“The way this business is structured you‘re always dependent on the public opinion. If promoters, press, audience, etc. don‘t like you and you‘re business doesn’t work, you simply don‘t make money.”

Check out the interview with Tóke & The Soultree Collective exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.

Skilly: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
Tóke & The Soultree Collective:
I started playing guitar when I was 8 in Indonesia. After moving to Germany in 2001 I started working on different musical projects, mostly playing in different bands and producing hip hop records for my good friend Rap Jack from Hamburg. I never really took music to a stage of seriousness until 2014 when I dropped my first EP called Troddin‘ With A Vision.

What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
Get yourself structured, take the business and the administration work serious, and find a proper team to help you out  so you can focus on the most important aspect of this – the art. I found it important to work close with people I love and trust. That‘s why I’m working very closely with my band The Soultree Collective.

What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
Having to promote and present yourself all the time is not the easiest thing. The way this business is structured you‘re always dependent on the public opinion. If promoters, press, audience, etc. don‘t like you and your business doesn’t work, you simply don‘t make money. That dependency is one of the main challenges I face doing this work.

We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
We all understand that music is just a part of the cake. Some artists get caught up in this artist thing as if they were any different from other hard working people. I believe that we‘re basically all the same, all part of the same context. Transporting this message to the people is important to me, and I think this actually also helps advertising the music.

Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
Hamburg, Germany would probably be the closest to being called my city. Hamburg has a strong history of reggae, hip hop bands, and artists. In terms of the audience, I would say that they‘re not the easiest ones to crack. It takes a strong show to get the people moving in cold Hamburg (it’s close to the sea).

Where do you see yourself a year from today?
I see myself being more structured, the cooperation with my team being more fluent and effective. I see me and my band performing on bigger stages in front of bigger audiences, I see the musical family expanding. I see me and my team bringing out my first self-produced long play which will truly respect and reveal all facets of my artistry.

Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
Musically speaking there‘s a set of artists and bands that inspired and still inspire me a lot. In terms of reggae, it’s people/bands like Gentleman & Evolution, Chronixx & Zincfence Redemption, and Bob Marley & The Wailers. In terms of sounds and lyricism, I’m a big fan of Jack Johnson for instance. He has his own beautifully subtle sound, I love it.

How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
There‘s a lot of great music coming out today. I think music that pays tribute to the foundation in their art has a certain longevity. Nevertheless, I would encourage every artist/musician to try take it to a new level and not just stick to the common paradigm. Involving different influences while keeping the foundation in mind, that‘s what I try to do.

Where can we contact you and find you online?
Official website: www.toke-music.de
Bandcamp: tokeofficial.bandcamp.com/album/troddin-with-a-vision-ep
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/tokeofficial
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/tokemusicofficial
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tokeofficial