i-DJ: toddla t meets protoje
This week, Sheffield bass don Toddla T takes us way up, exclusively teaming with rising reggae artist Protoje for a mix crossing boundaries of grime, jungle, reggae and hip hop like no other… England Be Wise!
On his recent trip to Jamaica, alongside soundsystem legend David Rodigan and dancehall specialist Seani B, in the name of Radio 1Xtra's Jamaica Special; DJ, producer, Girls Music head honcho and all around musical G, Toddla T managed to get in the studio with Protoje to create a musical mad ting!
What's the most hedonistic party you've ever been to?
Probably Miami Winter Music Conference, I believe it was 2011 or 12. It was P. Diddy's famous party that he does on the third day of the weekend, Saturday night into Sunday morning. He does it at his house on Star Island and it's just mental! His house is ridiculous, I don't even know how we managed to blag our way in there. We were like, 'This is bizarre!' One minute I'm seeing Felix Da Housecat playing Tech House and Diddy walks past with a wireless mic doing his famous ad-libs "come on, yeah, bad boy y'all" and there's girls in the pool… I go to his personal toilet and wait in the queue behind Shaggy, while Cassie is at the buffet, it was hilarious man, I got absolutely sloshed and ended up passing out on his hammock.
What's the most phenomenal clubbing venue in the world and why?
Wow! Big question. If you could call Ibiza a venue (because it kind of is), I guess that is a phenomenon. Half of the island is designed for clubbing, there's nowhere else like that, especially with such a deep heritage and roots. A lot of it is really naff, a lot of it is quite messy and hedonistic but some of it is really special and I've had some amazing moments there. It's one of those places that as soon as you get off the flight, you feel an energy and atmosphere to want to party, but not in a way that's just getting get mashed up, it's more than that. It's an experience with the music and the venues and the people that go there that have only got a week to enjoy it so they're really in it, the staff that work on the island it's their life and their lifestyle. I haven't really been anywhere like that before, you've got Miami that is kind of similar, and obviously Vegas now but they haven't got the history of Ibiza. Whether you're into it or not, you can't deny that energy.
If you could go back to back with any DJ, at any venue, who would it be and why?
Playing back to back is a funny one because I've back to backed with a few people in my time that I rate, I love and respect, but it just doesn't work. So for me to say, "I'd like to back to back with so and so" doesn't necessarily mean it would actually be a good back to back, and with the trend of back to backs going around, not so much now but last year, I did witness people going back to back just for the sake of two names colliding but it just didn't work. I have gone back to back, and love going back to back, with a mentor of mine, who's DJ Pipes from Sheffield City. He is where I got a massive inspiration from the way I play and therefore started making music. We play together at a club night called Kabal in Sheffield, which is a special night, which taught me so much and inspired me so much and still does. Even though I have travelled the whole globe since 2008, DJ'd hundreds and thousands of times, there's still no atmosphere like Kabal's for me. That's still something I want to pursue and love and will remember amazingly.
History is made at night... what was the best night of your life?
When my son was born. The whole day and night, the whole month! I'm still very much feeling that joy of him but the initial burst is just something you can't describe and can never top.
What would your dream rider consist of?
Probably a whole a new week's worth of clothes, but the stuff that I like to wear, not any random garms. The promoters would research what I like so I don't even have to wash!
What's your favourite party anthem of all time?
Outstanding by Gap Band. Unbelievable, another record I can never get bored of that one, I hear and play it in parties all the time.
Do you think music subcultures are losing their definition?
No, I think things have moulded more than ever due to the way we consume music, it's not as pure. It's not like you buy a hip hop CD and that's your pocket money for the month gone so you're a hip hop guy. Now you go on YouTube and listen to a whole range of stuff, I think that is very healthy. I don't see why people should limit themselves to one genre or subculture and thus you get interesting mixes of stuff. On the flip-side, that can mean you lose the purity which can be sad in a way but in general, I don't think so. I've just been to Jamaica and Dance Island reggae culture is as strong and raw as it has ever been; they're influenced by dance music a lot now and they just put it in their pot but it's still very Jamaican. In Britain, our thing is a melting pot anyway, that's the whole sound of the UK we're always here doing our ting!
What producer are you predicting big things from this year?
My brudda Winta James who is the backbone of the new reggae sound in Jamaica, he produced, Who Knows for Protoje, Here Comes Trouble for Chronixx and he did a riddim that both Damian Marley and Jesse Royal did big cuts on. He's using the essence of reggae music and keeping the credibility of it but flipping it in a new style. I really rate him, everything he does has just got a swing and a knock to it and I think he's set the foundation now to become the DJ Premier, Neptunes or Shy FX of that scene. It's just going to go on and on and get even stronger and I look forward to seeing what he's coming with this year because everything he does is just FIRE!
Where do you go when the record ends and the lights come on?
Probably in a cab home!
What track would you end the night on when everyone's still awake and its time to go to sleep?
Maybe my own tune, No Kip, which is about not being able to get to any sleep!
What's your party trick?
I haven't really got one to be honest, I'd probably have to get my iPhone out and use an app or something ridiculous!
The music sounds better...
on a good rig with a group of people
Interview Nardene Scott