Toddla T: Not a problem man, it’s nothing. I’d chat all day if I could.
GDD™: Have you always spun dancehall, twostep and dub or has it been a lengthy process developing the sound you have now?
TT: Basically, when I was 10 and old enough to start buying my own records, I was mad into hip-hop. So from 10-15 I was like a purist, of American hip-hop mainly. When I was about 15 I got into reggae and dancehall, then garage kicked off in the UK, and then I got into House and Techno. By the time I was actually making music, I was into so much that it moulded the sound that I have now.
GDD™: So when you were growing up in Sheffield who were the main artists that influenced you?
TT: To be honest, it was mainly the local djs and producers who really made me go “Wow!” Even though they were playing music from all over the place, it was the way they put the tunes together at the parties I’d go to, that made me go “Fuckin’ hell this is amazing” and really opened my mind. They were the guys who would string together dancehall with dance music, and really Sheffield-ey electro stuff. It made sense, and it still to me is the most incredible sound that’s individual to Sheffield and the party scene there. There’s a producer called Ross Orton who really put that sound together well. I used to go around and chill with him, he’d play me stuff that would knock my head off!! He actually engineered and mixed my Skanky Skanky album. So even though the music was from everywhere around the world, it was put together in a very special Sheffield style – something that has influenced me more than anything else so far.
GDD™: It’s definitely a unique sound you’ve got going on.
TT: Wicked, thanks man.
GDD™: I was lucky enough to catch you at Fabric a couple of times last year with Serocee, are you bringing him out to the States to MC for you?
TT: I’m not this time unfortunately, because of visa issues but we’ll be back in America soon and he’s gonna come. Unfortunately, it’s just me, so I might have to step up to the mic a few times haha.
GDD™: What direction do you think you’ll be taking in 2010 given your influences?
TT: I’m making my next album right now as we speak. As far as the production goes, its deeper in a few areas: the record’s got a vocals straight from Jamaica rather than British Jamaican ones. I’ve been to Jamaica a couple of times over the past year and got really tucked into the root of the stuff I really love. Dj-wise, I’m just into new dance music that’s got a bit of weight and something about it, but I guess I’ll be playing whatever’s really exciting and wicked in the clubs, always with that party element in mind. As far as the production goes, it’s going to be a little bit deeper and not as cartoonish I suppose. We’ll wait until the album’s finished.
GDD™: Mate, you can’t call Skanky Skanky a cartoon album. Come on, you’re selling yourself short…
TT: I like that though, I like the fact that it’s kind of cartoonish in areas. It makes it fun you know? Which is wicked because that’s me and that’s what it’s about. But I really like the idea of going and making a deeper one now. Then again, I won’t know that until it’s finished, so I don’t want to speak before I’ve made the thing.
GDD™: Looking forward to hearing what you’re going to bring out. I heard rumors that last week you were out in Jamaica with Major Lazer?
TT: Yeh, that was wicked man.
GDD™: Could we get the inside scoop on what you were doing out there?
TT: Yeh sure, I was working with Dave [Switch]. They rented a house for a month and a lot of studios, and wanted people to come over and vibe off it, to throw ideas back and forth. So I went over for 4 days, it was a flying visit and due to my calendar being so mad right now, I couldn’t get any longer off. I built a couple of tracks with them, worked on vocal sessions and just kind of bounced ideas with them. It was for their project, so I was writing beats with them, but after I’d finished my 4 days there it’s kind of up to them to determine what they do with it. But it was incredible man, Pon De Floor is kicking off in Jamaica right now, it took a lot of time to catch on, but it’s really happening. Major Lazer are getting a lot of respect and heat out in Jamaica, so a lot of the artists were really enthusiastic to work with them. We had Beenie Man; Elephant Man; bare people man, it was an incredible experience.
GDD™: What an awesome experience man, that’s very cool. On a lighter note: three artists that you’re mad about for 2010?
TT: Redlight, he used to be called Clipz, he’s currently making mad sh*t between 130 and 140bpm and it’s genre-less, proper UK bass music, with a big breaky element. An 18 year old MC called Maxsta from East London is really talented too. I don’t know what it is about Max, but he just stands out straight away. I think with the right production he could be someone really big and successful. Also, he’s not a new act at all, but Seiji is back with complete and utter fire. He’s in Bugz In The Attic, and he’s doing his solo stuff again. Really beat driven, he’s banging out so many tunes. I know he’s been around for a while, but I think at the time of the whole bass music/dubstep thing, his sound is more relevant now to the masters than ever before.
GDD™: Back in October you tore it up at the Scion Party at the Roxy in Hollywood. Is it difficult playing to Americans who perhaps don’t understand what skankin’ is, and don’t get the whole Boom DJ persona?
TT: Haha. Yeh, when I went to America last time and played at that Scion thing, it was the first time I’d dj’d in the States. My main concern was whether the people there would understand the tunes. But I was really surprised how well it went down, because I was getting booked for a lot of dubstep things. A lot of the stuff I play is quite close to that, the sort of funky bassline stuff is not that different. And then I played other parties; I played a Fool’s Gold party in New York which was more housey disco-electro, and again people seemed really into it. So to be honest, I didn’t have a rubbish gig at all, it was a brilliant experience and I was quite surprised at how much the Americans were into it. Looking forward to this next one.
GDD™: Yeh, we’re looking forward to welcoming you to the Avalon. Last of all, and I have to ask you this because of the nature of our blog: When you’re not on the 1s and 2s, do you dance dirty?
TT: Do I dance dirty? Yeh man! Even if I’m on the 1s and 2s I dance. If I’m on the turntables or not, I don’t know if I’d call it dirty dancing, but there’s now’t wrong with a bit of flesh!
GDD™: Toddla T, thanks for your time.
Here’s Toddla’s Essential Mix to get the blood pumping for Friday, it’s going to be a big one…