Toyo, also known as Jarrod Bartlett, graced us with his presence at Hypernova earlier this year. Bartlett is an innovative and prolific producer, having also performed as Zodiac. Toyo’s work is relaxed and really easy to listen to – sitting in the grass on Fellow’s Oval and listening to his track “Wonderlust” was almost transcendental. I was lucky enough to get to chat to Toyo, to get his thoughts on the Canberra music scene and some great life advice too.

PB: So from what I understand, Toyo has entered the scene pretty recently, and before that you were playing as Zodiac. Your sets as Zodiac are really vibrant and energetic, whereas Toyo is way more relaxed. What inspired you to change directions with your music?

T: Yeah Toyo is still pretty new, I created the project back in 2014 but never released anything. I kind of planned a lot out with it before releasing it to the public eye. I still do Zodiac sets and make music under as Zodiac as well. I would say I am inspired by a lot of things, whether it be just going outside and exploring or watching a documentary on something interesting. I feel I get inspired by life itself and the journey we are all on. Listening to my music is pretty much like reading my diary!

PB: You’ve been picking up a lot of momentum recently, appearing on Triple J Unearthed last November, Dragon Dreaming in 2015 and at a heap of events over the summer. What are you hoping to get up to this year?

T: Yeah its been so great! It’s nice when you put all this hard work into something and people start noticing and it starts paying off. I like to keep myself busy as well, so playing a lot of shows, sharing my music with people and seeing new places is a lot of fun. This year I am sort of taking it how it comes, I have a lot of music I plan to release. I would love to land a spot on Groovin’ The Moo this year in Canberra, that would be amazing!

PB: I loved the time-lapse video of Canberra that was shared on the Hypernova page, it worked perfectly with your track “Wonderlust” and it made me feel really sentimental about my hometown! You’re from Canberra, right? Do you like it here?

T: Davey did such a good job with that video! It really shows Canberra in a new light and how beautiful it is. I was blessed he used “Wonderlust” for that video, it worked really well. I am from Canberra, I love it! I have a great group of friends here and there is always something happening. Not to mention the music scene is on the up.

PB: What has been your experience with the Canberra music scene, and where do you think it’s headed?

T: Throughout the years I have seen the Canberra music scene grow so much. There are always gigs on now, and lots of promoters who are pushing their brand as well which helps keep it alive. I think it is heading into a really good direction and I think it is going to be even stronger in the coming years. Even with the limited venues in Canberra people always seem to make it work, they are passionate about keeping the scene going and that is why I reckon it will keep growing.

PB: How has living in Canberra influenced your music?

T: I would have to say the people I surround myself with and have met along the way are the ones who influence my music. I have a really great group of friends who have helped push me and support me when I need it. They are the ones who help influence my music.

PB: So do you have any advice for Canberra locals who are keen to develop their music?

T: Keep going, even when things go wrong, and believe me they do, pick yourself back up and continue on your musical journey. If people doubt you then use that as motivation to help you prove all those who doubted you wrong. If you are passionate about your music and really want it then it will show, people will start to notice you and your hard work and it will pay off for you. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey along the way so remember to always have fun with it!

PB: So, moving on from music in Canberra, what do you think about the nightlife here? Do you enjoy going out in Canberra?

T: I think the Canberra nightlife is good, I do enjoy going out every now and then mainly for my friends’ events, but yeah I like it. I am more than happy to help support the scene which supports me.