WHERE TRIBAL MEETS MODERN ENGINEERING
Even though it might not share the rhythm or beat that conventional Borneo music usually has, toot!'s music definitely has the capacity to inspire a new experimental path for Borneo music. toot! developed his musical language through Borneo inspired musical elements with an electronic twist. What we find inspiring is, toot! music 'Sarawak' and 'Borneo' demonstrated an unexpected harmony through combination of two seemingly conflicting music types- tribal and contemporary music language. We hope his music could inspire more daring attempts in Borneo music in future.
B: Borneo Art Collective
B: Could you describe your group and group title in brief?
t: toot! is just 1 person, I make electronic music with influences from many different styles and traditions.
B: Why and how did you start this music group?
t: toot! was originally started in 2007 as a project to make danceable music with a ‘positive’ sound palette as the clubs in London were mostly playing dark dubstep at the time.
B: Who/what influenced you to begin this music group?
t: It’s hard to say exactly as I’d always loved making music but I guess the mid to late 90’s output of Warp records was influential in me wanting to make electronic music.
Aphex Twin’s music in particular had a big effect on me as it’s full of emotion and imagination.
20th century classical music also had a big influence on me, as did anything which didn’t confine itself to genre conventions.
B: Tell us more about the history and your story of your instruments, where is the best setting to appreciate them?
t: I use a mixture of digital and analog electronic equipment as well as electric and acoustic instruments.
I also carry a digital stereo recorder at all times and record interesting sounds as I go about my day to day life. I like manipulating these sounds and using them as instruments within music, bringing the ‘soul’ of whatever I’ve recorded into the track.
B: Tell us more of your creative process of incorporating indigenous Borneo sound into your music?
t: The tracks ‘Borneo’ and ‘Sarawak’ were arranged on computer using sounds made in software as well as a Yamaha TX81Z synthesiser, some jaw harps, field recordings and some acoustic percussion.
Before starting work on the tracks I spent a few weeks looking into the music of the region and trying to learn some typical features so that I could combine them with features from other styles (in this case mostly UK dance music).
One instrument that I would’ve liked to included but didn’t is the sape. It’s obviously a very important part of culture in Borneo but the sound of it is too ‘happy’ for what I was trying to achieve in these 2 tracks. Maybe I can use the sound of sape in a future track.
B: Where do you see your group evolving in the near future? What are you busy working on at the moment?
t: toot! is becoming a name that I’ll use to make music by commission and I’ve recently started a new project for personal music in order to keep them separate.
You can hear the first track from the new project here:
B: How do you see Borneo music at the moment?
t: As an outsider I don’t have a very good knowledge of the state of music in Borneo. From my research on the internet it seems healthy, traditions are being kept alive and new influences are coming in and keeping things fresh.
B: How could people access your music at the moment? Where do you play your music?
I play live sets and dj sets around England, mostly London.
B: Please recommend stories/projects/individuals/groups that we should reach out to in order to expand the Borneo Art Collective network.
t: I don’t remember specific names from the research I did last year but came across this album which I liked very much and purchased.
B: What would be your message to aspiring fellow Borneo Artists?
t: The message to any artist is to do what you do for love and to express yourself rather than trying to copy someone.
Check out toot!'s music at: