Breakthrough UK duo Tibasko are quickly establishing themselves as purveyors of an epic, highly melodic and unique sound that sits somewhere between breaks, house, techno and trance. Annie Mac has been a huge supporter over the last couple of years, which has led to plaudits from BBC Introducing, naming them in The Hot List of acts in August 2019 and number three in their Ones to Watch 2020 list.
They’ve also been named by Kiss FM as Ones to Watch for 2020 and have had previous releases on notable labels such as W&O Street Tracks and Toolroom with DJ support including Denis Sulta, Hammer, The Black Madonna and many more.
Ahead of their next single Reverie which lands August 7th on Another Rhythm, we caught up with the guys for a Little Talk.
WWD: To kick us off, can you tell us about how you met, and when you decided to start working together as Tibasko?
Andy: We first met in secondary school, it was such a long time ago I can’t really recall the circumstances, but we were in the same group of friends for a while and we were friends for around five or six years before we ever considered producing tracks together. Ken was producing music for a while at that point with a more Indie/RnB swing whilst I was DJ’ing at University delving deep into the rabbit hole that is electronic music.
Ken: Tibasko came about after a mutual conversation between us, we wanted to collaborate on something electronic as this was new territory for me, production-wise. We created a track that night which was signed the very next day, from that point we shifted all of our efforts to a collaborative project, and in that Tibasko was born.
WWD: Who are some of your musical heroes?
Andy: Whenever we think to musicians we inspire to produce like, there’s one name that always comes up for both of us. Hans Zimmer’s ability to capture emotion in a piece of music is one thing we always strive for in our productions. Whether he can create tension, release, or hold you in a state of euphoria, Hans has been a musical hero for us. His works on films such as Interstellar, Inception and Dunkirk always leave us speechless.
Ken: Yeah, totally agree with Andy. Within our own music, we aim to create similar emotions that we hope to transfer onto the dancefloor. One of our favourite acts that perfectly captures this are Bicep. Bicep’s simplistic stripped back and synth-driven records will always hold a soft spot in our hearts too.
WWD: As a duo, has lockdown made working on music together more challenging? How have you overcome this?
Andy: I wouldn’t say challenging as such, but it certainly has affected our workflow. Where lockdown has hindered our ability to create music together it has, in fact, enabled us to create more music separately, we would then ping across stems to each other and work together like this.
Ken: We’ve started to FaceTime each other when working on stuff to get a second opinion, it’s obviously not an ideal situation but being able to adapt to the different situations will mean that we come out of lockdown much better producers than when we started. We’ve seen a massive increase in the output of new, quality tunes than before the pandemic.
WWD: Is it fair to say that your music markedly changed direction a couple of years back? If so, was there anything in particular that prompted the switch?
Ken: I think as new producers on the scene to truly understand and know the sound that you want to pursue you need to sample all kinds of music, over the last two years we have definitely seen a shift in the vision in terms of our productions. Our last two releases in ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Solum’ and our new track ‘Reverie’ perfectly encapsulate the new route we wanted to go down.
WWD: Your next track, Reverie, is pretty epic in scale… will that be the vibe of your music going forward?
Andy: When people see our name, we want them to be excited by our music – we want a range of emotions and feelings to be portrayed to the listener. We feel that Reverie is a track you can really close your eyes and feel immersed in, whether it’s on the dance floor, in your room, or listening in your car. As long as we can perfectly capture moments like that within our music, we will keep making music like that. Think big lead synths, drowning sub-bass, and high-octane vocals.
WWD: One thing electronic music can sometimes be accused of is being a little clinical, but there’s a huge amount of emotion present in your recent records. Is that something you’re intentionally aiming for?
Ken: When producing music, we set out to capture a feeling, emotion, or a moment within our music. This can be translated onto the dance floor and hopefully be received by listeners. We’re both super happy and appreciative that the music we make is so well received and the message we put into it is coming across loud and clear.
WWD: We’ve been told there are some pretty striking visuals that will be accompanying your upcoming releases. Is there anything we can share with the WWD readers?
Andy: We have such an incredible visual designer on board with us, and a good friend called Ally Baird (@allybairddesign). We love how the takes the time to listen to our vision behind the track and translates that into visual effect in a way that we never would have even thought of. For any curious cats out there, we’ll have some teasers for the visuals, along with the record on our Facebook and Instagram just before the release of Reverie.
WWD: Why is it important for you to have a visual identity as well as a musical one?
Ken: Having a solid visual identity is super important as it’s essentially a physical representation of your music. It’s another way for us to express ourselves on another plane and having a really strong visual identity helps to amplify the emotion in our music that we’re trying to convey.
Andy: For the sort of music we make, we believe that conveying a visual narrative that resonates with the listeners enhances the overall listening experience, so it’s definitely something we consider to be crucial during the creative process.
WWD: Will Tibasko eventually evolve into a live show?
Ken: This is one of our main goals for our music career: to translate our music to a live performance. We feel that our tracks are suited to be played live and we intentionally do this with that vision in mind. While we both love DJ’ing it does create limitations that we want to fully get beyond. It would be a slow process in which we introduce live aspects of performance in our shows, but we aspire to be able to do this flawlessly in the future.
WWD: Finally, what’s the best record you’ve heard so far this year, from any genre?
Andy: One track that I’ve heard that has stuck out has to be Jamie XX’s, Idontknow. This track took us by surprise when it was released earlier this year but it knocked both of our socks off when it did. The constantly evolving and changing synth design and drums create such energy, it would have been a major player in our sets this festival season for sure. We can’t wait to be able to play that track out live soon.
Ken: Hard question! I listen to absolutely everything so it’s hard to pinpoint one track. In terms of across all genres, Anderson Paak’s ‘Lockdown’ has stood out as one of my top songs of this year, especially with the current spotlight put on the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve always been a fan of Anderson Paak but this track is something else. He contextualises the racial issues in America is such an eloquent way, it’s really emotional. For anyone who appreciates hip hop, I really recommend people to watch the official video on YouTube, Jay Rock’s surprise verse in it is unreal.