Harmony Through Mixology
TommyD is an award winning Music Producer, Songwriter, Artist, DJ,
TV Presenter, Public Speaker and founder and creator of 8O8 Whisky.
Tommy has spent his life mixing, mixing genres, mixing tunes, mixing whisky.
He believes in Harmony Through Mixology, mixing styles to create something new.
He has worked with everyone from Kanye to Kylie.
Tommy has sold over 60 million units and had over a billion streams.
I was born in London.
My dad is an actor and my mother a chef and restauranteur.
I have always tried to do things differently, to mix up shit that shouldn't be mixed.
Harmony Through Mixology, as I call it.
I credit my love, passion and the pursuit of the new to the constantly changing sounds played in our family house and to the amazingly varied cultures that frequent this great Capital City.
At any given moment you could hear reggae bass from the basement, dance beats from the ground floor, rock guitar from the second floor, classical strings from the third, Moroccan wailing from the cab coming down the street and my dad singing Sinatra in the garden!
I began my life as a musician, at the famous Elliott Comprehensive school (past pupils include The XX, Hot Chip, Four Tet, Buriel, Rat Skabies and Pierce Bronsnan!)
While at school I played in a number of local bands as either a guitarist, keyboardist, drummer, or singer, often playing covers of the hits of the day, as well as a few originals we could sneak in. This was a fantastic crash course in both arrangement and composition and learning what people actually love about music and what keeps them essentially entertained.
The styles of music were always wildly varied, from a rock band on a Monday, Reggae on Wednesday and Pop/dance hits on Friday.
This fuelled my musical bug, so I crashed out of school with only a few qualifications, to follow my dream. I worked as an assistant in a commercial studio and as a salesman selling musical and studio equipment. From all this, I garnered a basic knowledge of the technical side of music production and arrangement.
At the age of eighteen, I realised that carting records around was a lot easier than a whole load of musical equipment!
I started DJing at my local club in South West London and quickly made a name for myself. My career as a DJ spanned 13 years, playing in some of the greatest clubs in the world. I was a resident at Ministry of Sound, helping to establish the brand through numerous tours and remixes for the label.
As a musician, I was greatly influenced by DJing. It was only a matter of time before I started making the records I wanted to play. In 1988, the dawn of House music and the modern club scene, I set up my own record label, CT Records, producing underground 12-inch club records under different guises and friends tracks that I loved.
The label was successful, with many of the releases getting into the top five of the Music Week UK and American Billboard club charts.
Around this time, I was asked to remix other artist’s records, for club and radio.
DJing also led me to work with musician/DJ, Jeremy Healy, who asked me to join his experimental dance project ‘Ezee Posse’. Ezee Posse had a top 10 hit in the UK with ‘Everything Starts with an E’, and top 10 album in 1991.
Right Said Fred
Around the same time I became friends with two brothers, who one night, handed me a cassette of songs. One song, in particular, jumped out at me and I quickly knocked up a demo in about 3 hours, using only an Akai S1000 and an Atari running Cubase.
I played it to the brothers the following week and we agreed that all it needed was a couple of finishing touches, which we recorded at Red Bus Studios.
The song was ‘I’m Too Sexy’ and the boys called themselves ‘Right Said Fred’
‘I’m Too Sexy’, went on to be a top 10 hit in 9 countries, including straight in at No1 in the U.S Billboard chart a British feat, up to that point, only the Beatles had achieved. I went onto produce, program and perform their debut album “Up” and follow up singles “Don’t talk Just Kiss” and “Deeply Dippy”.
RSF sold 20 million units in 12 months.
'Sexy' is now the 18th most requested song of all time. The phrase is now completely ingrained into modern life, lending itself to T-shirts, Mugs, greeting cards, even a type of Sushi roll!
Not bad for something I predominantly made in my bedroom...
Production and Songwriting
I carried on remixing but found that I was continually drawn to producing bands, live music and songs, while incorporating what I had learnt and loved from Dance.
My quest to effortlessly implement the two, as well as integrating live instruments with electronic sounds has been at the centre of my musical vision. Harnessing my technical studio knowledge with my comprehensive musical knowledge and topping it all off with years of watching people dance in nightclubs, I bring it all together in the studio and to a song.
I produced Two albums for the Welsh band Catatonia. Both albums went to No1 and spawned Five top 10 hits. They were both nominated for the Mercury and Brits awards.
For my work, I was nominated for Q magazine’s Best Producer award.
I helped to develop the careers of a number of varied and colourful international artists including KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae.
My songs and productions are featured on both their debut No1 Albums.
