“It doesn’t matter how old you are, because that shit is stupid,” he says. “It’s just going to go away. No one cares about being timeless.”
Tobacco, who plays music between noise and shadowy pop, has carved a little lo-fi experimental cave for himself out of the modern music scene. He’s a prolific artist. He has released four albums as Tobacco and a seemingly endless stream of singles and EPS. Now he's releasing Panic Blooms, his seventh full-length album under the Black Moth Super Rainbow name, in May.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, “I got into underground music kind of early,” he says. “I don’t think underground music exists anymore, but back when there was this thing we called underground music, I spent so much time listening and studying and loving it. But there were things I wanted to hear that I wasn’t hearing, and that’s how I made what I made and how I keep making the things I make.”
Earning notoriety during the psych-rock revival of the late 2000s, he found himself working with the likes of Beck and Aesop Rock. As Tobacco bounced between his various projects, he made a name for himself among experimental music fans and artists, and even earned the respect of Trent Reznor, who asked him to join Nine Inch Nails on tour.
“The people I look up to are people who probably look down on me,” he says with a laugh. “If they know who I am, they think I’m a fucking idiot. Guys like Apex Twin — I’m sure if he’s ever heard my music, it probably makes him sick. But that’s a guy I look up to. Someone I’ve looked up to as a kid is Trent Reznor of NIN, and then meeting him, it totally reminded me why I did. He gets it, and I really appreciated how he looks at music.”
Currently based out of Pittsburgh, Tobacco lives a relaxed life. Between tours, he works from home. When he’s not making music, he’s focused on his personal health. During his next break from tour — which may or may not be an end to his career — he plans to score a film and earn a certificate as a personal trainer.
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“For forever, I wanted to own a pizza shop, but I’m totally into the idea of helping people with their health and fitness,” he says. “And I’m sure one day, probably in the not-so-distant future, people will stop caring about what I’m doing, and I’ll have that to do.”
In the meantime, he plans on keeping his creative process simple.
“I do everything at home,” he says. “I don’t like studios. That shit is pretentious. When people say, ‘Oh, I have a studio,’ it’s like, ‘Who cares? I’ll do it in my room.’”
Black Moth Super Rainbow, 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue, $20.