Music Madness, An Interview with I Ya Toyah
I Ya Toyah was awesome enough to let Rockin’ Robert C (The host of Music Madness) interview her about her new album “Out of Order” which is now available for preorder.
Color codes indicate who was speaking each portion of the interview and are as follows:
I have got a guest here in the studio with me from Chicago, Illinois, by the name of I Ya Toyah, How are you doing I Ya Toyah?
Hi, thank you for having me, I’m pretty good!
We have got some questions for you as a musician and regarding your new album “Out Of Order”. So if you’re game for that, So are we!
Of course, it will be my pleasure to talk about the “Out Of Order” Album, my new EP, and anything else, happy to be here!
Okay, so let’s start! Who are your biggest influences as a musician?
So in personal ways, it’s really hard to tell, you know? I usually take my influences from life in general. It is more observation and in the moment, those dark moments that I can turn into music rather than actual people
So how would you describe the music you typically create?
Well my music is definitely the fruit of passion. That irresistible urge to create, Everything else is tools. It’s the colors that I paint, The textures that can help express the feelings that I want to convey in my music. So yeah, that’s the music! When it comes to the sounds, I was told that it is industrial, a little bit of synthwave, a little darkwave, electropunk and goth. So, yeah I take it!
Yeah, I hear a little bit of everything cool in that kind of music. That kind of answers our next question, but not really, so I’ll ask it anyway. How would you describe your creative process?
Oh, my creative process, it’s a chaos and balance. There is like no real way of how I do things. Sometimes it’s the lyrics that begin it, it’s the musical idea that gets born in my head. and it’s funny, Those ideas hit me in the most random moments in my life. So I could be driving and multitasking in the car, and suddenly an idea comes to me, and I think “Oh I need this idea, and to remember this” so I found the best way is to have this recorder in my phone, so I have it always with me and when I have those moments I just record the ideas and it will literally be something like a drum beat that I will do with my mouth, and then on top of that I will create again with my mouth, just the bass line and if I have an idea for a guitar riff I will sing it out with my, again, mouth.
And if I have the idea for lyrics I will just say it, or sing it and I will save these files and when I get home and have a moment to listen to it, and then I know “Okay, that was an idea for the drum, What will the tempo be for that?” Let’s say 154, so I start the project and I will continue from those ideas. But yeah that’s basically it, I can’t really tell you other than that what my creative process is because it’s really crazy, it is nothing like one would imagine, like I’m going to sit down and open my computer and start writing. It’s never like that, it’s the opposite.
Well, sometimes the worst method is better than no method at all IF you don’t mind me saying. But I have another question for you. If you could be the opening act for any other band, who would it be? And I do know you did open for Pigface back in 2019 I believe
Yes, this was a great tour, a lot of fun to be on the road with these guys and yeah, I can’t lie, I’d love to be opening up for Depeche Mode on their tour.
That would be awesome.
The other big aspirations of mine would be Tool, Nine Inch Nails. Just because those guys when they tour the tour all the way. Those tours are giant and they have a lot of fans that you know come out to those shows, and I’d love to be a part of this. Other bands would be The Birthday Massacre, I admire these guys so much, I love their shows, 3TEETH is another act. I could keep going. I think I just really miss live music. I just want to play.
Do you have any talents that you consider useless that others might find interesting?
Well, I was told that I am the best culinary chef, so I really love cooking, I love inventing new fusion dishes. I don’t know, it’s like a thing I will do for you when you are at my home.
Yeah, we’ll have to talk about that later.
Okay, yes. I mean I feel like there’s something magical about food, and sharing it, and I honestly believe there is a meal for every mood in the world and the food can fix it.
Other than this, another of my useless talents would be recycling old things and making stage outfits of it.
I don’t really consider that useless!
So he and his wife invited me and my significant other to participate in one of the painting sessions, and I’ve never painted before, so I started, and I got addicted, so now I do a lot of it, and I think I’m going to continue for the rest of my life. I really enjoy it!
Well, as long as it brings you joy!
This is a total oddball but somewhat obvious question to ask a musician, especially a vocalist, but do you sing in the shower?
