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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Interview - Toy

By Andi Edwards

In the 21st century we are starting to find psychedelia morphing and twisting into new and exciting directions to ensure it's relevance and longevity for some time to come. Not content with mere pastiche we are finding artist's going out on a limb while keeping a firm anchor in the firmament of 60's heritage. From the hypereal Technicolor pastures of Tame Impala, through the dramatic soundscapes of The Horrors to the leftfield vitality of Django Django, psych is at the helm of our best new exponent's and it is within these exciting waters that we find Toy.

With their self-titled debut album just released to great critical acclaim, Toy are a band with a great dandy-esque aura. Combining a post-punk stance (think Wire/Magazine/Banshees) with a powerful pulsating Motorik undercurrent, their music is a shadowplay drama of minor chord angst mixed with a knowledge of coruscating lift's into the hemisphere. This is truly defined by their signature tune 'Left Myself Behind', a song that has one of the most accelerating outro's I've heard in recent times. Transplant Neu! into the techno age and you have an idea of where Toy build their gilded kingdom.

I met up with lead guitarist Dominic O'Dair to discuss the variant's behind the band's unique vision. "We've all been listening to music together for years, and share a pretty similar music taste. Here are a few favourite bands 
New York / Punk - Velvet Underground, The Stooges, MC5, Television, Suicide, Ramones, Sonic Youth
- West Coast - The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Love, The Beach Boys,
- Krautrock - Cluster, Neu!, Harmonia, Can, Faust, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul, Klaus Schulze, Cosmic Jokers
- Psychedelia - Silver Apples, Syd Barret, Pink Floyd (1st album), July, Kaleidoscope, 13th Floor Elevators, Hawkwind, Incredible String Band, Fifty Foot Hose, United States of America, Os Mutantes, Ron Geesin".

Originally from the vibrant Brighton scene, I wondered if they found the move to London provided an inspirational environment for bands such as themselves within the psych genre. O'Dair explains "In London you can go to clubs where they play good loud psych records, and there are always interesting gigs happening with great bands playing, so there's constant musical stimulus going on. There are also great art galleries and exhibitions, parks like Hampstead Heath and Kyoto Gardens... all kinds of things. It's definitely an inspiring city. I think the atmosphere of constant noise, hustle and bustle and traffic sometimes makes you want to enter a different world".

Whilst within the London environs, Toy found themselves striking up a mutual camaraderie and musical kinship with fellow Cave Club dwellers The Horrors, a friendship that has led to various supports in the recent past. "We met at London psychedelic clubs through mutual friends and started partying together and hanging out. We got on really well and we've been great friends since".

As with their Skying cohorts the influence of a Kraut-esque vision permeates the band's sound and I wondered how much of this hypnotic pulsing influence is a concious thing. "When I first heard Neu! it felt like a new type of music to me, I loved it so much. The never ending feel and constant motorik pulse was definitely something we got hooked on, so I suppose it was only natural that it came out in our music. They are definitely a big influence on us. Getting into Neu! led to wanting to explore the whole genre. I love how varied the music is - even though there's crossover, each Krautrock band has completely their own sound and approach".

And what can we expect from these enchanted waters in the near future? "We've just released our debut album, so that's the main focus for us now. We want to tour, travel to different countries, be as prolific as possible in terms of records, and constantly be developing and improving our sound".

Top 5 Psych Albums according to O'Dair:
Silver Apples - Oscillations or The Garden
Pretty Things - SF Sorrow
Love - Forever Changes
Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
The Byrds - Younger Than Yesterday

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