I have to admit, after I first heard Toomy Disco’s new album Bedroom Tricks, the first thing I did was email Jazzy Eyewear of SoSound (the label that released it) and demand to know if I was being hoaxed.
“Age of the Jaguar” – Toomy’s breakout hit – and other tracks had the slightest trace of the audio fingerprint Jazzy Eyewear has carried through his eclectic productions over the years. If this was a practical joke, or an alias for one of his new personas – hey, I could play along. Just let me laugh along with you.
But I was assured that no, Toomy is a real guy – really, a 22 year old producer (born Mariano Iliuta of Buenos Aires) who’s new to the game that released this genre-busting rocket of a record. Bedroom Tricks more than matches up to the hype generated from his first two EPs, which found favor among fans of nu disco, house, indie and just about everyone who listened to it. And, as mentioned, the entire thing – crafted as well as any songwriter could craft ’em – was made in his bedroom.
I heard the full LP in promo last month and was infatuated. And with Bedroom Tricks out – assured with a sworn oath and video evidence that l’enfant terrible really existed – I had to find out more about him.
After listening to this record I had a hard time believing you haven’t been in the production racket for 10 years or more. The sound is completely mature and self-assured. I know this is a cliche but I need the story: who are you and where do you come from?
My name is Mariano Iliuta (aka Toomy Disco). I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m a 22 years old electronic music composer. I’ve been interested in composition for a few years in terms of creating exceptional electronic sounds and the melodies and chords producing an emotional aspect.
In a nutshell: my point is to create, to work sounds and share them with music lovers.
What’s your musical background? Is it true that the entire album was put together in your bedroom? (I mean this wouldn’t be a big deal if it was a bunch of glitchy minimal, but these things are crafted as well as any vocal track on the market.)
My music background? Wow, I could write many pages about this question, but I can quickly tell you: countless artists from the ’70s and ’80s, with too many influences from artists of the ’90s.
About my bedroom album: it’s absolutely true, it was totally made up in my bedroom. We started some years ago as a hobby, collecting vintage computers, synths, drum machines, a large library of sounds and last but not least, my great devotion to disco.
And again, this is gonna be another cliche, but if this was made in your bedroom, what exactly does your rig look like?
Would be much easier for me if I could send a photo, but I’ll try to tell you how it looks as accurately as possible. To begin, my room looks like a square with mustard-colored walls and a white ceiling. When you enter, it goes directly to my bed (where I try to dream every night). If you look right you can see my mothership, with all the equipment, a large 22-inch monitor with my audio monitors, midi controllers, some vintage synthesizers, drum machines, magazines, flyers, a lava lamp and an endless number of papers and notes that make no sense. I should add that I don’t have a poster of Back to The Future or Scarface stuck on the wall – never knew why.
Were you surprised by the initial infatuation people had with “Age of the Jaguar” when it was released as a single?
Actually yes, and I was very happy to know that was well received by listeners. I worked a long time on this song, listened again and again, then editing, arranging… But when these things happen, you feel fulfilled and on the right path.
Your sound is grouped together with a lot of other artists as “nu disco” – the strange thing is that none of you seem to actually know each other, and you certainly didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood as, say, Tensnake. Does the inscrutable habit of reviewers and writers to nail you down into a set genre bug you?
No, not really. I think it’s right in this case, because my sound is heavily influenced by Italo-disco and funk. Therefore it makes sense when I found myself in the lineup of “nu disco”. Although sometimes it feels sort of “snobbish” to call a certain kind of music “nu disco”. It’s a big dilemma which I will always feel inside and outside of electronic music.
I asked the same question of Mark de Clive-Lowe, who’s a very different producer but also creates a very unclassifiable sort of music: where exactly do you see your lineage coming from? What artists would you be proud to find out were rocking your album on their home hi-fi system?
I do not think I have a lineage, when I’m making music I try to follow my own instincts and try not to follow any line. What I can tell you is that if I have my influences fom italo-disco, funk & soul and a specific sound too, which I try to give to all my tracks.
I really would be proud if any of The Revenge, Mark-E, Golden Bug, Tornado Wallace or Jimpster dropped my songs – the list could go on but these are the first that come to mind.