Oh my god, yes! I always do, and I do it loudly and shamelessly! It’s the best, honestly it’s a great way to warm up your voice, as a vocal coach I always tell my students that when they wake up in the morning they should start warming up their voice right away and the best place to do so is in the shower, because of the steam being formed by the hot water, the vocal cords are just, you know, getting the best treatment this way. So yeah, I do it!
What would you be doing right now if it weren’t for the music?
Oh wow, I mean it’s really hard to tell because that’s this one arch of life that has changed everything, so if I didn’t do this I think my life would be a completely different thing. Maybe I would just be a world traveler. Who knows?
What’s your favorite and least favorite venues that you’ve performed at? And you don’t have to say the one here in Indy, but if it is, go ahead and say so, but if not, don’t worry about it!
I LOVED playing in Indianapolis, I loved that show, it was one of my favorite shows. But you know I don’t think I have a non favorite venue, Because I try to run in my head through all the shows, and I’ve had a lot of shows. I don’t think the venue itself could ever be a negative experience, just because the venue is a part of the whole show, but the venue might have some shortcomings like bad acoustics or some stage circuit problems because I always need to double up 15 amp power to be able to create my live show, with my full on live performance with all the instrumentation, but it’s really like other than that and I’ve never really had those problems after all, maybe it’s my luck but the people who come with the venue, they’ve always been the kindest everywhere that I go, so I don’t know, I feel like I love every venue that I play. I can definitely tell you the most dream venue I would like to play and perform at Thalia Hall, again I love all the venues that I was invited to. I cannot wait to come back to all the venues that I performed at, I miss live music again, if I didn’t say it before.
Yeah, I can’t wait till this pandemic ends and we can start hanging out again and you can do your music in public. Speaking of, as a musician, how do you feel the internet has affected what you do?
Wow, I mean all the ways we can possibly imagine, not just with the pandemic, because of the pandemic it’s another level of connection the internet allowed us to have. But, we wouldn’t have this interview right now if not for the internet, right?
I mean file sharing and collaborations are a completely different experience thanks to the internet, and we can do all the remixes and we can do all the collaborations, any preparations, you know? Work for video, remix work. The internet makes them possible and much more swift than it would be otherwise, but mostly I feel like it’s the connection with fans all over the world. Like recently my Spotify analytics showed me that I have a very sizeable fan base in Madrid, in Spain and apparently they are getting some of my Code Blue album tunes and I would never have expected this if not for the analytics given by Spotify, which is the internet. So a lot of people would never be able to discover me if not for that amazing and powerful tool that we have!
Yes! Analytics are a very powerful tool. I can actually see when I’m on the air who is listening by country and what program they’re using to listen, but I can’t see much more than that. But yeah, it’s a very helpful tool.
Yes it is, that’s internet
Well the whole station is internet right now.
That’s it, and it’s great.
What song of yours is your favorite to perform?
Well, my favorite. I’ve always said it’s “Farewell (Mirrors Don’t Lie)” just because I have a very emotional attitude to that song, but all my songs are very close to my heart and they are very emotional. When I play them I get into this transcendent mode, It’s a catharsis experience when I play them, but Farewell has something very special and I completely fly away every time I perform that song and go into a different space. There’s the emotion, and it’s the lyrics and it’s guitar riffs that I get lost in every time I play that song. I think it’s my favorite!
It is a great song though!
Thank you! Thank you so much!
What other famous musicians do you look up to?
Wow, I mean which ones I DON’T look up to? I guess I treasure the fact that people are able to build their careers from nothing and that they stay true to their passions and don’t give up, and they inspire others to follow their dreams, so I guess it’s everybody out there honestly. All the famous, or even start up musicians who I share the stage with. I just admire people in music
Got some more questions for you if you don’t mind.
Oh perfect! Of course!
What’s the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into either in or outside of your music career?
Oh wow, I mean troubles. I’m a troublemaker. So there are troubles that come with me. Honestly I think I’m like a cat, I have nine lives and I lost some of them already which means I’ve experienced some close to death situations. I had one that just happened last week! and I am just thankful to be alive. In a short recap, I can just tell you that I was driving my car and I wanted to press on the brakes and it wouldn’t work! So basically I was full on speeding in the vehicle on icy snowy roads and there were cars and there were red lights, there were hilly situations and I could not stop my car and later I found that my brake lines burst! Just like that, suddenly! So it’s something you see in a horror movie, right? Only I never imagined it would happen to me and it did and I’m alive so I’m very thankful. I consider this kind of a trouble, so yeah.
