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June 2020
Feature

TOY: "We've always done it exactly how we've wanted"

Bassist Maxim "Panda" Barron offers a peak behind the scenes of ‘Clear Shot’.
Published: 3:35 pm, November 30, 2016
TOY: "We've always done it exactly how we've wanted"
TOY are back with a new record, and - as bassist Maxim "Panda" Barron explains - the creation of 'Clear Shot' saw the band hit a particularly prolific stride, and experiment with "a whole menagerie of weird equipment".

It’s been three years since your last full-length - what did you get up to during your time away? 
We toured ‘Join The Dots’ for pretty much two years after its release whilst writing songs for the next record. We also did a record last year with Dan Carey and Natasha Khan. We demoed and experimented a lot. I think there's nearly two more albums worth of material that didn't make it onto this one. Five of the tracks that weren't used are going on an EP that comes with the record. 

It’s all-go for you guys at the moment, with both a new album and a tour too - do you have a preference between tinkering behind-the-scenes and being in the spotlight?
We love both. Really enjoying playing the new songs with everyone at the moment, can't wait to go on tour. We love demoing at home as well as experimenting with different sounds in the studio. Recording ‘Clear Shot’ was really fun. 

What first sparked the creation of ‘Clear Shot’? Where did you begin?
We had a lot of music we'd recorded at home and were trying to pick out of that what would make the best album. We went to a studio called Far Heath in the country for about five days this time last year and recorded demos for the album. Was really fun being isolated and free to record through the night. We're always writing music but I think those sessions kind of cemented what we were going to do for the record. 

To what extent do you look to events in your own life for inspiration? Is it a personal record?
I think we always look at what's going on in our lives or our heads when we write music. It seems to be where we get the best ideas from and the most meaning. I think all our records are personal, if they weren't then we wouldn't care about doing it. 

Did you set out to try anything new on this album?
Yeah, we did quite a lot differently on this one. We used a different producer and studio for the first time, which was really refreshing. The studio where we did it in Stockport had a whole menagerie of weird equipment. Like vibraphones and old synthesisers. We also used sequencing on this album for the first time. The album is cleaner in places, which was purposeful. We found we could get more depth to the sound with less going on. There's more vocal harmony as well which I like. 

Does being on your third album afford you more freedom than before, or do you find yourselves constricted by what TOY ’should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ sound like?
We've never been constricted I don't think. We've always done it exactly how we've wanted. We always want to try something new and we have done on every record. We've got plans to write the next one soon and always want to break the mould, if there is one.

What do you think music’s most important job is right now?
I've always found it to be a great form of catharsis. It can help you through things and invoke positive feeling and understanding between people which I think is important at the moment.

Taken from the November issue of Dork. TOY's album 'Clear Shot' is out now.

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