Tobacco Rat Interview - Dark Music & Good Melodies

Meet Tobacco Rat, the solo project of WA producer and composer Jake Steele. Tobacco Rat delves deep into darker, grittier, subterranean styles of electronic music. In the rat sack is a varied mix of electronic, bass, future beats, techno and hip hop styles; which Tobacco Rat expertly meshes together, resulting in wild, heavy beats with warped, bass-led grooves. We spoke to Jake about the Tobacco Rat project, as well as his love for all things music!

Futuremag Music: What’s your relationship been with music, what are some influential music moments for you?

Tobacco Rat: From as far as I can remember, I have always been surrounded by music. Growing up with brothers and sisters and my dad who's a blues musician so I feel like the passion has always been there, but the electronic vibes started when I first heard acts like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. I like to think I have been influenced by all music throughout my life from the early days of the family's listening tastes, so I can listen to anything from classical music like J.S. Bach to extreme death metal like Cradle of Filth.

Futuremag Music: How’d you enter the electronic music scene?

Tobacco Rat: I started messing around with random beats in Fruity Loops right around the end of high school which was late 2000!  A few years ago now... But then jumped onto Ableton around 2005 and I haven't looked back since. My main moniker was ‘Yarhkob’ for years which was everything from chilled hip hop to extreme experimental drum and bass. I created Tobacco Rat a few years ago to really focus and lock down a specific style of energetic bass music, but now even that is beginning to evolve all over the place!

I would say it all started trying to mix Aphex Twin and Nine Inch Nails together.  I love dark music but also have a passion for good melodies, so everything from Rammstein and The Prodigy to Aretha Franklin and Roy Orbison.

Futuremag Music: What's your creative process when making a track? What are some tips you’d give to other producers out there?

Tobacco Rat: I'd say most of the time I just wing it. I'll either start messing with some drums or scrap metal samples and get a beat going, or tweak a synth and get some chords or weird melody happening. From there I just roll with it until there are a few different sections or variations, and then start to build a rough arrangement. Once you have the structure down you can start adding in the little tweaks and FX / fills and filters at the end of bars / sections. 

I've done a few unofficial remixes here and there but haven't really used many of their samples in my tracks. I really should. I think it's definitely coming in the future. I'm going to sample my sister for a track on my upcoming release. 

Futuremag Music: What's your dream event? 

Tobacco Rat: Some sort of electronic based festival with a few heavy/rock bands in there too.  Probably RATM, NIN, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, DJ Shadow, G Jones, Eprom, Empire Of The Sun, Rammstein, RJD2, Ryoji Ikeda, Noisia, Flying Lotus, Dalek, Death Grips, Amon Tobin. etc...