Well, I’m glad you made it through that!
Yes, me too!
What is one thing about the music industry you would change if you could?
The music industry is its own animal, it lives by its own terms, it definitely would be hard to change it rapidly. I guess I’d focus on humans in the industry instead, like not on the industry itself but people, and it’s all about good intentions and the bigger picture. Less greed, less me me attitude and more awesome music attitude. So if people are good the industry is a good place to be. I guess that’s it!——————–
Got some more questions for you, especially about your new album, if you don’t mind
Lovely, perfect, ask away!
So, why “Out Of Order”? Why the name?
So, “Out Of Order” is a pandemic record and it expresses the way I’ve been during the lockdown, The way I’ve been feeling and acting and just trying to survive this dark time. It also comes from watching other people go through the pandemic. I feel like we’ve all been out of order so I named my record “Out Of Order”.
Well that totally makes sense! It’s been hard on everybody, but that brings us to our next question actually.
The album definitely has a dark dystopian feel to it, so the obvious question now is did the events of the year 2020 have any influence on that? And if so, how?
Oh yeah, that record as I just said is a pandemic record, so I started writing it when the pandemic hit, and it was all these feelings, all these emotions that were sort of unknown to me, because we’ve never been through a pandemic before. So it felt very uncomfortable to have this darkness inside and not know what to do with it! So I put it in the music, and I guess that’s how the record became so dark and very dystopian.
What emotions were there that drove you to write these songs?
It’s isolation, definitely, it’s a very big thing that I’ve been feeling, I’m sure I’m not the only one, probably everyone listening to this can resonate with this feeling during the pandemic. A lot of mental disruption and loneliness, worries and fear of what the future will be like. Survival, definitely survival of tough times. Sadness, of temporary pausing touring and normal life. Anger, a lot of anger that we can’t do anything about it. There is no control we have over the situation, so that brings me to hopelessness but then, also hope!——————–
Got some more questions for you, if you don’t mind.
How is it to be releasing music in the pandemic world?
It’s a completely different experience than releasing the music normally. So I can just start on delays on the industry side. It’s a very uncertain market so we don’t know who’s going to be able to support this release right? Because of the financial situations that are all over the place right now. It’s the delays with the merchandise, delays with manufacturers. So for example you want to press the vinyl, you want to make CD’s and now there are huge delays in production times as opposed to normal where if not for covid would be different. and now the experience is different because of the pandemic. Just taking it easy, nothing I can do about it! With this being said, I truly hope to connect with people on an emotional level because of this pandemic. I think I wrote this record about something very common for all of us and we all can relate to it and now we are all stuck in this very same emotion and so there is not a love song in this album. All these songs are very much stepping on the ground and grasping the pandemic reality and I feel that regardless of the uncertainty, I’m pricing this record just $5 so I hope that’s something that everybody can afford to support. What I’m truly hoping for on this record is that we truly connect on an emotional level and we feel better, that we aren’t alone feeling like this
That’s a great outlook to have, to stay positive in regardless of all the crap that’s going on. So next question is. As an independent female musician, producer and performer, what would you like to tell other women who want to get started in the music industry? Do you have any advice?
Oh yes definitely! Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible for you. I’ve been told endless amounts of times “Don’t do it” “It’s not possible” “You can’t do it” “no” “You won’t be able to do it” blah blah blah and so on and so on. I have this advice for you. Stay true to what you believe in, Stay true to your heart and your passion and do it, continue doing it. along the line there will be people that will come to you and offer their help, so don’t give up! Don’t give up, and yeah, you WILL do it! You can do it! That’s it!
So you recently ran a fan EP review contest on social media, and got a huge positive reaction. How does that feel? Did you expect that kind of reaction?
