Interview with Danish DJ: THOBY
THOBY is a 20 year old DJ and producer who performed over 100 gigs in 2017 and shows no sign of slowing down in 2018. He has stopped by to share some of his experiences with performing, how he prepares, and some of his favorite memories thus far.
Do you wanna start by giving a background of yourself? What got you into music? EDM?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. Before I got into producing, I was actually a pretty decent singer. In 2015, I got interested in DJing after I saw my friend play at a festival called Wonderfestiwall. I just got lost imagining how amazing the feeling must be to stand on stage and watch all these people dance to the music you’re playing.
About three to four months after that, I was listening to a playlist on Spotify and suddenly heard a track called “Himalaya” by MORTEN. It had such a fantastically unique drop that it just made me fall in love with EDM. I thought to myself that this was something I would like to try my hand at so I watched a lot of videos and downloaded a whole bunch of sample packs and thus, THOBY was created!
Have you sung on any tracks since?
Not on any EDM tracks, but I have created some piano covers for some songs.
How did you go about creating your network for getting gigs and releasing tracks?
I started at a very small pub before moving on to a small club where I was a resident for two months. Then they closed down and with that I lost all my gigs. Out of the blue, one of the two biggest clubs on the island where I lived called me up and asked if I’d like to be a resident DJ! Of course, I accepted and I ended up playing there fifty to sixty times in 2017. I also got to play at our largest venue as a supporting act for three of the biggest Danish bands and once as a headliner with other performers like Nonsens!
Why do you think the biggest club called you up to be a resident?
The friend that played at the festival told them about me and recommended me for the position!
Could you tell us more about the differences in preparing and performing as a resident DJ versus DJing at a concert?
Well, let me give you a little anecdote about that. When I got the news that I was going to be playing my first big gig at this venue called Musikhuzet as a supporting act for this Danish group called Ude Af Kontrol, I started preparing like crazy for my set for like, two weeks. When the event finally rolled around and I walked up on stage, I got so nervous that I completely forget the whole set I had prepared. I ended up having to improvise and play an entirely different set right on the spot and it seriously turned out 100% better than the one I prepared. So from that gig onwards, I have never planned out a set.
Nowadays, all the preparation I do for my gigs is look for new music, mashups, and remixes like two or three days before the event so that I will have some fresh stuff in my collection. When I get my first festival gig though, I think I’ll probably create a set beforehand for that. Like plan it out more.
How do you look for new music?
SoundCloud. Whenever I find a good track, I look through the recommendations and find a lot of other stuff through there.
just an amazing feeling because when I first started out as a DJ, they told me that it would never happen for me but after the show, they told me they were wrong and that were very proud of me and how far I’ve come. It was just a really special night all around.
Did they enjoy the show?
They told me that it was very good and that it was better than they expected. They aren’t the biggest fans of the genre but they said they enjoyed my set very much.
That’s such an incredible story! I think I’d like to talk now about how you manage to keep up your production skills between all of the gigs you have going on.
Whenever I decide to take some time to make a track, I start out by picking a genre and start rolling with it. Sometimes it ends up being that genre or it can evolve into a completely other beast in some cases. Usually it takes around three to four weeks to finish a track but I had this period of like two to three months where I didn’t make anything because I was so busy with the gigs that I just didn’t have the time to produce. These days, sometimes I’ll sit backstage and work on my tracks before the shows start.
What does your life outside of music look like?
I am student at something called KUU at Bornpro which is where I make the most of my money and the gigs just provide a bit of extra income.
You make money as a student?
Yeah, it's kind of like having a job because I earn money when I’m in class and stuff. We get paid for being educated here in Denmark. We’re pretty lucky in that aspect!
What have been some of your proudest moments so far?
There are definitely a few moments that come to mind: seeing my name on that poster, my parents telling me that they’re proud of me, playing my first sold out gig, and when I was the headliner for the second year in a row and played the best set of my life on December 25, 2017.
And finally, where do you hope to go from here?
There are three things that I look forward to doing: my first festival gig, first international gig, and first tour experience. It’s not my dream to become the biggest DJ in the world; I just want to earn enough money from doing it so that I can rely on music as my sole source of income.
A big thanks to THOBY for taking the time to answer our questions! He's got a lot of great tracks coming up! (One of which is in the mix embedded at the top of the page!) So be sure to follow him on social media to be up to date on all his latest endeavors!
Chris W. Lao
DJ, Writer, and Student.
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