Big Up Podcast 79 ~ TMSV [Reconstrvct set]


Even if you have been living under a rock in early 2013, you still probably heard TMSV's "Dem a Talk" – the energy on the track is way too much! Fast forward to now, and TMSV's track entitled "Too Much" is ringing out of headphones and sound systems around the underground globe. From the sound of it, when it comes to music, Utrecht native Tomas Roels doesn't fuck around. This past weekend at his first North American appearance for Reconstrvct in Brooklyn, we all had a pleasure to hear it for ourselves. Wether you were there or not, you can re-live (virtually) the ever-eveolving energy of TMSV's live set.

interview by Luke McCann

One of the typical stereo-types in America is we are all fat. Well, surprise! Most of us are (majority). So in The Netherlands everyone is high (joking). But tell me, spliff or not to spliff and coffee or tea or beer?

No spliffs for me personally. I do think it should be legalized and regulated, no strings attached. I love coffee, but I shouldn’t drink too much of it. Tea is lovely, and I don’t think I’d be able to live in a place without beer. So… all three? Also, 40% of Dutch people are overweight right now, so we’ll see who wins the fat game in a couple of years.

Where and did you learn to make music and what do you use to make it? Where abouts do you write it?

I started out in my parents’ attic, using my almost-useless PC. I had to teach myself everything, because I couldn’t bear not being able to create, or at least recreate, the music I loved. Right now I write my music in the room I rent in the middle of my home town. I use FL Studio, lots of freeware plugins, Yamaha HS8 monitors and a couple of midi controllers / keyboards.

Any studio rituals or essential elements needed for you to write music?

My problem is that I need to be well-rested and focused. I don’t like going to bed early, but I do know that making music is much easier for me in the morning, after a good night’s sleep. I used to be more creative at night, but that’s changed now that I’m trying to live a normal life during the day.

What’s the story behind the name “TMSV”, if any?
[quote_left] I’d like to stress that it’s pronounced “T.M.S.V.”, not “Tomassive”. [/quote_left]

I used to make bad jungle, amen-mashup type stuff back in 2005/2006 or so. I had an IM conversation with a friend of mine called Bas, whom I jokingly called Bass. He called me Tomass, and that made me think of the name Tomassive (which fit the jungle thing, I guess). After a couple of years I didn’t really like the gimmicky vibe of the name, so I shortened it to TMSV. I’d like to stress that it’s pronounced “T.M.S.V.”, not “Tomassive”.

An old proverb suggests something like, the more laws a country has, the more corrupt it is. I read your studying law? That’s dope as we need more lawyers that can beat up a sound system at 6 am in a Brooklyn warehouse. But just wanted to ask what kind of law and why?

Ha ha! My parents both studied law. I always wanted to go to some kind of art school, but when the time came, I chose law, to my parents’ amazement (they would’ve loved me going to art school, or whatever I would have liked, so they never coerced me, or even suggested I choose law). I like international and European law, copyright law and theories and philosophy regarding concepts of law. In fact, I’ve always been quite interested in US law, because it’s everywhere in American movies, TV shows and other media available in the Netherlands, despite being very different from the Dutch system.

What is the lamest or least favorite job you’ve ever had?

The worst might be doing the dishes in an awful restaurant. Loneliest I’ve ever felt while surrounded by people (people who either didn’t speak Dutch, or were just not into talking). There’s something about brainless, unchallenging work that makes you unable to think happy thoughts.

It takes thick skin, patience, and strong work ethic to do what you do. Surely people thought your were crazy for making music or weren’t good at it. Care to discuss why you make music in the first place? 

I make music because I like it. I need to create things, express myself. My friends and family have always supported me, even though not all of them understand or like the music I make.

Did you grow up with electronic music/underground parties or were you into other things?

I don’t know about growing up, but I have been going to electronic music nights for a long time. Before that I was into metal for a long time. Hip hop has also always been important to me. To be fair, ever since I was very young I’ve liked spending time inside, alone, doing creative or entertaining things as much as I like going out / hanging out with friends.

Any memorable nights or experiences from back in the day when you were just out for the music, as in not producing or deejaying?

