Hackney-based five-piece band TOY are on the rise with psychedelic, punk and post-rock inspired music and it’s going to be a busy year for them. Fresh from completing a residency at the Shacklewell Arms, they are going on a UK tour in April, while writing and recording their debut album, due for release in September.
So far, they’ve chosen a retro approach to the release of their debut singles ‘Left Myself Behind’ and ‘Clock Chime’ by releasing them on 12” vinyl. Jenny Soffel meets TOY’s guitarist Dominic O’Dair.
Q: The NME listed you as one of the most exciting new bands to look out for in 2012. How does it feel to have acquired so much fame so quickly?
We’re so grateful! I mean, obviously it’s what you want as a band, for people to take interest in and like your music.
Q: You, Tom (vocals) and Maxim (bassist) were previously in the band Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong. What’s the difference between that band and TOY?
The last band wasn’t really our thing. We joined when we were quite young and then, you know, we went along for the ride and had a great time. But we wanted to do something with our music. We wanted to write the songs.
Q: TOY spent most of 2010 writing songs. Who does the writing?
It’s very collaborative and we write songs that we would like to listen to even if it wasn’t our band. Usually, there’s someone who’ll write a riff, or sometimes songs start with a drumbeat. We tend to make recordings around that.
Then we go to the studio and then we all start adding sections.
Q: Is it all very harmonious or do you sometimes quarrel over songs you write?
I don’t think that we’ve ever quarrelled about it actually, no, it’s still very harmonious. This band is five people that have pretty similar taste in music so it makes the song writing process very easy really. It’s a joy.
Q: How far have you come with your debut album that’s coming out in September? Have you started it yet?
Oh no, we’ve not started it yet, but I think we’re going to be recording it next month or so.
At the moment we’re just talking about which songs are going to go on the album. We’re still writing songs, because we’d like there to be some new songs that we haven’t played in our live shows yet.
Q: Who do you look up to most when it comes to your style, genre and writing?
People like Lou Reed, Brian Wilson, Mick and Keith (Rolling Stones). Oh, and Tom Verlaine from Television.
Q: You’ve all lived in Hackney for the last five years. Would you say you get inspiration from living in East London?
Without question, living in Hackney definitely inspires us, living in a metropolis and being in the East.
Q: Everyone seems to be obsessed with your hair, because you all have it long. Why is that and do you share shampoo tips?
No, we don’t share any tips. We’ve all had long hair since we were about fifteen. Actually I think we had it short for a while, when we were in our old band, but apart from that we’ve always had it like this.
Q: And finally, would you ask permission before you cut your hair?
Would I ask permission from the rest of the band to cut my hair? No, definitely not.
More at Toy Band./ 9 March, 2012