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T.O.K. aims to expand global reach with new album

Published:Sunday | July 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM
T.O.K. - File

Reggae/dancehall group T.O.K. is gearing up to release a new album. However, for this project, the group is seeking to appeal to the Spanish and African markets.

According to David Mullings, who is contracted to promote and develop this latest project, T.O.K.'s new music will have a mass appeal, especially outside of the island.

The album's name is yet to be released, however, the songs have already been shortlisted. Mullings hinted that some of the songs will carry an electronic dance music (EDM) type of sound.

"This album's target is the entire world. We hope to carry our loyal dancehall and reggae fans along with us as we present a hybrid body of work. It's EDM meets dancehall, reggae, Spanish music, and so much more. World music would best describe it," Mullings said.

T.O.K. collaborated with internationally renowned producers Major Lazer last year for a single called Shell It Down. The effort saw the producers merging a hardcore dancehall sound with EDM effects and Spanish drums. The song later charted in several Spanish countries and Africa, along with Busy Signal's Bumaye, which is also featured on the same instrumental. Group member Bay-C, says the success of the record was a wake-up call.

"Well, based on the success of our Shell It Down record on Major Lazer's Bumaye rhythm, it was a natural progression. We got a whole new fan base because of that song, and it also re-energised our established fan base. So we felt like continuing on that sound, and the mixture of worlds would be the best direction for us," he said.

Label issues

This is the group's first album since hopping out of a contract with VP Records in 2012. Now, as an independent brand, T.O.K. aims to be more versatile as well as use the opportunity to dabble in different forms of art, hinting that their creativity was limited under the VP contract.

"All our albums before were like the label trying to keep us in a box. Now, we are out of the box completely. It's T.O.K. being T.O.K., no set genre, sound or topics... everything different. The second thing is, now, we are executive producers, so decisions are completely different now.

Before, we were just the artistes that did the music. Now, we are involved in the whole creative process as well as the business side which includes marketing, distribution and such. So we are in the driver's seat now," Bay-C explained.

The complete production and promotion of the project is a joint venture between T.O.K. and United States-based companies Therapist Music and XCARR. The band has also partnered with Realvibez Group, which is assisting with marketing plans.

T.O.K. is also promoting its reality show called T.O.K.: Taking Over, which will begin airing on July 20 on CVM TV.

"The world is literally at our fingertips with the Internet and smartphones. So, now, we have to make music that the world can consume without compromising our authenticity. Topics that go beyond a limited group of persons, beats that are universally palatable, and imaging ourselves for the world at large. The whole world is out there, and there are literally millions of new songs. We have to stand out and we have to put ourselves on the largest platform to do so," Bay-C told The Sunday Gleaner.

The band is hoping that its new projects will transcend beyond nationality, culture and geographical zones and attract persons who remain ignorant to reggae and dancehall music.