Interview with Toni Toolz: the man behind Adobo Studios
by John Langley
I caught up with the notoriously busy and charismatic Toni Toolz: the founder of Adobo Studios and Big Mix Up Records for a spot of lunch, his infamous cup of tea and a quick chat.....
How are you doing today? Toolz: Yeah all good! Well, except the beautiful English weather, my slightly chaffing underpants and kettles taking too long to boil. Other than that everything is perfect John.
So tell us, what is Adobo Studios? Toolz: The short answer is that Adobo Studios is basically the culmination of my music career to date and a vibrant hub of ridiculously talented writers, singers, musicians and industry peeps. It's just an awesome place to create original music. The even shorter version is just come down and check us out. If you're great at what you do there might be a home for you here and on Big Mix Up Records too.
How connected is Big Mix Up Records to Adobo Studios? Toolz: Heavily. All of our releases come through Adobo Studios in one way or another. Most of the tracks are produced here by us or by some of the awesome people that we work with or have discovered through Adobo Studios.
Who would you most like to work with in the studio? Toolz: Oh that's a tough one. I've worked with so many great peeps already man. I'd love to get Killa Kela back in the studio though. He was the first beatboxer I recorded way back when. That was a lot of fun.
What is currently the biggest project on the table at Adobo Studios? Toolz: Aside from lunch you mean? There's quite a bit of tasty stuff on the go right now in fairness but the very latest is a production for a new artist signed to EMI.
Please do tell! Toolz: Nope. Wouldn't be right to drop her name like that plus talking about it would be a good way to jinx it. She's an awesome songwriter, I'll tell you that much.
If you had to pick three favorite achievements, what would they be? Toolz: Three favourites? Well getting out of bed this morning would have to be one of them. Working for some of the biggest record labels in the world and I guess getting one of my remixes picked by Pharrell Williams has to be up there.
You were recently in the Music Week charts but does that sort of thing still feel good or is it just another day for Toni Toolz or Adobo Studios? Toolz: Of course it's always a nice feeling man but whenever I hear of anything doing well it only makes me want to work harder, do better and be better. We are all only as good as our latest output.
Is there anything you wish Adobo Studios could improve on? Toolz: Cloning myself a couple of times would be a good start. There is never enough hours in the day to get everything done that I wish I could. On second thoughts, a bunch of Toni Toolz's running around and bumping into each other could get messy.
Can you offer any inspiring words for aspiring artists? Toolz: All day long John. The most important thing is like the late Prince said: “Be true to yourself” the other important thing to remember is to never give up on your dream. There will always be reasons to do that but those are just lies or distractions. The truth is, if we really want to achieve something and we are fortunate enough to be able to put the work in, then there is no one stopping us but ourselves.
And finally, what does the future hold for Adobo Studios? Toolz: I think you've got me mixed up with a clairvoyant or something mate. I can't predict the future but for as long as I have a beating heart I will be working with as many artists, musicians, writers and singers as possible. Adobo Studios is a home for these kinds of creative people to cross-fertilize, push their boundaries and find exciting new possiblities. That's when my little face lights up and I get that spark that's needed to drive something forward. If I know anything about the future it's that it is definitely exciting. Also, it involves flicking the kettle on.