Introducing rock-pop singer-songwriter Toby Mobbs

Freelance singer-songwriter from Albury (NSW), Toby Mobbs recently released his debut album, ‘Placid In The Rough’.

A collection of eight songs written over the previous two years, the record follows the slow transition from home recording to studio sessions (as COVID restrictions are lifted) with a growing group of collaborators.

Soft yet tight instrumentation reminiscent of ’90s college rock sounds, Toby’s raspy vocals are a welcoming beacon of hope as he sings about relatable everyday issues throughout “Placid In The Rough” which adds warmth touch to music.

Throw in elements of grungy alt-rock, psychedelic soul, melodic folk-pop and cruisey dreamy pop, Toby has created a sound all his own that still fits into the soundscape inhabited by the likes of Hoodoo Gurus, Violent Women, and The Lemons; for younger readers, consider Holy Holy and The Rubens.

Mobbs’ next venture will be a massive cross-country tour, with the singer-songwriter actively adding a number of capitals that are usually overlooked by the majority of touring artists, booked by playing two local regional shows.

“After seeing so many bands and artists promoting national tours that skipped Darwin, Perth, Hobart, or even all three, I was determined to book a tour that didn’t skip any capitals,” says Toby.

“I’ve also included a show where I was born (Wagga Wagga) and a show where I currently live. In fact, I will be traveling from Wagga to Albury along the route, by car, some 14,000km over 28 days.

“I will be supported by local artists at every concert, many of whom feature on my debut album.”

I seem to… I’ve never been too sure, which I think is a good thing. I have a lot of varied musical influences and I’m lucky to be told that I always have a unique sound.

I do, however, keep a list of each time I am compared to another artist or group. On this list are Paul Simon, Billy Corgan, Nick Drake, Ray LaMontagne, David Gray, Ryan Adams and a few others.

My first gig was… My high school Battle Of The Bands back in 2005. I was (and still am) a huge Hendrix fan. We played ‘Eagle Rock’ and so of course I decided to play the ‘solo’ with my teeth. Only instead of the Hendrix hammer-on/pull-off style, I really used my teeth.

I remember my music teacher saying, “I could tell because of how nasal it sounded.” I’ll never forget how the crowd cheered for this little 8th grade boy. It was the best of days.

When did you choose your artistic name, and was it a unanimous decision… My parents took the lead on this one. I would say it was a fairly unanimous decision. My real name is actually Tobias, but no one calls me that.

In the studio, I’m used to… I’m sure it’s very common, but my best game always seems to happen when no one is recording. I definitely have some form of red light fever syndrome. So I guess the answer to that is, in the studio, I try to forget that I’m in the studio.

If I could shoot with someone… Gang Of Youths of course. I’ve been their biggest fan since they were doing shows in front of only 50 people.

I saw them fill Rod Laver Arena recently and it was surreal to say the least. Their music hits me like no other artist or band ever has, and they’ve been the biggest influence on my music to date.

Social media is… What do you do with it? Is it too cliché? I see it as such a powerful tool to spread the word. That being said, I do my best to keep promoting things with the mindset of ‘if this song/concert/tour/album hasn’t been promoted on social media, how could I still inform people?’.

My favorite app right now is… My Notes app. How boring. It’s a real stress reliever for me. I have this routine of going through all notes, txts and screenshots at the end of each day and deleting them as I go. Anything not deleted means I still have to track it the next day.

I remember dating someone who I’m pretty sure thought I was hiding something/someone because my phone was so clean of all messages etc. It declutters my head and means I don’t forget anything.

My most embarrassing moment to date was the moment… Last year when I traveled over 2000km from Albury to the WA-SA border and was unable to cross due to new border restrictions. My birthday. It was a long and sad journey home. Luckily I will be back in Perth for the first time in October for the tour.

Life on the road can be… Exciting! This national tour will take me to a part of Australia that I have never seen. This will also be my first time in Perth and Darwin as my last attempt was thwarted by border restrictions.

This tour will see me cover around 14,000km over 28 days, so there will be some long driving days, but I can’t wait to see more of Australia.

If you’d like to have me on your bill, all I’m asking is that the rider contain… Fresh fruit and sparkling water and I’m ready. No bananas though. Banana bread though yes please add that to the list. If anyone else doesn’t like bananas but likes banana bread, please contact me, I need to know I’m not the only one.

