“Are you ready?” is a common question you’ll be asked by 24 year old Sheffield wunderkind Toddla T, and it’s a good question to ask yourself before listening to his FABRICLIVE 47 mix. In amongst his wide vocabulary of home-grown slang and off-the-wall catchphrases, Toddla T (known to his mum as Tom Bell) is a bright embodiment of boundless enthusiasm, unmatched charisma and a musical personality unlikely to be found anywhere else on the planet. His otherworldly taste in beats is often hard to keep up with, as he shuffles effortlessly through genres and styles at a reckless pace, guided by an energy that, if bottled, could power the very same soundsystems that rattle with his electro dancehall and bashment-flavoured sets around the globe. It’s difficult to picture the lanky, wild-haired, motor-mouthed lad even getting exposed to said soundclash-geared sounds, and that very well could be the key for his success and explosive prominence. From the release of his much vaunted ‘Ghettoblaster’ mixtape to the quick-fire releases of his debut artist album ‘Skanky Skanky’ and now this official debut mix album, it has been a rollercoaster two years. First picking up a set of turntables aged 12 (hence the Toddla moniker) after a cousin got him hooked on hip hop, it all began four years later when he discovered the skankier sounds of Sheffield: dancehall, ragga, grime and techno. This inclusive attitude, which epitomizes British music in 2009, has driven his DJing since day one, and it’s the fuel for his creative fire. And it’s contagious. In fact, it’s the reason why, aged 18, he was picked up as a studio engineer at the Kenwood Studios in Sheffield where Dizzee Rascal had made ‘Boy In Da Corner’, working with the likes of Cash Money and Roots Manuva, with no previous experience to speak of. Toddla’s first taste of being an artist in his own right came with his original production setup, Small Arms Fiya; a collaboration with fellow producer Scott Moncrieff which yielded several releases and remixes. But it was the combination of releasing his ‘Ghettoblaster’ mixtape and working solo on production that firmly put him on the map. This signing, to 1965 Records – a Sony subsidiary – led to the release of his debut album, ‘Skanky Skanky’, in May of this year. In the couple of years leading to the album he had carved a name for himself as a producer and remixer of massive repute. From his show stealing production on Roots Manuva’s ‘Buff Nuff’ and ‘Do Nah Bodda Mi’ to the unbridled personality injections in his remixes of the likes of Hot Chip, Tricky and Esser – he repeatedly proved his ability to sculpt tracks that buzz with the crackling energy of dancehall and gut-wrenching low-end. As for what the young artist is currently working on production-wise, the list is virtually endless. But it’s best put in his own words (which may require a translator) – for, as seen on his cult-worshipped Toddla TV youtube series, there’s no such thing as a conversation with Toddla T; it’s all a whirlwind of character, liveliness and whim.
"I really wanted to represent an average DJ set in fabric from Toddla T & Serocee, Sheffield sonic stylee – as if a sweaty Sheffield basement was deported to Farringdon for the night! I’ve got exclusives and unreleased stuff from Roots Manuva, Skream, Drums Of Death, Untold, Shake Alleti, Toddla T (obviously), Martelo, Oris Jay, Oneman & Mr Versatile, as well as a few cheeky blends that have never been done before! So hopefully a lot of stuff will be brand new to people’s ears. This is fierce club kinda fodder!"
In comes the Steel City via FABRICLIVE 47, a living, breathing summation of all that is exciting about club music today, and for years to come. Veering from genre to genre, never missing a beat, Toddla – aided by the vocals of long term sparring partner MC Serocee – scorches through a seventy searing minute mix that lurches from the familiar electro dancehall of Cavemen’s remix of Duffy and Toddla’s own ‘Fill Up Mi Portion;’ to the Bristol jump-up drum & wobble of the Clipz/Toddla collabo; to the funky of Geeneus and Lil Silva; to dubstep from Untold and Caspa, with plenty of bends and tangents in-between. Laced with VIPs, edits, medleys and exclusives throughout, this mix is the sound of one of the world’s most boxfresh artists, standing absolutely on top of the game.