Talking tunes with Toman & Rossi

During Amsterdam Dance Event 2019 Clubber Confession had the chance to sit down with Rossi and Toman, two of the most relevant emerging talents in the European underground music scene. They are part of a crew of friends mainly based in Amsterdam, with connections between the UK, Romania, South America and further, which is making crowds go wild wherever they play. They are making a name for themselves as one of the most promising group of producers and djs in the scene, with their unique sound and blasting parties.

Groovy techno and dubby, rolling beats, crossed by sophisticated layers of subtle samples. Their music is complex, but straightforward at the same time. It gets the party going, and crowds going wild, but yet creates an ethereal and minimalistic atmosphere.

Other members of this crew of friends, before anything else, are ANOTR, Chris Stussy, Litmus, Djoko and more. They play, produce and party together.

Toman (Dutch 27 yo) has recently released the long awaited ‘Don’t hesitate’ on No Art Records, while Rossi (UK, 24 yo) has just published on hedZup records the RYDM EP’. They might be young but have already a nice portfolio of productions and a well-respected history of parties around Europe and beyond. We met over lunch and discussed their origins, their lives and plans for the future, we tried to understand what keeps them together and makes their music so good.

Toman being Dutch, Rossi being British, they met a few months ago at Claire Amsterdam during a No Art night, a concept that effectively encapsulates a lot of their party spirit. They just clicked, also because of similar background stories. Rossi’s dad was the one introducing him to music, being himself a respected soul foul house dj in the UK, and he had the audacity of taking his son to Ibiza at age 16 “It changed my life, there I decided I wanted to be a dj”. Hard not be impressed by Ibiza at 16, right? Toman on the other hand, was introduced to electronic music by his mum “She listened to a lot of classic house music, late 80’s and 90’s”, but his first productions at age 12 were actually hip hop beats. Then the minimal sound of the Italian gang around Marco Carola, in particular Massi DL and Lucio Aquilina, took him very rapidly into more techy territories.

Toman was first a producer and then a Dj and he “decided to undergo a more formal music training through the Herman Brood Academy in Utrecht, followed by the Conservatory, “which I could not finish as my career blew up”. They both have some history in analogical music, they both play drums. Rossi was in a band during his teenage years, “I thought I was so cool, but I wasn’t”. He laughs about those years, but the punchy beats and the always on point bassline must come from somewhere, right?

Like many other artists we met before, they have been on both sides of the dj booth. The difference maybe is that being so young, they still sometimes switch and get back to be just clubbers. “Whenever I make music – says Rossi – I imagine myself in the club, dancing with my mates. I never went to a music school, but I always relied on feelings, emotions and vibes”. Toman agrees as “you need to know what is going on in the room, you need to be clubber to be a good dj”.

For the future, it is clear that they are building something that will make a difference in the years to come. Together with their crew in Amsterdam, relying on the huge success they are having in the UK  and the recognition they are receiving from well-respected labels and parties all around the world, their destiny seems to be on a secure road to an explosive success. They tour, produce and hang out together as a big group of friends united by the same passion for music. “If he was dick I would not hang out with him” says Rossi about Toman, and we laugh. However, most of the time the connection on the personal level makes the difference.

Toman and Rossi have recently alternated on the 1st place of the Beatport charts for weeks, exchanging the first position in the Minimal Deep section but also by making relevant appearances in the main chart. Tracks like ‘RKinN’ by Rossi, or ‘Fantanized’, have blown up sound systems anywhere. And still as we write, they are first and second.

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These two artists have a similar sound, a calibrated blending of Romanian techno, melodic “housey” strings coupled with something very close to Fuse London. The result is a signature sound, with cutting-edge minimal kicks and dubby, chunky grooves. Here and there you can find more house oriented tracks with catching vocals like ‘Paradise’ (feat. Insight) by Ross or ‘Whatudo’ by Toman (together with his mate Stussy), perfect for the hands in the moment of any dj set. Details make their production stands, thanks to a well-balanced use of subtle nuances, small samples, unintelligible vocals which coupled with the groovy basslines creates a unique sound aesthetic.

“Fuse London has been a massive inspiration to me, it was where I used to party when I was going out in London. It was – and for some reasons still is – the party!” says Rossi, who later on got closer to Romanian techno, through Sunwaves, festival, but also thanks to a massive party with Petre Inspirescu in the UK: “That half-finished beats sounded sick to me, I wanted to mix up the kind of garagish sound of Fuse with a deeper and softer touch”. On the other hand, Toman has been flirting with Romania for a longer time, given that his first released ‘Solanas’ was indeed on Cyclic Records. “That release had quite a good success and I was immediately offered a date in Romania, my first time playing abroad. There I learned more about the Romanian sound. Same night just after me Archie Hamilton was playing, and I must say that it was a very lucky coincidence. I can say that a lot started from that party, also regarding my sound and production”.

Both of them mostly rely on their production for their dj set. They share music with the rest of the crew, a very intimate group of friends, for two main reasons. On the one hand, they know that anything coming from their mates will be good for them, on the other they make sure to create a unique imprint “If people want to listen to this music, they must come see us”.

And the strategy works. The following they have built up in the UK is massive, everyone loves their sound there. But also in other part of the world, with Toman being able to tour in South America, Australia and Asia already, while Rossi is about to fly to Australia as well very soon.

We honestly cannot say where we will find these guys in like ten years. If I had to bet, I would say something huge will come up, maybe even sooner. What I am certain though is that this group of friends is something positive for the entire scene. There is a deep feeling of freshness and innovation, when they play the room is full of energy but also love, pleasantness and elegance. It is reassuring for an older raver like me to know that younger generations are taking up the baton with such a drive and passion.

Worry not, with Toman, Rossi and the rest of the gang, we are definitely in good hands for the future!

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