Tobasco talks creativity and the life-affirming power of making music

“I get a feeling of freedom and effectiveness when writing and producing songs,” Tobasco tells us of his creative vision

Mental health has rightfully become an important topic of conversation, both in society and in the music industry more specifically.

One artist who is willing to contribute to that conversation through his music is Tobasco, a German producer with a catalogue of eclectic tracks. 

Earlier this month, Tobasco swung by Happy to chart the influence of his mental health journey on some of his key standout tracks.

Today, we caught up with him again for an even deeper dive into the topic, as well as his process of songwriting, upcoming projects, and affinity for ice cream. Catch the full interview below, and scroll down to listen to Tobasco’s most recent single   

HAPPY: What are you up to today? 

TOBASCO: Currently I am working on a song with the working title “monsters”. I think the song will not be as scary as this sounds. Further on I check for new musical equipment like VST-plugins and other interesting stuff each day.

Besides that, it is important to me to take some breaks and go out into nature to take a deep breath. 

HAPPY: What’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods? 

TOBASCO: There is a small but lively music scene in my small hometown, where we also have a bigger music festival in the summer every year.

Not far away there is the city of Cologne, which is a big melting pot for all kinds of creative souls and a cultural centre. The huge Lanxess Arena is popular for big concerts and outstanding shows. 

HAPPY: What does a typical day in the studio look like when recording a song? 

TOBASCO: There is no rigid scheme. Sometimes I take my time to improvise on the keyboard, what does not always lead to a great idea – but sometimes.

On the other hand it may come, that there is a sudden idea in my head, like a vocal line, and I use a voice recorder to hold on to, working it out later in the studio. 

HAPPY: You’ve spoken openly about the role mental health plays in your music. Why is music an important outlet for you? 

TOBASCO: I get a feeling of freedom and effectiveness when writing & producing songs. That makes me feel good because it reminds me that I can be the active creator of what surrounds and affects me. It gives me the feeling of self-efficacy. 

HAPPY: What do you hope listeners gain from your music in terms of its mental health aspects? 

TOBASCO: I hope that my music can pick up the listener where he stands in everyday life and give him the opportunity to have a short time out from all the stress and inadequacy we are faced with every day. 


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HAPPY: You described the song ‘Love It’ as a “exception in my repertoire.” Did you intend to change up your sound when creating this song? 

TOBASCO: The first thing I had in mind when producing this song was the phrase “I will cry, I will cry, I will cry”. I had this particular melody in mind and started to build up the rest of the song around it.

I had the thought that a slower and more RnB like beat would match this theme in a much better way than an up-tempo 4 to the floor beat. After realising that, it just happened.

There was no deeper intention to change my sound in a general way. I just wanted to make a choice which is the best to carry and transport my idea. 

HAPPY: You’ve said that the creativity of music helps you “to process negative thoughts.” Are there any other creative outlets you find useful for this? 

TOBASCO: There are so many beautiful opportunities for humans to explore the world inside & outside their soul and to find a feeling of affiliation to what makes the world a great and creative place to shape.

You can dive into the world of colours by painting, express your feelings with poetry or invent a new kind of dance. Everyone has the chance to make this world a little more radiant. And everybody’s free to do so as there is no preselection. 

HAPPY: Anything else exciting on the horizon that you can tease for us? 

TOBASCO: There are more songs coming in the next few months. I think I was pretty creative and there might be one or the other surprise. 

HAPPY: What makes you happy? 

TOBASCO: Honestly the first thing that came into my mind was “Ice Cream ”. For all the other things, draw your conclusion from the previous text.