23-year-old Tobtok aka Tobias Karlsson, is one of the latest and most exciting musical exports calling from Uppsala, Sweden.
Tobtok’s influences have been wide and varied over the years, with rock and metal among his very first finds at the age of 6. Being in a band through his teens, an all-encompassing love for everything that is music filled his life. A long lasting affiliation and respect for Michael Jackson brought around his softer side, and at 17 the natural progression and discovery of old school disco.
Timing is everything, and Tobtok started to see the rise in popularity of Electronic and in-particular Nu Disco. The opportunity to put the fun back into music just like the 70’s was just too hard to resist, and he set about perfecting his techniques and started to produce on a more serious level.
To date, he lists Nile Rodgers as one of his biggest influences musically, although many of these influences come away from music and just through life. Having been diagnosed with cancer and told there was a 50% chance he would lose most of his hearing during treatment (he had a different operation at 7 years old to remove a cyst from his ear drum), Tobtok now grabs every opportunity with both hands.
”when I heard about the side-effect of chemo affecting your nerves in the ear I got devastated. Music has always been the biggest passion in my life, and this would mean that I wouldn’t be able to work with music. During the treatment my hearing got worse pretty fast, I couldn’t produce at all basically. Now afterwards I feel really blessed, and take it as a sign that this is kind of my fate.”
Tobtok celebrated a year in remission last year with the release of his track ‘Savanna’, a track he started writing the day after his year check-up out of happiness.
Savanna later went on to be signed to the Parisian label ‘Kitsune’ as part of an EP release after Tobtok’s remix of ”Years & Years – Real”. The remix took him to new levels and got him noticed by the well known French label, which was also exclusively premiered on Majestic Casual. The EP was supported by a host of online channels, including Indie Shuffle, The Vibe Guide, Dancing Astronaut and more.
Tobtok signed to Christian Tattersfield label ‘Good Soldier Records’ and ‘Good Soldier Publishing’ in 2014, joining artists such as The 1975, Birdy and Oliver Nelson. His First release on the label was “Higher” which featured vocals from Emil Hero from the Swedish Indie-Export “Urban Cone”
Higher was supported with 8x BBC Radio 1 plays and made ”hype track of the week” by Zane Lowe with additional plays from Pete Tong, Annie Nightingale and Phil Taggart. A wealth of online support was also provided and Higher hit No. 1 in Hype Machine.
During 2014 he got the job of remixing some of the best artists of the year, including The Magician’s hit Sunlight ft. Years & Years, Zak Waters, Lemaitre, Charlie Winston, Blonde, Icona Pop and Ella Henderson.
2014 ends perfectly with DJ Mag calling him ‘Man of the moment’.
In January 2015 Tobtok signed to one of the biggest DJ agencies in the world, ‘Connected Artists’, alongside heavyweight names such as Avicii, Alesso, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, Otto Knows and more. Tobtok is already confirmed for festivals such as ‘Creamfields’ – the UK’s largest electronic dance festival as well as a London date in June with Kitsune at The Laundry.
Tobtok has also seen recent support from YouTube channel Majestic Casual and This Song Is Sick (Blog/Soundcloud with over 600,000 followers) with his remix of Hard Rock Sofa & Skidkha – Arms Around Me. In less than 7 days the track has accumulated over 200,000 plays across both platforms.
Summer has been one hell of a journey for Tobtok, supporting the likes of Martin Garrix