[quote_left] Years ago I handed a CD to Mala in Utrecht after he played, and him knowing my name was just amazing to me. [/quote_left]Sometimes you go to a night and you go home feeling inspired. Years ago I handed a CD to Mala in Utrecht after he played, and him knowing my name was just amazing to me, haha. I like being inspired outside of those typical dubstep scene moments though. When I played in the UK some time ago, I went into a record store with Kahn (unfortunately I only had a small bag with me, so I couldn’t take any records on the plane). Something about that place, the way the people in the shop talked about music, and the fact that they had truly great stuff on sale, was inspiring to me, especially since physical record shops in the Netherlands have pretty much disappeared. 

Forget genres, fans, nights, fb, twitter, comments, anything like that. Nowadays there’s a lot of possibilities for music and live performance technologically speaking. Where would you like to take your music?

I’d like to make music without restricting myself to one genre. Performance-wise I don’t have any real ideas right now, apart from the fact that working with musicians on stage is pretty cool.

Who would you love to collaborate with if it could be anyone in the world?

The Weeknd, Bon Iver, Lutan Fyah, Mavado, Dre, lots of dead guys, Erykah Badu.

One thing I really like about your style is your music is very much charged with emotion but not in a chin-stroking way. Is this a coincidence or do you intentionally seek this out when making music? Are you thinking of affecting the listener in a certain way or is this just how it turns out.

Making and listening to music is an emotional thing for me. I really don’t like pretentiousness, or forced emotions, fake epicness, etc. So in the end I guess I make stuff that comes from the heart, but (hopefully) isn’t needlessly complicated or cheesy.

I get stumped when I have to describe what a Reconstrvct night is like. Forget mentioning dubstep, it’s like saying the word ‘herpes’ out loud. But if there’s simple or clever way to tell a newcomer about your music/dj set, what would it be?

[quote_left] I hate having to explain what I do to people who don’t already know. [/quote_left]I hate having to explain what I do to people who don’t already know. As you said, mentioning the word dubstep makes people think you play noise. Saying ‘electronic music’ makes them want to book me for their student night. I suppose I could go with ‘underground bass dub dance music you don’t have to dance to if you don’t want to’.

Is there something in particular you want to get off your chest or advice to give about doing your own thing musically.

[quote_left] Trying to please the underground might be the worst form of selling out.
[/quote_left]If you can help it, don’t try to sound like the artists you like too much. If you try to fit into a certain sound, you will find yourself regretting not doing your own thing at some point. Stay away from the dungeon. Be honest to yourself about your intentions. Are you making music to please others? To get radio play? That’s fine of course, but if you got into making music because you want to express your creativity, keep making your own stuff and don’t think about the scene too much. This sounds super preachy, but it’s all from my own experience. At a certain point I found myself trying to get a certain sound that other people were making; I decided to get back on my own sound, whatever that may turn out to be, because trying to please the underground might be the worst form of selling out.

[quote]I’m the type of guy who has 22 browser tabs open, 11 of which are music I’m never going to listen to (even though I keep wanting to get around to it). 

Do you ever feel inundated with the amount of information and music everywhere? How do you see this trend evolving and how do you stay balanced man?

I’m pretty far from balanced, as far as things like that go. I’m the type of guy who has 22 browser tabs open, 11 of which are music I’m never going to listen to (even though I keep wanting to get around to it). I’ve often found myself having difficulty replying to emails and staying on top of the digital thing, simply because my attention span has been ruined by modern technology. Nowadays, I tend to step away from the PC when I’m not making music. I’ve found that even as a screen junkie, having it all in one place is just awful. My friend gave me his old Xbox 360, so now finally I can watch movies and play the odd video game on the couch instead of at my desk (with a PC running music software, tons of browser tabs, 2 media players, 5 notepad windows and a thousand other things I constantly forget about). So now I can still look at screens 24/7, but at least I can give my brain a bit of a break while doing it.

Name two things you’ve always wanted to do in NYC if any?

Eat amazing food and play my music for people. Seriously, thank you so much for having me.