Tobacco: 5 Albums That Changed My Life
From penning the theme music for Silicon Valley to opening for Nine Inch Nails, Thomas Fec (a.k.a Tobacco) has his hands in a lot of worlds. Before he drops his newest record (an album repeat with rarities and older tracks), titled Ripe & Majestic, Fec told us a bit about some music that changed his life.
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Beck, Mellow Gold
I was probably around twelve when that came out. I’d been into music a little bit before then, but that was the first thing I ever heard that didn’t sound like anything I had heard before. I’m not trying to take away from what he did, but he made it seem like maybe someone like me someday could make music. It was kind of sloppy and it was kind of lo-fi and it was just really weird — at the time. At least to me, because I hadn’t heard much beside what was on the radio.
Butthole Surfers, Independent Worm Saloon
Now, as an adult, when you hear about that album a lot of people — old-timers — think of it as, like, a drop-off for those guys, but for me it was the first time I ever heard them, so it was really intense. I didn’t really listen to a lot of heavy stuff back then, either, so that was just really nasty, kind of mean. I always try to capture that kind of energy when I [make music] — making stuff that I want to be mean. That always stuck with me.
That was the first real electronic thing I got into. It was real synthy and textured and had a lot of atmosphere. Those things weren’t really on my radar at the time. That’s the thing that taught me how important texture and atmosphere can be. That’s another one that sticks with me. Whatever got instilled in me from that is the fundamentals of what I do, still.
I don’t want to take anything away from them by saying this, but they were kind of like the American, the Californian version of the Board of Canada. It was like taking a lot of the stuff that I heard and making it almost more relatable. It was almost taking these foreign feelings that I didn’t necessarily have or completely understand and turning them into something that totally made it all make sense. It also got me super psyched on using a Vocoder.
I think I was a little late to that one, but when it hit it just hit so hard. I was pretty calm and laid-back, but internally not always like that. I was having a pretty rough time when I heard that and that was another album that… I guess I hadn’t heard anything quite like it. It didn’t feel like anything that I was really familiar with. It just put me in a place and helped me mellow out. I just put that on and it was all I needed. I listened to that so much that I feel like that’s come along with me, too.
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