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Toby Couling
Zildjian Artist Toby Couling
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: Noisettes/Independent
  • Country: United Kingdom

“I’ve always had a musical family. I started off playing the violin very young, but I had to tell my mum it wasn’t for me. Then I tried drums at eight years old, and I loved it straight away. After a few years I got my first kit – a red Percussion Plus – and through school I had half-hour lessons every week.

When I was about sixteen my cousin got engaged to the bass player of Reef, and I got to hang around with the band a little bit, which was cool. It was a turning point: I realised music could be a really exciting career. I was getting better at playing, too – when I jammed with my mum’s musical friends and they didn’t notice it was me on drums, I knew I was doing OK!

After school I attended Drum Tech, where I was privileged enough to have lessons with Mark Roberts (Massive Attack) and Tom Meadows (Duffy). I began to really understand my technique, learning to play a diverse range of styles including drum & bass, hip-hop, Latin and world music.

I then attended the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guilford, where I completed HNDs in drums and production. After graduating. I gigged live with my band 8Fold, and was offered my first session job playing live drum and bass with the EZ Rollers (Intercom Recordings) for their EU and UK tour.

Shortly afterwards, I was auditioned for a new artist on Universal, Nick Harrison. I got the gig. While recording and touring – supporting for the likes of The Feeling and Scouting for Girls – I was fortunate enough to work alongside some great producers, such as Paul Epworth (Adele 21, Plan B). Recording for Nick’s album meant I got involved with recording not only drums, but piano and – my other great passion – vocals. It really introduced me to the music world.

Since then, I’ve worked with some other great acts, including Speech Debelle (Mercury Award Winner 2009), Akala (Illastate Records), Natty (Atlantic), Rokhsan (Crown) and more recently, Noisettes (Mercury)

Playing with Speech led to some great experiences, including playing at the Mercury Music Prize Awards, doing seven performances at Glastonbury Festival and touring arenas in support of Basement Jaxx, including a gig at O2 Arena.

With Akala, I played main support for Damien Marley and Nas on their UK Tour, which finished at Hammersmith Apollo. I’m currently recording an album with Natty.

My main session gig since 2010 has been with the Noisettes. We’ve played some amazing venues and met some incredible people. One favourite memory is jamming with John-Paul Jones (Led Zepplin), Eliades Ochoa (Buena Vista Social Club) and Amadou and Mariam at Damon Albarn’s Africa Express Event in Spain!

Throughout this past year I’ve become more connected with myself as a player, producer and person. This gig has opened up many opportunities to my creative side and via band members’ suggestions, I’ve been immersed in a whole different range of musical genres.

My passion for production and recording has seen me work alongside producer Jim Abbiss (Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, Editors) and engineer Richard Morrison (KT Tunstall). I was involved in writing for the third album, due for release late 2011, and was part of the entire tracking process, which has seen me record at some amazing studios, like Grouse Lodge, Rak Studios, Salm West Studios, State of the Ark Studios and Brighton Electric Studios.”

Check out my website for the latest news and please feel free to get in touch.

Follow me on Twitter - @TobyCouling

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