New Music Friday: Tibasko
We back with another #NewMusicFriday feature! This time we had the pleasure of interviewing the DJ & Production duo 'Tibasko' who have dropped their very latest single 'HAWT'.
We got to catch up with Ken & Andy at our studio and got to know more about what goes into creating music as a duo, as well as about their future goals, style inspirations, aspirations and more...
Maria: We’re here today with Tibasko. Can I get you guys to introduce yourselves?
Andy: Yeah for sure, we are Ken and Andy. We are Tibasko, from Hertfordshire. We make electronic music in the dance space and we’ve been doing it now for about 5 or 6 years.
Maria: How did you get into music? How did it begin?
Ken: So for me personally I used to be in a band and then at Uni I learnt how to produce music and Andy's been DJing since Uni and playing regularly in the circuit in Birmingham. We've been mates since we were 10 years old, then when we graduated we linked up one day, made a tune and ended up getting signed in like 4 days.
Maria: Did you both study something music related?
Ken: Nah, I studied Psychology at Uni.
Andy: I did degree in Physical Education, Sports Science.
Maria: That’s quite a segway. So who would you say your musical influences are?
Andy: Within the electronic music world definitely people like - Bicep, John Hopkins, Bonobo, O'Flynn. I like these sort of weird electronic sounds. So it's not just so straight down the line, it’s also a bit to the left and has House mixed-in a little bit. We’ve also got loads of influences that are not in the electronic space like Hans Zimmer as well. We’re big into musical and gaming scores, just any sort of music really.
Maria: How do you come up with the name ‘Tibasko’?
Ken: It’s quite funny, Andy was rebranding his DJ brand at the time and we started making music together. When he was doing his rebrand, we thought let's start working on things together and I think it just sounded cool.
Andy: I think we were going down the sort of Afro-House and Tribal-House route. We thought about that and the name just landed itself. We made the colour palette very orange, vibrant and really fun so it just came together like that really.
Ken: It wasn’t intentional, about the sauce thing as well.
Maria: Yeah, it’s spelt differently.
Maria: How is your writing process as a duo?
Andy: Yes, it's good. I think as a duo it works really well because we can work together on parts and things but also separately as well. It’s also very rare that both of us have writer's block at the same time, if we’re both sitting in the studio and one of us goes “you know what I’ve got no idea” the other person takes the lead. We make music together in some places and then separately as well, so we like to go into the studio session and go right “what have you worked on this week?” and just show each other the ideas we’ve had and grow that organically together.
Maria: What would you say your goals are musically, this year and next year?
Ken: I think one of the key things we’re working towards now is creating a live set. Obviously doing DJ sets and that kind of thing but I think that the music we make lends itself more towards that live space. A live set-up is in the works at the moment and hopefully we’ll be able to debut it at some point.
Andy: An Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1, one of the big ones. A lot of our friends have been getting it at the moment.
Maria: Tell us a bit about your next single/release?
Andy: Yeah we can’t say too much on it but we’ve got something coming out soon… Our last single ‘HAWT’ was a little bit different to what we normally make, it was a little more commercial, a bit more fun and upbeat, which is quite a change from what we were making beforehand. This next single will be a hybrid between the old gritty underground Tibasko and the more happy, commercial and fun stuff we now make. That will be coming out in the next month or so.
Maria: How would you describe your ideal day off?
Ken: We have this thing when we’re travelling back from a gig - which is sort of like a day off. We listen to a lot of cinematics and movie soundtracks. When you’re in an environment that's chaotic and [there is] so much going on it's quite nice to have a bit of downtime. I personally like to game, I know Andy does as well. We recently bought a Nintendo Switch, Legend of Zelda is an absolute banger. Pretty typical, I love to watch a bit of Netflix and enjoy cooking as well.
Andy: Anything that’s not too loud. I think we live in quite like a loud workspace, clubs and the studio, everything’s quite loud. So anytime you can just have some downtime, hear your own thoughts and stuff, it’s quite nice.
Maria: How would you describe your fashion styles?
Andy: I like quite a lot of streetwear and vintage stuff as well. I like going through charity shops finding bits and bobs and then, every now and then I treat myself to designer stuff. Dabbling in it a little bit but not too, too much.
Ken: I think I’m similar but I quite like workwear stuff as well, I’m wearing Carhartt right now. I do like bright and louder colours. I try to implement that into my style with a mix of workwear and vintage stuff. I do buy a lot of second-hand stuff, I don’t know it’s just nice ain’t it.
Alya: Who are your fashion influences who you would get your inspiration from?
Andy: Great question, I would have said Kanye West beforehand… I’m not a massive fan of his but I know who Kanye gets his inspiration from. Shia LaBeouf is one of his massive influences, he’s got that homeless aesthetic, still looks really really cool somehow, he owns it. A lot of people don’t see him as a massive style icon but he actually is and Jonah Hill as well. Anyone who’s sort of pushing the vintage streetwear aesthetic and look.