No I didn’t. I didn’t know what to expect, it was a very terrifying thing to do, but I don’t know why I like doing these things to myself. I like to throw myself in those deep waters of unknown and just like explore what’s going to happen. I was terrified when I did it! I was feeling very vulnerable first of all. It’s like I’m putting this music out there and I have no idea. It’s so personal and I don’t know what people will say. I don’t know if they’re going to like it or hate it! Especially since there’s some different dimensions in this album compared to my first, Code Blue album so that record is darker and deeper and goes more ‘near the bone’ as I call it. It’s more of me in that record than the previous one because I was with myself for all these months, so I was writing all these personal things that are part of this release so I definitely was so surprised that this YouTube series where I’m featuring the five reviews that won this contest. Just watch them because you’ll know how happy it makes me to hear such positive feedback!
We’ll leave a link to that on the wax radio website under the blog section!
Here’s a fan question from Steve. How does Benek like the new house?
Great question! I was worried that you know Benek when he adopted me he was first in a very small apartment, then in the rental house which was a little more sizeable but still very small, and now this house! It’s a giant house so I was so worried about how he’s going to find himself in it. He’s a tiny pup. He’s a nine pounder he looks like a six pounder but he’s got a very huge personality and so in the beginning he was hiding, I could not find him. The first day when I bought the new house, he got lost. and I could not find him, I was looking for him for like a half hour. Then I found him in the bathroom, he was hiding there. He was overwhelmed by the size of the rooms, by the space, and now… He is the KING of this place, He is definitely the owner of the whole space. I find his little snacks, like those grainy bones to chew on and like rawhides everywhere, he has his spots to hide everywhere! He is lounging in the front part of the house during the day and he loves the outside, There is deer coming to the yard multiple times a day and he just loves seeing them, he loves to interact with them. He’s happy here, That means everything to me, because I put His happiness before mine. I was hoping that he would love this place and he does. Thank you Steve, that question rocks!——————–
If you could tell your fans just one thing, what would it be?
I love you! I love you, and thank you! because honestly the amount of support and love that I’m getting from you guys, is mind blowing and I’m just so thankful for my fans! To have you, each and every one of you, I’m thankful! I love you, and thank you!
That’s absolutely beautiful! What is next for the one woman army that is I Ya Toyah
Next is definitely the drop of this album, The pre order began January 29th and the actual release on Bandcamp will be march 26th and meanwhile I will be dropping other singles of this album on other platforms worldwide which is Spotify and all the other services where you can stream the music. Other than that I’m starting to prepare the show for the new songs that I haven’t played yet. So there’s a lot of programming and practice ahead of me. I’m very hopeful that I’ll be able to get on the road at some point this year, I miss live music, I miss performing, I miss hugging my fans, I miss that so much that I really look forward to getting this part of my life back. Other than this, a bunch of video releases that I am preparing for later this year. Some score work for the movie stuff that I’m going to be working on, I’m excited about that, some remixes that I’ve been invited to do, also remixes I will be seeking to get for the “Out Of Order” album later this year. What else? I mean I started writing a book, it’s going to take me a while, I don’t rush this, I think I’m going to take my time with that, but it’s going to be coming out some point in the future, not close future, but the future. I’m definitely going to do more suicide prevention activism work this year. Everything for I Ya Toyah, and then I will need to work on my studio. I have this whole basement right now. I’m going to start work on revamping this space and create I Ya Toyah a nice headquarters. I guess those are the plans that I can think of right now, perhaps there are many more things that are going to enter my life as I go, but yeah, those are the most obvious things that I can think of right now.
It was a pleasure having you on Music Madness once again, and I’m sure I speak for more than just myself when I say thinks for being here again, but before I let you go, are there any parting words you’d like to share with us?
Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure to be here with you today. Thank you for inviting me to your awesome show, and thank you for listening to this show tonight, and I just want to thank you all for listening and for being. Check out this new record that I just put on my Bandcamp. Let me know what you think of it. Please write to me, you can write to me on messenger, you can send me Email. All my contact info is on my website which is iyatoyah.com. Reach out, and let me know what you think of my music. I’m curious, I always leave space for self improvement, and for making things better in the future, and for the most of it, what matters most to me is the connection with you, so reach out to me, I love you all, thank you!
Alright, thank you!