One of Sweden’s youngest underground electronic artists
Written by Ninette Nassenstein
She is 19. She is a girl. And she is from Sweden.
Usually when taking a look at any major city’s thriving underground electronic music it is quite obvious that men in their 20s dominate the scene. Not so much in the Swedish city of Stockholm, where a girl named Tove Agelii aka Toxe has become one of the new faces of Scandinavian club culture. The DJ and producer is also part of Stockholm’s Staycore collective that was founded by producers Dinamarca and Ghazal, both key figures in Stockholms underground scene. Besides being a collective, Staycore is also a record label with its artists producing genre crossing music. From grime to trance to pop to funk, every artist on the roster has his own sound and so does Toxe. Her music is nothing like you would expect. It’s dark and it’s heavy and it’s distinctively electronic. It’s almost like metal, minus the guitars. When trying to define Toxe’s sound the words mechanical and metallic come to mind. This also describes her five-track debut EP ‘Muscle Memory’ that came out last year really well. In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy she says ‘Muscle Memory’ is about strength, the power to continue and always moving forward automatically: growing, repeating yourself, learning, not giving up (…)’ almost like a machine.
While growing up in Gothenburg, Agelii often notes that the music scene was not very exciting or interesting and that she prefers Stockholm to her hometown now. When she was 15 and still at school, her brother downloaded Ableton onto her computer and she quickly felt empowered being able to create her own unique sound and was surprised that she was such a technically minded person. This was when Tove started believing in doing music professionally. It was only last year she has started making music under the name of Toxe. The stage name itself, she states, has no meaning to her.
As a teenager, Toxe has been influenced by a variety of genres such as hip hop, ambient, reggae and punk rock and therefore doesn’t want to just stick to one genre when making music. Still she is aware of her position as a white Scandinavian producer in today’s music industry and realises her privileges. Just stealing music from other cultures is something that goes against her approach to producing.
Nowadays, female producers and DJs are still experiencing sexism and exclusion from their male competitors, Toxe openly addresses this issue and has found a solution to unite women in music production a little bit more. By forming the collective ‘Sister’ with its members being all female DJs and producers, she has created a space for female empowerment and networking opportunities for like-minded artists. What has started out as a Facebook group is now a group of innovative female creators that have also released a series of electronic mixes on Soundcloud. By trying to make the world of electronic dance music a little bit more equal, Toxe is contributing something important to the scene. Toxe being part of cutting-edge collectives and at the same time also being successful herself, is therefore exactly what club culture needs.