Kvarteret Interview with TOKI (HIGHTS)

July 25, 2019

A familiar and reliable face across Europe and Scandinavia, Stockholm-based DJ & producer TOKI represents a fierce leader in the city’s growing techno scene and evolving club culture. As a founding member of the HIGHTS collective, brand and record label, their expertly curated nights have taken high calibre electronic music into a series of exciting and well-composed showcase events. Kvarteret is delighted to collaborate with TOKI and his collective HIGHTS this season because of their distinctive brand identity, well-curated sound and world-class bookings. 


Hello TOKI, thank you for agreeing to have a chat with us! First of all I would like to ask you following our collaboration this summer, how come you chose Kvarteret as a venue to bring your concept there?

Hi and thanks for having me! 

I find that Kvarteret is one of the few places in Stockholm that has an international character and feel to it, with fine bookings and an educated crowd. Naturally, I was attracted to its charm, and almost immediately my head sprung with ideas on how to get involved. HIGHTS has a very clean and defined aesthetic that I imagined would work well with the energy that Kvarteret holds, so when the opportunity arose we couldn’t let it pass.

What should the crowd expect on a HIGHTS night at Kvarteret?

Like always we aim to curate seamless interactions and experiences throughout the entire creative industry. Working not only with sound and lighting but with the overall experience on location. The crowd can expect great music delivered on quality sound, accompanied by a pleasing visual backdrop.

Going back to when HIGHTS was formed, can you elaborate a bit more on the foundations of the concept? What led to its formation? 

It all came about creating a fresh platform where I wouldn’t get restricted in the creative process of bringing friends and family together to have a good time. A music platform fueled by the firm belief in uncompromising solutions and never cutting corners, no matter what we do. 

What defines HIGHTS as a brand and how do you choose your bookings? 

All bookings we have ever done, are solely based on personal experiences that myself or a team member of HIGHTS has had with an artist. From attending and sharing energies with the artist during previous shows, or how his/her music touches you. I try to think about the overall journey when composing the lineup, and ultimately tell you a story stretching beyond any individual selector. HIGHTS is constantly being defined by its drive to push the boundaries of today’s standards, towards defining tomorrows.

HIGHTS has a loyal crowd that follows the brand consistently. What do you think has contributed to the collective’s success so far? Are there any challenges that you see in the future? 

I think that consistency is key to creating a strong and personal relationship with ravers. A trust-based on the long-term vision of providing a high-quality outlet for electronic music, as a label, promotor, collective and family.

What are your long-term and short-term aims with HIGHTS? 

Right now we are in the process of getting our bearings right, attracting talent and creating moments together with our audience. In the near future, you can expect the unexpected, along with scheduled music releases and international collaborations. We will also be curating a brand new Soundcloud concept called HIGHTS FM where you will be able to enjoy fine-tunes, whenever you might need them.

I think that the crowd has also come about to appreciate your visuals and graphics which always appears well-curated. Is there any specific concept, or artist that has helped to define the way you present your brand in terms of aesthetics? 

Our graphic identity and basically all things HIGHTS are created in-house. This is something we are particularly proud of and therefore value. Almost nothing is left to chance as we always strive to exceed any and all expectations.

Apart from HIGHTS, you are also a familiar DJ in Stockholm and abroad. What defines your sound and what do you want to pass on to the crowd when you are on the stage?

My journey actually started on an entirely different path pursuing the rhythms and beats of world music. Everything from Salsa, Baile funk, Reggae and Dub to later define itself in soulful deep-house, tribal and experimental indie. Today I would say that my sound is heavily influenced by all of the above, and of course with a touch of Balkan – where my roots reside. I always try to highlight these warm and melodic elements throughout my sets, giving the crowd something new and exciting every time.

When did you start as a DJ and producer and how did your drive towards this direction start?

Music is a medium that extends and travels through time like no other. I have always been fascinated with how it touches people on every corner of the world, bringing happiness and a sense of belonging. It creates a roof under which everyone is welcome to connect and enjoy together. When the right music is delivered at the right time and on the right system, it can really be a magical thing. 


By Maria Pelagia for Kvarteret


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