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We caught up with Christian Hoffman aka Toronto to celebrate his latest track “This Way Up” featured on Viper Recordings The Sound of Drum and Bass of 2015 and to get his pick of the cream of the crop of Drum & Bass artists pushing through at the moment. – Check it!
I think Aaron and I have been in touch for 5 or 6 years now, which is probably longer than anyone else I’ve become friends with musically. We first got in touch through the IDMforums, and I’ve watched his ability grow from strength to strength, and has retained a great atmosphere to his music – he’s still a big inspiration to me today. Originally starting off making soundtrack music and IDM, he’s now found a unique sound for himself within the half time drum & bass realm, and each release of his blows me away. For example take his track “Recreator”, the drop in that is perfectly constructed. It has an amazing texture it, I have no idea what’s bass and what’s percussion as they gel so perfectly, it’s something that would feel perfectly at home in a major budget hollywood sci-fi film, or next gen video game. I’m incredibly excited to see where he takes him music next, make an album already!
I first discovered Seereal when I got sent his “Replicant” EP years ago which was released on French label Totaal Rez, ran by Salaryman at that time. He’s captured that classic Metalheadz vibe to his music and I really think he can go far with it. We’ve also collaborated before and I’m itching to get back on some new material with him at somepoint.
Next on the list is Trimer. I first met him at a Discus Records night down in Aldgate, as he’s best friends with the Brookes Brothers and I remember that we had trek back to Greenwich together after the party. He also has a weekly show on Rough Tempo radio, and has definitely honed his still in making the crowd go mental in both his DJ skills and production. His tracks are straight to the point and designed to cause as much mayhem as possible.
Audeka are the definition of pushing boundaries. They’re still fairly new on the scene, but are still a big inspiration to me. They’ve never stuck to one tempo, and time signatures don’t hold them back either. Their tracks are a blend of out of this world experimentation and dancefloor destruction, and their sound design is second to none.
I’ve been following Phytus since they began, after stumbling across their track “7” on via a NuerofunkGrid plug.dj session back when they were called “Grn & Blu”. These guys are still pretty young, and have such amazing sound design techniques in which they combine twisted basslines with organic textures and percussion; “Bushido” is a perfect example of this. I expect big things from Will and Jack in the future, and you should definitely keep an eye out on them. They don’t just produce drum & bass either, there’s a few more experimental pieces on their soundcloud that’s like a cross between the skits from Noisia’s “Split the Atom” LP and Amon Tobin’s sound design mastery.
A couple of years ago, I briefly went to university down in London, and I was on the same course as a guy called Jake who ran Discus records. I was round his place on time and he was showed me a forthcoming release by B Motion for his label, and remember his saying “Check out this guy we’ve just got on the label, not many people have heard of him, but I expect him to blow up in the future”, and he wasn’t wrong. Jump forward to the present day and he’s now signed to Viper Recordings and is doing better than ever. I love his releases, there full of complex and well thought out melodies, whilst still being dancefloor bangers. Take “Something, Something”, full of funk chords and sweeping melodies that switches up to a heavy drop. Big fan of this guy.
Hybris is the latest signing to Noisia’s Vision Recordings, and his album is outstanding. He has such an original sound to him production, a strong blend of Drum & Bass and IDM/Glitch music. You can really tell that every time detail in his productions has been tirelessly worked on, even if it is just a subtle element.
A year ago RAM announced the exclusive signing of Bensley, however, there was no record of him, or his music, anywhere, people had no idea what to expect creating lots of hype and rumours around him. It was an incredibly clever marketing stunt by RAM as it turned out it that it was definitely worth the wait and mystery! I only have one piece of music to go by, but that’s all you need in this case, ”Fandango” is perhaps the most unique Drum & Bass track I’ve heard in absolutely years, it’s more of a piece of art than a song.
Trei’s been around for a while now, not so much as an “up and comer” compared to everyone else I’ve talked about, but he’s just signed exclusive to Viper and I believe that it’s the start in a new chapter for him that will really bring him out as what he is – an amazing producer and composer. I’ve been following him for a couple of years now, and first discovering his track “Breed” which was a collaboration with State of Mind, and is still one of my favourite tracks to play out. He has to ability to turn his hand to anything, be it weighty neuro aggression as seen in his track “Here & Now”, tribal influenced bangers like that of “Mumbo Jumbo”, or the sublime deep space explorations in his track “Outer Stellar”. I particularly love the bassline in “Outer Stellar” and he told me that it’s actually played live on the guitar which is an idea I’ve never thought of trying before for some reason- but I know I will now!
Finally, I’m really excited as to what the future holds for myself, as I have no idea! I’ve finally released my début album “Section Nine”, which defines what I’ve become musically and can’t wait to expand on it further. I’ve really changed over the two years I spent on the record, from the 140 jungle breaks I started out producing, to the dark atmospheric soundscape based drum & bass I make now. I also feel like I’m getting accepted into the drum & bass community and my track “This Way Up” is being released on Viper Recordings which is a dream of mine as they were the first record label I followed, ever!
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