Community Artist Of The Month   2023 - tōrō.boy

Community Artist Of The Month 2023 - tōrō.boy

Community Artist Of The Month Nov 2023 - tōrō.boy

In the seventh edition of our Community Artist of the Month series, we are excited to chat with Australian producer Angus Graham, better known as 'tōrō.boy.'

A multi-instrumentalist inspired by the Adelaide Jazz scene, tōrō.boy's journey in music began at the age of 5 when his mother started teaching him piano. During the interview, we discuss his creative process, his upcoming debut EP, inspirations, and much more!


Let’s take it back to the beginning, please introduce yourself to the people and tell us how your musical journey began?

Hello lovely people of the Bread and Butter community!

My name is Angus Graham but in the world of saxophone, lofi and chillhop beatmaking, I’m tōrō.boy. I started on my musical journey when I was 5. My lovely Mum took the time to teach me piano and, although I’m far from a proficient piano player these days, those lessons gave me the tools to start making music on my own. But, even from a young age, I had a soft spot for the saxophone despite never having seen or played one! I picked up my first alto sax 8 years later and, with some of the best saxophone tuition you’ll ever get from my teacher Mr Eads, I never looked back!

You are originally from Adelaide. Could you share some insights about the local music scene there and how it has influenced your development as a producer?

I’m currently finishing up a post-graduate degree (in urban horticulture believe it or not!) in Melbourne but I live in Adelaide and will be back in a few weeks! Compared to other capital cities around the world, Adelaide is small. My passion for playing saxophone grew through my love of jazz so I can only speak about my experience playing and listening to the jazz scene in Adelaide but, even though it isn’t massive, it’s strong, inclusive and uplifting. And man, there are some serious cats in Adelaide! It’s sometimes hard to believe how so many incredibly talented musicians are living just next door.

Exposure to local musicians and to jazz has encouraged me to be harmonically and rhythmically creative with the beats that I write. It’s also given me the opportunity to work with some really heavy players that I otherwise would struggle to get in contact with. But, above all, the importance of listening to the other musicians you play with or watch, particularly in the jazz genre, has helped me improve my ability to critique the mixes I make, a skill that I feel is invaluable as a producer.

Let’s talk about your setup. Are there any hardware components you use in your music production, or is it all done 'in the box'?

Given that I’m still fairly new to the production world, my setup is minimal, especially since I’ve been working from a small desk space for the year. So, aside from my instruments, mini midi keyboard, a stack of free plugins and my audio interface/mic, all I have is a subscription to FL Studio and my stumpy fingers!

Are there any go-to plugins that you consistently use on all your projects? And is there a specific piece of gear you consider indispensable in your setup?

It sounds silly to say but I’m going to say it anyway; as a student, I’m big on free plugins! I religiously use Spitfire Labs (I am forever in their debt) on the music I make, particularly their soft piano and cello patches. I also use Kee Bass on everything. That is a seriously good lofi bass sound.

Because I think about music with a piano in my brain, my midi keyboard is definitely indispensable. The number of beats I’ve made using my laptop/computer keyboard is shameful.

Your first EP is scheduled to be released later this year on December 14th. Could you please share some insights into the creative process behind it and give us an idea of what we can expect from the EP?

Yes! Thank you so much for thinking of it. My debut EP, “Finding the Lantern Boy”, is out on the 14th of December. I’ve really tried to make the 5 tracks that will feature on their representative of the different styles I’ve explored up until this point. I’m hoping to find a particular “sound” soon so that I can really improve as a producer and composer in one space, rather than trying to do too much so early in my career. While it’ll definitely be within the lofi/chillhop genre, the specific sub-genre that I’d like to put my energy into remains to be seen!

I tried to include several contrasting moods and themes in the song selection for the EP, along with features from several amazing lofi producers from the Chillhop community, as well as three killer jazz musicians from Adelaide who have been kind enough to jump on some tunes.

You're a multi-instrumentalist, proficient in saxophone, flute, clarinet, guitar, and piano (and possibly more?). How do you believe your ability to play such a diverse range of instruments contributes to your creative process when you're working on music?

Yes spot on, and a tiny bit of cajon when no one else volunteers. Being able to play several instruments is useful in the creative process because it allows you to explore your compositions using different voices. These voices add textural interest to the sound and because of that, spark new ideas!

One of our favourite tracks from you is recent release ‘Night Wind’. Could you give us some background on how this song was crafted and came to fruition?

Night Wind’ was actually my first Bread and Butter competition entry! I absolutely adored the Spirits Trio sample from, ‘A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening’, so I thought I’d give the beat battle a go. I was lucky enough to have my mate and amazing trumpet/flugel player on the track as well. The name ‘Night Wind’ also comes from a Johnny Hodges tune that I used to listen to when I was in high school. His alto sax sound is like no other!

Who are some of your favourite beatmakers/producers in the scene right now?

I have so many favourite beatmakers but the one’s that inspired me to make my own music were Tom Misch, L’indecis, saib and kudasaibeats to name a few!

How do you tackle creative blocks and seek inspiration when feeling stuck when making music?

I like to tackle creative blocks by starting the composition process using different instruments (i.e. changing between playing the chords, drums, or melody first). I also stay inspired by listening widely and even copying patterns that I like from different tunes. But with all that being said, nothing beats just sitting down, noodling on any instrument, and stumbling on something you like.

And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to somebody getting into making music now, what would it be? it could be something someone has told you, or just something you’ve learned along the way.

The one piece of advice I would share is that, if you have a passion for making music and you’d like to start sharing it, don’t let anything hold you back from doing that. You learn by doing! It takes courage take the first step and to be vulnerable but the sooner you start doing that, the sooner you can start building a following and improving as a musician and producer.

A big thanks to tōrō.boy for giving us a glimpse into his world. You can find all of his music on Spotify, and be sure to follow him on Instagram.