Leon Switch – Interview & Exclusive Mix

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With a musical career spanning two and a half decades, and a jaw­dropping repertoire of releases under his own moniker and Kryptic Minds under his belt, Brett Bigden aka Leon Switch can safely be said to be one of the most influential producers in the international community of underground bass music. Cue up Leon Switch’s vicious mix as we catch up with this bass veteran to speak about the past, present, and future of music, time travel, and his approach to making his signature style of deep and dark, cerebral music.

[LiS]
You have a pretty diverse background as a musician, what brought you to to your current position, first as a Drum and Bass Producer, and more currently, to Dubstep?
[Leon Switch]
“I started being obsessed with music at a very young age, I tinkered on various instruments until I was about 12 when i was bought my first guitar. I joined and and did numerous shows in bands but felt something was missing, and needed a studio to be able to work more on my own. I then bought an Akai sampler. My life changed and I was hooked on twisting and sequencing. I read books upon books about synthesis and sequencing. Then a friend introduced me to the likes of Goldie, Photek, and Dom & Roland. This took things to a whole other level and I fell in love with breaks and DnB. After about 12 years of producing and releasing Drum and Bass, I felt things had completely changed and the music I had fallen in love with had become some sort of competition; who could make the baddest bassline. I needed to change things for my own sanity and found that slowing down the tempo added space enabled me to place things differently. I had a drummer friend that had said to me that 140 bpm was a tempo that had a real stomp to it, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I loved the tempo even before I knew about Dubstep! In fact the first tunes I did at the tempo are on the ‘One of Us’ Kryptic Minds album ­the title track ‘One of Us’ was one of them. So there I stayed! :)
[LiS]
Can you describe the relationship between your work in music production and skateboarding, do you feel as if your involvement in these two cultures intersects, or influences the other?
[Leon Switch]
“They are my two first loves! I’ve always had a thing about skateboarding and music and feel they do go hand in hand! I feel that my music is influenced by my attitude towards skating and is kind of rebellious…. My goal was to create music that made you feel cool when you listened to it, and that is pretty much what skateboarding does for me as well. Even just cruising feels cool! There’s nothing better than getting on your board with your latest mix in your headphones and your subpac on your back!”

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[LiS]
You’ve been producing since the early 90’s and have releases dating back to the turn of the millennium. Is there anything in particular that you miss (or don’t miss) about those days? Are there any shifts in the music world that you are excited about?
[Leon Switch]
“There’s a lot I miss about those early days. Even down to the way music was produced back then. You had to really work to get any real results, my sampler had a tiny display (two lines of text) so everything was pretty much done with your eyes closed. The most important part of the studio back then was your knowledge of the equipment and your ears. I’m not complaining about the way things have gone with computers the way they are and studios being solely computer based, but there was something about having the bare minimum you could afford and utilising that piece of equipment to the fullest. I’m obviously excited that I don’t have to just work on a single sampler with an upgraded 16mb ram anymore! Having the technology in front of you makes everything more accessible and it’s a lot easier to make music using todays tools.
[LiS]
You wake up one morning in a time machine with an empty bottle of liquor in your lap,
where are you and who did you finish the bottle with?
[Leon Switch]
“ I don’t drink ­ haha, but if i did and this happened, it would have to be waking outside Electric Ladyland Studios in New York with Jimi Hendrix with two burnt guitars sitting in front of us… haha! Or Hans Zimmer and waking in his studio cuddling and stealing his knowledge!
[LiS]
Who are two lesser known or underappreciated artists that we should all check out?
[Leon Switch]
“I’m not sure what to say on this one. I get soo many tunes and lately they have been all of a standard that is good! I think that rather than being specific with any names I would just say listen to as much music as physically possible and enjoy!”

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Stay tuned for Leon Switch’s Return to the United States! In the meantime be sure to support underground bass culture at Drown session 12 ft. Compa (10/16 Boston) and Hz of Horror ft. Nomine & Quest (10/30 ­ NYC)

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