Separately, they need no introduction. Leon Switch came through from the DnB world as the dubstep sound was starting to find its feet, subsequently becoming one of the few producers who helped shaped the sound in its fledgling years as half of Kryptic Minds. Toast is one of the most recognisable voices in dubstep (and the wider bass music spectrum), thanks to a rigorous (and global) touring schedule and a long stint as Rinse FM’s go-to dubstep host on the world-famous Minimal Mondays show.
Both solo agents after parting ways with previous long-term collaborators, the duo have recently joined forces – much to the dubstep scene’s excitement. Although Leon has joined Chestplate (alongside a number of releases elsewhere yet TBA) and Toast is a regular with the Uprise Audio family, the pair have formed what promises to be an extremely memorable partnership.
Having tested the relationship in gigs across Europe and on radio with a well-received show on Fokus FM, Leon Switch and Toast are launching the collaboration with a full-blown US tour. They’ve also been rumoured to have spent time in the studio together. Whatever happens, we know the duo mean business – and together they might just end up becoming a new force to be reckoned with in the dubstep sound.
Easy guys, how are you both? Hi Wil, really well thank you!
Toast, let’s start with you. I’ve not seen many features with you – so let’s go back to the beginning. How did this all start for you? How did you get into hosting? I must say it was a weird one. My passion for mixing music would have been my first choice if any, but as life went on I became a host by chance. Dan (Youngsta) once asked me to help him host his set on Rinse FM due to some unforeseen circumstances, and in time that ended up becoming the well known ‘Minimal Mondays’ show.
How did you first discover dubstep? You’re widely known as one of the go-to hosts for the sound; partly thanks to your time on Rinse – but it definitely feels like a comfortable genre for your style. What, in your opinion, does a host bring to the music? Around 2005ish, I started to attend a night in Shoreditch called FWD, which was at the time held at the famous club Plastic People on Curtain Road.
The event presented people like Hatcha, Youngsta, J da Flex, Benny Ill, D1 and Loefah etc with a sound system like no other. Musically, those were probably the best times in my life.
After 8 years in the scene, I have grown to recognise that complementing the music lyrically is better than saturating it. I believe a host should be there to direct the focus on the music and not themselves.One of the most important things they can do is create the connection between the DJ and you (the crowd). My final thought on this is its the ‘acidity to the salmon’, work that one out for yourselves!
You’ve spent most of your time in the 140 faithful’s awareness hosting shows and dances, but you’ve recently started DJing publicly as well. Is this something you’re looking to do more seriously in the future? I’ve been mixing many genres of music on and off since I was 16. I remember getting my first set of decks – which were Geminis! Terrible I know. In time I was lucky enough to buy my own pair of Technics, a wait which was well worth it. I’d definately say to any up and coming DJs start on Technics before moving on to any type of CDJs.
DJing is one of my biggest passions (alongside hosting) so performing, be it in the booth or on the stage? We’ll have to see what the future brings.
Last year we had the debut of your first ever studio tune; a collaboration with the monstrous Kaiju on the epic Illusions. We’ve not heard any release rumours on that tune; but is there a chance you’ll be appearing on other tunes any time soon? At the moment I’m working with a handful of producers on various projects. Leon and I have just finished our first collab, no name as of yet but there are definitely some exciting things to come.
Leon, we’ve featured you back in the KM days as you announced the partnership was coming to end. How have the last few months gone for you? The past few months have been surprisingly busy. I’ve been working on a batch of new sounds and have been working towards building a new DJ set that has both energy and depth, but still feels cool.
You’ve seemingly found your feet pretty quickly – appearing as a Chestplate signee in the Chestcast and popping up on a few remixes. What, if anything, can you tell us about upcoming solo releases? I met Distance a few years back and have always been into the Chestplate sound, so was really happy when he said he was into the new tunes.
My first release should be around June, with remixes to follow…
Although you were partnered up during the KM days, Distance says in the Chestcast you’ve “been teasing with solo material for a few years”.
How many solo tunes are you sitting on – and when can we start hearing them?! Haha, I’ve got more tunes on my hard drive than I’ve had hot dinners, but am my own worst critic! I’ve been testing them in my DJ sets for years, so if you’ve seen me play and you heard something you don’t recognise, there’s a good chance it’s one of mine…
Your sound seems quite happy alongside vocal support (your tunes with Alys Be spring to mind). What, in your opinion, does a vocal bring to 140 bass music? I really love working with vocals, and Alys is a dream to work with. I feel that vocals can add a more (or less) personal edge to a tune. It’s such a cool instrument to play with as it’s so natural to the ear. I have found that you can have a very quiet, almost a whisper in a tune and you’ll pick up on it.
