Scene from the Sofa – Five minutes with… DJ Toby Lawrence

Graham Robson April 27, 2020

Toby Lawrence has been twiddling knobs as a superstar DJ on the Brighton, London and south coast LGBTQ+ scenes since 2014. Graham Robson caught up with the pint-sized pocket rocket to chat tunes, what he’s been up to online, and what the future holds.

Hey Toby, how’s it going?

All good thank you! Weird times, right?

You’ve been quite the busy little bee online. Give us the lowdown in a nutshell…

For sure! It’s been a weird time and us DJs have had to adapt pretty quickly. On the day the lockdown was announced I did a 24-hour DJ set, live streamed on Facebook to raise money for the Music Venues Trust who support grassroots music venues across the UK.

I’ve also been working with G-A-Y and Heaven in London putting together virtual club nights and DJ sets for them. I’ve also been overseeing and putting together a whole host of events for Revenge including The Big Queer Quiz with Rob From Finance, virtual club nights with all of our resident DJs and a new Virtual Drag Festival showing off some of the best drag talent the UK has to offer.

Top 5 tunes to put a smile on our chops….

The ShapeshiftersSecond Chance

BrokenearsKeep Control

Phyllis HymanYou Know How To Love Me (Dimitri From Paris Remix)

Georgio Moroder & Philip OakeyTogether In Electric Dreams

Adelphi Music FactoryUprising (I Can’t Wait)

Aside from music, how are you keeping yourself busy?

Honestly, apart from music and the other projects I’ve got going on, not a whole lot! I’ve binge watched more series on Netflix than I’d like to admit, and probably wasted about a week of lockdown tending to my village on Animal Crossing. I’m also running my own events, my disco day-party at Hampshire Boulevard in Portsmouth, aptly titled ‘Disco Titz’ has had to be postponed so I’m looking at alternative dates for that – watch this space!

What does the future hold?

I’m currently working on a lot of new music with Brighton-based musicians which I’m hoping to release towards the end of the year. Also got a couple of collaborations lined up with some big-name DJs which I’m very excited about!

Any thoughts on Brighton & Hove Pride?

It’s obviously incredibly sad, especially when we know how much work goes into putting on such a huge event such as Pride, but it is undoubtably the right decision and I have to take my hat off to the Pride Team – it can’t have been an easy decision to make and they showed great care for the wider community making that decision. We’ll just have to make up for it next year! (I’m sure we will)

Do you reckon the scene will bounce back bigger and better?

I think now, people are going to appreciate queer venues being there more than ever. I really hope that nobody will take their local gay pub or club for granted again.

What do you miss the most?

My job has always been a big part of my social life so I’m really missing seeing all the regulars at the club, whether that’s here or in London. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can have a bev and a massive catch up!

Plans for when this is all over?

I’m going straight back to work and throwing myself straight in at the deep end! Lockdown has given me some awesome ideas for events and parties so I can’t wait to get to work on making those a reality.

Words of wisdom to keep us going?

Rather than social distancing, I think we should refer to it as physical distancing. Human beings are social creatures by nature, and we should be reaching out to one another more than ever. Check on your friends, check on your family, we all know how resilient and strong the LGBTQ+ community is and we’ll get through this together and come out stronger on the other side. Also, Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives (because we haven’t heard that enough already).