Chain D.L.K.: So first off how was the Synthpop Goes the World festival?
T.O.Y.: The Synthpop goes the World festival was in fact one of the best-organized festivals we’ve ever played. We have to pay respect to DJ Lazarus for bringing so many great bands together, and we really had a good time in Toronto. It was a fantastic show, a fantastic audience and a fantastic festival.
Chain D.L.K.: Did it feel odd considering you are still new to the electro-synthpop scene when playing next to experienced vets like Psyche and SPOCK on the bill?
T.O.Y.: We have been making music for ten years, now. We’ve played several times together with Psyche or SPOCK, thus it’s nothing special. We know Darrin of Psyche quite well. And in fact I guess that Evil’s Toy, the older form of T. O. Y. existed longer than SPOCK has. We are only new to the synthpop not to the whole music scene.
Chain D.L.K.: In your press statement you stated you felt you were no longer ‘evil’. How did this come about and ‘evil’ in what way?
T.O.Y.: As mentioned before T. O. Y. is the result of about 8 years as Evil’s Toy. In the beginning Evil’s Toy produced more electro/industrial like music, but become more and more synthpop with every new album released. It was a development in our musical life, which led us to the present sound of T. O. Y. , which is no longer ‘evil’, compared to our first records. Thus we renamed the band from Evil’s Toy to T. O. Y.
Chain D.L.K.: Did it feel odd using the name Evil’s Toy when doing Silvertears considering it’s non-evil tone and feel? Or was it a contract-related thing?
T.O.Y.: In fact we wanted to change the name for the Silvertears Album to T. O. Y. , but we were cowards and thought we might lose fans, or fans might not understand the change of the name. For Space Radio we decided to change the name …
Chain D.L.K.: Who is the lovely lady in the photos with you guys (I looked in the lyric sheets and on the site and it says nothing)? I see her in the photos playing the synth, so I assume she’s in the group. If she is a member, what role does she play with her newfound involvement in the group?
T.O.Y.: She has sung the female backing vocals for T. O. Y. since the Silvertears album and usually plays live synth at our shows.
Chain D.L.K.: What influenced the jump to synthpop/electropop?
T.O.Y.: There was no real influence, just the usual development in the live of a musician. Within the years your music favour changes and you don’t want to produce the same stuff for years and years. You start to experiment and suddenly your songs become softer, you use other sounds or melodies and you recreate your way of working. And suddenly you realize that your style has completely changed within the years.
Chain D.L.K.: What groups influenced this decision?
T.O.Y.: When we started making music we were influenced by industrial bands like Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Leather Strip, but also Depeche Mode this has changed completely nowadays. Our influences come from very different sources. Important bands or artists for us are still Depeche Mode, Enya, Future Sound of London, Orbital, but also Madonna or Mel C records. I think it’s not really a certain artist, but a certain song, which is either catchy or very well produced.
Chain D.L.K.: With a jump to E-Wave, a major German label, is the intent of the band leaning more towards becoming a huge band in Germany and beyond?
T.O.Y.: At the moment it is very difficult to become a huge band, especially in Germany. Since Napster and stuff, the label’s volume of sales is on decline. From this, the smaller bands suffer the most.
Chain D.L.K.: Is the intent of signing to a German label to keep the music more based in your homeland?
T.O.Y.: Not really, our label has distribution partners all over the world. We heard it is difficult to buy our last album in the United States, but I think our label is working on this.
Chain D.L.K.: Will you sing in German on the next CD?
T.O.Y.: At the moment it is not planned to use German lyrics on the next album. There are enough bands that mix up English and German or only German lyrics in their songs. I think everyone understands English and thus everyone in the world can understand our lyrics.
Chain D.L.K.: How is the transition from singing in distortion to singing in your normal voice?
T.O.Y.: I think it was a certain way of learning process for Volker to improve his voice in order to sing with his normal voice instead of screaming into a distortion effect. Since the Angels Only album we worked without any distortion effects on the vocals and Volker improved his voice more and more. I think nowadays it is more difficult for him to scream in a distorted way than to sing with his normal voice.
Chain D.L.K.: How was the shift lyric-wise, from apocalyptic to more pop oriented lyrics?
T.O.Y.: In a way it’s the same way as with the music. You develop your way or writing and you get inspired by different topics. During the Angels Only era I read many books by H. P. Lovecraft and got inspired by these writings and some movies. For the Silvertears album I wrote some very personal lyrics which came more from the heart and thus led to more pop oriented lyrics e. g. Do Dreams Bleed? , or Dream With Me.
Chain D.L.K.: Were you surprised by the backlash from many of the hardcore industrial fans when you went synthpop?
T.O.Y.: Not at all. We knew that we might lose some old Evil’s Toy fans that liked the older Evil’s Toy stuff, but we got new fans and even some old fans like the development in our musical style.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you think of the state of pop music?
T.O.Y.: If you are talking about popular music in general I think that the music market itself is on decline. People want to have new songs, but don’t what to pay for them and thus download them for free via Internet. That means fewer earnings for the companies and that means smaller bands have to be dropped in order to finance the bigger ones. So we’ll see where this leads to…If you are talking about synthpop or future pop or whatever in special I have to say that I can’t see any new inventions in this genre. But this is only my subjective opinion. I don’t listen to other synthpop stuff very much.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice a lot of airplanes in the Space Radio CD. Explain the fascination.
T.O.Y.: There is no special fascination, but the airplanes fit into the whole concept of Space Radio. If we had the possibility to make photos at or in a spacecraft we would have done that.
Chain D.L.K.: You have any philosophical words or interesting German phrases for us?
T.O.Y.: My philosophical words: Ein Tropfen Liebe ist mehr als ein Ozean an Willen und Verstand. Which means, “A waterdrop of love is more than an ocean of wisdom and will. . “. This is more sad than funny, but true.
Chain D.L.K.: Outside of world domination what is next for T. O. Y. ?
T.O.Y.: At the moment we are doing remix works for bands like De/Vision, Apoptygma Berserk, 18 Summers, Glow and! Bang Electronica. And certainly we are working on new songs. At the Synthpop goes the World festival we already presented to new songs called Charisma she said and Inner Cinema.
Visit T.O.Y. on the web at:
[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton] [proofreading by Erica Breyer]