Interview: Big Toast – The Wedding Fund LP

wedding fund cover

Big Toast, formerly known as Toast Based Dinners, is an artist renowned for telling it how it is from the perspective of everybody grafting alongside him at the bottom of Britain’s financial hierarchy. He makes up a third of the London based collective TPS Fam, who released the critically acclaimed Hot Water Music project on Revorg Records last year, which itself was only established as a label in 2013, but has gradually become one of the capital cities most promising hubs for hip-hop, backed by extensive support running deep through the veins of the UK hip-hop scene.

Though Revorg has kept suspiciously quiet in recent months, Toast has otherwise been busy finishing the final touches to his solo début The Wedding Fund LP, which is due to drop on March 10th. We got in touch with Toast to discover details of the hotly anticipated release.

How’s life been treating you since Hot Water Music dropped?

The highlight was definitely the reaction we got for HWM. The reviews were all really positive and we were nominated for Wordplay’s album of the year so that was nice to have our music recognised like that. The label’s been a bit quiet in 2014 but personally I been involved in loads of really exciting projects which should be dropping this year. I also been getting into video stuff with my boy Arch so that’s been a decent challenge for me to get where I wanna be with that!

Which places show TPS the most love outside of London?

I always love playing out of town shows! Excuse to drink in new places! Tough to pick any out in particular but had some rowdy shows in Reading, shouts to all the squad round that way! Festival crowds always get involved too but dunno whether that’s purely down to us or whether there may be “other factors” contributing to it!

Why have you decided to make a solo project rather than contributing your verses to TPS projects?

It’s my début solo album and the first thing I’ve taken seriously! It’s definitely harder doing a solo thing! Not just more bars to write but because it’s all you! Nobody to bounce ideas off and once it’s done, it’s all you! Can’t blame nobody else if it’s crap! I had planned to make a solo album since we finished HWM. First that was gonna be Save The Pub which was gonna be like a concept album of my life through all the boozers I used to frequent which have now closed down! Strange Neighbour was gonna produce all of that. The Wedding Fund LP kinda started by accident. I had some beats from IMS, 184, Jack Diggs already and was gonna make a little EP from that. As I was writing though it all just kept coming so eventually I made it into a full album.

How long has this project been in the making, and why are you deciding to drop it now?

It’s been just under a year in the making. It’s dropping 6 months before I get married so there’s time for it to gain some viral cult status shit and raise a few quid for sausage rolls an shit!!

Run us through the theme of the album…

There’s a few themes on it. It kind of follows on from HWM in that it’s some everyday sorta thing, real life, work, drinking and that kinda stuff. Also the task of raising an obscene amount of money features a bit! It all comes together as a kind of snapshot of Britain today under Gideon and Toyface. That sounds like it’s gonna be quite bleak and sociology student-y but that’s more me talking it up a bit! The track about gentrification is called Fuck Off Tarquin!!

Which places was the majority of the lyrical content penned down?

It was split between the studio and work! Would kind of be constantly going over ideas though. Every now and then be zoning out then quickly have to write an idea down! I’m better company when I’m not working on new material! Can actually pay attention to people!

Which influences inspired you during the creation process?

I’d say Sleaford Mods have definitely had an influence! Been really liking their stuff recently. I think all the people that have influenced this album are angry but at the same time ridiculous and funny! People like Doug Stanhope as well. I guess I’m pointing out stuff that’s wrong with the world but rather than try portray myself as some revolutionary in a Guy Fawkes mask and beret and shit I’m just laughing at how absurdly crap it all is.

What kind of impression do you hope this release has on hip hop heads?

I’d like people to enjoy it! Mostly I want them to buy it! HWM got a great critical reception but didn’t really sell the numbers we were hoping. This time I really need to shift a few cos I got to pay for a party and contract! Hopefully it’ll be a critical and commercial success though!

Can you give us an insight into the producers who are handling the album, and the effect they have on the tracks?

With previous projects we’ve always stuck to one or two producers but I wanted to reach out to a load of different people with this one. I decided it’d be one beat from each of them and that would give a little taster of what they’re about. The main way they affected the tracks was just by giving me wicked beats that I had to make sure I did justice!

Can you let us know which artists feature, if any, and why you chose to include them in the project?

Featured on the album I’ve got Ogre Drool, Jack Diggs, Oliver Sudden, Gee Bag, Stinkin Slumrok, FlowTecs, Datkid, Efeks, Strange Neighbour and Luca Brazi. The majority of this lot have just been down the lab and I’ve demanded verses! Or I’ve started something and listening back decided this tune would suit this rapper.

I think each MC I featured has their own style and is recognisable straight away which I really like!

Can you give us your verdict on the current state of UK hip hop, has the scene recovered from, say, 10 years ago when people began saying UK hip-hop was dying?

The big difference is young people being interested again! That can only be positive! There’s some really good artists coming through as well! It took a little while to adjust I think. The old thing where it was all focused round the record shops don’t work now cos everything’s online so it’s taken a few years to catch up with that! YouTube has made a massive difference too. It seemed strange before to put money into an online video but now it’s just standard! Getting a video on TV is barely a consideration now you can reach thousands of people just by sharing a few links on Facebook!


What do you want to start seeing more of in UK hip-hop and what would you like to see less of…

I’d like to see more money in UK Hip Hop!! In terms of what I’d like to see less of, I don’t really care. Whatever floats your boat! If I think it’s whack I won’t check it!

Which local artists are you rating at the moment?

Locally we got a load of dope artists! Recently we started a new crew called Gatecrasherz which is me, Jack, Gee Bag, Oliver Sudden and Downstroke. I rate these guys massively! That’s why I wanted to form the crew!! Obviously everyone I featured on the album too! Also Manage and all the Higher Learning squad are killing it! I know I missed a load of people out but I’m sure they’ll get over it!!

Can you give us some details about the album launch?

Yeah the album is out on 10th March. Playing a few nights to promote it. There’s a night in Lewisham on 12th March, then Brixton on the 18th, Bournemouth on the 27th, Nottingham on 25th April… May be some others happening as well.

Have you got any festivals lined up for Summer as of yet?

Yeah got a pretty busy summer! Doing Boom Bap, Symmetry, Nass and Nozstock. Looking forward to all them!! Gonna see some mad Hip Hop acts between all these lot! Will also be selling CDs and Fuck Off Tarquin T shirts!

Have you got any final shout outs you want to make?

Nah. Fuck the lot of them!!


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