Becoming Real


Written by Alexandra Randall
Photos and illustrations by Sean Carpenter
08 Monday 08th November 2010
If you're looking for a soundtrack to the jungle that is London, look no further. Toby Ridler, aka Becoming Real, has drawn inspiration from every crack in the road and twinkling street lamp to pour into his own kind of electronic music. Growing more popular by the day, Becoming Real is set to support band of the moment Salem on their first UK tour and release his Spectre EP in the upcoming weeks.
You've got quite a few London shows coming up. You've said that a lot of your inspiration comes from walking around London. What is it about the city?
It's never something specific, it's more just like a sense of place. I quite enjoy walking from A to B and round the area I've been living in recently and letting that seep into my music. I guess some people would do other things for inspiration but that's totally where I get my motivation and drive and source of creativity.
Apart from London, what else conjures up inspiration for you?
A lot of music. My inspiration maybe comes from image more, I really like music from Chicago and Footwork. Grime and other electronic music, as well as a load of stuff like K records. But I do think the main source comes from an idea of London, explaining it through a certain way. I made ‘South London Congo’ when I was in Kingston, still trying to convince myself it was London. It was a bit of a solemn shuffle, the song really never gets going, and Kingston has a similar pace.
You did Fine Art at Kingston, some people paint, some people carve sculptures, do you feel like your music is your choice of expression when it comes to art?
Without a doubt, I definitely think that. To be honest I see myself as more of an artist than a musician.
So how do you bring 'art' and your artistic skills into the music? How do you bring what you learnt at Kingston into your music?
I think music is how I make sense of my place in the world, and I think that's probably what a lot of artists do.
Your EP Spectre is out in a week and a half, on the 15. What were you trying to do with the EP? What do you want people to think when they listen to it?
I want people to like it. I don't want them to think anything, if they like it that's great, I want people to enjoy it. Trim is one of my favourite MCs and I think out of all the grime MCs he just totally transcends what else is out there. There's a lot of awesome stuff coming from the crime scene, but Trim's someone who seems to do a lot more. I think of him as a wordsmith, he's just got a way with words that some people don't seem to get.
Is your favourite track on the EP one of the two where you collaborated with Trim?
I can't really say. I like all of them, equally. I feel like I've got to say that, like they're my children. I think of the EP, not as separate tracks but more this whole thing, this whole idea, this whole universe within that vinyl record. I don't see them as individual. They are individual songs but I like to see them as a whole body of work.
What did you enjoy most about making the EP?
It was really quick. I felt like I just made the music and everyone else transformed it into this packaged thing that can be released. I guess it didn't come from anywhere specific, I was making a lot of grime tunes at the time, and obviously I love Trim as an MC so through my managers got in touch with him, and all of a sudden it was just done.
Did you enjoy working with Trim? Were you in the studio with him?
Oh I'd love to say I was, but no, I met him once at his flat to chat about the track. He's busy doing a lot of other things, so we just sent him the songs and he just did his thing and sent them back.
In around a month you're going to start supporting Salem on their UK tour. Are you looking forward to it? What do you think of Salem?
I think it'll be fun. Salem are one of my favourite bands, so when they asked me that was great. I'm pretty into that kind of music, Triangle Records are putting out some interesting music at the moment in a similar vein.
You both have quite clear, defining styles but there is an affinity in your music.
Yeah I totally agree. I think it'll be really interesting and I think it'll be a great crowd, very open-minded people I'd like to think. I'm looking forward to it. If the crowd likes Salem they'll probably like me and get my music.
What are your plans for after the EP? Do you plan to make or release an album any time soon?
I'm just gonna keep making songs and keep plodding along. I'm working on a new live set. Release-wise I've got a couple of remixes coming out. I've done one for this guy called Forestswords, who's really cool, and another one for Jamie Woon, his song ‘Night Air’. I'm focusing on getting a mini-album together. Not full out but just a collection of eight to ten songs, just to give people a better idea on what I'm about.

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