- Ellie McGuire
Interview - Toola
Toola is slowly sneaking away from electrical engineering into becoming a full-time DJ and producer. He enters every venue with his enthusiastic personality not knowing what he is going to play, but naturally gets the crowd’s attention.
He returns with his brand-new track 'La Ola' which has a happy latino feel to it alongside a tech house production.
We sat down with Toola to discuss his music and much more. Here is what he had to say:
Hey Toola, welcome to FLEX! How are you?
Hey! Had a pretty long week this week but overall I’m doing really good!
Congratulations on your latest single ‘La Ola’ - what inspired this particular track?
Thank you! The idea behind this particular track came to me when I was in Mexico last spring. I was waiting in line at a taco stand to grab some breakfast, and all of a sudden a mariachi band approached the stand and started singing. The Spanish guitar and combined vocals really stood out to me, and I thought it would be really cool to maybe use that sound on a track. For the actual beat of the track, I was really inspired by The Martinez Brother’s percussion groove. For some reason their tracks always made me start moving before it actually came in. So I always wanted to make a track that had the same element as that, in which I think this one really does.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Ha ha ha yeah, if you would consider waiting in line in front of a taco stand an “event”.
And do you have to be in a certain mood to create music? For my music creating process, I generally have to be in two different moods. The first one is pretty basic, but I just have to be in an “inspirational” mood. Meaning I just have to be inspired by something. That thing could be a sample that I find, a chord progression, a bass line, or even just coming back from another artist's show; and I just realized that that always happens at night. That’s usually how I start a track and then I would just keep building on it until I have something that’s solid. My second mood is to just feel really productive. This is the part of the process where I have to sit down with clean ears and finish the track. This includes the track arrangement, finalizing sounds, mixing, mastering, and just hearing it to see if it’s actually good. Now this part does always happen very early during the day and does include a lot of caffeine.
Any plans to release any sort of video for this track? Probably not, maybe some videos on my socials with me or other DJ's playing the track. But definitely not a music video kinda thing, just because I don’t feel this is the kind of track that would actually include that.
How was the recording and writing process? In the beginning it was really fun, but it got really frustrating towards the end because I ended up making like eight different versions and I just couldn’t pick which one to actually release. Recording the guitar however was really exciting because it was a new aspect that I haven’t really done before in terms of an acoustic guitar. I had to record it at like half speed because honestly I just couldn’t play it that fast. And if I’m being even more honest, I had to split into several takes and just glue them together. And I had to figure out a way to make an acoustic guitar sound more like a classical guitar. Which ended up with me using a guitar synth on top of the acoustic recording.
For viewers who don’t know Toola, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is really hard to describe, overall it's under the umbrella of house music. But you’ll always find me fading in and out from different sub genres of house. You’ll especially find me taking a cultural sound (latin, afro, soul, etc.) and building a track around it in some sort of way. What’s the music scene like where you live? Well right now I live between Cairo and Los Angeles, and they’re both very different scenes and extremely hard to describe. I do feel like the scene in LA has a more open ear in terms of actually hearing new sounds and ideas. Cairo does also have that but just not in the same way. Cairo on the other hand though has a much better crowd and just overall vibe. And what are some of those activities that you engage yourself in when you aren't writing or recording in the studio?
Usually studying for school, djing, working out, or cooking. I really do enjoy cooking because whenever I take a break from studying, I usually start writing music, and when I take a break from music I go back to studying. So cooking is just a really good way for me to take a break from everything.