Joined: October 19 2007
Posted: September 22 2012 at 02:22
Toyz (Arjan van Gog) interview by Torodd Fuglesteg
Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details. Which bands were you influenced by and why did you choose that name ?
Those are hard questions, both of them. Given that much of the music is guitar-driven, being written for the most part by our guitar player, I guess it's kinda inevitable that guitar heroes, such as Vai and Satriani, have had some influence to the extent of making the guitar the main lead instrument. No attempt is made however to sound like those guys, far from it in fact, and I think both the guitar playing as well as the arrangements and overall TOYZ sound are rather distinctive.
The origin of the name is not entirely clear but it had something to do with wanting it to sound happy rather than dark and sombre, something that reflected the playfulness of the music. It was chosen for the sound and it's positive connotations.
How is it to run a band in the Netherlands now and how is the music scene there ?
I guess it depends very much on what kind of band you are talking about. Progrock has always been fairly popular in the Netherlands but it's a small country and the genre is not as popular as it once was. The type of music that we play does not lend itself to being played in just any bar as background music, there'd be no point in doing that so we don't do that. Now that we have our new CD out we hope to attract more attention and be able to play live a lot more than we have done, more like when we had our first album out.
Your début album Remember was released back in 1998. Please tell us more about this album.
There's been several versions of that album actually and they were all burned CD-R's rather than proper pressed CD's. The latest incarnation has only three songs but it's the first one to feature a proper fulcolour booklet and CD label. We've sold all copies but we may have it re-issued if the new album generates sufficient interest.
How would you describe the music on this album ?
Very melodic, guitar driven with lush keyboards (mostly strings and piano) and a solid foundation provided by bass guitar and drums. Some of it might make good music for a movie, you know, the epic kind.
The whereabouts and history of your band since the release of this album is not known so please update us on your story from 1998 until today.
After the album release TOYZ has had a rather successful period, playing all kinds of festivals in the Netherlands (Westerpop, Bospop and may others) and not restricted to just the progressive rock scene. After that followed some experiments wit a female American singer but somehow that didn't work out. At some point the keyboard player decided to leave the band because of, cliché, artistic differences and although an attempt was made to continue the band eventually went into indefinite hiatus.
At some point I came into contact with them thinking they were still actively looking for a keyboard player but that turned out not to be the case. I did start another band with Peter and some other people and we spent quite some time writing songs but the magic just wasn't there. At some point talk begun of starting up TOYZ again with me on keyboards and that's what eventually happened.
Unfortunately our former bass player was unable to commit himself to TOYZ so we had to start looking for a replacement for him as well. That search has taken us very, very long. Might well have been two years or more, I don't care to remember. After a false start with someone else we finally found our guy and set out to a new album since we had many songs ready to be recorded. And we really did have many songs ready, however during the recording process we've done a significant amount of re-arranging and expanding many of the songs, especially in the keyboards department. We've taken our time doing that and we hope it shows in the final product.
A new album has just been recorded and is ready to be unleashed upon us. Please tell us more about this album. Music wise, what is the difference between the new and the old material ?
Probably the biggest difference is in the keyboard parts which are more prominent and now feature actual solos including Moog-like synth solos, a Hammond solo or two, piano solo piece and so on. Overall the arrangements are a bit more complex and intricate than on the first album with more variety in sounds.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
Play as many live gigs as possible as that's what we enjoy doing most. It's also the best way to promote and sell our new album of course, apart from increasing our web presence and participating more in social media such as facebook, something we have completely neglected to do until now.
We're hoping to plan a small tour with the support of one or two other bands to support the new album. We also hope to be support for some of the bigger acts. Ultimately we hope to play on festivals as we firmly believe TOYZ is perfect for that.
In the music department we're already working on material for a follow-up album and that's something we'll continue to do as well. Can't say much about what direction that's heading yet though, we have lots of material but there's so many things we can do with it in terms of arrangement, structure and we'll probably be making significant changes to all of it before it gets committed to disc.
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this discussion?
I hope people will come see us live, we like to think we put up a good show and since our last gig we even have our own light-show, completely synced to the music. We should probably put that on DVD some day.
Thanks for the interview.
Arjan van Gog
Toyz PA page can be found here: http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=6265
Edited by ExittheLemming - September 22 2012 at 02:32
Forum Senior Member
Joined: August 22 2005
I've added their new album: http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=39086
"Prog is Not Dead and never has been." (Will Sergeant, from Echo And The Bunnymen)
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