The man of the moment, extraordinary DJ and producer who is doing big things right now with Viper Recordings! We welcome Christian Hoffman aka Toronto Is Broken!
Q1) Thanks for your time… busy time of year right now! How has 2017 treated you so far?
A) Hey, it’s been great! Played a few awesome shows and I also achieved a dream of mine by signing exclusive to Viper Recordings and released the first two single for me next album with them this year.
Q2) So, let’s talk about your latest release “Spite, Lessons, Regrets & Promises” which features J Swif! What has feedback been like so far?
A) It’s gone pretty well and the feedback from DJ’s and fans have been awesome. It’s a bit of different tune and quite out there for my productions so I wasn’t sure how it would’ve gone down. However, Futurebound and the rest of Viper put their faith in the track and it seems to have paid off!
Q3) You’re working on an album called “You Are (Not) Alone”? When is this due to drop and how long has it taken you?
A) The album is pretty close to completion, just minor tweaks, but last minute tunes are the bane of my life haha! But everything is on track for a summer release right about now. The majority of the album has come together a lot quicker than my last album but some of the tracks on this record are about 3 or 4 years old now as I started them before my first album was released.
Q4) Your debut album “Section Nine“, which you released on Jay Cunning’s Sub Slayers label, had a nice concept; is there a concept on your new album too?
A) So YANA [You Are (Not) Alone] continues the story from “Section Nine” and is a direct sequel. The first album talked about our dependence on technology and the internet and the world falling apart once it all breaks down and goes. It’s a story on a more global level whilst YANA focusses on a single individual struggling to find their place in the world, a world in which the face of it has totally changed. The album is a lot more mystical and ethereal sounding as opposed to the heavy cyberpunk flavour of the first.
Q5) Deuce & Charger feature on the album too, those guys are great to work with right? A) Pete and Becky are great guys, and Becky is an amazing singer so I had to get their vocals on a track! They come from an electro-pop background so have a really different approach to song writing which is refreshing to work with, and they also really open to suggestions and playing around with different ideas. Pete also came up to mine a few weeks back too to get some help on a finishing their next single which is sounding awesome and even though it’s their track I’m really excited to see it released!
Q6) You recently did a guest mix for Friction on Radio One, you must of been stoked?
A) Yep, that was another thing to tick off my bucket list along with signing to Viper! It was brilliant to showcase my work on such a large scale and get all nostalgic and dig out my favourite tunes from the Viper back catalogue.
Q7) You released a track in 2017 called Spirit Song – which is really popular. Do you have any plans for a 2018 version or a VIP?
A) Well technically the 2017 mix is a VIP of a VIP! The first ever Spirit Song was a freebie I gave away in 2010 on soundcloud which unfortunately isn’t available anywhere apart from on YouTube and when I signed with Sub Slayers, I decided to revamp it for my “Move It” EP and all of a sudden it blew up! It was picked up by every DJ fromn Paul Oakenfold to Sub Focus and Netsky. Seeing as it was one of Sub Slayer’s biggest tracks it seemed a no-brainer to revamp it for their milestone 50th release. The 2017 mix is definitely my favourite version and seems to be the quintessential rendition of the track and making any more versions of it might ruin it and get a bit silly. However, it’s great to see the journey which the track has taken over the past 7 years.
Q8) J Swif first interviewed you a few years ago and your production set up was very basic. You had ASDA headphones, no monitors and you were talking about it not being about thousands of pounds worth of kit but how you use it. Have you changed and upgraded a little now and what is your set up? Do you have monitors yet?
A) Over the years I’ve found out that it’s not what you’ve got but what you do with what you have. I couple of years ago I also stripped back the amount of plugins that I have to just the ones I use on pretty much every track and I know inside out. There’s no point grabbing tons of plugins that are popular and only scratching the surface with them. Still to this day Massive is my most used plugin for bass sound design with Harmor being a close second, I don’t use Serum unlike 90% of producers out there as I don’t feel any need to really as I know how to achieve what I want using other plugins.