Alya: Vintage is good because it’s more sustainable and you do find some really good finds from like centuries ago. It looks really cool now. You can even find things that were high end before but for a cheaper price…
Andy: Yeah, I think one of the big things for me in terms of style and fashion is something that's sort of unique to you. Something that either you made or altered yourself. For example, this jumper I've worn to a gig once, it had sleeves on it and I got a massive hole in it, so then I ripped off one of the arms and then the other one and I was like you know what it actually works. I think that’s so cool to me that no one else will have this exact item.
Ken: Yeah I was in a shop in Leeds, and the pieces that they had were just a mix of different clothing items put together. It’s almost like a fingerprint of a clothing item. Do you know what I mean?
Andy: It’s re-worked.
Ken: Yeah, re-worked stuff. I quite like Japanese style, it’s a bit classy and minimalistic. I quite like UNIQLO as a brand, baggy fits, you know just simple and straight to the point.
Maria: I know you guys are both into streetwear. Are there any Stööki pieces that are your favourite?
Ken: I like the Sector 2045 Gold Sovereign Ring which is quite minimalist and bulky. I do like wearing chains as well so I think I would really enjoy wearing this Havana Necklace, it’s really classic.
Maria: Do you keep your jewellery minimalistic as well?
Ken: I think that’s just my style, I keep things low-key. I don’t know if that’s a reflection of my personality or not but yeah, that’s what I quite like personally.
Andy: I’m more of a silver person myself, some of the bigger chunkier rings that Stööki have like the Championship Half-Sovereign are awesome. It’s like the old 90s sort of huge rings they have going on. You just feel more powerful, don't you?
Maria: Would you have any advice for artists?
Ken: A big one for us is to always support each other. A lot of our progress is down to people supporting us and it's not just been purely on the music or the live shows we do. There's a lot of people around us that have helped to support us, whether it's friends or artists who are a bit more established. I think it’s just making sure that you really look after those relationships and support other people as well. So there's artists out there that you love that are a bit more low-key and give them support because I think it goes a long way.
Andy: One of the best bits of advice I got when I was first coming up was just make as much music as possible, and get off your arse and just do it. Even if you’re not feeling super inspired or creative at the time, get off your arse and make 15-20 minutes of music. If you’re doing that every single day, you’re going to start to see results and get better. Surround yourself with the right people, go to the right parties, network and get yourself in those circles as that's when relationships start to develop. It’s a snowball effect from that point.
Maria: I think that’s good to hear, that there’s such a community behind it because a lot of time within the creative industry, they're so competitive.
Ken: Yeah I mean you know, we all have a dream that we're all trying to make happen. I don't think music is a competition in itself. People sometimes might perceive it that way because we try to get placements on things like Spotify or radio but I think yeah it goes a long way. Something that you could do for someone else can come back to you as well.
Maria: So where can we find more of your music for anyone who wants to hear more?
Andy: We’ve got loads of music on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, all major distribution sites. If you wanna hear any extended mixes check out our Soundcloud, we’ve got loads of mixes at the moment. If you wanna see us live, we’re doing lots of shows in the UK. Not quite sure how many we have in London at the moment. We’re doing Edinburgh tomorrow. We’re doing a load of gigs around Europe. We’ve got a couple of tours we have to announce and go on. Supporting Elderbreath on tour throughout Europe around tour and Yoto, throughout Europe the next couple of months.
Ken: Also we’ve got our 7 track EP on vinyl as well and we’ve also got only 11 ‘Hop’ vinyl’s left. The B-side has an unreleased track that is not gonna be put anywhere else, only on that vinyl. Jump in on that before it goes.
Maria: Lastly, you guys said you’re performing in quite a lot of places. Is there anywhere in particular you’re looking forward to performing the most?
Ken: I did ask you this on the train, didn’t I?
Andy: You actually asked me this exact question. What was my answer? The festival in Aberdeen was a lot of fun, last year we played there and it had a good vibe. I think any of the Europe dates as well, Germany, Budapest, we’re playing Stockholm. Getting to play in these new places is incredible.
Maria: Well thank you guys, was there anything else you wanted to add that I didn’t get the chance to ask?
Ken: Well thanks for having us guys. We appreciate you guys for having us and it’s been a nice day. I appreciate that.
Nadia: Can I just ask something? What’s the story behind that giraffe tattoo? It caught my eye.
Andy: Yeah, so there’s actually no story behind it at all. It just looked cool. All of my tattoos, they don’t really have any meaning or anything like that. I just saw it and I thought that would look really cool on my body. Why the hell not? I like old school Simpsons, I like giraffes.
Maria: Do you have any?
Ken: There’s a good story… We got tattoos in the US on our American tour last year. We had a day off and we saw a walk-in tattoo place. I’m like “should we get tattoos?” and we ended up getting tattoos, drinking mega mugs and went to an Irish bar. It’s literally a Tabasco bottle and I’ve got one here, I went travelling for 6 months and got it to kind of remember that. I feel like I want to get more in the future, I don't know what yet… it’ll come.