All photos by: Kate Killet
DJ, producer, and one of Toronto collective Bedroomer's head curators Eytan Tobin has remixed “Shake It Out,” off of Toronto-via-Halifax songwriter AA Wallace’s latest record In Alpha Zones. Tobin has taken the funky electro-disco track, stripped it down, and turned it into a club-worthy banger.
We caught up with Eytan Tobin at a cottage in Northern Ontario and talked about how he was recruited for the "ridiculous" remix, how he computerized their approach, and, while clearing out some mental space by the water, what distinguishes his digital world from the “real” one. Check out our interview and photos below.
Chart Attack: Tell us how you came to work with AA Wallace and how this remix came about.
Eytan Tobin: Before my focus in the DJ world I was involved in the Toronto band scene, almost out of necessity, as there wasn’t a lot of stuff I was interested in at the time in terms of the DJ scene. I met AA Wallace, back in my band days when I was in MUNE, as we were signed to the same label, Culvert. We played some shows together and I thought they were really cool. They always brought out these huge modular synths to the shows. Me and AA got to know each other a little, and they approached me for a ridiculous remix.
What was your approach when remixing this “Shake It Out”? What parts inspired you? Where did you want to drive it?
I love disco, funk, electro and all that stuff, but I definitely don’t have an ear for making it as I’ve been making hip-hop, club and dance oriented music for so long. I took very specific parts of their vocals and basically stripped everything else away, except for a few fucked up guitars and bass. I just went with the most plastic-y, in-the-box, not leaving the computer approach. That’s what most of my music is but I thought “huh what if I really did that for this?” Cuz they’re such a modular synth guitar band, so why not do the opposite?
What are your thoughts on the URL world versus the IRL world? Is internet space as real as physical space?
I'm not the most spiritual person but I definitely think that there is an internet IRL between everybody that connects us all. I don’t like to put it in terms, I just think it’s a fact we can’t yet explain. I think the way we interact online now, because it’s so intense and so much like the real world, makes us appreciate things about the “real world” in a different way. You’re so insulated in the city that when you get out in nature it really opens up your mind and lets you see things differently. I think the contrast is really intense and it can shake you up.
Do you think it’s important to take time away from that digital space?
Yeah, it’s super important. That being said, I actually think spending too much time away from the computer is bad if you wanna make it [in the DJ/producer scene], because you should be immersed in where it’s living online.
That being said, it’s really important to disconnect for mental health reasons. I have anxiety and being in the real world and dealing with stuff in the digital world is equally as stressful now. There used to be very distinct separate lines dividing the stress. There used to be more of a buffer online cuz it wasn’t “real” but now the lines are getting so blurry. It’s important to try and take yourself out but also nearly impossible. You’ll go to the forest and still be playing music from the cloud, but that can also inform the space in an interesting way. At least there’s no Uber in the forest. Perspective!