Today we’re joined by the Grammy award-winning producer, composer and DJ, Alexandru Cotoi, better known as SICKOTOY. Hailing from Romania and traveling the globe, SICKOTOY has developed a truly unique sound and brings a distinctive flavour of Arabic club sounds with heavy bass lines and piercing beats. His discography has racked up over 100 million streams and topped charts numerous times. His artistry has seen him collaborate with an array of industry tastemakers including Pitbull, Ilkay Sencan, ALOK and INNA. He recently released his single ‘Bad Girls’ along with INNA, Antonia and Eva Timush, we catch him for a chat to discuss the single, his sound and the ups and downs of life as a musician.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us today! We’re huge fans of your work.
- How would you best describe your sound? Are there any artists that you draw inspiration from?
My sound carries a touch of darkness, heavily centered on bass. I’m drawn to the fusion of melancholic, emotive melodies with high-energy, bass-driven rhythms. It’s a somewhat twisted style, but I find it uniquely cool. While I don’t draw direct inspiration from specific artists, I’m deeply influenced by music as a whole. I enjoy keeping tabs on what other producers and DJs are putting out. It’s a consistent equilibrium between absorbing music and crafting my own.
- When did you first start producing music and what initially interested you about producing?
In 2009, I embarked on my production journey while serving as a guitarist for “Morandi,” a band with whom I extensively toured throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. I began to sense an unfulfilled creative urge, a desire to bring the musical ideas swirling in my mind to life. Consequently, I made the transition from playing the guitar to diving headfirst into beat-making and music production. This transition led me to acquire new skills, including playing the piano, mastering the bass, and mastering drum programming, among others. It felt like the dawn of a new chapter in my life, and to this day, it remains a profound and enduring passion of mine.
- Can you talk us through your recent release ‘Bad Girls’? What was the creative process behind the track and where did you get the inspiration?
This cool moment went down at a music camp in Dubai, organized by Global Records, the label that manages the Sickotoy project and publishes my stuff. So, there I was, jamming with Wayne Hector and Roland Spreckley, who are big shots in the songwriting biz. We were basically three dudes just vibing and cranking out a track called “Bad Girls.” Believe it or not, it took us less than half an hour to write the whole thing. Sometimes, it’s just that easy, you know? ????
- Your new single had the huge collaboration with INNA, Antonia and Eva Timush. What have been your favourite collaborations so far and why?
I’ve always loved and felt honored to collaborate with INNA. We even have the track ‘VKTM’ together, which was featured in the latest Victoria’s Secret ‘ICON’ Campaign. I’m grateful for all my collaborations, so I can’t say I loved one more than the others.
- Where do you find you’re most creative? At home/in the studio/on the road etc and do you find different environments impact your creativity in different ways?
I think I’m most creative in the studio and on the road. Of course, the environment plays a significant role in the creative process. When you’re in a good mood, fueled by an amazing environment, people are more inclined to be creative.
- Can you talk us through the standard day in the studio with you, do you have a routine that you stick to?
Typically, my sessions are scheduled to begin around 2 pm. To get into the studio mindset, I start my workday at 10-11 am by addressing emails, listening to various things, and preparing myself. Additionally, I find that I tend to focus more on tasks like mixing, comping, and finalizing work in the morning rather than the afternoon.
- What were you doing 10 years ago and what advice would you give to yourself at that stage in your life?
During the early years of my producing career, I was a real workaholic. Looking back, I would likely advise my younger self to prioritize inner feelings and emotions over pure reason and career aspirations.
- What do you get up to when you’re not in the studio?
I don’t kick off my day with music. Typically, I begin with a cup of coffee and engage in a silent workout.
- What’s your favourite aspect of your job as a producer and composer? And if you had to pick one downfall to the job, what would it be?
My favorite aspect is the multitude of ways a song can be created, which keeps the process exciting even after many years. However, a downside is that it can sometimes feel like a hit-or-miss endeavor, and success is not solely dependent on the music itself. It also relies on factors such as timing, management, A&R professionals, and all the people in the industry connected to one’s work in the music business.
What can we expect from you for the rest of the year? Any exciting projects or collaborations?
I have several upcoming releases with intriguing soundscapes, all with a strong emphasis on bass. I’m also working on some exciting collaborations, but I’ll reveal more details as we get closer to the release dates.
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