Interview With Drum & Bass Producer, T.G.M.

"I wanted my music to represent the divine, illuminating spiritual world but also have a feel of the passion I have for Drum & Bass and still have the energy and hard hitting drums that hooked me in to this fantastic genre of music."-T.G.M

"I wanted my music to represent the divine, illuminating spiritual world but also have a feel of the passion I have for Drum & Bass and still have the energy and hard hitting drums that hooked me in to this fantastic genre of music."-T.G.M

England's Toby George Martin (or T.G.M) is quickly making a name for himself in the underground Drum & Bass circuit by way of his stellar productions. Layered pads coupled with heavy breaks and gritty bass round out the sound of the Bournemouth product. 

His work has not gone unnoticed as his Divinity Searching EPs have been signed to Omni Music and Monochrome Recordings respectively. Despite his age, Toby has a very mature sound that harkens back to the days of old. Now living in California, T.G.M continues to evolve his sound and artistic flare.

Bournemouth, England.

Prox: Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and what was it about Drum & Bass that caught your attention?

T.G.M: My name is Toby George Martin AKA T.G.M and I was born and raised in a small beach town called Bournemouth on the South coast of sunny, sunny England. I now live in Truckee, California. I have two older brothers so their choice in music really influenced my own taste. I remember back in 2001, when I was 8 years old, my oldest brother brought home a compilation CD which included the track Planet Dusk by Bad Company. This was my first experience with Drum & Bass and it absolutely blew my mind. Everything about it just seemed so perfect and so relevant to my 8 year old self. The energy, the intense, hard hitting drums and the way it took me on a journey was everything I was looking for in music.

Prox: Why did you decide to pursue music? Do you have any professional training?

T.G.M: I always knew that music was the only path for me in life, it has been my passion for as long as I can remember and honestly I had no ambition to pursue any other career. No plan B haha. As for professional training, I studied Music Production & Audio Engineering at Manchester MIDI School, UK. I am also a professional Audio Engineer so my everyday life is spent in the studio recording, mixing, and producing bands/artists. That has definitely helped me in the way of inspiration, technical ability, and having a trained ear.

Prox: Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?

T.G.M: Growing up I had a very different taste in music than I do today. I was an extreme Korn fan, EXTREME fan haha. Some of my other favorite artists were Slipknot, System Of A Down, Rammstein, Limp Bizkit, you get the drift. After experiencing my first taste of Drum & Bass, I was intently searching for a style that resembled the genre of music I loved growing up. Then one day while searching something like “dark heavy drum and bass” I stumbled across Limewax and my whole life changed. I felt as if I had stumbled across a gold mine. Suddenly, I had a whole list of favorite artists, Technical Itch, Dylan, Limewax, Current Value, Donny, Rawthang, Gein, Panacea, just to name a few. From age 12 to 19 I was listening to heavy, hard hitting Drum & Bass every waking moment and me and my friends were constantly on the decks, showing off our new vinyl records and probably deafening the whole street haha.

Prox: Were you influenced by the “Golden Era” producers like LTJ Bukem, Goldie, Photek, Seba, etc? 

T.G.M: I’m a bit too young for the true “Golden Era” of Drum & Bass and to me my golden era artists were as I mentioned before, Tech Itch, Dylan , etc. Honestly, I was about 21 when I started paying any attention to LTJ Bukem, Goldie, Photek, Seba. It wasn’t until I had matured both mentally and spiritually that I began to seek more peaceful, divine music. I am hugely influenced by artists like Enya, Deep Forest, Enigma, and Adiemus but obviously Drum & Bass is totally lodged in my brain.

Prox: How did you develop your particular sound? Did you produce any other kinds of music before you got into Drum & Bass?

T.G.M: My sound is just a representation of the paths and journeys I have taken during my life. When I made the Searching & Divinity EP’s it was spring/summer time, I was watching the sunrise every morning and surrounding myself in the beauty and purity of nature. I think that really came out in the EP’s. You can probably tell from my Soundcloud page that this winter was a pretty long and harsh one up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and that was reflected in the darker, heavier “Celestial Wisdom EP” I recently posted. I’m very glad the sun is finally making an appearance again and I can surround myself in some beautiful nature and make some more peaceful, uplifting music.

Also, I do dabble in old school, boom bap style Hip-Hop beats from time to time. Just to switch it up a bit. I never get around to finishing any of them though, I have a whole lot of pretty decent, unfinished Hip-Hop beats on my hard drive. Maybe I’ll just give them out for free.

