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Spill! Interview with London's new group "TOY" (UK)


We've been hearing such great feedback buzz surrounding fairly new dynamic London-based group TOY. "TOY is a Korg Delta led five-piece formed in 2010. It consists of Tom Dougall (Vox/Guitars), Dominic O'Dair (Guitars), Maxim Barron (Bass/Vox), Alejandra Diez (Synthesizers/Modulation) and Charlie Salvidge (Drums/Vox). TOY's musical influences incorporate a wide range of genres including punk, psychedelia, krautrock, and post-rock...."

You may also remember some of the members from the now defunct Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong. TOY is a far different animal, though, and have worked hard to establish their own sound; a dark and punky, 'neu'-wave, drone-laced psychedelia that fits in nicely with their lead instrument--a fabulous Korg-Delta synthesizer. This year they were paired with Hot Chip/The Kills/Chairlift producer Dan Carey in his South London studio to cut the tracks on their upcoming s/t album which is due in early September (Sept. 11, 2012).

In more recent news the band, who are currently signed to legendary independent UK label Heavenly and UK/US Cooperative Music, have released a brand new music video to promote their debut (limited) 7" vinyl release of "Left Myself Behind" which is also now available for purchase via Insound (video below). The 'fade in/fade out' unique 7" release features one track only: "Left Myself Behind" stretches (fading) into and out on both sides of the 7" for Parts I and II.  

TOY wrote to us about lasers, smoke, and recording, from what must have been an amazing visit to Brazil to complete this interview, so we're chuffed that they were able to take the time out to answer a few questions. Check out the interview below. 

Girl About Town:  Is the use of Alejandra's synth how the name came about, and/or was it hard for the group to choose/agree on a name?

TOY:  Alejandra's synth is an amazing piece of equipment which adds a lot of different dimensions to our sound.  It didn't inspire our name, that took awhile.  I think we were undecided until our first show so we'd been thinking on it for nearly a year.  Her synth is really fun to play around on as she has lots of different delays and flangers and chorus' but it's not a toy.  We are TOY.

A few of you went to high school together, and were in a previous project (Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong) as well.  Was it an easy time finding other members who could hang with the relationships that were already established? 

Yes it was.  We already and knew Alejandra very well and Charlie is lovely...

Is being in TOY a relief compared to the press surrounding the previous project, and what is the new band dichotomy like--we hear that Alejandra is a nurse by profession and has an air of 'calm under pressure': how would you describe the other members' roles in a nutshell?

It's different being in TOY, we're all very good friends and much more united in what we want to do than we were in the previous band.  It's our music and we enjoy making it.  As far as band dichotomy goes; Alejandra's the nurse and we're her patients.

How did signing on with Heavenly Recordings come about--was it before or after your first show in Islington at Cave Club?

It wasn't long after the first show we did.  Jeff came to a show we were playing in London and immediately clicked with it.  His enthusiasm and understanding was a big part of why we went with Heavenly. 

You must be very contented and happy to be at such a well established (and really honorable) independent label--what has been the band's favorite part about signing on with Heavenly?

We are.  I'd say our favorite part has been working with them, they're cool.  They have good ideas and appreciate where we're coming from.  Jeff Barrett runs a great blog about music, literature, fishing and nature called caught by the river, check it out here www.caughtbytheriver.net

TOY's primary objective was in writing material in all of 2010--was it a relief to finally hit the stage and perform your songs live or do you prefer studio to live?

We've written quite a lot of new material since then.  We love playing live so it's really exciting to play the newest thing you've done.  We've also been in the studio with a good friend of ours called Dan Carey.  The experience was so fun that i'd say it's on a par with playing live.  We used a lot of lasers and smoke machines during the recording.

Just this year the group began supporting well-known acts such as The Horrors and The Pretty Things, while just this May was an exciting support slot opening for Primal Scream for a few dates in Scotland.  Do you feel as though there is a certain mystique to being the new kids coming round even though a few of you have already 'sort of' had these experiences?  Or is it all new because you are in it together?

Although we are used to certain aspects I think everyone feels and treats it as something new.  Being appreciated and asked to play by bands you've liked for years is a great feeling.  The Horrors are very good friends and have always been supportive of us.  For The Pretty Things and Primal Scream to acknowledge what we're doing is great.

Your debut album is slated for release in September of this year (2012).  Do you already have the material ready for the debut, or are you still writing for the album?  Where was the album (or where will it) be recorded/produced: and by whom?

We've finished the album.  It will be out in september and was recorded with our friend Dan Carey. He did the last Kills album and has worked with Tame Impala and Sly and Robbie to name a few.  We did 11 tracks live in 8 days at his London studio with a lot of smoke machines and lasers as I mentioned before.

TOY s/t album Tracklisting:
01. Colour's Running Out
02. The Reasons Why
03. Dead & Gone
04. Lose My Way
05. Drifting Deeper
06. Motoring
07. My Heart Skips A Beat
08. Strange
09. Make It Mine
10. Omni
11. Walk Up To Me
12. Kopter

"Motoring (Peaking Lights Remix)" via The FADER

TOY's influences seem to run pretty wide right now: what has been the band's favorite song so far to debut live or create organically in the studio, and why?

We went in to the studio with an idea for a song which was pretty much finished called "Dead & Gone" which I think we all really enjoyed recording.  It came out really well. I don't think we quite knew what to expect which was why it was so enjoyable to make.  It's now a firm favorite for us live.

If you could leave your audience with a lasting image or feeling of your group: what would that be?

A laser, smoke, and sound assault on every sense.

TOY - band site / heavenly recordings


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