If Hollywood continues its rampant rebooting of classic films and decides to redo the 1982 sci-fi adventure Tron (yet again), they need to call Scott Toddy. His debut LP Vibe for a Bit is a ready-made soundtrack for such a flick. Toddy explains that if his album was a film it would be “like Tron but on the beach? I could also see it with Drive.”
The album, which Toddy describes as a “crazy, fun, space trap,” is the perfect antidote to our troubling world times—a Pollyanna apocalypse to be played as you reach warp speed amidst the stars. From the euphoric “Beach Fire” and “Jungle Floor” to the more contemplative “Decade” and “Lunar Symphony,” this is a soundscape for escape.
“I try to write every song with a specific setting in mind, like chilling in a hot tub on the moon or raging in some sort of outdoor night club in the jungle... But if I had to pick one setting for listening to the whole album, I’d say blasting it loud while driving to the coast on a sunny day.
“Ideally you’re in some sort of Jeep situation with no doors, or maybe a convertible, or maybe you just tear the doors off your Prius. Point is there’s sunshine and fresh air and a spritz of adrenaline.”
Describing the album as “one of the biggest and coolest things [he’s] ever done,” Toddy used his graphic design day job and stints doing stand-up comedy to create something aesthetically exciting infused with lots of levity.
“There’s a sense of nature to balance the spaciness, which was intentional in a lot of the ambient background sounds I put in, like waves on a beach, a thunderstorm or crickets; all that to give a sense of something epic and cosmic, yet somehow personal and chill.”
Toddy has been working on the album for the past 18 months as a lunchtime hobby. But his passion is palpable and it seems it was more like a calling. And his music-making habit is very focused.
“I work 50 hours a week at my day job, so I have to be really efficient with my production time if I want to have any sort of sleep schedule or healthy marriage and relationships. On my lunch break I bust out my laptop and sketch out a rough idea for a drop. Then I upload it as a private song to SoundCloud, go back to my desk and listen to it on repeat. The whole time it’s playing I’m keeping mental notes of things I want to change or add, so in my home studio that night or at lunch the next day I can quickly bang out all those ideas, then upload again and repeat.
“I love doing it this way because I feel a tangible process. Even if I add 10 new seconds to that SoundCloud link, I’ve given myself something new to listen to and enjoy!”
While the album is a gem of a genesis, Toddy admits, “It’s important to stress that I have no idea what I’m doing. But the longer I do this the more I realize no one has any idea what they’re doing, so you might as well just do it! There’s no right or wrong way to make music anymore—just go with what sounds good to you personally.
“I hope Vibe for a Bit inspires people to start making music. And if they do, I’m always happy to check out songs and give feedback on Twitter!”
Toddy even shares his top tips for making electronic music if you haven’t done it before:
1. Pick a software (I love Ableton) and watch a few tutorials to learn the basics.
2. Force yourself to make 10 complete songs. Accept that most of them will be trash, but you learn so much more by finishing a song than by tinkering with a few loops for months. By the tenth song you should be sounding decent!
3. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel overwhelmed. Focus on what you do understand, keep your songs simple, and watch more tutorials as you need them.
4. Don’t buy hardware or plug-ins until you know enough to need them. Most of my album was made on just my laptop. Also, knowing an instrument can help, but it’s not necessary.