Our editor, Kevin Bourne, recently had the opportunity to chat with Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based DJ duo Torro Torro ahead of their performance at Glowfair. They shared about their musical inspirations, creative process and what we can expect at Glowfair.
Kevin Bourne: So first question, when did you guys get started in music and how’d you guys meet?
Evan Norton: We met at U of T [University of Toronto] in Toronto through a mutual friend who was in the local music scene. A colleague of ours put us in touch said, “Hey, maybe you guys should start working on some stuff.”
KB: Okay cool. So you guys just started performing together and making music?
EN: It wasn’t like a contrived thing but we both kind of were doing independent shows and working on our solo stuff so it was just kind of a natural. We started messing around and then started without anticipating too much.
Mike Gonek: Yeah, it was kind of natural. Evan ran a couple of little parties that were cool little local jams and I was doing some production stuff for a couple different projects. I came with a little more of the production and he came with the DJ stuff. We thought the combo would do well for a duo. That was kind of the initial idea.
KB: Cool. So growing up who were those DJs and musicians you guys looked up to? Who were your musical icons?
EN: I always thought Dr. Dre was really inspiring. He always had a handle on all the big club records growing up and he was making the stuff that was fun to party to as well as listen to at home.
MG: Yeah, I could totally agree with that. I was into rap, but I was really into jungle and drum base and I liked a lot of these underground UK drum base guys and U.S. rap stuff –Pharrell and Neptunes inspired me in my production.
KB: When I looked at your pictures online, I could tell these guys were into rap when they were younger.
EN: Yeah we were both pretty heavily influenced by rap and hip hop; that whole scene for sure.
KB: That kind of goes into my next question. Outside of EDM what other genres do you listen to today and how do these genres influence your music?
EN: Rap and classical music. I was playing the clarinet growing up so that was influencing me. Also, a lot of rock from my parents.
MG: My mom was really into jazz and guitar and did jazz piano lessons. I can get by because I have ear training; Rap and vibey down tempo stuff, classical on my dad’s side. You know the gamut of stuff other people have been influenced by- real music, electronic music combined.
KB: It’s interesting cause I know some people debate with EDM, is it art or is it entertainment? Sounds like to you guys EDM is more of an art form…like you guys actually care about the music.
MG: Yeah, I think a lot of the guys that are really into it are die hard producers and at the end of the day they come from a place where they wanted to make music in one form or another. We just all grew up in the generation where computers are super accessible and just become so powerful.
EN: I can speak to that personally. I played guitar in a band and all that stuff and I didn’t actually look at it one way or another whether electronic music or not, it was a means to making music for yourself. I could record my guitar over drum loops that I downloaded or made on my keyboard. In the beginning I didn’t really think too much of it. Obviously it’s grown in such a way that it’s a lot more formalized. At the time I think a lot of people came from the same place where people got into electronic music for fun.
KB: So how did you guys make that transition from being Dr. Dre fans to now coming to more electronic music?
MG: That’s interesting. That’s all Evan’s doing.
EN: It seemed like there was a lot more room for creativity in a lot of the dance genres and stuff, and electronic forms of music compared to what was going on in hip-hop and rap. Hip-hop and rap for a while became somewhat stale. It seemed like people weren’t taking any chances. Contrary to that at the same time in dance music, people were taking all the chances in the world where the sky was the limit on what you could do and what you could make and listeners were becoming more accepting of new sounds. It was a lot more clear there was more room to create and really grow in dance and electronic music when we were just making that step from listening to hip-hop and rap and other forms of music to listening to a lot more dance music.
KB: As a duo, how do you come to an integrated sound? What’s that process of finding an integrated sound for you guys?
MG: That comes a lot with having worked together for hours and be in the same room near each other. Obviously passing ideas back and forth whether we’re working on it at the same time in front of the same screen or separately, a lot of that comes with getting both of us pulling ideas from our respective interests and whatever inspires us in that time, gathering kind of over the years, you know what the other is going to like. When you spend time with someone you end up calibrating and it just happens by itself; you’re on the same page.
EN: Part of that is we have similar interests to begin with so that helps. You fine tune the details the more time you spend with each other. We’ve also kind of calmed down with the number of other musicians. Having a close work environment, surrounded by the people who are always around you helps.
KB: So now Glowfair. You guys are performing in Ottawa, so for those who have never seen you live and in person, what can we expect from you guys at Glowfair?
EN: A healthy dose of our music productions. Tons of house music, base music, and generally a really good time because we love to bring a ton of energy. I look forward to being in Ottawa in the coming weeks.
MG: Absolutely. In music whatever we can find, we’ll wing it in whatever way we we feel that day. Hopefully the sun is shining.
KB: I saw in a previous interview you guys don’t like anthems, so I guess we can’t expect any from you.
MG: On the contrary, it’s not like we have anything against them. We probably said that in the context of the generic. We try to curate. If it’s our vibe and it happens to be an anthem or an anti-anthem, we’ll still play it.
EN: I think everyone should do that in regards to their creativity, so whatever you’re feeling at the time.
MG: And…you just play whatever and it will be awesome. We try to get people moving and make sure everyone has a good time. At the end of the day, that’s what DJing is all about so we try to play a bit of everything.
KB: My last question. You’re from Toronto and living in L.A. Are you guys Leafs fans or Kings fans? Have you been converted to the Kings?
EN: At least the Kings win a few hockey games. Toronto will always be very close to our hearts but we’re more inclined to cheer for the Raptors or the Blue Jays cause they seem a little more driven to winning.
MG: If you look in our closets we still have a fair amount of Toronto gear kicking around.
KB: Sounds good. Thank you guys so much for your time.
EN: Good talking to you.
Torro Torro will be performing on June 20 at Glowfair.
Visit our Glowfair Central page with all of our exclusive content, including event photos.