Written by Teyquil Skelton
As the pandemic continues to stifle the world globally, it’s in our best interest to stay as hopeful as possible and to hold on to as much optimism as we can muster. I know that may be easier said than done, but when you’re granted an opportunity to speak to someone who holds as much hopefulness and optimism as Toby, you’re guaranteed an experience like no other.
The conversation between Toby and I opened up with his thoughts concerning the coronavirus and how he felt trapped with not being able to do the things he had planned socially and musically. For Toby, a.k.a. Reggie Baril, it was a bad position to be in, in regards to the release of his EP and upcoming shows.
So how does one person manage to wear so many hats in the entertainment business? From acting to theatre productions to the recording booth, I was truly eager to hear his response as to how he balances these challenging roles on a day to day basis. Baril, replied that it’s never foreign in regards to his passions for acting, recording and stand up comedy. Wearing these hats feels natural and never arduous in any way. If anything, it’s a world in which he’s most comfortable and to create in a space where everything seemingly flows like a river, is a world where I think could be the closest thing to perfection.
Baril is a lover of locations, it inspires, transforms and opens doors for other possible creative modes and I was interested in how locations sparked those muscles mentally moving forward. “Location is everything,” he says. The smell, taste, the view of wherever you are in the moment leaves room for those creative juices to flow. It influences the product, says Baril, what you hear, see, listen to, or even think about are all things that help enhance the process when creativity takes over.
In his early years of recording, back in his hometown in Haiti, these were the kinds of things he discovered and realized, as his passion for this kind of art began to blossom. It was a wonderful way to articulate how he connected to certain locations and how those gateways gave birth to something new and fresh. It helped him lead in all of his artistic practices across the board.
Since he is so driven by getting inspiration from different locations, I was curious to know what his other inspirational pushes/influences were that added to his creative flow moving forward. Baril began opening up in response, saying he loves instruments and how piano was the first real thing he tried learning. He wasn’t too fond of it though and gave up on it until he started to learn keys to certain songs he really liked. The other thing about piano along with learning tunes that meant something special to him was the fact that maybe, girls would take notice to him but unfortunately, it didn’t work. Talk about an opportunist taking a chance on all counts, only to be overlooked. The woes we endure when you’re a middle school kid.
Though piano didn’t grant him the girls in middle school, it did grant him joy to bring out the beautiful sounds that a piano does make which led him to want to try other instruments.
As Baril began his search, he came across drums, and then guitar. When he moved to L.A., all of what he has accomplished thus far, brought him to the realization that he loves instrumentation.
Within this process, he found other inspirations that helped influence other possibilities for The Outside EP. He also mentioned that he had the opportunity to engineer his latest project. He cut all of his own vocals, compressed them and even did some light mixing while in the lab. I tell you, the man works hard and when you’re wearing as many hats as this artistic individual, you’re bound to become something great.
In Baril’s work, you can tell he wants so much more. He doesn’t just step into the studio and records. He watches behind the scenes and he asks questions, he watches the board operators and how they function when they’re working on his projects. He pushes himself to go the extra mile and stays hungry and thirsty for more knowledge involving his craft. That’s what makes a great artist and that’s what separates them from everyone else. It creates a space all of its own and when that muscle starts to build, you become one in a million, sifting your way through the meadows.
As far as artists that influences Baril musically and that have inspired him to create are individuals like, Childish Gambino who is what he calls, his career compass, and Phoebe Bridgers, who also is a huge influence on him as well. Though it is uncertain about what’s next after COVID-19, he did mention that he got picked up by Magnetic Moon Records founded by Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation. Magnetic Moon is present in both Los Angeles and San Francisco and is distributed/funded by InGrooves which is under Universal Music Group worldwide.
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