Coming from your DnB background, can we expect any other genres from you? I’ve been working on some new 170 bits, which I’ve really enjoyed, and I enjoy making different styles of music. I was in bands many moons ago as a guitarist and still love making the occasional guitar-based tune. So watch this space…
With your time in KM, creating the ‘classic’ halfstep sound everyone started to associate with dubstep over the last few years, how do you feel the progression or evolution of the dubstep sound is going these days? The progression with the music reminds me greatly of where DnB went. It started off quite simple and then became more and more technical. The same thing is happening here. The youngsters coming through have grown up listening to what us older guys started and are setting the standard pretty high. I love some of the unsigned music I’m hearing, and I enjoy the kick up the backside I get when I hear something sick!
Moving on to your new partnership. How did the two of you meet? When did you decide you wanted to start working together? The first time we crossed paths was at a show. This was, unknown to us at the time, the start of a partnership.
You’ve appeared on Fokus for a two hour show, and have played a few shows out together, but you’ve got a debut US tour coming up together. How did that come about? When we first met, we got on well from the word go. We mentioned working together in the near future and saw the Kryptic Minds breakdown as a perfect opportunity.
Where can we catch you playing out over the next few months? Where in the US are you scheduled to play so far? We’re in DC 11th June, NYC 14th, Denver 17th, LA 21st and there are more dates TBA!
You’ve kindly put together a FKOF mix – sort of a promo mix for the US tour – for us. What can you tell us about the tunes and vibe inside? Firstly, we intro with an exclusive from the two of us – which is untitled as of yet. Every tune you’ll hear is produced by Leon with a few remixes and VIPs thrown in for good measure. The vibe, as always with the music we deliver, is bound to take you on a journey!
We hear you’ve spent a bit of time together in the studio recently. Can we expect a collaboration or two in the future? Yes why not! We’re very excited with what the future holds for us. We’ve got a good number of ideas and collabs ready to go. Watch this space!
You’ve both spent a pretty decent amount of time in bass music. What are the most important pieces of advice you’ve been given – and if you could share your wisdom what would that be? Leon – the best piece of advice I’ve been given is to stay true to yourself and write what you enjoy writing
Toast – let the music do the talking. Sometimes saying less is better. Just because you’ve got 32 bars of music to host doesn’t mean you need to spend 32 bars hosting!
Last but not least, any final words or shoutouts? All the best over in the US (maybe see you while we’re out there!) and look forward to hearing more from you both over the coming months. With our new partnership, 2014 is looking very positive with more tours, shows and collabs to come. You’ll definitely be hearing a lot more of us. Thank for all the support over our the years in the music scene. People, you know who we’re talking about!
Click to DOWNLOAD (72MB)
All tracks by Leon Switch
Features untitled collaborations with Toast and Alys Be.
Ahead of tonight’s 10th Subverse NYC show in New York, resident DJ and co-founder Max Mischief has kindly put together a promo mix of the tunes you’ll expect to hear when the likes of Leon Switch, Mesck, Sparxy, Deafblind and Max himself step up to the decks. And, if that’s not enough, the show is being hosted by none other than Toast MC – and(!) it’s being streamed live on Rood FM from 2-11am GMT!
Click to DOWNLOAD (142MB)
- Kryptic Minds – Secure Lost [Swamp 81]
- Feonix ft. Kaya – Eon Eyes (Deafblind remix) [M.U.D]
- Kryptic Minds – The Talisman [Tectonic]
- Kloak x Ill Chill – Fallout (Mesck remix) [dub]
- Mesck & Sparxy – Line of Sight [dub]
- 207 – File Error [Bacon Dubs]
- Deafblind ft. Living Proof – My Salvation [Soulstep]
- Content x Deafblind x Mesck – Composite [dub]
- Deafblind – Untitled Forever [Foundation Audio]
- Kryptic Minds – Dissolved [Swamp 81]
- Kyrptic Minds – Just After Sunset [Black Box]
- Kryptic Minds – Chosen Few [Swamp 81]
- Content – Ancestral [Free]
- DubApes – Africa Calling (Sparxy remix) [Bacon Dubs]
- Kryptic Minds & Sleeper – Solarized Formation [Osiris]
- Sparxy & Mannix – The Guardian [Bacon Dubs]
- Kryptic Minds – 768 [Tectonic]
- Mesck – Collusion [Chestplate]
- Reamz – Frostbite [Bacon Dubs]
- Sparxy – Oxygen [free download]
- Kryptic Minds ft. Alys B – Can’t Sleep [Black Box]
- Mesck – Lucid Form [Chestplate]
- Reamz – Physical Persuasion [Bacon Dubs]
- Mesck – Dauntless [dub]
- Deafblind x Mesck – Less Than Nothing [dub]
- Kryptic Minds – 1000 Lost Cities [Black Box]
Peace, love and respect.