Comprised of four unique creative voices, NOT A TOY is the brainchild of four ambitious artists. Friends since high school, the members marry emotional melodies with a rock edge, forming a music collective that seeks to redefine what it means to be a band. Hailing from Colorado, the group channels punk energy with a playful edge, tapping into streetwear influences and the US skate scene with their unique sound.
Bursting with urgency and passion, NOT A TOY’s unique sound has made them a hit in the US and beyond, their genre bending dynamics striking a chord with audiences across the globe – a musical medley of guitars and violins seamlessly blending to create a cohesively chaotic sound. True to form, their latest single taps into the energy that has made the band such a hit, with “Dementor” telling of a tryst with a temptress, the band exploring the trials and tribulations of falling in love with a muse.
Head below to discover more about the band’s unique storytelling…
Hey, how are you doing today?
Doing great! We’ve been in the house printing NOT A TOY hoodies for this release party all day! Nice to step away and do something different for a bit, thanks for interviewing us!
Where do you find inspiration for your music?
We pull inspiration from everything! Music at its core is just the sound of human experience – we pull from each other, our friends and stuff we’ve all been through, how we talk, our outlooks on life. We pull from other artists we work with, and from the legends of the music industry. And honestly, from different art forms as well! Music videos inspire us, movies, physical art, fashion, everything!
Is there any film soundtrack that particularly inspired you?
We love a good soundtrack! Dementor specifically wasn’t inspired by a soundtrack, but our recent song, ‘Gutter Kid’ was 100% inspired from the Arcane League of Legends soundtrack. That show was playing in the background the whole time the song was written too.
The track is a playful spin on the famous Harry Potter creatures, were you fans growing up?
I wouldn’t say we were super-fans, but we had definitely all seen the movies. Lyrically, I like to pull from as many pop culture references as possible, and I thought the idea of Dementors sucking your soul would be a fun spin on a relationship sucking your soul.
You’re described as a collective rather than a band, what does this mean to you?
NOT A TOY is a collective of artists, not just musicians. We do everything from video, photo, tattooing, clothing, and graphic design. Musically, all members are producers compared to a band where each member plays an instrument. We all compete to write the parts to our songs and each one is written by a different combination of members. We thought ‘collective’ felt more accurate to how we approach art, music and collaboration.
How do you approach collaborative music-making?
We each make music individually, so when we come together to collaborate it feels like a bit of a competition… in a good way! We all want to be the one who comes up with the next song, but we are also quick to hype each other up and love working together to perfect each-other’s ideas. So we have obviously collaborated with each other extensively, but collaborations with producers and artists outside of NOT A TOY is a newer thing for us! Dementor was actually the first song that we wrote around someone else’s beat. We went to LA to write with Morgoth Beatz, we listened through maybe 50+ beats and landed on this one that immediately hooked us. We found out after that the opening guitar part that hooked us was tracked by Tim Henson from Polyphia. The collaboration felt pretty natural, we wrote the lyrics and melody and made some minor tweaks to the production. It was a really good experience for us and we would love to do more.
How has your sound and process changed since high school?
Oh my god everything has changed! We used to be a rock band and we didn’t produce at all… So we would all play our instruments together in this tiny shed, covered in sound foam. It was punk, it was noisy and so much fun.
Creatively, our music has grown immensely, but it sometimes feels like more of an individual experience compared to the band practices we used to have with everyone in the room playing at the same time. Now one member can write a complete idea by themselves which allows us to explore the depths of our creativity even more in ways.
How do you balance your different creative voices?
We really try to cater to what the song needs. With that said, In the early stages of writing a song there is more clashing opinions on what direction the song should go. But once each idea is seen through, the correct direction tends to make itself pretty obvious. In general, all the members fill in each others creative gaps pretty easily and feelings don’t often get hurt.
Who is your dream collab?
Oh man.. producer collab? Probably Pharrell, Mike Dean, Or Kenny Beats! Artist collab… God there’s so many… We really fuck with Brakence, Audrey Nuna, Denzel Curry, 070 Shake and Kid Laroi. Just to name a few!