For today’s Cash Only interview, we have the up-and-coming musician Tobias here to talk THC. In November, the young gun dropped the very excellent LP Two Birds on True Panther Sounds, the record label where I cut my teeth as an intern in 2010 (shout-out Dean Bein!).
The album wistfully mixes shoegaze, bedroom indie, and math-y guitar licks that make me think of Algernon Cadwallader. It’s a great autumn/winter listen, perfect for long walks accompanied by a big spliff. I don’t want to cosplay as a music critic, so why don’t you give it a rinse yourself here. Tobias says it’s a “kind of mission statement… borne of seclusion and intense contemplation,” which feels on point, especially after we exchanged some emails about his complicated relationship with weed.
In our interview, Tobias touched on some interesting ideas regarding the negative sides of cannabis consumption, some of which resonated with me heavily. For example, he explained how weed can flare up his OCD symptoms, but other times it can give him “intense relief” from the psychological disorder. I, too, have OCD and have found that the plant is either the best panacea for how my OCD manifests… or it dramatically enhances the condition’s effects.
Tobias also noted how being stoned “makes the concept of being in a human body incredibly disturbing,” yet the “abject terror” of getting too high can be humbling, as well. I fully agree, my man! You ever watch Videodrome after ripping the bong?
Overall, I really enjoyed hearing about Tobias’ love-hate relationship with the plant because it emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all quality to cannabis. Share a joint with anyone and your bliss might be their nightmare. The musician also described getting so high his first time smoking that he thought he was a dolphin (he literally made “ack ack ack” sounds), and mentions how he eats Kit Kats like a hamster when lost in the infused sauce. Thanks, Tobias!
What was your first time smoking weed like? How old were you and what was the context?
Tobias: The first time I smoked weed, I was 15-years-old (too young), but it was incredible. I had full-on psychosis and thought I was a dolphin. I was flopping in a chair like a dolphin and going “ack ack ack ack” like a dolphin. Music sounded terrible, though. I was at my parents’ house, hanging in the basement.
What’s your current relationship with the plant like? Are you a regular user? Casual dabbler?
I was pretty addicted in the past. I had used it to stay off of harder substances as I’m an addict of really whatever scratches the itch until it doesn’t. I was smoking an 8th to a quarter a day up until June 2022. Now I smoke like a spliff a day and have a panic attack from it. I have pretty bad obsessive compulsive disorder and weed flares it up really bad, but I also use it for chronic pain and I find the abject terror of it humbles me. Sometimes, randomly, it’ll give me intense relief from the OCD; it’s kinda a crapshoot.
Also, once the pure horror of it resolves, I’m very relaxed and play Fortnite for like three-hours straight. Also, not sure if you all have heard about this, but I’ve read a study that when chronic users take tolerance breaks, their THC tolerance hits a wall and can’t really come back down, but the chemical that makes you panic completely refreshes, leaving you unable to get high the same way… but you still having panic attacks. Interesting stuff. Might be pseudo science, but it echoes a lot of sentiments I’ve heard from long-time users.
Do you have a current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it? (Bong, joint, etc.)
I like anything that has an intensely sedative effect. I don’t use weed so much for creativity; I use it to sleep and reduce inflammation in my body. I like to smoke spliffs with fronto, but since I left New York, I just smoke cigarette tobacco spliffs. I used to like Backwoods, but they were giving me the lung health of a decades-long cigarette smoker.
Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever?
Not really, I buy Rick and Morty grinders and stuff like that because I find it funny. Papers-wise, I’ll smoke anything that’s not bleached.
Do you think music sounds better or different after smoking? How does it affect the listening experience for you?
Honestly, no. Since I turned about 17, weed makes me hyper critical of all media I consume. Even the first time I smoked weed — which was giving me thought loops and hallucinations that were incredibly intense — music was very underwhelming. I found Clams Casino a few times smoking after that though, and that was crazy.
Do you use weed to aid you creatively in any ways — whether while writing songs, performing live, or winding down after a studio session or concert?
Not so much. I use it to regulate my chronic pain because recording is very taxing, but it ends up having me fight through so many critical thoughts about whatever I’m making. If I smoke weed before I get on stage, I actually hallucinate voices telling me I’m doing a terrible job and need to just stop. So I stopped smoking weed before any shows or public appearances.
Do you like to do any particular activities after you’ve gotten stoned? (Could be anything! A hike, a restaurant, digging on eBay for x, etc.)
I like to go outside or play video games, especially an immersive RPG. I also end up eating Kit Kats like a hamster. Very strange behavior.
Can you recommend something to watch while stoned?
Banjo Gyro on YouTube. The Pond by madcatlady. Also Twin Peaks season three, or Slacker by Richard Linklater.
What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?
10 Hour Descending Shepard’s Tone on Youtube or Roblox Oof Noise Reversed. I’ll replay those with my mouth agape like a mutant, but if I’m in a more serious mood: Super AE by Boredoms, or Hold Your Horse Is by Hella.
Can you recommend something to read after smoking?
Powers of Horror by Julie Kristeva. It’s sort of a purposeful freak out recommendation, but I like to torture myself psychologically when I’m high like a lab rat. I think it also makes more sense when I’m stoned because something about being high on weed makes the concept of being in a human body incredibly disturbing.
Do you think weed is “cool”? What aspects are cool versus corny?
It’s frustrating to me whenever something as spiritual as a psychotropic/psychedelic substance enters the binary of cool vs. corny out of its control. A lot of weed culture is arguably corny because it deems itself cool. I think being “cool” is also corny and played out. I play Fortnite and wear Minions merch. Being cool is a psychological operation to get you to consume more or co-opt movements in a way that removes them from their original purpose. That being said, I find cannabis as a plant very beautiful and interesting. The way THC developed as a defense mechanism for the plant itself is kind of mind-blowing. Also, respect to anyone making a living out of it off the books, and free everyone wrongfully imprisoned for anything weed-related.
Who’s in your dream blunt rotation? Dead or alive!
My girlfriend, my band, EYE from Boredoms, Grouper, Phil Elverum, Roberta Flack, Zach Hill, Rob Crow, Dean Blunt, the entirety of Coaltar of the Deepers, Robert Pattinson, Max Roach, Townes van Zandt, DJ Screw, and James Gandolfini.
What upcoming projects do you have on the horizon?
I’m always working on records, but besides that I have a couple music videos coming out soon.