Prox: You’ve been featured on two of the fantastic underground labels Monochrome Recordings and Omni Music. What’s it like to be a part of two very distinguished labels?

T.G.M: It is an honor to be able to make music from the soul and know that there are people out there who appreciate it and maybe understand the meaning and energy put into each song. Monochrome Recordings and Omni Music have been fantastic and have really helped me to become more than just a guy making music in my spare time and having no-one other than my wife listen haha.

Big up to Yankowsky and Eschaton, they are truly keeping the art alive and appreciate music with feeling and emotion rather than just thinking about the dollar, if only more label owners were like that. So if you’re reading this, thank you.

Prox: What was the creative process like for your latest EP Searching? How does this release differ from the previous release, Divinity?

T.G.M: The two EP’s creative process were actually pretty different. The Searching EP was actually created and signed before the Divinity EP but didn’t get released until afterwards. The Searching EP actually started out as just a single song “Searching". I sent it over to Yankowsky and he really liked it and asked me if I had any more songs to send over. Just before that I had left my laptop and both my hard drives on a train so I only had the one song that I could call my own. My first thought after Yankowsky asked for more tunes was… shit, I need to make some more music. So all of the other tracks on the EP were made especially with a Monochrome EP in mind and in a very short amount of time. 6 songs in a week, not bad haha.

As for the Divinity EP, they were 4 tracks that I had made over the course of the spring with no release in mind and they just seemed to fit together so I decided to make them into an EP. I was looking for a label that would fit that style of Drum & Bass and what better label than Omni Music.

Prox: You have tracks entitled Paneurhythmy and Omraam. Are you a student of Aïvanhov’s teachings? How have they impacted your life and music?

T.G.M: Woah, what a great question. I am very happy (and quite surprised) I was asked about this. Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov’s teachings are a huge part of my life. They have really helped me to choose the right path and to understand that in life we all have a job to do. I am very glad that naming my tracks after things very important to me have maybe shed some light on things that play a huge part in my life. As for impacting my music, his teachings are a huge part of my sound. Without getting too deep, I realized that there is a reason a 8 year old child is listening to bands like Slipknot, Korn, Rammstein and unfortunately they are not particularly good reasons. After growing spiritually, I realized music like this isn’t attracting the types of entities that I want around me (by all means no disrespect to any of these artists, they still hold a deep place in my heart). I wanted my music to represent the divine, illuminating spiritual world but also have a feel of the passion I have for Drum & Bass and still have the energy and hard hitting drums that hooked me in to this fantastic genre of music.

Prox: How close are we to your first LP?

T.G.M: Urmm honestly I have no idea haha. Making music is usually a very unplanned thing that just happens sometimes when I sit at the computer. The unsigned “Celestial Wisdom EP” could have potentially been an LP but as the weather started getting better the songs I was creating started to get more peaceful, relaxing, and uplifting so I had to cut that EP to just 4 songs. Depending on how many songs I make this spring/summer, I might have an LP by the end of it. 

Prox: Who are some your favorite artists? Do you have a dream collaboration(s) you’d like to do?

T.G.M: There are too many to list and out of fear of missing some artists out I’m not going to say any. If anyone out there is creating from the heart and soul and thinks our sounds would work well together, I’d love to do a collaboration. I also have an old friend from back in England who is an extremely successful Drum & Bass artist that I’m waiting to do a collab with. If you’re reading this Jason… get on it haha.

Prox: Tips for aspiring producers?

T.G.M: My biggest tip is find your own sound. Don’t try to sound like anyone else, mix and blend all of the different types of music you personally love and see if it works. Experiment. Do unexpected things that might never work. Listen to music completely different from what you’re trying to create. Personally, I would say don’t start a song with a style or genre in mind, just see where it goes. 

Prox: Information on upcoming projects or anything other cool stuff?

T.G.M: I actually have no upcoming projects. That doesn’t at all mean I’m not making music, I’m just unorganized when it comes to projects and usually just put songs together when they’re finished. My wife and I actually have a child on the way so you never know, you might hear a children's music album from me soon. Watch out Raffi haha.

Prox: Final Thoughts?

T.G.M: Thank you so much for having me be a part of the fantastic Inside The Rift. Big up to everyone who's creating any kind of music, any kind of art. Everyone out there who's trying to get signed, published, appraised, or whatever and feel like it’s an uphill battle, just do your own thing, be nice to people, put your heart and soul into it and it’ll all be okay. Expect a lot more from me. Good thoughts, good words, good deeds. 

You can learn more about Toby, here.