I have continued to work with a number of different artists including Kanye West, FUN, Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Barry White, Mark Ronson, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Emeli Sande, Sigma, Take That, Mundy, David McAlmont, Bjork, Jessie J, Tom Jones, Jordan Stephans, Finley Quaye, Leona Naess, Joss Stone, Jess Glynn, Tim Hutton, Zascha Moktan, Mic Donet and Raleigh Ritchie. A selection of that work can be found in the Music section
In 2006 I teamed up with the amazing singer, songwriter Sam Obernik and together we formed Barefoot. Through DJing, I realised that although the emphasis was predominately on the beat and music, the actual level of songwriting and quality of the melodies was really strong. Sam and I set out to highlight this by taking songs from the dancefloor and totally reinterpreting them with a simple backing band. The album 'Barefoot' was the fore runner to many similar concepts like Mark Ronson's 'Version' that came much later. Check out our version of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Fives 'White Lines' and Underworlds 'Born Slippy' in the Listen section
Singing With The Enemy
In 2008, I was choosen to be the ‘Producer’ in the BBC TV 6 part series ‘Singing With The Enemy’. In each episode I had to work with and encourage (sometimes force!) two very different bands, to come together and collaborate on a track, with very conflicting results! A really interesting version of HarmonyThroughMixology.
Please see the Video Section of the site to see excerpts.
In conjunction with my wife, Rosie Danvers, one of the most respected and highly sought after orchestral arrangers and her company Wiredstrings, we have arranged and orchestrated concerts and recordings for Noel Gallagher, Spice Girls, Kanye West, Jay Z, Rita Ora, Tinie Temper, Emeli Sande, FUN, Raleigh Ritchie, MNEK, Frank Ocean, Enya and Beyonce. Check out some of the shows we did with JayZ and Kanye in the 'Watch' section.
In 2010 I launched Graffiti6, a collaboration between myself, the singer songwriter Jamie Scott and graphic artist Jimi Crayon. The NY Post tipped us as a band to watch.
Our debut album, ‘Colours’, released in 2011, via Capitol records, garnered huge critical acclaim with 5 star reviews in the Independant, Time Out, Music Week, VH1 and Vevo and spawned a top 5 hit in the US with the track ‘Free’, as well as top 5 singles in Scandinavia, France, Holland and Belguim.
We toured the album extensively in the UK , Europe and the US, clocking up over 200 shows. In 2014 we released a follow up ‘The Bridge’ to brilliant critical acclaim.
Graffiti6 music has been featured in a vast array of syncs including Greys Anatomy, CSI NY, Covert Affairs, Victorias Secret, Hollister, Heineken, MTV, VH1 and The Sun, to name but a few.
Please see the Graffiti6 section for details
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Along with the Music Producers Guild, I’ve spearheaded, the Credit Where Credit is Due campaign, to highlight the criminal lack of credit info in the digital domain.
Crediting someone for the work and effort they have put into a project is a moral duty. It seems crazy to me that our very own industry is oblivious to the importance, marketing and educational aspect, of easily and accurately crediting the myriad of skills that are involved with music production and performance and not only making those credits easily attainable but encouraging the platforms to use them as promotion.
Please check the website for more info.
In 2014 I was asked to write and produce a lead song for the Disney Blockbuster remake of Cinderella. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James, 'Strong' was the closing credits song and Cinderella went on to be one of the biggest movies of 2015. It was a unbelivable experience and I'm humbled to be part of the Disney songbook, a rich catalogue of beautiful songs that have shaped all our childhoods. Check out the listen tab for this and more examples of my work
In 2014 I created the 8O8 drinks company with my close friend, businessman Paul Pullinger and Whisky expert Jonathan Driver. Our first product, the 8O8 Whisky was launched in 2015 to huge critical and commercial success. 8O8 is now sold in over 200 venues in Europe, as well as Harrods and Selfridges, where it achieved one their most successful ever launches of a new alcohol brand.
It was voted one of the top10 whiskies in the world in the Independent newspaper.
For more info check the 8O8 tab.
To buy 8O8 please go here
In 2015 I started a new project 'Wildhood' with Jordan Stephans from the band Rizzle Kicks. Wildhood continues the theme of beats and guitars that has underpinned all my musical adventures and tops it off with Jordans brilliant lyrics and performance. For more info check the Wildhood tab
Having spent many years in recording studios, I am also called upon to consult in studio design and equipment choice. I have built studios in China and the UK. Please contact me for further info.
I am proficient in Guitar, Drums, Keyboards and Vocals as well as Programming and Engineering.
My work has over a billion streams and sold over Sixty million units.
I have decided to pull together all this amazing knowledge that I've been so lucky in learning from all these incredible and amazing experiences and fellow Cre8ives to help, guide and mentor other Cre8ives. I've called the program #HarmonyThroughMixology. The program is there to celebrate and highlight the benefits of my way of exploring and surviving the beautiful world of Cre8ivity and how best to Collabor8 When asked what my biggest success is, I always say its that I'm still here, still making music and still making a living as a Cre8ive. You can too.
For more info please sign up to my mailing list on the contact page