in the studio with: Theo Davis, producer of todostudios

"The main thing to master is the groove, feel, and drums as this is what makes people dance and one of the things that makes the music infectious and irresistible."
18 August 2022

In this installment of our In the Studio series, we chatted with Theo Davis, the industrious producer and artist behind London-based todostudios.

Theo’s success to date in music has manifested through radio play (on stations like BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra), TV shows (titles including Match of the Day, Take Me Out, and X-Factor), and Spotify playlists you may have listened to such as the editorial playlist Easy and Starbucks’ own personalised playlists Coffeehouse and Starbucks Soul R&B Hip-Hop.

He scored his first UK Top 30 single as a producer with a track called Azonto by Fuse ODG, which to date has a combined total of over 70 million views on YouTube. Recently he teamed up with upcoming Nigerian-British singer-songwriter IsaacO, contributing to the production of his first four singles, leading to a total of over 1,000,000 streams on Spotify alone.

While he multitasks with careers in both music and medicine, Theo’s aim as an artist is to continue pioneering the contemporary Afro-Lofi sound that juxtaposes the vintage and granular feel of Lofi with infectious afrobeat rhythms. It seems to be a winning formula if you ask us.

Theo also recently collaborated with Hans Zimmer’s and Pharrell Williams’ founded plug-in company ujam instruments to create the tracks Adonai and Jireh in promotion of their newly released plug-ins Virtual Pianist VOGUE and Reggaeton Beatmaker RICO.

todostudios‘ latest release, a 3-minute-long instrumental track called AFUA, shares its title with a female Ghanaian given name meaning “born on Friday”. With its wonderfully warm riffs and a magically laid-back vibe, AFUA manages to stand out as a catchy and memorable tune even without a single lyric.

Theo gave some insight into the cultural inspiration behind the captivating track:

“Being of Ghanaian descent, there was a longing to shine a spotlight on the beauty of my own personal heritage and the African Diaspora. I also wanted to create a sound which encapsulated the beauty of women from the African Diaspora without the need for song lyrics.”

Make sure to listen to AFUA and read on to learn more about Theo’s creative process and industry insights.

What has been your proudest musical achievement to date?

For me, it is producing Azonto by Fuse ODG. This song has now gone down as an innovator in afrobeats history in setting the tone and foundation for later afrobeats tracks. It also gave me my first UK Top 40 single and to date has over 70 million streams across all streaming platforms.

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about producing Afrobeat?

The main thing to master is the groove, feel, and drums as this is what makes people dance and one of the things that makes the music infectious and irresistible.

What recording equipment do you have in your studio?

I use a mixture of a laptop, midi controller, interface, studio monitors and headphones. Logic is my preferred digital audio workstation that I use to make music.

Which plugins do you use to mix material?

I use a mixture of Logic’s own plugins and other external plugins.

Advice for some starting to be a producer?

Find a genre you like listening to and study it well. To make music in the genre, it is important to know what music is out there to both inspire you and to obtain ideas from. After this, there is much music-making technology in the form of apps and software that you can use to make your first songs.

Tell me about a typical day in your life as both a medical doctor and producer.

Interesting question, the majority of my day is spent at work seeing patients who present with a variety of problems that need solving. Each patient presents a different challenge in terms of managing a situation. Music plays a big part in helping me to unwind. I will spend time creating new beats, remixes and covers for future projects and for social media.

What has excited you most over the past 12 months in music?

For me, it has been just going at it with music in the form of collaborations and solo projects. Looking forward to sharing these in due course.

Connect with todostudios’ via the socials linked below.