From Après Ski To Music Degree – And Back Again. What’s Next For Musician, Tobias de Kretser?
As the events and music industry is slowly and cautiously waking up from its Covid-induced sleep, we’re seeing many musicians coming back to centre stage, stronger than ever. Having utilised this gig-draught to hone his focus on original music and recording – and support other artists’ projects by working on their sound engineering – Après Ski Bands musician Tobias de Kretser is most definitely one of those musicians re-taking his place centre stage.
With his life evolving in France – working full time on performing as well as music production – Tobias decided it would be apt to document this significant new phase in his life by documenting his journey from the UK to the place he now calls home – the French Alps. Check out the video below, edited to his own version of ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City. The writer, Adam Young wrote “Fireflies” based not only on his insomnia but also a summer camping trip to “a totally rustic and kind of remote lake in northern Minnesota, where there isn’t really much of anything”.
Maybe Tobias found inspiration in the remoteness of the Alps and the ‘nothingness’ being the lack of gigs, experienced by musicians the world over, during the pandemic!
In time with the release of his new song, Drifting Away, we caught up with Tobias de Kretser to ask about the new track, life between après and what’s next for this all singing, all looping artist as he prepares to take on the world!
Who are your particular musical influences and how did ‘Drifting Away’ evolve?
“‘Drifting Away’ evolved itself over time. It was a gradual but satisfying process. The intro came to me, then the first half with the lyrics in one hit. I dipped in and out of it over 3 years, but it never quite felt finished. The track was fully completed for part of my degree in music production. My musical influences, that I feel come through most in the track are; Bear’s Den, especially with the production side of things. Also, Mumford & Sons – their 3rd album in particular – with some serious Ben Howard vibes thrown in for good measure.”
And where was it recorded?
“I actually recorded the whole thing at home. What else do you do whilst in lockdown, back at home with your parents?! I hung some mattresses from the ceiling and stacked up all the coats I could find in the house. The room looked hilarious but it gave a decent sound damping quality which meant this exact track was able to be recored in about 15 minutes in total (after many hours of practise and prep, of course!) Every single track from the forthcoming EP was recorded in this room at home (minus one guitar part that a friend helped me record) when my life and university education were flipped upside down!”
“The song is now released on Spotify and all major streaming platforms as of today, 5th March 2021. It’s the lead track from the upcoming EP. I’m so very proud of this project. It’s entirely self written, self performed, self produced as well as mixed by… myself!”
So let’s rewind a moment: You’re now residing in Méribel in the French Alps. What brought you here in the first place?
“I was the drummer for Blazin’ Strings‘ original line up with Ben & Hamish, back in the South West of England. I then auditioned for Après Ski Bands in Torquay, August 2017 along with my buddy, Ben, as his new duo partner. We started gigging in the French Alps in December 2017 and the rest is history! (Oh and I’d travelled around Australia and also taught myself the bass guitar in between that August and December…) I somehow managed to juggle a second 18-19 winter season whilst studying remotely for Uni (so the eventual Covid-related remote learning thing wasn’t anything new to me). We were due to come back for the 19-20 winter season, all guns Blazin’ (Stings…) only to be thwarted by a certain global pandemic.
I’m now living in Méribel full time with my gorgeous girlfriend – you’ll see her in the video – and utilising these times of confinement and curfew to teach guitar as well as music production online. I’m also working with other UK based artists to produce their original music. It’s surprising how busy you can be despite the lack of gigs!”
Your journey over to the French Alpswas documented as a personal project. What inspired you to film this trip?
“It added another focus to the journey and documented a significant move in my / our life. We travelled during the UK and French lockdowns which you’ll see a nod to in the videography. But I wanted to focus on the breathtaking landscape and excitement of the journey over to the French Alps. As a select number of musicians will have witnessed, this is a journey that’s full of anticipation and intrigue during the first drive. Your second season and therefore second drive over is equally exciting but also nicely familiar, in a ‘coming home’ sense. I hope it offers a bit of context to any future musicians planning this journey. And I’m now lucky enough to call The Alps my home. I’m looking forward to gigging live again, followed by the icing on the cake of driving home and knowing this is home! The snow’s been amazing this winter. It’s the first time I’ve had time to myself and also, weirdly, enjoy a gig-free Christmas and New Year’s Eve… But like all of us musicians, this head space is all well and good, but we’re DEFINITELY ready to perform live to an audience again at après!”
Nice work, Tobias! Here’s to your new single, a bright future and the mountains returning to the musical playground we all know and love! Santé, my son!
‘Drifting Away’ available to download as of today!