≡ Menu

ICP 019 Music Producer Toby Jepson On Being Utterly Fearless

What a major label songwriter can teach you about how to succeed in the music business…


Right Click Here To Download This Episode Now

Scroll down for detailed episode notes and quick access timings

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Why you can’t pull the wool over the eyes of your audience
  • How Toby prepares professional artists for the studio
  • What inspires a songwriter to write a great song
  • Why success relies upon you being utterly fearless

In this episode of Inspirational Creatives, singer, songwriter and music producer, Toby Jepson, shares what he knows about success in the music industry today.

Having had multiple hits (including 10 top forty hits in the UK during the 1990s plus album “Jam” going straight in at number 1) with British rock group, Little Angels, Toby has since established himself as a sought after producer.

Toby Jepson and Rob Lawrence pointing

Growing up in the small English seaside resort of Scarborough, Toby shares his early experiences of music, bands and friendship as well as his record production and songwriting philosophy.

Toby has been developing his reputation as a producer working with bands such as The Answer, Saxon and Chrome Molly. More recently, he has been writing with Katie Melua and producing The Treason Kings.

“You gain the confidence of a band by your ability to help them discover themselves.” – Toby Jepson

Items mentioned in this episode (quick access):

Growing up and early inspiration

[0:00:45] Rob introduces Toby.

[0:01:33] Toby reflects on his experience in the music industry.

[0:01:57] Rob asks Toby about what motivated him to create and what his environment was like growing up.

[0:02:05] Toby talks about how his parents were huge music fans. Mono record players. An extensive record collection.

Inspirational heroes

[0:02:55] The impact of watching Freddie Mercury on a Top of the Pops performance.

[0:03:20] Toby’s Dad.

[0:03:50] Reflecting on the quality of the songs when growing up.

[0:04:17] Rob asks Toby if he remembers when he first started songwriting. Toby also talks about music lessons with a guitar teacher in the village.

First experiences songwriting

[0:05:00] Why Toby got into songwriting.

[0:05:18] The Eagles, Cat Stevens, Led Zeppelin and Carly Simon.

[0:05:44] Toby explains where songwriting inspiration can come from.

Politics and art

“John Lennon was a ferocious voice of reason for me…” – Toby Jepson

[0:06:04] Toby talks about how politics and social politics are linked to art and music.

[0:06:37] How the Beatles influenced him.

[0:06:55] John Lennon: working class hero. Social injustice.

Breaking out of a tiny seaside town

“You don’t have to come from a big city to be a great rock band.” – Toby Jepson

[0:07:23] Toby talks about how he wanted to break out of a small town. Writing songs like “Big Bad World.

[0:08:30] How songwriters can come unstuck. The importance of incorporating your knowledge of the subject matter into songwriting.

[0:08:50] David Bowie.

Connecting with the audience

[0:10:05] Toby talks about the Little Angels song “Radical your lover.”

[0:10:19] Toby talks about the motivation behind the song “Do You Want To Riot.

[0:10:38] Rob asks Toby how Little Angels came together.

[0:11:30] Toby talks about his first shows. Opening for acts of the time.

[0:12:13] The moment Little Angels first stepped on a stage together.

It’s all about the song

“To be relevant you have to talk about the things that you know… you can’t pull the wool over peoples eyes.” – Toby Jepson

[0:13:00] Rob asks Toby about his audio production approach.

[0:14:15] Why Toby insists on a large number of rehearsals. The band, The Answer.

[0:14:40] Operating a computer and being in a band is not the same thing.

[0:15:52] Why Toby chooses studios very carefully and why he records live. The band, The Virginmarys.

“There’s an awful lot of people that call themselves producers but they are computer operators…it has to be about the music.” – Toby Jepson

[0:16:25] Why Toby refuses to repair recordings.

[0:16:40] The 1970s. Led Zeppelin, Rainbow, Deep Purple and Whitesnake.

Trust and managing expectations

[0:17:30] Toby talks about the studio environment. Mixing.

Toby Jepson quote You Have To Be Utterly Fearless

(Click image to Tweet)

[0:18:03] Rob asks Toby how he maintains a relationship with the artists whilst pushing their performance.

[0:19:00] How having someone on the outside gives artists a license to explore themselves further than they would normally be willing to.

[0:20:00] Trying to break the barriers down with artists.

[0:21:37] Rob asks Toby how he thinks the role of the producer has evolved during his lifetime.

[0:22:16] What music production is and isn’t about.

[0:24:05] Toby talks about the music producers he respects.

[0:27:00] Toby mentions there’s lots of romance and rose-tinted appeal about rock music.

[0:27:50] Sticking to the plan. Toby mentions the band, Royal Blood.

[0:28:44] Toby has seen every side of the music business.

Right Click Here To Download This Episode Now


People mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoyed this podcast, you’ll also like:

Thanks for listening

If you enjoyed this episode, please share your honest review with others on iTunes by clicking here and rating the show. It will help folks to find the show.

Enjoy the show!