It’s an exciting time to catch up with Tom Bell. The high-flying producer/DJ and proud northerner has become an icon in both bassline and reggae-based circles following two acclaimed albums and a slew of high-profile remixes. Brimming with energy and personality, traits clearly necessary for radio hosting, he had a chat with Hyponik about his label, radio in general, Toddla TV and his beloved Sheffield.
Firstly great set in there, was a lot of fun. Lets start by talking about your new radio one show…
Yeah so right about now it’s Toddla T from the steel city, and every Thursday through to Friday morning, 2-4, I’ll be representing club music from every style, fashion and approach. Its all about good music from the dancefloor. It’s going to be weekly, and I’m blessed to be in this situation!
How did the new show come about?
Well I’ve been doing Radio 1 for three years now on ‘In New DJs We Trust,’ which is a monthly show, rotated between DJs. It was me, Skream & Benga, Andy George & Jaymo and Chuckie; now its Mosca, B Traits, Julio Bashmore and Jordan Suckley. It went really well and for some reason they offered me a weekly slot!
Highlight of your career so far?
It’s definitely one of the highlights, yeah. I never even thought about radio until they asked me to do it. It’s the best, most important radio station in the world. Its funded by the public, its provides for the public. There’s no snidy business like paying for records, or putting adverts on; its music for people and that represents everything from hard dance and hardcore, all the way through to pop in the day. It’s a very special thing to Britain and i’m so glad to be a part of it.
You must be happy to represent Sheffield on there!
Yeah of course. Sheffield is the reason I make the music I make, you know. Everything from the bassline, to the underground techno to the hybrid stuff. If I’d grown up in Leeds, Bristol, Manchester or London say, what I’d be doing now would be different. I’d still be making tunes, but the way I put it together is so individual to Sheffield.
There’s a big bassline, bashment scene still happening there then?
Yeah bassline and niche came out of Sheffield, there’s no denying it. There’s a Carribean community there as well as every other city in the world, but for some reason it infiltrated the music there more than other cities. I didn’t even have to search for it, it was on my doorstep; so there you go!
Talk to me about your label ‘Girls Music,’ what’s planned for this year?
This year for me is all about Radio 1 and Girls Music, production is going to go on the back-burner for a bit, so I can get everything tight. Couple of releases planned so far; the next one we’re going to do is a DJ Q EP, it’s like a bassline thing. Also got a Slick Don EP, and a Heartbreak EP featuring Mr Lex, it’s like a UK-Jamaica thing. Aside from that, we’ve got more guests coming on Toddla TV and guests will join me on the radio show too. It’s gonna be a good year!
Stream the lead track from the ‘Dibby Dibby Sound’ EP below.
Interview: Richard Akingbehin
You can catch Toddla T perform at this years Glade Festival which takes place on 14-17 June.