Quick Fire 10 | Toby Janes

Toby Janes is a songwriter and drummer from the South of England. Toby has performed gigs around the world and recently returned from Australia. We caught up with Toby, for our Quick Fire 10...

1: How do you start your day?

Coffee and news. Traditional. On weekends a cooked breakfast too with good tunes to accompany.

2: What music inspires you the most and why?

Aggressive and heavy thrash metal like Lamb of God or early Slipknot if I’m playing drums, Led Zeppelin too, John Bonham is a god. More reflective and ethereal material such as Radiohead or Elliot Smith if I’m playing guitar. I never really got into guitar solo music aside from Pink Floyd. David Gilmour’s solos are songs by themselves.

Genuinely though, most music that’s got a soul resonates with me. Everything forced is repulsive. Live music is the best, I love gigs even if I wouldn’t listen to them at home.

Currently, I’m listening to an album called Dream Until You Die by Martin Martini; The Bone Palace Orchestra, it’s insane. Merrily We Roll is my favourite track.

3: Which life experience holds the most value in your life?

You enjoy the positive ones without a second thought. As long as you can learn from the negative ones, all is well. I’m drawn to open and deserted landscapes and almost crave them if I’ve been in a city for too long.

4: Any unusual habits that you love?

I don’t know if it’s unusual but I spend way too much money on cheese. Especially Port Salut. If I open a pack it’s gone in twenty minutes tops.

I also still buy a lot of music, I like to have a physical copy. I think it’s more supporting artists and appreciating the record as a piece of art. Having the involvement of putting a CD or vinyl on, looking through the artwork and reading the lyrics is really cool. If I find something I like on Spotify and listen to it more than twice I buy it.

5: Your favourite way to de-stress?

By trying not to get too stressed out in the first place. If you have a hobby that you’ve always enjoyed, where you can connect with your youth, that’s a good way to chill. For me it’s skateboarding.

6: If someone was starting out in your field of expertise, what advice should be ignored?

Stay off social media at least for the first couple of years or so. I really messed this one up. When I was fifteen and started gigging, everyone saw social media as the road to Damascus.

Social media has its place certainly but it’s not before practice, making mistakes, getting a positive reception and regular bookings. The music comes first. Just like everything, it’s quality over quantity. Both Jeff Buckley and The Sex Pistols only produced one studio album.

7: When feeling unfocused or uninspired, what brings your creativity back?

Not trying to force it and waiting for it to come back. I don’t tend to realise if I’ve got writers block or whatever as I don’t put pressure on myself to release. Ideas change and projects evolve naturally.

I get inspired by nature, visiting new places, obsessing about the idea that one place is home. I find that I’ll build up or bank chord sequences that I don’t know what to do with, sometimes for months. I’ll then get an idea of how to shape, play and deliver them. The subject, whatever it may be, gives songwriting a soul. I don’t find it by sitting indoors.

8: What skill would you like to master and why?

Cooking. Let me cook for you to find out. I can get into new hobbies really quickly. Especially when I meet someone who is passionate about their hobbies or work. Makes me think, what am I missing out on here and why does this person connect with this?

9: What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Complete their bucket list. Scare yourself. Camp in the middle of nowhere with no digital disruptions.

10: Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

It won’t be yet, but I have an idea that will give youngsters opportunities to play live. I want to be that guy who gives bands their first gig.

A couple of years ago I started making five, ten and even twenty-year financial plans and would worry if I wasn’t on track. Which is mental because you constantly live in the future. As long as I don’t start worrying about my retirement before I’m forty I’ll be ok.