TOYO is a South Korean beatmaker and producer. He’s influenced by multiple artists and genres, from Jamiroquai to Ryuichi Sakamoto and Maurice Ravel. This explains his varied compositions which take us on a journey through styles, tempos and vibes.
Toyo’s most recent EP ‘Cashmere’ is as refreshing as a fruit salad on a hot summer’s day. Playing with different beats, mixing textures and tastes both acid and sweet, we’re left with a subtle, balanced but fresh piece of work!
We talked to Toyo, to find out more about the man behind this great record…
Tell us about your artist name…
TOYO. My name is ‘Toyo Lee’.
My parents named me ‘Toyo’ to be remembered easily.
It’s catchy actually. So I’m using it.
When did you start making music?
I was the average guy who played the piano in my childhood. And I was in a rock band at high school. I used to listen to RATM, Korn, Slipknot as well as Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai.
My major was Advertising at university and [I] worked in that, but I wanted to be a musician more.
So I studied music and plugins after work. And I quit my job at 30 to concentrate on music.
What is your process of creation?
Chord progressions first in general. I think about nice chords and progressions, lying on my bed, washing dishes and while I’m in the shower. And then I add some drums to it. When I produce hip-hop and trap music, it’s vice versa. I make drum beats first.
Talking about your latest release Cashmere, you add lyrics, dance and soul to your music. What inspired you to compose these tracks?
I wanted to make melodic tunes for chilling out. And I DJ sometimes at music festivals, so I put some dance vibes on it. Music on Majestic Casual affected this EP for sure.
Why did you want to add lyrics to those tracks?
Actually I don’t listen to or care about lyrics, so a friend of mine helped with the lyrics.
Who are your biggest references?
Maurice Ravel, Claude Achille Debussy, Erik Satie, Claude Bolling, Sakamoto Ryuichi, Shinichi Osawa, Jamiroquai, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs(TEED), Galimatias, Telepopmusik, Artful Dodger, Gotan Project, Koop, Telefon Tel Aviv, Tom Jobim, Ruben Gonzales and so many!
Which music genres are you currently listening to?
Hybrid Trap, Jungle Terror recently.
Which things inspires your music?
God and the Bible (I’m a christian) and practising and studying music everyday.
Can you show us the view from your window?
How’s the actual scene in Seoul? And how are the relationships between the emerging artists in this scene?
I think the music scene in Seoul has been run by emerging musicians recently. It is easy to produce music using software and there are so many music TV shows. New musicians are overflowing nowadays.
There are so many talented musicians. But many of them are rapping over other musician’s beats without permission. Stealing beats, cracking software, and rapping about social problems. It makes me sick.
Is Seoul open to new emerging artists and music? Which venues in Seoul are the best places to listen to new emerging artists?
Yes. I see new emerging artists performing at Soap, Muin and Cakeshop many times.
If you have nice tracks or are a talented DJ, they are open to you. Those clubs are looking for talented emerging artists for new gigs actually.
Are you working on any new material?
Yes. I’m making future bounce and hybrid trap festival tunes. It’s going to be totally different from my last EP.