Tobtok & farfetch

Interview: Tobtok & farfetch’d Talk Their Joint EP, Perfect Havoc, Future Projects & More

Tobtok has always worked in his own lane, from his early nu disco signings to highly respected French label Kitsuné – who released his only EP to date, ‘Savanna’ – to his more dancefloor-geared signings to Selected, as heard on ‘My Carousel’. There have been plenty of nods to the Swede’s talents over the years, from specialist spins from Pete Tong and Zane Lowe to being asked to curate Toolroom’s Miami Poolside compilation. 

Although still early on in their career, farfetch’d, aka Jerry Sjödin and Johnny Bergström, have been making waves of their own. Taking influence from old-time childhood heroes and fusing the feelings of the past with those of today, their music spans genres and is always drenched in love and happiness. Just check out their releases on Spinnin’, Axtone and Soave for evidence.

Tobtok and farfetch’d go way back to when they first bonded over their love of nu-disco and French house when meeting at a student club night and have since produced together on singles for Selected and Perfect Havoc. 

‘So Good’ is the latest single to see release from the forthcoming ‘My Friends’ EP by Swedish producers and long-time friends, Tobtok and farfetch’d. Following in the vein of its experimental predecessor, ‘I Like When You’, which received loving feedback from tastemakers ranging from Auntie Flo to Sam Divine, ‘So Good’ is an alarmingly refreshing release. Into a high-energy stutter house track, it packs in a styled-up drill beat with an uplifting choir vocal to show yet again that these producers are on the most accomplished streak of their careers so far. You can buy/stream it here:

We caught up with Tobtok & farfetch’d at the height of releasing tracks from their EP, deep-diving into an immersive chat around the tracks, their relationship with each other, the label, creative processes and much more: 

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your collaborative EP? What was the creative process like?

Tobtok: I and Jerry from farfetch’d have known each other for years now, and both started out doing French House and Nu Disco but have kinda left it on the shelf.

We have both been quite focused on making commercial music, but with this Ep, we were trying to go back to those roots and incorporate things we are currently inspired by and not trying to think so much about what’s mainstream and not. We had so much fun doing these tracks!

farfetch’d: As Tobias said, we think that there’s been a lot of focus in the past years on trying to keep up with genre pockets and matching the current trends. Basically, the creative process has been just to make things fun again. Doing something that we feel we can stand behind and laugh about!

How did the collaboration between Tobtok and farfetch’d come about? What made you decide to work together?

Tobtok: We’ve always loved the same kind of music and have known each other for a while, but it has just not happened until lately. It all started with “Feelings” a few years ago, and after that, we’ve just done a bunch of records together. 

farfetch’d: Yep, we’ve been trying to do something like this for years, but it hasn’t really fit into any of our release schedules. Finally, we had a clear window during the winter for producing this and making it happen. Very fun experience!!!

What sets your latest single, “So Good”, apart from your previous releases? Can you share any behind-the-scenes stories or interesting moments during its production?

Tobtok: Well, first of all, it’s probably the fastest track I’ve ever done with 135 bpm. I guess going faster is the new and hot thing, and we wanted to try it out, and I think it works well. It’s fun that producers are moving away from the radio formulas and trying to be a bit more playful, especially with arrangements.

This track actually started out much slower and was more of a Major Lazer kind of vibe where I attempted to sing a lead. I’ve never really used my voice on any record before for a reason, and we both agreed that it sounded a bit cringe. Although, there’s a little vocal adlib that’s from me still in the record!

farfetch’d: Wow. Well, we’ve never touched this area at all before. Of course, the style is extremely playful, which matches our agenda with farfetch’d and process with Tobtok. 

Yes, and this one was very much a slow hip-buster to begin with. We had real issues in finishing this because we went completely over the line with Tobias mentioned vocal lead. The real key was when we raised the bpm. It’s amazing how a project can go from such a stalemate to a certified banger by just raising the pace by 20 bpm. Very fun.

Tobtok & farfetch'd

How would you describe the overall sound and vibe of the EP? Are there any specific influences or musical styles that you incorporated?

Tobtok: French-Touch, Stutter House, Nu-Disco, Deep House, Chill House, Piano House. The list goes on.

farfetch’d: Yes, so there’s French touch/micro sampling going on everywhere; there’s one song in particular on the EP that’s our personal dancefloor favourite. It will be a part of the full release this fall.

There’s also a bunch of tech house influence and 90s takes in this. We mean, this has been a lot about taking experiences, influences and making a piece that we’re proud of. Implementing our skills and love for electronic music as much as possible. I’m sure that if we continued, this would’ve been a fucking four sides album. We had to stop somewhere. Maybe in the future, who knows!!

The EP and singles are released on Perfect Havoc, one of the UK’s most respected independents. What can you tell us about your relationship with the label and why you chose it for this project?

Tobtok: Well, I’ve worked with the guys since before Perfect Havoc even existed in 2013. We kind of built it all up together, and now the guys at PH have really built a machine in the dance world. I know they are always gonna care for me because we are like family, so having them work on this EP was a no-brainer.

farfetch’d: Yes, for sure, as Tobias mentioned. We’ve known the perfect havoc team for a long time, and it just made sense since Tobtok is signed there, and they really respected our creative thought. 

Can you share any memorable experiences or challenges you encountered while working on this project?

Tobtok: The absolute hardest challenge was mixing all the tracks together to sound like an entity. It was much harder than I thought because we didn’t really think about this when we made most of the tracks that it was gonna become an EP. We had to try and group everything together from all tracks and level everything and try and make them match sonically. 

It made sense to let the best in the game Wired Masters do the final stem master to get another perspective on it all.

farfetch’d: Well, basically, in our opinion, as always, the hardest part is finalising the songs and feeling completely satisfied. We’ve different approaches to this, as well as us and Tobtok; whereas he is a complete sound perfectionist, and we have a more do it while you’re still in the vibe kind of thing. Of course, our way is completely naive and a utopia in the head of a producer, but we still believe that it’s the best foundation for creative work, and we think that the EP symbolises that. We complete each other very well in that sense.

Tobtok & farfetch'd

How important is collaboration in your creative process? What do you think each artist brings to the table when working together?

Tobtok: On this EP, farfetch’d has definitely been a big creative driving force. Jerry has so many ideas all the time, and it seems like he just spits out small clips every night. We really complement each other, with me being more driving in sound design and arrangements etc. It has also helped that we have the same taste in music and like the same kind of synths and sounds etc. 

farfetch’d: Wow, yes, there’s a lot going on in my head all the fucking time, so I’m just trying to always put it all out there. This EP also really opened the creative floodgates. As Tobias says, I think that we complement each other in a very good way in terms of completely fucking around and keeping it professional and mature – Jerry.

Are there any future projects or collaborations in the pipeline? Can you give us a sneak peek into what fans can expect next?

Tobtok: We have a few tracks that could be potential follow-ups and maybe even some kind of side-project in the works. I know for sure that we are gonna do a lot more together in the future!

farfetch’d: Well, yes. As said earlier, we think that if we didn’t say stop this spring, this would’ve turned out to be a 5-hour electronic dance opera. There’s a lot going on with different experiments with old influences combined with newfound love. With that said, there’s a couple of sounds we’d like to bring back!

‘So Good’ by Tobtok & farfetch’d is out now on Perfect Havoc. Buy/stream here

The next single, ‘My Friends’, is available from Friday 18th August.

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