The scariest scenario I found myself in was… Book a ticketed national solo tour as an independent artist making sure I don’t skip any capitals.

Which celebrity/famous person would you like to be your spokesperson… Do brand mentions matter? I’m looking at you Maton Guitars and Kyser Capos.

If you had to live in a city abroad, where would you choose and why? Actually, I’ve never been outside of Australia, so maybe it’s too early for me to call that one. Let me tell you about that.

Three people you would like to invite to dinner… Stephen Colbert, Michael Stevens and Destiny Sandlin. Three people I admire for their ability to be present in a moment, to feel connected in a conversation, and to seek knowledge from people and the world around them. Adam Savage also makes this list, but by then it would just be Colbert interviewing three science teachers and I would be the odd one out.

If we came to your house, what would you cook for us? I used to make a pretty nasty herb cheese omelet. My cooking has become quite boring these days, much less adventurous. Can’t we just hang out at this new place that just opened?

When it comes to pets, do you love or hate our furry friends? I never grew up with pets when I was young, so being a pet is something I think I learned as I got older. I never really knew how to act around other people’s pets because of this.

We had birds and fish, but they took more care of themselves than being pets. I really like Corgis. I think I have more of a passion for native wildlife than pets. Cats are tough not for me. Yeah I said what I said.

No matter the expense, send me a case of… Phoenix organic cola from New Zealand. Old fashioned cola flavor. I rate any place that stores it. Phoenix if you’re reading this right now let’s talk about it. We would be good together, you and me.

The last time I saw the inside of a gymnasium was… Righto stable now.

What chore do you hate the most? When you forget to take out the trash the night before and are awakened by the deafening roar of an approaching garbage truck, sending you racing through the morning chill before your body has appropriately woken up. Dusting too.

Do you have any phobias… I would say I have an irrational fear of snakes. Not in a petrified way of them, but irrational in the sense that if I walk into my garage I check for snakes. There’s no reason for them to be in there, but I’m checking anyway.

My logic is that if a snake is going to catch me, that will be the day I don’t check. I recently joined a snake identification page on Facebook because I strongly believe that animals like snakes are misunderstood and wanted to understand specific species a little better.

I happen to be a spider photographer in my spare time. I go out, find them, photograph them, classify them scientifically and post them on my Flickr Flash Mobbs Photography page (quite proud of that name). So I like spiders, but not so much snakes.

Would you ever be on a reality TV show? Does “BattleBots” count? I love this show. I’m not really an engineer but I’m pretty good at conceptualizing ideas and the whole format of the show suits me perfectly.

If you could prank one of your friends, who is your target and how do you take them down? I don’t think I’m a big prankster. I’m happy with a little Updog.

The best local takeout restaurant for a midnight meal that will leave you in a food coma? We don’t really have many midnight options in Albury. Maccas doesn’t count. Sweethearts Pizza is the go-to place on Friday or Saturday nights if you’re craving potato nuggets. Sometimes you just gotta have those little ones, you know?

Which fictional character best describes your personality? Oh my god, that’s tricky. I think we all subconsciously see ourselves in characters that are maybe a little cooler than we actually are.

Maybe Egon Spengler from ‘Ghostbusters’ for me. He’s a bit obsessed with things that interest him, a creator at heart, has a scientific way of thinking, quite nerdy but not cool, rocks glasses, and is known to be seen in the odd library (I’m university librarian).

The last show you binge-watched? I really love the ‘For All Mankind’ series and just finished the third season. It’s a perfect blend of historical fiction and space travel. I have recommended it to many people lately.

I also really like “The Rings Of Power” and discovered a lot of Tolkien lore through a YouTuber called Nerd Of The Rings.

Toby Mobbs 2022 Tour Dates

Wed October 5 – The Curious Rabbit (Wagga Wagga)
Thu 6 October – The Food Co-op Shop & Café (Canberra)
Fri October 7 – Butchers Brew Bar (Sydney)
Sun Oct 9 – Can you keep a secret? (Brisbane)
Sat Oct 15 – Happy Yess (Darwin)
Sat. Oct. 22 – The 21st Amendment (Perth)
Wed 26 Oct – Wheatsheaf Hotel (Adelaide)
Fri 28 Oct – Brunswick Artists’ Bar (Melbourne)
Sun Oct 30 – Pablo’s Cocktails And Dreams (Hobart)
Sunday November 6 – The Goods Shed Craft Beer Cafe (Albury-Wodonga)

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