Producer and violinist Totemic has just released his third extended play Falling, which encompasses a hypnotic and invigorating drum & bass journey.
Doug Penny or better known as Totemic is a DJ, producer and violinist that started his musical journey in Toronto, Canada. He primarily makes drum & bass with a focus on liquid, chill, and neuro. Many of these variations often have ambient and tribal influences, but is almost always calming and reflective of iconic trance sounds and vibes. Totemic has released one full album, two other extended plays, a couple remixes, singles, and mixes. His notable tracks have been his singles, such as ‘Drow,’ ‘Release,’ and ‘Breathe.’
How long have you played the violin and what all genres have you played?
I’ve been playing the violin for 22 years, since I was 5 years old. I started out playing classical music, and over the years have also played in classic rock, country rock and progressive rock groups before getting in to electronic music.
How long have you been producing electronic dance music and how long have you been a DJ
I started producing electronic music about 3 years ago, and also started to DJ at the same time. I figured there was no point making music with no way to play it for people, so I had to learn to DJ as well!
What is the electronic dance music scene like in Canada vs. the United States? How was it like growing up in the music scene?
Scenes in Canada vary across the country, with Toronto being much more focused on house and techno, whereas Vancouver and the west coast are more friendly towards bass music. That being said though, Toronto has a thriving and growing bass music community that regularly has headliners coming through from the UK and US. I would say it is quite similar to music scenes in some of the bigger US cities.
There is less opportunity for Canadian acts to break out, with not so many big cities up here and farther apart, making tours harder. Breaking into the US market is very important for aspiring Canadian artists.
Growing up here there were always opportunities to play whichever style of music I was in to at the time, and always interesting shows of any genre to go see. I’d say it was great!
How long have you been infusing your violin skills with your style of electronic dance music?
Right from the start I knew that I wanted to use my violin with my productions. I feel like it is “my” instrument and always perform with it, so it was an obvious step to also use it when producing.
What is your favorite style of EDM and what is your favorite style to make?
DnB is my favourite genre at the moment, both to listen to and to make. As a genre, it has the most variety of anything in my opinion…sometimes it seems like the only common thread between two things called “Drum and Bass” is the tempo, and the contents can be completely different! Because of that it is super fun to mix with, you can take the crowd on a journey.
I know you like to make drum n’ bass styles of music, you make it well. Do you have plans to branch out?
Definitely! I have a couple of collaborations coming out in the future, one of which is a garagey tune and the other a laid back down-tempo piece. I also really like mixing music at dubstep tempos so I could see myself making some of that in the future.
Who are your EDM inspirations or idols?
I really look up to people who can successfully fuse acoustic instruments with electronic music. Artists like Bonobo, Culprate, and Emancipator on that front. I also really look up to some of the UK DnB acts such as Ivy Lab, Skeptical, and Arkaik. My favorite home town producer is Gremlinz, who has been repping Toronto on major international DnB labels for years!
What was the creative process you went through when creating your extended play, Falling?
‘Falling‘ as a whole was, for me, about creating a journey through a few different styles of DnB, while still showcasing my own unique production style. It is an experimental piece in a few different ways, and in the end came down to selecting my favorite 4 tracks from a few months of work that I felt made a cohesive release.
Are there any messages behind the EP, Falling, and it’s tracks?
The EP itself doesn’t have any particular message, but I would say that my over-reaching message is just to find your passion and your joy and follow them as far as you can. Life is too short to waste time not trying to accomplish your goals.
Finally, what are your plans for the future in terms of singles, extended plays, albums, concerts, festivals, etc after Falling?
Over this summer, I’m going to be touring across Canada from my home base in Toronto, to Montreal, Alberta and BC. I’ll be playing some concerts and festivals including Solstice festival here in Ontario. I am also going to jaunt down to the US for a bit to get myself to Burning Man.
As far as new music, I have another 4 track EP just about ready that I will release in early July. It is a bit heavier than “Falling” and more focused on my violin, with all 4 tracks using lead violin parts. More information about that is going to be coming through in early June, as well as a couple singles in advance of the EP release.
Extended play, “Falling,” offers four breathtaking, soothing, musical tracks that embodies drum n’ bass using ambience, tribal drums, traditional percussion beats, and intense, mystical violin playing. For promotion of his EP, “Falling,” Totemic released ‘Falling’ and ‘Static Blitz,’ before it’s release today. His completed extended play also features tracks, ‘Devil’s Heart’ and my favorite track, ‘Endless Dream.’
‘Endless Dream’ starts out with peaceful hang drums that play calmly and soothingly. After a few moments, a quiet and subtle tribal drum & bass beat begins. Listeners can hear bass growls layered above fading in and out, with the beat slowly picking up. Everything comes to a halt, a percussion instrument plays, the hang drums continue, and then the first of two calming breaks hit.
The track transitions, into more of a chill drum & bass beat, ambient noises can be heard layered under percussion, and bending sirens. The beat eventually picks up with faster tribal drum hits. The second break is similar to the first, going a little faster, with ambience, barely audible violin synths layered under it all, and stretched sirens fading in and out.
From start to finish, Totemic‘s extended play is a masterful drum & bass journey, with ambient noises, hang drums, tribal drums, percussion, and his tasteful violin playing throughout. ‘Endless Dream’ closes the ‘Falling’ with a peaceful exit of hang drums, ambience, and quiet bass.
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