Toronto Is Broken and Deuce & Charger are Always in Motion
YANA Music recently unleashed ‘Always In Motion’, the new collaboration between Toronto Is Broken and Deuce & Charger. This follows their massive 2019 dancefloor banger ‘Pressure’. With over 250,000 streams on Spotify alone and support from the scene’s heavyweight club and radio DJs, ‘Pressure’ was undoubtedly one of last year’s biggest Drum & Bass tunes. Following it up was a tall order, but thankfully they have delivered and then some on ‘Always In Motion’.
‘Always In Motion’ is the third single from Toronto Is Broken’s forthcoming third album ‘Clare’, which marks a new chapter in the Toronto Is Broken sound. Anticipation levels are quickly rising for the new album and his music from this point on. For Deuce & Charger meanwhile, ‘Always In Motion’ highlights their deft musicality.
To coincide with this recent collaboration we thought it would be fun for the guys to interview each other! So, whack some Drum & Bass on, kick back and read on…
D&C: If you could collaborate with one artist outside of DnB, who would it be and why?
TIB: This is always a tough one, especially as these days my influences mainly come from outside of the world of drum and bass. As you can probably tell from my most recent work, my influences are mainly coming from the metal/djent scene right now so it would have to be one of those bands, Northlane, Thornhill, TesseracT. But if I had to nail it down to one act it would have to be Spiritbox, specifically their vocalist Courtney LaPlante. We’ve spoken a few times and she’s lovely as well as being able to deliver the most brutal screams and gorgeous cleans.
Spiritbox ‘Rule Of Nines’
TIB: Our musical styles are very different when it comes to drum and bass, me focusing more on darker sounds with a metal influence whilst yours is very upbeat and synth-focussed. Who are your main inspirations when writing music?
D&C: We’re suckers for anything synthy with great melodies! We’re inspired by a lot of classic electronic acts like Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode, as well as quite a few from the 2000s such as Daft Punk, Air and Royksopp. The ‘Drive’ soundtrack is great and we also love more recent stuff from Nero, Chvrches, Meduza and Topic. I think unusually for drum and bass, we’re very vocal-led with most of our tracks starting with the vocals. So despite having a preference for synth / electro music, we can be inspired by anything with a great vocal. The new Regard track ‘Secrets’ is a current obsession.
Regard, RAYE ‘Secrets’
D&C: What’s your favourite studio snack?
TIB: I don’t really tend to eat all that much whilst I’m working, I use it as a good excuse to take a break. However, I am an absolute fiend when it comes to energy drinks, in particular the Monster Mango Locos. The only downside is that it melts your insides and plays havoc with your sleep pattern. It got so bad during lockdown when I was in full swing writing the album that I had to pull an all-nighter on numerous occasions to reset my body clock!
TIB: In stark contrast to my unhealthy lifestyle, both of you are a lot more active than myself. What do you do to ensure that you are both ‘Always in Motion’? 😉
D&C: Nice plug 😉 We’ve both been pretty involved in sport and fitness stuff since we were kids. Becky is a qualified Zumba instructor and I do a lot of long-distance running particularly out in the countryside (not always easy living in London!). For me, the motivation is as much a mental health thing as a physical health thing – I love listening to music while I run and just being in the moment for a little while.
D&C: What are your main non-musical sources of inspiration e.g. favourite books, films?
TIB: I’m a big painter of miniatures for fantasy and sci-fi wargames such as Warhammer, which is a personal hobby of mine. I’m a big fan of their settings and the “Grimdark” aesthetic of misery and pain it portrays. Overall, when it comes to art, I’m really into anything with a dark and twisted imagery to it. I’ve also enjoyed telling stories be it through creative writing when I was younger to the concepts behind my albums. It’s quite commonly known that I’ve said that quite often all I need for inspiration behind a track sometimes is just a cool title.
TIB: What hobbies do you both have outside of music?
D&C: Outside of music – what’s that?! Haha. We have a 2-year old daughter and spend most of our non-work / music time with her, so that means a lot of time in play-parks, petting zoos, kids museum exhibits etc – sorry not very glamorous! Becky is much better than me at switching off from music and doing normal stuff. I’m a bit obsessed and I’m pretty much always working on a track or looking out for new artists / styles of music to explore. I love graphic design too, so like to mess around with ideas on Photoshop and discover new stuff on Pinterest or occasionally get to one of the galleries in London.
