EMQ’s with FATAL SWITCH
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Montreal, Canada based Rap Metal/Rock band Fatal Switch. Huge thanks to vocalist Steve Tobin for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
We are Fatal Switch, a Rap Metal Rock band that plays loud heavy music mixed in with devasting hip hop stories about demons, aliens, war and all-around destruction.
My name is Steve Tobin and I am the founding member and front man of Fatal Switch. My brother Luca Tobin and I formed the band some years ago and shortly after we found our manager Pedro Barbosa and our producer Kevin Jardine through our involvement in the music scene. From that moment the first seeds Fatal Switch were sown, and we created our debut album titled “Doctors & Demons” which was recently released on Aug 7th, 2020.
The instrumentation performed on the album consisted of session musicians and my brother left the band shortly after the album was recorded. So, I was left with an album but no band members to perform it. I quickly had to form a group who would be willing to promote the first album live and continue writing new material as we establish our brand.
I am proud to say that Fatal Switch officially consists of guitarists Ryann Paqueo and Max Rope, bassist David Vigliotti and drummer Ralph A Samah.
How did you come up with your band name?
I wanted to have a name that stood out in peoples mind but that also had a personal meaning to what the band stood for. It wasn’t all that easy to find the perfect name and it all started by putting together (what I thought were) cool word combinations together on a page.
After coming up with close to a hundred I narrowed it down to a few and then started polling family and friends. Time and time again Fatal Switch kept winning out against the rest and to me it made the most sense because there is duality to the words Fatal Switch. It is a representation of something lurking beneath the surface ready to rise with destruction. An inner polarization inside oneself to be channelled as a tool for good or evil.
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
We are from the city of Montreal in Canada and the scene here is heavy!! Of all musical genres I think metal has the largest community in my city. It really is the reason why our style of hybrid rap metal exists. I had a voice and a message I wanted to share with the world and if it wasn’t for metal it would still be undiscovered.
My brother Rodney Ramroop introduced me to metal music, then to the scene taking me to show after show were things really started to take form for my career. There really are some amazing people in the metal universe from fans to industry professionals alike, we are linked by a brother/sister-ship that has made this journey possible.
What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest single is the title track off our album called “Doctors & Demons”. We got a sick video airing on TV and we have been gaining momentum on YouTube. The video stars suicide girl Stiletto Thunder Kiss who did a fantastic job and the visuals were put together by the genius of JD Leblanc of Heymakers video production.
Our 10-track album is also live on all platforms so go check out the video as well as our tunes and let us know what you think!
‘Doctors & Demons’ (Official Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
That’s a long list. Definitely when looking at our style of music bands like RATM, Beastie Boys, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park are at the top of the food chain and have paved the way for this type of sound to exist. Also, Crazy Town X is very talented and have some of the best bangers!
On the hip hop side, Eminem, Dr Dre, Busta Ryhmes, NAS and 2Pac immediately spring to mind while Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, Tool and Slipknot would be some key metal influences to pair with the hip hop ones. This is a small example as the list can easily fill a page.
What first got you into music?
My uncle is great with a guitar and he taught me my first song at a very young age. I was just 4 years old when I performed my first song in front a crowd of a few hundred people. Since then my life has been all about music and preforming.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Most of my band mates would surely say Metallica but let me give that one some thought.
I mean selfishly I would say Eminem because I know he could take my vocals to the next level but…I think we would crush a song with Billie Eilish. Ya… egos aside I would like to work with her on a song because I think we would create something very different and unheard of. Plus, she’s crazy talented and at the end of the day it’s all about creating a masterpiece not trying to become one. So that’s my answer right now.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
It would have to be Heavy Montreal. I’d love to start there and venture into other ones. Why? Because it’s an amazing festival that all of us have attended for years and to be one of the bands on that stage would absolutely rock and be a tangible mark of success!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Fans give gifts? Why have I not been told about this? I’ve gotten compliments and stuff but I’m still waiting for my box with a bow on top.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
That nothing is as it seems and to question everything! I mean, can evil not disguise itself under a warm smile bearing a cloak of nobility? Or is it not possible to demonize good people who only want to bring about positive change? These kinds of questions are riddled underneath the stories of our songs so hopefully the whisper of that message can be heard throughout the album and leave our listeners asking themselves a question or two.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Kurt Cobain man…Huge Nirvana fan over here. I feel as though he had so much more music to give. He went way to soon. Same could be said about Bradley Nowell though… I hope they are making some crazy songs together in another universe and that I’ll get to hear them one day.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Having cool chats like this is definitely one of the better parts about being a musician. Specifically, because it gives us a chance to reach new listeners. And when someone comments or reaches out to us online or at a show, expressing that they are connecting with the music… wow that is one of the best feelings in the world. We don’t make music for ourselves we create it for the audience, so to be told that you’ve been heard means the world to me.
I hate how much everything costs. I could spend millions of dollars on music and barely make a dent. Everything else is gravy though.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Wealth distribution. Like our current economy we all suffer by financial means because the wealth gap is too large, and the music industry is no different. The major labels have way too much money (therefore power) and stifle creativity. If governments limit how much a label can earn in a year then smaller labels would suddenly have bigger budgets, drive more competition and give everyone a more equal opportunity to succeed. There would be fewer backhanded deals and this whole nonsense of paying an artist less than a penny for a stream would cease to exist because more influential bodies would be advocating for fair compensation. It’s one simple thing our governments refuse to do that would take down the house of cards, but no. Instead they continue to steal our money through taxation while cutting deals with all the major criminals. I mean just think about it. If labels were financially limited, they would have to make deals with fewer artists, treat the ones they own with more respect and make sure the quality and calibre of what they produce is beyond amazing. Plus, they wouldn’t have a million artists sit on a shelf just so they can hedge their bets on what might sell. But that’s just my cynical view, doesn’t mean I am right. I would love to see how it would change things though.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Sure, I’ll name one. It in no way means that it is my favourite album of all time because I don’t think I have just one. But looking back into my current song writing process I am having more and more respect for the early years of Korn and I think “Follow The Leader” truly stands the test of time.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Gotta be Vinyl all the way! I don’t currently own any at the moment, but man do I ever have fond memories of those things. As a kid my dad had a nice collection and I remember him playing classics like Pink Floyd for me. Definitely looking to start building a collection in the near future.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Indie Week 2019 was our last show (thanks COVID!) and our best to date. The guys crushed it on stage, and we had an amazing time.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I really don’t know to be honest. I do have some skillsets that I am trying to integrate within the music because music is my life. Music is my religion and when you are so devoted to something you tend to attribute everything you are good at to your cause. Just take a look at Bruce Dickinson, the guy fly’s an airplane but it’s the maiden airplane. As a musician everything you learn tends to lend itself back into the craft in some form or another.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I’d love to say Joe Rogan, Eminem, Dave Mustaine, Mike Tyson and Russell Simmons. But in these dark times if I truly had a shot at anyone it would be the five richest people in the world right now. I’d sit them down and either try and make a small change in the world through healthy debate or… ask them to fund my next album.
What’s next for the band?
Well we just dropped Doctors & Demons so we will be promoting our first album as we get ready to head back into the studio early next year for our second record. I’d love to say shows and touring but that huge pause button has hit the industry pretty hard right now.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Let’s be honest and call it for what it is. A biscuit cake.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I’d like to thank you and your readers for spending a bit of time to get to know us. It truly makes all the hard work and effort worth it when we get a chance to share our musical creations. Loved all the questions! I had great time doing this! We’d love to keep in touch with all of you so please drop us a line on social media so we can get to know YOU a bit better. Much love and noise – Fatal Switch!
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