Leon Switch has been smashing it up on the dark drum ‘n bass circuit since the early 2000s, with smashers lined up on some of the most sought after labels including Tech Freak, Frequency, Metalheadz, and of course, his own imprints, Defcom and Osiris UK (alongside Kryptic Minds – originally Simon Shreeve). First noticed by Andy C with prolific dance floor destroyer, The Truth, the duo would then go on to set forth a Blackout with four EPs on their Defcom imprint that would leave a lasting mark on the drum & bass community. Also fueled by skateboarding and cinema, I think you can say that the man leads a well-rounded life – and he likes helping others produce bangers through his YouTube tutorials. Be sure to check out his new Rotor project and the Bloodline EP alongside Kelly Dean on White Peach Records!
Leon Switch, you’ve been reigning supreme alongside Kryptic Minds for a long time. Your sound has a uniqueness to it in that when one of your tunes are playing, people will say, “yep! That’s definitely KM & LS!” What goes into creating your “sound”? What was your intention in sounding as you do?
Thanks for that, I have always been really careful about which sounds I use whilst writing. I always had a love for dark underground music and how it made you feel, I really wanted to create tunes that made you feel cool whilst listening to them.
One of your earliest successes was the release of The Truth, signed by Andy C. Tell us a bit about that.
The truth that was signed by Andy C for frequency was written at a time when epic Reece tunes were still relatively new and the introduction of film samples was on the boil. The vocal set the tone and then the angry Reece and drop continued the theme 🙂
You also run the successful Defcom Imprint, and the four Blackout EPs were mauling dance floors worldwide. Care to speak more on the success? What was the mission behind Defcom?
Defcom records was created so that we had an outlet for the tunes we were creating without having to go through anyone else. We had so much music that was being created and this meant we could go straight to the shelf, without having to get permission.
The four blackout EP’s were a project that we wanted to make special in one way or another. This included the double cd and four EP’s that pieced together. It was a high point in the life of Defcom
You also created Osiris UK.
I was also one of the founders of Osiris music uk which was started with a more musical approach to the releases, unlike defcom which was primarily dark and hard.
After a few years of Defcom and getting pigeon-holed into a corner, we felt we needed a change and lease of life – thus OSM.
You’ve also been tinkering around with lower BPMs too, yea?
After 12 years of making DnB I felt that a change was in order and then started making tunes at 140bpm. That was before I’d ever heard of dubstep, so then when I heard of this music I’d already been making I fell in love with it. I had a complete freedom as this new music (to me) was open and because of my DnB background, I had some very different approaches to production to what seemed to be happening with other producers in the genre. This stood completely in my favour as dubstep was fighting a losing battle and had become a relatively stagnant genre that needed a new sound.
I then decided to take on the Kryptic Minds name and we started the duo. I’d been producing the majority of the tunes anyway, so it was a natural progression, and to become more of a brand seemed like a sensible idea.
After a whirlwind of success we decided to go our separate ways and I went back to my Leon Switch moniker and signed exclusively to Chestplate, which I’d always wanted to do as the sound of the label rang very true to what I was doing.
Tell me more about the Kryptic Minds moniker. I’m sure a lot of us associated KM as “another person” just as some have with say “Dom & Roland”
Through the Defcom/Osiris days I worked with another producer who was working as Kryptic Minds, I engineered and produced the majority of the LS and KM works and after 12 years of us using separate aliases to write under we decided that kryptic minds was a good name for a brand rather than it being the more personal LS and KM. so that’s what we did. I then dropped my Leon Switch moniker and became the other half of Kryptic Minds. This also seemed like a good idea due to the tempo change as well – fresh start.
After a few albums and working together for 16 years we both were falling in love with different music and decided it was a good time to split and go our separate ways.
Many of your releases would sound at home in a sci-fi/horror/thriller movie. What would you say influences your sound? Have you taken thought to using your sound in other environments?
Ah thanks! 🙂 I had a track featured in the Hollywood film Elysium, and have always been seriously inspired by cinema and its use of sound. It’s an area I see myself working more and more in over time, there were a few films I would say I have felt directly influenced by. They are Bladerunner and Alien for the use of score to create so much atmosphere and Predator for its sound design. They have been such an influence!
You also have a love for skateboarding. How does that tie in with the music?
I have always been fascinated with skateboarding and the creativeness involved without the competition of a ‘normal’ sport. It’s a very individual experience and your only ever as good as you allow yourself to be.
It’s another form of expression.
What else is coming up for you? Anything else to add?
I’ve got a few projects on the go. I’ve got an album project called Rotor which has a massively cinematic musical vibe to it, as well as working on new 140bpm music and branching back into DnB. I’m still working on tutorials and sample series projects as well as my recent competition.
It’s an exciting time so be sure to check in regularly on my social media and website!
Follow the man –