Toby Ross, a young rising star in the world of drum and bass exploded onto the circuit in a relatively short space of time. Jamie catches up with him to find out exactly how it all happened…
It must be pretty crazy for you right now music wise! Before we even get into what’s happening now, how did this all start for you? What got you into drum and bass?
Recently it’s all been a bit mad to be honest! I’ve been listening to drum and bass since I was around 14/15 years old. I got into the music through listening to old Jungle Cakes records, ragga jungle style! I started DJing on my tablet when I was around that age and shortly after bought my first set of decks. After finding my love for ragga influenced drum and bass I then ventured into other sub genres such as jungle, rollers etc.
Originally, everyone wanted to be a DJ, MC or producer (maybe even an illegal rave promoter!). Things have no doubt changed to the point where there is sometimes no clear or logical path. What would you describe your path in the scene as? Did you want to do one thing over another?
Ever since I started DJing I felt like I just wanted to be a DJ! When I started producing music as well it really helped compliment my DJing as I could play my own music that I had made.
Who knows what the future holds though? I would love to try and put on my own events at some point in the future too, I feel like that would be sick!
Your production style is very much a combination of the original foundations of jungle music with an upfront twist. Aside from your love of mashing up breaks, what do you draw from in respects of influence?
In terms of producers who influence me and my style I would have to go for Bladerunner, DJ Hybrid, L-Side and Gray. But I do love mashing up the jungle breaks! I guess i’m just trying to make jungle tunes with modern production techniques and sound design.
Do you have a favourite set from the golden era that you use as a reference point? Saying that, you could easily draw for 100 sets from 1994 and slot in a few of your new tunes and nobody would know!
Good question! There are so many that I rate. IIf i had to choose one set from that era I would have to say Micky Finn & MC GQ at Dreamscape 23. Mad vibes, would have loved to have witnessed that set.
Talking of DJ sets, if you had to choose a top 3 jungle tunes from any era to play to somebody who had never heard an Amen break or the reverse bass from ‘Dread Bass’ what would they be and why?
I feel like I could choose over 100 jungle tunes to play to someone who had never heard an amen break before ha ha! One would definitely be ‘Ripgroove’ by Double 99 vs Fixate, one of my all time favourite jungle tunes. The breaks and warp basses in that track are mental.
Also I would have to say Aries remix of ‘Renegade vs Limb By Limb’, which was one of the first tunes I ever bought and still play it in sets to this day. The variation and breaks in that track are sick! Finally, ‘Night Flight’ by Shimon and Andy C; just an absolute classic.
Fast forward to more recent times and a quick Beatport search shows you have already released on some huge labels including the legendary Dread (via the Dubplate Dread offshoot), Jungle Cakes, Audio Addict, Liondub International and soon to come, Nicky Blackmarket’s Kartoons. That’s an impressive list and one that a lot of up and coming producers will be quite envious about. What’s your secret for signing success or do you just let the tunes do the talking?
Thank you! I guess it’s just about keeping consistent with making music and sending it out to labels, even if they don’t sign the tunes straight away they will remember your name for next time. I’ve been turned down by labels many times but it’s all about making the music better over time and keep sending it through.
Your recent EP ‘Beyond’ via Liondub International went to the top of the charts, did you do anything to celebrate this? It must feel great seeing this release get so much love?
It was so crazy to see that EP go to number 1, honestly cannot believe it haha! Yeah I had a little celebration, I’d not had a number 1 before that!
Do you have any aspirations to sign to any other labels in particular? That goes for any labels outside of the scene too
I would love to sign some music to Serial Killaz and V Recordings. I feel like those two would be my top picks in the scene. I’ve also been making some dub reggae and 140 recently too so I would love to potentially be able to get some of that out, Deep Medi Musik would be my top choice of label.
Producers sometimes talk about their ‘go to plugin’ or favourite trick when manipulating beats. Do you have that one thing that you return to time and time again?
There are a couple that I swear by and use in every track. One would definitely be iZotope Trash 2, because it’s a banging distortion unit, so versatile.
What’s your set up like at home? Is it pretty straightforward and portable or something more complex? Anything on the wish list kit wise?
My setup is my MacBook Pro, two Adam T7V’s, a 25 key MIDI keyboard, Scarlett 2i2 audio interface and some Audio Technica headphones. I also use Ableton as my DAW. I much prefer having a laptop to produce on rather than a computer because I can take it anywhere and that is really useful when I’ve collaborated with people on tunes.
Aside from a mad production schedule, what else is going on right now in your life?
I’m currently at uni studying Electronic Music Production, just about to go into my second year, and I also have a part time job at a wicked music venue in Bristol.
Finally, any shouts or big ups to leave?
Big ups to you for the opportunity bro! Big ups to Nicky Blackmarket, Erik from Liondub Int, and the Jungle Cakes team!
While You’re Here…
Enjoying all the free D&B content we publish on LoveThatBass? Then why not support by buying some exclusive LoveThatBass merchandise? All profits go directly towards the running & maintenance of this site so we can continue doing what we do