One of the biggest new names in guitar bands in 2012 are Toy, a London five-piece who sprung from the ashes of Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong and have toured with The Horrors. All steps on their way to becoming one of the most exciting bands on the UK indie scene.
Ahead of the release of their debut album, a summer packed with festival performances and a headline slot at our Gigwise Presents live night at Camden's Proud Galleries on 4 July, 2012, we spoke to frontman Tom Dougall about learning from the mistakes of previous bands, his pick for a famous drinking partner and the band's plans for album number two...
The album is finished - and very good it is too. How are you feeling having completed the record?
I feel really happy. It all came together very quickly. We recorded and mixed it in two weeks - we just went into the studio and did it and it came out perfect. I can’t imagine how it could have been any better really. Now I just hope it will be taken really well.
The album is generally quite gloomy - but there are flashes of happiness in there. Is there a cheerful band inside Toy struggling to get out?
We’re really interested in those feelings you heard. We just tried to make it a big record that’s completely brilliant and offers a bit of hope for someone and we like songs that have proper melodies and the odd nice chord changes. Some people that have seen us have said that the weaker things about us is that we lack happiness, but when they hear this album they might change their views on that.
What did you learn from your time with Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong?
We learned what things not to do I think we also learned that it’s important to be in a band with people that you really get on with. What’s really important is that we’re really close and we don’t really, have any arguments - we just can’t be bothered. We’ve had that before and it just makes everything horrible. We make sure we just really enjoy it, we know how to go about enjoying it now and which people to work with. We learned a lot I don’t think we’d have been in this position if we hadn’t learned how to go about it. In hindsight it helped us a lot.
As one of the most talked-about bands of the year, given previous experiences, are you a little wary of being tipped as the next big thing?
I think it’s a different hype this time round. A different sort of people are into what we're doing and we haven’t had much support from the NME at all. When we were with Joe Lean it was based on the NME who really built up the hype. This time it’s been based on the gigs and the two singles we’ve released. It’s not just the hype, it’s different. We’re not gonna be like 'oh we’ve made it' or anything all we’re conscious of doing really is just make as many records as we can. We don’t really have any kind of other purpose than that as long as we can keep making records that’s all that matters. Anything else that happens is just a bonus.
Are you looking forward to getting album number one out of the way so the hype and expectation can ease as you work on the second?
I don’t think it’s been tricky. We’ve just finished doing the album artwork today ready for us to put it out. Obviously we’re gonna have to keep playing the songs on tour but we’re gonna start writing the new album next week and getting straight onto it. We’ve got some ideas floating around and we’re just gonna start, the longer we give ourselves the better it will be.
That’s an amazing work ethic.
We enjoy doing that rather sitting around doing nothing it’s fun to us. We’ll be getting on that straight away.
Below: Toy 'Left Myself Behind'
How does Alejandra Diez, the only female member of the band, hold her own around her four male bandmembers?
She’s pretty tough to be honest she’s not like a sort of girly girl. She’s like yeah she’s an A&E nurse as well, and has recently been able to go part time now so she’s a lot tougher than most girls.
Our readers recently voted Tom from Kasabian the musician they’d most want to take to the pub. If you could choose anyone from the world of music to go for a pint with who would you pick?
We just went on tour with Primal Scream and had a good time chatting to Bobby and we’d gone down to the pub with him. He’s really nice. He was really open, helpful and really funny. He's just a nice person to meet. I reckon Lou Reed would be a good one too.
What would be the most surprising artist we’d find on your iPod?
You'd probably find some classical music on there. Some people might not expect that to be on there. I don't really have any guilty pleasures in particular.
What sort of situation do you need to be in to listen to classical music?
I don’t think I listen to it very often. It's just nice to have it on there.
Your summer is packed with festivals. Is there any one event you're particularly looking forward to?
We're going to Japan in August so definitely that’s the thing we’re all looking forward to the most. We’re gonna be there for like three days so we won’t have much time to enjoy it. We don’t wanna be a band that spends half a day feeling crap when we get there and do the gig. I guess we’ll just sort of try as hard as we can to go around and stuff. But yeah it’ll be really funny.
What else have you got planned for 2012?
We’re gonna do a big headline tour around the UK when the album comes out then after that we’re gonna do this big European tour in November I think. We'll be going around France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and so yeah that’s gonna be really good. And that’ll take up to the end of the year.
It's downhill to Christmas from here. Thank you very much, Toy. Toy perform on 4 July, 2012 at Gigwise Presents at Camden's Proud Galleries. Tickets are on sale now. For more information visit Gigwise Gig Tickets.