TOY: All of Izzy’s Favorite Things

I sort of wish that every band were TOY.  They listen to all the right tunes, wear all the right duds, and hang out in all the coolest circles...

I sort of wish that every band were TOY.  They listen to all the right tunes, wear all the right duds, and hang out in all the coolest circles of the English rock scene.  They’re ripe for a 2042 biopic about the hipness of their early days. TOY are a five-piece from London and their self-titled debut album hits shelves next Tuesday, 9/11, on Heavenly Recordings/Cooperative Music.  Their sounds are inspired by the greatest musical movements of the twentieth century (psychedelic rock, garage, post-punk, shoegaze, krautrock…)… The perfection of their taste seems almost cliché.  Although the band’s debut isn’t out just yet, they’ve been on the scene since 2011.  This year saw the release of several singles and much touring already, including a bevy of festival dates and a support slot for a string of UK shows with their buddies, The Horrors.  I recently got a chance to chat with bassist Maxim “Panda” Barron about their particular influences (which are each unnervingly brilliant), how they’ve enjoyed 2012 so far, and what ‘s on tap for the future.

Izzy Cihak: Despite the fact that your debut album isn’t coming out until next week, you’ve had quite a busy year of touring and releasing singles. What have been the highlights so far?

Maxim Barron: We’ve had a really busy year so far.  We love playing live and making records, so it’s been really great. One of the most enjoyable parts has been making the album back in April with our friend, Dan Carey. Another was touring with Primal Scream, and we did Reading, Rock En Seine in Paris, and Leeds festival.

IC: To get back to the beginning, how did you all come together and decide to partake in this musical venture?

MB: Tom, Dom, and I met at school when we were young and started listening to records together. We bonded over bands like the Stooges and the New York Dolls, as well as The Stones and lots of other things. We met Ale soon after that and Charlie soon after that. We all have similarities in our tastes and we’ve all listened to music together for a long time so making music together is really fun and natural.

IC: Your sounds seem to be an amalgamation of pretty much the coolest scenes and movements in music’s recent history.  What would you consider to be your biggest collective influences?

MB: There are so many. I’d say one of our biggest influences is Sonic Youth, but maybe people would disagree. We really like bands like Neu and Can. Rhythmically, I think they have an influence on us, as we really love the sound. Broadcast, Stereolab, and My Bloody Valentine are other bands we all really love. We also like Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, as well as bands like PULP and some new bands, like Conan Moccasin and Ariel Pink. The list is endless!!

I quite recently became aware of R.Stevie Moore.  He’s been going since the 70s and is sort of the grandaddy of DIY recording. He has hundreds of albums and has written thousands of songs. He saw us play recently and really liked it and sent me some records. He’s great.

IC: What about your non-musical influences?  Do you have any especially prominent ones?

MB: There’s Leif Podhasky.  He has done the artwork for our album and also did Tame Impala’s album covers. I think what he does looks really new and exciting. I really like Japanese culture. We just got back from there, in fact. I really like the futuristics of Tokyo, contrasted with the history of old Japan, as well as their food and cartoons. Whether it affects our music is questionable. Everyone in the band has different things they get up to. I think our biggest non-musical influence is the things around where we live, the city, the people we know, and how all that makes us feel. You know, the usual.

IC: So I realize this is a pretty lame and frowned-upon question but, you all have quite a cool fashion sense.  Do you have any particularly significant “style icons,” or historical moments that impact your wardrobe.

MB: We’ve sort of looked like this since we were young. It’s not something we think about that often. I can always trust everyone’s going to look cool. As for icons, I think the Velvet Underground are up there. MC5, Iggy, and Bowie look cool too.

IC: What are your plans for the rest of 2012 and 2013?  Any major touring in the works?  Any chance your US fans might be able to catch a live show?

MB: Our album comes out on the 11th of September. Then we’re going to tour it in the UK and in Europe, which will take us up to December. Really looking forward to it, being out so’s people can hear it. We want to come over to America as soon as possible. Sure we will be out there early 2013. We’ve started writing our second album and we’re planning to do some weirder, more experimental releases in-between as well to keep us happy.

Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.