Interview: Toyboy & Robin
London-based duo Toyboy & Robin stormed into the scene in 2012 and achieved early recognition with their summer hit ‘Jaded’.
Over the course of the 5 years, the pair have developed their sound, experimenting in the cross-over field for a couple of years and now they are channeling from early influences within the underground house scene. Preparing for what is bound to be a busy summer, Toyboy & Robin recently released their ‘Levitate’ EP and we find out more about what has inspired their new sound and what their plans are for the year.
“My USB pen is OCD and my house and techno records are divided into at least 20 sub-folders.”
When were you both introduced to electronic music and what drew you to it?
R: Throughout school I was exposed to all the ‘soon-to-be’ classics, like Shapeshifters, Basement Jaxx etc. But the first time I really felt serious about it was believe it or not, a Steve Angello CD called “Sizeism” when I was 17. This was pre-sellout and featured the likes of Oxia, Agoria, Joris Voorn and Nathan Fake. They’re still some of my favourite artists so that was a real turning point for me!
T: I think I was 16 or 17. A friend of mine at school played me some Armand Van Helden and Seamus Haji remixes of songs we liked at the time, and they really stuck out to me. Off the back of that I decided to do more digging into other similar producers and it all kind of went from there…
Were your career aspirations always driven around music? If not, what was your dream career?
R: I really don’t know what I would’ve wanted to be. I didn’t know the first thing about how to turn music into a living so I thought maybe a journalist as I studied an English degree, but I never really had a passion for it!
T: Not for me, making music was always just a hobby that my older brother got me into, I never imagined I’d get to be able to do it full time… I was meant to go into Law.
What made you decide to work together as a duo?
R: We were playing a mixed bag of club nights and student nights together when we were in Manchester, and decided one day it would be good to maybe play some of our own records.
What are the benefits of working as a duo?
T: In terms of the studio, there’s always an extra set of ears when it comes to working on & writing new material, which can definitely help coming up with more interesting ideas. Generally speaking though, it’s always fun to have someone else/other people to bounce off, we’ve heard from a fair few solo Producers/DJ’s that things can get a bit boring being on your own the majority of the time.
Were there any DJs that inspired you to get behind the decks?
T: I saw DJ Mehdi play in the earlier days of The Warehouse Project, his energy and his whole vibe definitely gave me some sort of inspiration to want to do the same thing.
R: I guess at first it was Swedish House Mafia when they weren’t making music for the masses circa 2007. Steve Angello, Joris Voorn and Deetron were also strong influences.
Are there any labels that would be a dream for you both to work with?
We’re big fans of labels like Suara, Elrow (and obviously their parties), Crosstown rebels etc. Working with any of those labels in the future would definitely be a big highlight for us.
Being London-based have you felt the effects of the declining nightlife? Were there any clubs you both went to that now no longer exist?
T: Yeah the effects of all the club closures in London have definitely been evident. It’s a massive shame that places like Rhythm Factory and Dance Tunnel had to close, but it has meant a bunch of new parties have sprung up in new interesting spaces/places. One place we’re looking forward to coming back is Studio 338, fingers crossed that will be soon.
Talk us through your new EP ‘Levitate’. It’s a new sound for you both, what was the inspiration behind it? Were there any particular experiences that led to this new sound?
T: The EP was inspired by the little bit of time we spent in Ibiza towards the end of last summer. Cala Llonga, (which was the name of the area where our villa was) was the first of 3 tracks that we made, and it was started out there. Levitate and Tristis came about the week we got back to London
With the EP, we wanted it to reflect our time out there, from hitting various parties & clubs, to chilling pool-side at the villa, to the sense of sadness/nostalgia that kicked in when we were leaving and when we got back to UK. Hopefully that comes across in the tracks.
How long did it take you to produce the EP? Did you encounter any problems during the process i.e writers block etc?
T: The EP actually came about pretty quickly and naturally, so we didn’t really encounter any problems or speed bumps along the way. Which isn’t always the case!
If you were to get any producers on board for remixes, who would you love to remix your tracks?
R: Someone who absolutely kills remixes at the moment is Sasha. Dennis Ferrer has a great knack for it too!
You recently played an all-night long session at Basing House – how do you prepare yourself for a long stint like that?
R: For me the most important thing is organization. My USB pen is OCD and my house and techno records are divided into at least 20 sub-folders. That allows you to move seamlessly, rather than scrambling every 5 minutes for the next record.
What exciting plans do you have scheduled in for 2017? Anymore releases?
R: We’ve got a 2 track release dropping on Regression Sessions, and working on another release currently. We have a mini tour surrounding that release playing in Manchester, Bristol, London and Leeds, as well as Secret Garden Party and We Are Festival.
“Levitate” is NOW AVAILABLE on Midnight Rituals
by Chanel Kadir