While London psych-gaze five piece Toy have their origins in the late Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, that’s where the similarity ends. Their sole release to date ‘Left Myself Behind’ is probably one of the best debut singles you’ll hear this decade.
Fresh from an amazingly-received Horrors support slot and currently amid a four date residency at The Shacklewell Arms, we caught up with bassist Panda to find out more about the band’s development, influences and their plans are for 2012.
How did you all meet?
We started writing songs together about a year and a half ago and played our first gig at the beginning of last year. Dom [guitar], Tom [vocals/guitar] and I met at school in Brighton when we were 12 or 13 and became firm friends. We used to go back to Tom’s house and listen to records. His dad had given him his record collection so there was loads of music we’d never heard before. He had a great variety of stuff from Beatles and Stones records to Nick Drake and Sonic Youth.
Alejandra, our synth player, moved from her hometown of Leon in Spain to Brighton to work as a nurse and we met her shortly after she moved and all moved to London together. We met [drummer] Charlie out at a few different nights we enjoyed going to. Alejandra was into similar music to us as was Charlie who used to record his own stuff on a reel to reel tape player his father gave him.
Do you feel part of any scene right now in London?
I don’t think we’re really conscious of a scene. A lot of our friends make music as well and we always enjoy hearing something new. We have similar tastes so often we play each other new things we’ve found. I guess there is an affinity in that sense. It’s great to see good bands like Bo Ningen, The Horrors and Factory Floor (to name a few) doing something exciting though
What music has influenced Toy?
Friends and people who have come to see us have mentioned lots of different things they can hear. Glen Branca, Television, The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Pulp, Magazine, MBV, NEU which is great! It’s always interesting to hear what someone else can hear in there. I personally really like the West Coast harmonies of bands like Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds and I love the bass playing on “Transient Random Noise Bursts With Announcements” by Stereolab though I don’t know if I can hear those things in our own sound…maybe one day!
What kind of stuff to Toy like to listen to?
Each one of us has lots of different things that they like. There are elements of music we share a passion for like the motorik beats on Can and Neu records. Beak and Sterolab are more contemporary bands we like who use those rhythms to great effect. Tame Impala are brilliant, cannot wait for their next album. Really love Deerhunter as well. We are all big fans of Broadcast, Pulp and Sonic Youth as well as The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Neil Young.
We listen to a lot of Bowie and Love and Bob Lind writes amazing songs. Joe Meek, The Cocteau Twins and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci are also favorites. We’ve recently been listening to Dungen from Sweden. Charlie has vowed to learn Swedish so he can understand what they’re saying!
And what are you excited about hearing in 2012?
Connan Mockasin – he made one of our favorite albums of last year, really weird and wonderful music. Our friends Novella have also just finished making an EP which I am looking forward to hearing. Also excited about Chris and Cosey’s collaboration with Nik from Factory Floor. I think they are making a live album soon.
What aspirations do you have for the next 12 months?
To make records we’re proud of and play electrifying live sets. We’d like to get our first album out in August and be truly happy with it. We want to leave time for experimentation when we record so we can explore different avenues and ideas with the songs we have.
We really enjoy playing live. We’re always thinking of ways we can improve in that respect. We rehearsed for about 6 months before we felt ready to play our first show which I think really helped. It seems to get better and better…I’m excited to hear what we sound like in another 6 months!