Sunday, 12 February 2012

"People are more accepting of strange music now.": TOY emerge from the ashes

A few days after meeting TOY for Topman Generation, hours before one of their Shacklewell Arms residency slots, I realised their week must have been a total press bender. The crowd at the gig was about two-thirds lone wolf A&R types, geezers with balding/bald heads loitering about waiting to hear the next big thing, plus they were the featured band on the Guardian Music podcast that week, among other press engagements.

Seems to me that TOY are a precocious, thoughtful lot with excellent taste who want to turn all that into some very high-quality music. A far cry from their original incarnation as Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong (really).

Having said that, they take 'shamelessly derivative' to levels that even The Horrors (friends of the band, in fact) would reject as too ball-grazing.  Check out the opening bars of their split single/free download - within three seconds of 'Clock Chime' I heard people around me muttering 'Sonic Youth', quite accurately, before it turned into a cover of the languorous intro to 'Endless Blue' on Skying, and then became something rather heavy and very long. As 'Endless Blue' does as well, although in a slightly different way.

Anywho, here's the inner-view and a video. There also used to be a fucking awesome fan blog which was basically 10 pages of psychedelic GIFs, as though the Exploding Plastic Inevitable got eaten by the internet. Sadly it seems to have disappeared in the two weeks since I wrote the interview. Fan love is fickle.

TOY interviewed for Topman GENERATION

Tomorrow's next big thing is yesterday's news, as they say. But when the Jing Jang Jong ditched frontman Joe Lean and their major label deal, no one expected them to come up smiling two years later with louder guitars, longer hair and a station-wagon full of unstoppable motorik rhythms. But that's exactly what they have done, emerging as TOY. The band have already released a two-track download ('Left Myself Behind'/'Clock Chime') on Heavenly Recordings and just wrapped up a month-long residency at Dalston's premier trendy grotspot, The Shacklewell Arms. Here, Tom Dougall (vocals), Dominic O'Dair (guitar) and Charlie Salvidge (drums) tell us why they take their inspiration from the 60s west coast acid wave before letting rip to a crush of balding industry geezers and young'uns keen for a first look.

Topman GENERATION: Hello gents. Tell us what TOY are all about. 
Dominic O'Dair: Our sound is an amalgamation of all of our influences, which include West Coast bands like The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and The Beach Boys, New York things like the Velvet Underground, early electronic music and post-punk.
Tom Dougall: And German music, like Can.
Charlie Salvidge: ... and a bit of folk as well.

Topman GENERATION: You toured with The Horrors last year. What was it like going in at the deep end and playing venues like the Roundhouse in Camden? 
Dominic O'Dair: It was really good practice to do it that way.
Tom Dougall: We wouldn’t have played any big tours had it not been for them, so it’s been really cool to play to bigger audiences. And when Cat’s Eyes [the 60s pop side project of Horrors frontman Faris Badwan] were touring their album, our bassist Panda played with them too.

Topman GENERATION: Both TOY and The Horrors play music infused with psychedelia and krautrock. Where does that come from?
Dominic O'Dair: We’ve basically all been listening to that music for years. We don’t really do anything consciously, it’s just the music that we like.
Tom Dougall: I don’t know what else we’d do – we try and write something that’s on a par with the music we like. If we can make records that at least to us stand next to some of the great records we listen to... I don’t know whether we’ll ever get there, but that’s neither here nor there.

Read the rest of the interview here

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