In terms of setup, all I have is a Windows PC (that is slowly dying on me so an upgrade is due once the album is done) running Ableton Live 9, a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface, Behringer midi keyboard and a Boss Me-25 guitar pedal that I route my guitar into before it goes into my PC. Still no monitors but I have some really nice Beyerdynamic headphones that I use for all of my monitoring.
Q9) You’re into playing live instruments. Can you tell our readers and listeners what you play?
A) So I’ve always played guitar but I’ve been getting back into it again whilst working on this album after my mate Ash did an awesome refurb job on my electric and basically made it work again. I’ve featured a lot of the guitar on this album and it’s something I intend to carry on with my music in the future.
Q10) Which gigs have stood out for you this year?
A) Each show I’ve played this year have been awesome, but a stand out moment from me, not just this year but for my musical career in general, was at the last Drum And Bass HQ LIVE event at Work Bar during the summer. I closed the night and finished by playing “Trying To Find Home” in full and even thought there were maybe only 30 people or so left in the venue the vibes were unlike I’d ever seen before! The whole room was on the same page and it was amazing to share it with everyone.
Q11) What are your 3 top tunes right now?
A) Why stick with just three? I’ve actually set up a new Spotify playlist called the “Toronto Is Broken: Vibes Playlist” where each month I’ll update it with 20 tunes I’ve been feeling this month. Also, it’s not just D&B, a mix of techno, breaks, electronica and maybe even some ambient from time to time!
Q12) If you could take one tune on a desert island, and only listen to that tune forever, what would it be and why?
A) Oof, this is definitely a tough one. Maybe “Open Eye Signal” by Jon Hopkins as this track is truly a journey. His whole album “Immunity” is a work of art and I can’t wait for his next one to finally arrive!
Q13) If you could collab with anyone, who would it be and why?
A) Again, probably Jon Hopkins. His production and complexity to his work is one a whole new level, do I dare say even beyond Noisia’s work? He’s been a massive inspiration to me, even with the film soundtracks he produces too. His style of piano and ambiences has definitely found their way into my work on many occasions!
Q14) Are you a fan of MCs and who do you rate?
A) J Swif is my go-to MC whenever possible. We’re on the same wavelength and really connect on stage during the set and he never overdoes it which some MC’s can be found guilty of. Shouts to Cianna Blaze who’s also killing it at the moment and smashed it in 2016 on our track “Deep Freeze”, it’s wicked to see her doing so well recently. There’s also a few awesome MC’s back home in Leicester too, Burger and K-era in particular who are always a pleasure to get on my set.
Q15) Festivals or clubs?
A) I’ve never actually been to a festival, let alone play at one. However there are a couple of festivals this summer which I’ve been confirmed for which I can’t share at the moment, so come back and ask me again this time next year 😉
Q16) What are you drinking from the bar if I see you out?
A) I don’t really do nights out really and I’m not much of a drinker, I think it’s just an expensive way to get ill haha! However, I do like a Jack Daniels and Coke, or just straight up Tequila shot oddly enough. Oh and a Mojito, gotta love a good Mojito!
Q17) What do you like to do in your spare time? Wargaming? What is that?!
A) Miniature Wargaming is essentially collecting, building and painting plastic toy soldiers and monsters and playing a game with them. You move them around a 6’x4’ table filled with scenery using a tape measure and roll dice to simulate the fighting needing certain results to succeed depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the models you’re using- it’s like a board game without the board. It’s just great for me to have another creative outlet of which I’m a total novice at where I don’t have to worry about it turning into a career, because even with music there are still certain pressures that come with it. It is incredibly time consuming but the pay-off is brilliant when you see a whole army of fully painted guys you’re tired over for about a hundred hours painting and building running around a scenic table.
Q18) What’s coming up for you in 2018?
A) Gigs and the album!
Q19) Thanks for your time, any shouts and thanks?
A) Shouts to the Viper team who work tirelessly around the clock pushing our music and to everyone who’s ever taking a few minutes out their day to stream, buy or rock out to my tunes in 2017!
Interview By Missrepresent Jan 2018