thought of this. Well Australia last year was sick, I already told you about that. That’s a must. I guess going back to see Michael Jackson in his prime, perhaps around Thriller or Bad tours… He’d have been incredible to see.
And for your final trip…
Back to the dinosaurs! It has to be. I’ve said in other interviews that it really does feel like life is a simulation. I know earth is a sphere, I know it’s not flat but it does feel like something is simulated. So to go back right to the very start of this thing we understand as existence would be an insight. It would be insane.
Tisoki – Time Travel is out June 15. Pre-order