D&C: If you’re ever stuck on a track, do you have any go-to techniques, instruments or plugins you use to get things moving?
TIB: Over the years I’ve built up a library of go-to sounds, such as my kicks and snares as well as consolidating all my production habits into my default project template in Ableton. My default template is basically ready to go with all the routing and mixing tools on there so that it just turns into a “drag and drop” exercise when making music for me, which is great. This means that once I have an idea, I can get it down onto paper with no fuss whatsoever.
If I ever get stuck I might either take a break from it or pick up the guitar and see what I can come up with. Over the past year incorporating such heavy use of guitars as freed up my writing process so much as you just tackle things from a totally new angle and I’m really excited to see where this takes me.
TIB: People may not know but you come from a background writing pop and playing in electro-rock bands and your writing approach is different from what I’ve seen from other drum & bass producers. Do you mind sharing your approach with us?
D&C: Yeah we didn’t realise we were different in our approach until we started working with you and other producers! We pretty much always start tracks with the main vocal hook. I tend to come up with our best ideas when I’m out and about. I record little voice memos on my phone (people probably think I’m crazy walking the streets singing badly into my phone!) and then come back to the studio to work out the best chord sequence to fit that melody.
Once that basic idea is down, I then build up the production around it with the initial focus being on the rhythm track with at least one main melodic synth riff. I’ll then play the basic track to Becky and teach her the vocals. That process usually involves her making comments and the melody or lyrics may change a bit. We then get straight into the vocal recording as she is so quick to pick things up – for many of our tracks (including ‘Always In Motion’) the bulk of the final vocals are recorded within about an hour of Becky hearing the song for the first time!
From there, our approach is probably pretty similar to other producers i.e. losing countless hours tweaking EQs etc etc until you’re almost totally sick of the track – and then you know it’s done!
D&C: Does your forthcoming album ‘Clare’ have any particular message?
TIB: ‘Clare’ is due to drop early 2021 and wraps up a trilogy of albums containing ‘Section Nine’ (2015) and ‘You Are (Not) Alone’ (2018). ‘Section Nine’ told the story of a world so heavily dependent on technology that it collapsed under its own dependence. ‘You Are (Not) Alone’ is set a few hundred years later and focussed on a protagonist exploring a shattered, archaic world with no purpose and struggling with the matter. ‘Clare’ continues from this and tells of the protagonist having an epiphany of sorts and rediscovering themselves and reflecting on the past, both in a positive and negative way in order to move forwards.
All the names of my albums are references to my favourite anime series and films and ‘Clare’ is no different. Clare is the name of the main protagonist of the series “Claymore” who also struggles to find their meaning throughout the series and realises their purpose.
The story told in ‘Clare’ also mirrors my own personal life over the past year. I came out of a long-term relationship back in November and the record documents the highs and lows of overcoming heartbreak and learning to function as a sole individual now and no longer part of a unit. I’ve had to rediscover myself, whilst funnily enough I feel like I’ve also reinvented what Toronto Is Broken is as an artist, by managing to merge my original love of metal into my music. Even though I’ve been releasing music since 2011 as Toronto Is Broken, and writing music for much longer than that, I feel as though I have finally found “my sound” or identity as Toronto Is Broken.
One of the most important tracks on the album is the closing track ‘Letters Goodbye’. When me and my ex separated, we wrote each other letters reflecting on the past four years together and why things had to change. It was incredibly difficult to read her letter and the only time I’ve ever read it was when we first presented them to one another. I sent a copy of her letter to my friend Katie from Koven and she wrote the vocals for the track based on the letter and did an amazing job. Later on, I was lucky enough to get Christina Rotondo to re-sing for the final track.
Architects ‘Doomsday’ Christina Rotondo Cover
TIB: On a more serious note however, would you rather have only one nipple or two belly buttons?
D&C: Hahaha I think two belly buttons has to be the way to go! One nipple, especially for Becky, would be a little freaky!!