You might recognise some members of TOY as ex-members of the much-hyped and quickly-dropped band Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong – but fear not, because their impressive motorik-meets-shoegaze sound is an entirely new entity. Wonderland gets a listen to their new influences with this exclusive mix and Q&A.
You’ve been described as krautrock – accurate or way out?
Dominic: We didn’t try and deliberately start a krautrock band. We just thought ‘let’s form a band and see what comes out’. There’s lots of other stuff in it like New York punk and things like The Velvet Underground and The Stooges.
How did you guys meet?
Tom: Me, Dom and Panda met each other in school when we were about twelve. We made best friends quite quickly, then Alejandra we met when we were about 18. She came over from Spain and moved to Brighton, and quite soon after that we moved to London and we met Charlie, our drummer.
D: We’ve all known each other for at least six years, so we’ve all listened to music together for at least 3 years before we started playing.
And some of you were all in Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong, which was massively hyped, right?
D: Me, Tom and Panda joined it when we were 18 and it took off weirdly quickly. It was the singer’s band and he had his own ideas about what he wanted to do, and after not very long we realised it wasn’t anything to do with what we wanted to do.
T: Even when we were doing that band we were kind of plotting what we were going to do next.
18’s a really young age to be in a band that’s touted as the next big thing.
T [laughs]: I’m glad we got it out of our system! I think we learnt quite a lot about what not to do.
D: It’s not very fun to be making music that you wouldn’t want to listen to. Coming at it with a couple of extra years, you’re a bit more resolved on how you want it to be.
It seems to happen quite a lot – a new band comes out of nowhere, blows up, and doesn’t have much to show for it.
D: It does. It’s really weird when you read a music magazine from a few years ago. You forget how many band
s were touted as something massive, and you have no idea what happened to them. Major labels tend to sign ten bands and they already know that they’re only going to keep one on and the other nine will be thrown by the wayside. It’s kind of the way that they seem to operate, like a safeguard.
That’s not what you guys are going for, right?
D: We’re consciously signed to an independent and that means we can release lots of music with a lot more freedom.
T: We just met Jeff from Heavenly and immediately we just clicked straight away. Heavenly don’t try to shape us in any way, thank god, because I think that’s what destroys a lot of bands. We want a bit of longevity.
Where does the name TOY come from?
T: One of our friends had this old Victorian toy box which just had the writing saying ‘TOY’ on the front. It just seemed to fit our music.
D: I like the way it’s got lots of different meanings, like you can toy with someone’s emotions.
What was the first single you bought?
D: The first song that I became obsessed with was ‘Good Vibrations’. I remember playing Lego to ‘Good Vibrations’.
T: The first single I ever bought was Run DMC ft. Jason Nevins. It was the first song I actually went into town to buy.
Doesn’t really happen much nowadays, going into town and buying a single.
D: It doesn’t. We still do it, though.
Harmonia & Eno – Sometimes In Autumn
Cosmic Jokers – Galactic Joke
Louis & Bebe Barron – The Mind Booster: Creation Of Matter
Kraftwerk – Airwaves
Tim Hecker – Utropics
Gila – Kollaps
Cluster – Hollywood
Brian Eno – Unfamiliar Wind
Conrad Schnitzler – Zug
Harmonia – Hausmusik
Bernard Hermann – The Magnetic Pull
Can – Bel Air
Joji Yuasa – Projection Esemplastic For White Noise
Mix by Dominic O’Dair (guitarist) and Alejandra Diez (synths/modulations). TOY’s self-titled debut is out on 10th September. toy-band.com