Tóke is not a new face here on TITLE. Not too long ago we talked about one of his releases “Brown Face” and how he takes a stand against racism. If you want to find out more about the artist’s experiences in Germany and the song’s background, click HERE.
Today we are celebrating the release of Tóke’s newest EP “The Art of Letting Go” and welcome him to the SIT IN ON FRIDAY family. Check out the IGTV he recorded exclusively for us performing his song “Only”. In the following interview you will read about how the musician experiences working during the pandemic, how his backgroud influences his music, and if he already mastered the art of letting go himself.
Please introduce yourself and tell us what you’re currently working on.
I’m Tóke, Indonesian-German, Berlin-based artist on the journey of discovering myself, constantly evolving along the way. I just released my new EP “The Art Of Letting Go“ together with my new song “Own Lane“ which is a fresh and exciting step from me. Trying a lot of new things on this one, I was very playful so I’m happy to be able to share it now.
What is the most difficult part about releasing music at the moment?
Very clearly not being able to perform live and actually see the real life impact of the music, of the lyrics. Not being able to actually witness the connection and energy the music creates, like physically. Right now the only connection is social media and it feels unreal and thus frustrating at times. Performing brings about a rewarding feeling, a feeling of redemption, a compensation for the hardships that the life of an artist carries. That is missing at the moment, can’t wait to get back to it.
What is the most fun part about releasing music at the moment?
I guess it’s like a way of communication in these times where we mostly link up digitally and that feels good. It’s a feeling of relief, like getting something you just needed to say off your chest. It’s an essential part of the natural cycle of creativity for me, absolutely necessary.
Where does the title for your EP come from? Have you mastered the art of letting go?
Haha no, I’m definitely a student and always will be. With this EP I’m letting go of certain patterns, expectations, people and most importantly my artist ego. Ideas of what I can and cannot do. It’s the result of an inner reasoning I’ve been having for a while. More broadly: we easily get used to things and are afraid of change, bathing in the warm misconception of safety. We’re afraid of leaving relationships, jobs, places, ideas. But the thing is, nothing ever stays the same, everything is always changing. Letting go of what we know is like going through fire, extremely painful, hard to bear in the beginning. But at the end of the tunnel it’s refreshing, like we’re reborn. These cycles keep coming and I think it will never stop. That’s why I like the idea of mastering the art of letting go, we will eventually need it.
Is there anything you would like to let go off, but didn’t yet?
Well yes, everyday something different haha. Mostly unhealthy patterns that sabotage my inner peace (behavioural and thought patterns).
With your multi-cultural background – does Germany or Indonesia have the bigger influence on your music?
I lived in Germany for most of my life so I would say Germany has the bigger influence. Most of my creative network is over here. Nevertheless I wouldn’t express myself the way I do without having lived in Indonesia and experienced that completely different world, all of it is a part of me. Indonesia’s creative influence on me is growing the older I get.
Can you tell us a fun fact about the production of your new EP? (A mistake that turned out to be great, an interesting sound you included etc.?)
I just love the fact that one of my favourite guitars, a shitty sounding old nylon-string Hofner guitar made it onto the record (On “I Don’t Know“ and “The Sun Has Died“). I carried this guitar on my travels to Jamaica, you can still hear the sand from Jamaican beaches inside of it when you shake it haha. My producer initially was like “yo we can’t use this guitar, it sounds too crappy“ but it eventually made it.
If you had to summarize the overall message/ topic of your new EP – what would it be in one sentence?
Be patient, trust your decision, don’t be afraid.
Where do you find inspiration and what advice to have for other young musicians who struggle to put themselves out there?
Just being around like-minded creatives helps me alot, as well as staying physically & mentally fit with Yoga, Sports, Meditation. Of course checking out new fresh music too. All that helps to keep my creativity flowing.
I would say to anybody starting off: don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Let the public take part in your evolution. You get better along the way, so just put it out there and then work on the next set of music.
What else would you be doing if not music?
In fact I am working part-time at a historic museum to have some peace of mind for the music. So I like having a balance, having something “normal“ aside. Coming back from a festival show in front of 5000 people to brewing coffee in a little office or setting up an exhibition is humbling. It helps me put things in perspective, sometimes we’re too caught up in our music-bubbles. There’s a life outside of social media and stages. But of course music is my main job and I love it.
At Title, we emphasize the importance of staying true to yourself, your art, and your identity. What would you say is your True Identity?
My true identity is embodied by my inner child. It is characterised by a willingness to learn, unlearn and discover, knowing that I don’t know anything but also everything at the same time. It’s that beautiful friction. I know there’s substance and worth in my pure artistic expressions, yet I also know that I am no status quo or “finished product“. I always keep evolving, also with the help of trusted souls whose creative input I cherish. My art doesn’t ‘belong’ to me, I let go of that attachment.