Some hard facts surrounding the music making biz, a few thoughts regarding his creative process, and a piece of his brains and personality… this is what you should expect in this interview with Tumaca, who has just released his new song, I Feel (feat. Monkeybars). We think you’ll like Tumaca almost as much as this song!
Describe your sound in three words please!
Expansive, nostalgic, stank
In your song I Feel you speak about the antithesis leading a private life which gets exposed through your music and lyrics as an artist. How do you decide what you’ll share and what experiences, thoughts, feelings you will put in your songs? Are you a person who cares what others will think of him, in general?
My gut tells me when I’m in the presence of poetry; something that looks like a page in a book or a scene in a movie. But music can be anything in the spectrum between art and entertainment so you can also write stuff for a laugh and a good time. I’ve written a song about something as simple as a view, called Topanga Road, which already came out. It’s named after an endless mountainous expanse next to the sea in LA. You can drive up there and you literally go up past the clouds. It feels like you’re on top of the world. It used to be one of my favourite places to go when I lived out there. I felt like I had to capture that.
Oftentimes though, you write songs as an exercise in self-therapy. When you’re riffing through lyric ideas and you let your subconscious take over the writing, sometimes you blurt out things you don’t want to admit to other people, or even yourself. It feels way easier to say the heavy stuff through songs. You feel like a psycho when you play these for your friends, but after doing this for a while, I’ve learnt not to care. There’s a saying that goes something like ‘don’t take criticism from people you wouldn’t go to advice for’. So if they’re not musicians or artists I respect, it generally goes over my head.
Creating music or performing live? Which one is your favourite and why?
I think creating music is my favourite for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever been fully comfortable at gigs. They kinda feel like an exam; the process is the same. You practice, you perform and then you party. I think they are more rewarding than creating music though. There’s a tangible outcome to the work you put in, plus all your friends have a blast if you get it right. In that sense it also feels like your birthday. It feels like taking an exam on your birthday.
Creating music is the best! It’s why I do this. I get such a rush when I feel like I have a good song in my hands. You gotta get them out while they’re hot and you’re enthusiastic about them. Finishing songs is hard work and not very enjoyable. But you reap what you sow.
What would you say are the main qualities for a young artist to have in order to make it in todays music industry?
In today’s very individualistic music scene, I think it’s important to have some skill in everything. You don’t have to be the best musician, or have the most popular Instagram, or have the most contacts. You do need an unrelenting vision. I feel like determination is the most important thing. The growth curve is exponential; there are very little returns in the beginning, and you’re probably putting the hardest work in. You have to put in the time to get better at your craft, let your work speak for itself. Your songs are your portfolio. People say that marketing is more important than the music. I don’t think that’s true. No matter how many plugs you get on the radio, on playlists or blogs, if your music isn’t good enough for people to send to their friends and play it more than once, you’re getting nowhere. My mantra is about making music that is meaningful to people. I really comes down to the audience you want to reach though. I feel that at a commercial level, music is more of an aspirational good; people consume music by artists they want to be like, who transmit the values they want to adopt. So branding is crucial.
What is the best film you saw during the pandemic?
Man, Covid is really destroying the film industry! I’ve been binging on music films to keep the creative juices flowing. The HBO documentary on the Bee Gees was cool, and I also watched Almost Famous. I know it’s old but still a great movie.
How do you select the people you collaborate with?
I look for people whose strengths are my weaknesses. But mostly people I can have some fun with, who don’t mind trying weird stuff. And the nerds, I love nerding out to gear, or obscure music, or music theory. And plug-ins.
What should we expect from you in the near future?
Much wow. I’m working on finishing my debut album. I’m sick with Covid at my girlfriend’s house in Italy, so it’ll get pushed back a bit. But I’m planning on releasing all my favourite songs from the past 2 years on it. After that I’ll move out here and work on more music.
Tell us something not many people know about you!
I’m really into cryptocurrencies and cult stories.
Thanks Tumaca (and feel better)!