Raised on punk rock and related products, Todd Drootin got turned on to electronic music and hip-hop in the nineties. With Matt Dennebaum, he forms the duo Subverse, whose sole, self-released cassette Nobody Likes You (1998), although a fairly obscure item in itself, got them some well deserved kudos. Unfortunately, the band had to split shortly afterwards as their members moved to opposite coasts: Matt went to New York City, and Todd eventually found his way to Los Angeles.
Fueled by this experience, Todd went solo under the name Books on Tape, a project in which he would craft his now instantly recognizable signature. Unlike many electronica producers (bedroom or otherwise), Todd is unafraid to do things you’re not supposed to do, like trying to recreate a guitar strumming effect in a sequencer, or laying his songs upon shockingly unorthodox rhythms. However, two important qualities can be found in equal measure in his entire oeuvre: energy and groove.
Todd’s recorded activity has taken many shapes and turns already. Following a self-released CD, Take a Read on the Riding and multiple appearances in the backdrop of various popular MTV reality shows, Books on Tape was featured on weblabels No Type and Subverseco. Physical releases in various formats (CDR, 10", 7") ensued, as well as a large number of live performances on the West Coast. In December 2002, the first widely available Books on Tape CD was released by the Seattle-based Deathbomb Arc label under the title Throw Down Your Laptops. As a companion release, No Type is releasing a 10" EP featuring a different version of the song Hey Typical! plus unreleased material. On top of this, a new No Type CD, titled Sings the blues, is released in September 2003 in collaboration with Greyday Prouductions.
Todd is also behind a number of projects besides Books on Tape, such as Click Tracy, Dewey Decimator (with Kerri Kerrang), Sluts on Tape (with Eryk Salvaggio), Tape Science Version (with Dustin Craig) and Box Social (with Fonda’s David Klotz).
In October 2003, Books on Tape its first New York City appearance at the esteemed CMJ festival, garnering rave reviews. This was followed up by an eastern Canadian tour and more New York dates in early 2004. Todd has also appeared at Pop Montréal and the MACRoCk conference in Harrisonburg, VA. In late 2004 came the 40-minute EP The Business End (Greyday), which hit Chart Attack!’s electronic #1 slot for seven weeks and ended the year as the number two electronic record in Canada for 2004. In 2005, Books on Tape hit the road numerous times in preparation for his upcoming release on Alien8 exposing new parts of the country to the unique, high-energy live efforts that have made a name for him. Dinosaur Dinosaur is out now, and is widely being hailed as his finest release to date, and more closely representing Todd’s punky live sound. Books on Tape’s notoriously raucuos live shows have occured on bills with such diverse and respected acts as Daedelus, Stars as Eyes, The Good Life, Wolf Eyes, Shonen Knife, Prefuse 73 and many more.