Exclusive Interview | Bobby Tank



They say your biggest setbacks often reveal your biggest strengths. For Bobby Tank, these were half-assed sentiments expressed by people who didn’t understand what he was going through. Diagnosed with a career-threatening ear infection back in 2013, Tank was in despair – clutching at straws trying to find a way out of this health-scare. Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way. He’d been earmarked as the future of forward-thinking bass music by the likes of Zane Lowe, Annie Mac, Mixmag, Rolling Stone and many, many more.

And at that moment, none of those adulations mattered. He just wanted to be able to make music again.

When asked to describe his music, the London-based producer said, “Like Rick James riding a flying unicorn along Orion’s belt whilst smoking a crack pipe.” Tank isn’t far-off in his description. His music is the kind of shimmery, gorgeous, funk-driven atmosphere that’ll place you in a catsonsynthesizers.com GIF – while making you furiously move to the bass-heavy, chopped-up beats. As Annie Mac described it – “It’s Bonkers!” With remixes in the bag for heavyweights such as Flume, Foreign Beggars, AlunaGeorge and more, it’ll be an understatement to say that Tank has put his setbacks behind him. His ambition is akin to the maximalist approach he applies to his productions.

We caught up with the producer to talk about his influences, his upcoming album and more.


We caught up with the producer to talk about his influences, his upcoming album and more.

DHH: What was your early life like? Where did you grow up ?

Bobby Tank: Fairly normal I guess. I grew up in a small, chaotic house in South Harrow, London. Not the fondest of memories, but we all made it work to some extent.


DHH: What was the first kind of music you started listening to ?

Bobby Tank: Like most kids my age would say, MJ/Jackson 5 made the biggest impact on our lives. My mother always had music playing loud around house, so I inherited a strong understanding and appreciation for funk, soul, disco, pop and rock. I remember my mum telling me that at just age 4 I was already infatuated with the Jackson 5. Everytime they came on I would be there dancing by myself. It wasn’t until the age of 7 that I began listening to jungle and hip-hop. Then when I hit high school, metal took over my life.

DHH: When did you start producing music / playing with bands?

Bobby Tank: I contributed to a fair few bands in my childhood – all the way up to college. I took on various roles playing the guitar, bass or drums. It wasn’t until late 2010 that I decided to go solo and pursue electronic music production.

DHH: What artists / producers influence you? Was there a significant hip-hop influence?

Bobby Tank: The list is endless for me. I’m inspired quite easily – I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced a plethora of styles and genres. Hip-hop has played a pivotal role in my journey as I found it to be the most conducive in my efforts to understand music as a whole. Producers like 9th Wonder, Madlib, Pete Rock, Dre, Premo, Edit, Flylo and Dilla changed my life.


DHH: What kind of shows did you go to as a kid? Any memorable ones that you’d like to mention?

Bobby Tank: A lot of rock shows, hip-hop shows, funk and soul live nights, etc and a few big stadium shows. The most memorable one has to be MJ’s Dangerous tour at Wembley, London. I’m pretty sure most of London attended that.  

DHH: You’ve remixed tracks for some massive artists across the world. How did they come about and what’s been your favourite so far?

Bobby Tank: Yeah it’s been crazy! I’m so grateful to have been a part of those projects. Since the release of my Afterburn EP on Mofohifi Records back in 2012, the reception has been out of this world! Really unexpected. It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since.

DHH: Which album has had the most significant influence on your work?

Bobby Tank: Man, I could be here all day listing everything that has influenced me because (without sounding like a twat) I listen to a shit load of music. However, to answer your question in the fairest way possible, I’ll give you my 5 most ‘on the spot’ influential albums:

  • MJ – Off The Wall
  • Vangelis – The City
  • Weather Report – Night Passage
  • Tool – Lateralus
  • Group Home – Livin Proof

DHH: What’s the production process been like for your work? Any particular narratives / themes you’re exploring?

Bobby Tank: Honestly, since I started back in 2010, it’s been surprisingly fluid. Playing in all those bands and practicing in my room for all those hours everyday really helped me with the whole transition into computer music. I still approach my projects as if I’m still writing them for a band. It seems to work for me but I’m still learning something new everyday. It’s remarkable what can be done with a computer and a bit of software these days.


DHH: What are your upcoming plans? Anything we can look forward to?

Bobby Tank: Currently just writing my own material, remixing, collaborating and trying to finalise an album *laughs*. I laugh because it’s been hell.