Hailing from Canada, Fatal Switch are pushing the boundaries of music by expertly merging the sounds of metal and rap. Lead singer Steven Tobin says that the mashing of genres is second nature to them; think swift storytelling rooted in hip-hop mixed with unparalleled metal mayhem by way of heavy drums and guitar licks. We spoke with Tobin to find out a lot more about the group’s major musical influences in rap and metal music, the story behind the “Who We Are” music video, and everything else going on with Fatal Switch.
Where does the name Fatal Switch come from and what does it signify?
Steven Tobin: The name Fatal Switch was forged from the concept of duality. It signifies an internal struggle within a fractured mind that switches between two separate identities, it splits personalities. Two powerful words on their own that, when put together, can signify imminent destruction or hope in rebirth. Like a light switch being pulled down carrying the deadly rush of electric current, it can illuminate a room or fry a man dead tied to a chair. That, to me, is the ethos behind Fatal Switch.
Your music is so unique in that it effortlessly combines heavy metal and hip-hop. Who are some of your musical inspirations? Have you been inspired by The Beastie Boys or Limp Bizkit at all?
Tobin: I really appreciate your depiction and insight of the music’s uniqueness. This song is just the tip of the iceberg. To answer your question, though, I would say I’ve drawn more inspiration from the Beastie Boys than Limp Bizkit, but I have to say that Bizkit definitely paved the way for this type of sound. My influences really do vary though and the list is as endless as the genres that I love.
But looking at metal and hip-hop, on the hip-hop side, artists like Eminem, Rage Against The Machine, Onyx, Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill (just to name a few) were just as big a source of inspiration as were metal bands like Iron Maidan, Megadeth, Pantera, System of a Down, Korn and Metallica. And then there’s bands like Muse, Sneaker Pimps and Radiohead who have equally weaved their music into my soul.
You can witness Fatal Switch’s unique sound in their new song “Who We Are”.
Canada has such a diverse music scene. From Drake to Shawn Mendes to Neil Young. How has originating in Canada affected your sound?
Tobin: I feel absolutely blessed to be a Canadian and to have grown up in a city that is so enriched with the arts. Among the artists you mentioned I definitely consider Neil Young to be a musical genius and his songs hold a special place for me. His words are so poetic and heartfelt that they have without a doubt influenced a small part of who I am as a writer. Growing up, I also took a strong liking to artists like Sarah McLachlan and Alanis Morissette. Watching their success as Canadians always gave me this tangible hope that music was an attainable goal.
It is always very inspiring to see Canadians break out and I think Drake, Shawn Mendes and The Weekend have done a great job at that as well. And Canadian icons like Kardinal Offishall, k-os and Choclair were huge hip-hop influences of mine while bands like Voivod, Annihilator and 3 Inches of Blood are killer metal acts I am proud to call Canadian as well!
The video for your new single “Who We Are” is so amazing, it’s almost movie-like. How did that video come together and who was involved?
Tobin: I’m so glad you like the video! Thank you for the compliment! One of my brothers’ friends is a brilliant director by the name of Alberto D’Onofrio and since the moment I saw some of his early work I knew I wanted to work with him. So, when the time came, I approached him to create the concept for the video and I must say he did an amazing job. He pitched the idea to Rubicon Pictures and Media to take this video on as a passion project and they agreed!
They put on such an amazing production by enlisting Canadian Hollywood talents like Patrick Kerton, Orphée Ladouceur-Nguyen, Alex Stines and Don Anderson. Together, they created a visual that is meant to foreshadow some of the stories you can expect to hear in our upcoming album Doctors & Demons. With the female in the video representing a character I created by the name of Sian, we are very excited to keep this movie like feel in future productions as her story unfolds.
Cover artwork for the upcoming album, Doctors and Demons.
We are slowly seeing rock and metal creeping into hip-hop music with artists like the late XXXtentacion and Lil Peep, Juice Wrld, Trippie Redd, Ski Mask the Slump God and Scarlxrd quickly rising in prominence. Are you familiar with any of these artists? If so, what are your thoughts on them?
Tobin: I definitely know of these artists. I give them mad respect for all their achievements and growing their fanbase as they have. They have a crazy amount of views on YouTube and they are surely filling a need within their genre. Do I see metal morphing into that specific sub-genre of hip-hop? Not really. At the same time, I haven’t really gotten hooked into trap beats or the “new skool” rap that seems to have taken over from what I remember it to be in the late ’90s. So, who knows where it could go? But as I previously mentioned mad respect to them and props to them on achievements I one day wish to attain.
What do you like to do for fun other than make music?
Tobin: Music takes up my whole life (laughs). Doesn’t leave room for too much but hanging with the boys, playing sports, reading, writing, travelling and spending time with my family (namely my wife and my daughter) is what I enjoy doing every chance I get.
Your sound is energetic and hype in the best way possible. What are your live performances like?
Tobin: Um, about ten times the energy you hear on the album! I tend to get very into the performance and the second the music starts I start jumping around and I don’t stop till the music stops. Every member does an amazing job at entertaining the crowd as well making a visual connection between the music and their movements for the audience.
What does the future hold for Fatal Switch?
Tobin: More singles and music videos to be released in the near future! An album launch happening soon after that as well. Shows! Lots and lots of shows! Lots of hustling and doing everything we can to get ourselves out there. And as more material and content are released more of Sian’s story will be revealed and many other characters will come to life. Can’t wait for 2019!