Dimitri Toonen is a passionate Musician, Guitarist, Singer and Producer
Being a musician, the most genuine way for Dimitri to tell his story is through his music. Getting people to hear this story is something that he is determined and feeling compelled to do.
Dimitri Toonen has been playing the guitar almost continuously since he was 12, while growing up near Rotterdam in Holland. Music has been all around him from an early age, as he was exposed to the music his parents listened to, from bands and artists like Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Gary Moore, Marillion and Rush. His parents were also both in a band, like most of his uncles and aunts, either playing guitar or singing. At the age of 7 he took piano lessons, but wasn’t excited about it so he quit after a few months. It wasn’t until the age of 12 that he and his 2 stepbrothers started taking guitar lessons – from his favorite uncle. They had lessons for a few months and from then on they continued to make music every day. Playing together with other people from the start of his musical development, has given Dimitri a musical foundation he is grateful for.
But then, when Dimitri’s stepbrother came home with some albums from Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, his life changed completely. As soon as he heard those records, he instantly knew what to do: he borrowed money from his parents-in-law and bought an electric guitar, an amp and started practicing. For real. A lot…
Dimitri started and joined several bands, one of which was Metaphor, a big name for him when he was young. That also was the first band in which he got a taste in writing music. Playing in several bands in the years to follow, Dimitri was really into practicing, becoming a better musician day by day. He wrote several pieces of music along the way and experimented with recording. Next to playing in a band, Dimitri has also been recording and writing music with a friend, for a year or so. Unfortunately, they never got to finish the project.
Around 2012 Dimitri had to deal with a burn-out, which forced him to slow down for the next few years. This period has been important for him, finding back his real self. The song ‘The Day I Stopped…’ on the ‘Leave My Mind Sometimes’-album refers to that difficult period.
Then, in March 2016, Dimitri’s much loved uncle and guitar teacher René passed away. He has always been an inspiration for a lot of other musicians but especially for Dimitri, so this was an emotional time for everyone. To honor his uncle, Dimitri formed and played in a tribute band, leading to a performance in November 2017, with and for all the people who loved him. Despite of this tragedy, his love for playing music got another boost. Dimitri started the cover band Into Colors – together with René’s brother – which was a bit challenging, but also encouraged him to sing more and gain experience with other styles. It was about that time that hearing the music of Steven Wilson and Opeth have broadened his musical horizons again. These artists, telling their stories through music, have been a whole new inspiration to him. And that is when he began writing songs for the production of ‘Leave My Mind Sometimes’.