BBC RADIO 2
BBC RADIO 2
DJ: Good evening, it’s 6.30 on the big one and it means it’s Castle Rock! And in Tuesday night’s 90 minute rocker we'll be meeting the star of stage and screen, to quote the cliché, and what’s more an exclusive track from her new EP, that’s Toyah. She’ll be live in just a few minutes time.
DJ: A track by the title of “Revelations” which comes from “Four From Toyah", that’s the brand new EP from which is coming out very shortly- in fact to tell us the exact date we now have Toyah Willcox live in the studio, welcome to Nottingham, dear.
DJ: When does it actually come out?
TOYAH: At the end of this month, it’s the 30th or 31st, I’m not sure …
DJ: Is it released as an single or a EP or what?
TOYAH: It’s suppose to be counted a single, there’s sort of two main tracks on it, “It’s A Mystery” and “War Boys” are the ones the radios will play but otherwise it’s generally known as “Four From Toyah.” It is to be treated like a single.
DJ: So as we go into the charts it can then legally go into the chart as single?
TOYAH: Supposedly, yeah.
DJ: Why did you decide to do it 'cos you’ve done that before with an alternative play with what … six tracks before?
TOYAH: Yeah. I mean … well, we decided to have 4 tracks this time so it allowed better quality. It’s just the band had split and we got a new band together now, we’ve writing new material and we wanted something a bit more special than just a single.
DJ: Right,we’ll talk about the music in a short while but first of all how … would you ... I mean I wouldn’t attempt it, how would you describe your career? What you do? Because it’s so varied, to say the least?
TOYAH: (chuckles) Overcrowded really! I just act and sing, simple as that, that’s all I really want to do. I don’t want to do anything other than those two medias. Whereas a lot people say I’m a multi-media person I’m not really, I’m just concentrating on two steady careers.
DJ: Do you feel you can do that - I always felt that you can only aim yourself - if you want to do something fully in one direction, you’re obviously proving that wrong-
TOYAH: People keep telling me I can’t do both because you’re only suppose work from 9 to 5 but I can work from 7 till 10 at night with the greatest of ease. Then I can do both, I can act in the day and sing at night usually. And that’s pretty well how it works.
DJ: Supposing the band got really big, I mean that wouldn’t justify the rest of people in the band would it?
TOYAH: Well, what I usually do is spend six months doing music, six months acting, I split the year in half so I can concentrate solidly on the one for quite a few months. Which is the best thing to do. If the band does take off then I’ll give it more time than the acting but no way will I give up acting.
DJ: So why? Is it a case of wanting to do both - you like those things equally or -
TOYAH: I like them equally, I feel the need to do both. I like to get away from music by acting and I like to get away from acting by doing music. And they both complement each other in a very peculiar way. I get a lot of inspiration for songs when I’m acting and it’s really good, it refreshes me a lot.
DJ: Ever bother taking holidays or is that something never heard of?
TOYAH: I often dream about going away to the sun but I haven’t got time at the moment.
DJ: I can imagine. So what sort of things have you been up to recently?
TOYAH: Well, I’m on tour at the moment with the new band, I’ve been the studio over Xmas recording. The tour ends on Monday and I go away to do “The Tales Of The Unexpected” (below as "Blue Marigold") for a month and then during Tales I start on a new album and I want the album out by May and will be back on a major concert tour by May.
And then I’ll be off round the world after that. Oh, and I’ve got to fit Derek Jarman’s new movie in! Somewhere in between that lot! (chuckles)
DJ: Any TV going in amongst that?
TOYAH: Well, I’ve got the “Look Hear“ series to be done which I’ll do every Sunday which I’ll start on the 22 of Feb.
DJ: Are you doing any radio?
TOYAH: I do lots radio interviews but I haven’t actually got
a program -
DJ: You can start interviewing me, we can swap it around for a change!
TOYAH: I don’t … I tried interviewing once and it’s very difficult, it’s surprisingly difficult -
DJ: It’s not as easy as people think -
TOYAH: It’s not at all. I was very surprised.
DJ: You mentioned “Look Here” (above), based in the East Midlands, we obviously can get that program over here, how did you actually land the job there?
TOYAH: I was … I did one of the first pilots for it about three years ago and I was actually invited on it to talk about “Jubilee”, Derek Jarman’s movie. And Roger Castle, who producers the program and created it, was looking for someone to present the show even though they had presenters when I was on it, he wasn’t quite happy with them and the following week I was asked if I’d do the whole series.
DJ: You must’ve made a good impression!
TOYAH: It was amazing, I couldn’t believe it. It was really good.
DJ: And it all started from there?
DJ: You’re interested as well, I understand, in black magic?
TOYAH: Noo … (laughs) I’m fascinated by it but to say I’m interested in it ...
DJ: It’s not a thing you’ve delved into then?
TOYAH: No, I think that’s silly.
DJ: I always make the mistake of believing your bio 'cos you’d never do that. You’ve just 22 having done all these things. Does that mean that in your eyes, and I mean in your eyes not anyone else’s, that you’re anything special or you’ve just got a bit more energy than most normal human beings?
TOYAH: I just think it’s got to do with a little bit more energy. I’ve got a lot of sort of push behind me, this sort of driving ambition but doesn’t leave me alone, sometimes I wish it would!
DJ: Is that serious?
TOYAH: Yeah! I mean it’s an obsession, my work is a total obsession, I’m a workaholic. I know I won’t stop till the day I die or I’ve conquered the world and if I ever do conquer the world God forbid, I mean that’s provision to a Heil Hitler! (laughs) I’ll probably want to go on and do another planet or something bizarre.
DJ: Do you have a final ambition?
TOYAH: I’d love to be an astronaut, I think it would be wonderful (laughs)
DJ: Aiming for the starts in more ways than one! Let’s move onto your present work, I suppose I can call it a single. The main track from the EP which is “It’s A Mystery”, what made you decide to pull that one off, or did you?
TOYAH: It’s written by a friend of mine whom I wrote “Victims Of The Riddle” (above) with which was our first single. I sort of wrote the lyrics and he did the tune. Well I can’t explain why we did it.
My favourite track on the EP is a track called the “War Boys” but this particular track “It’s A Mystery” it’s incredibly commercial, it seemed very suitable to release after the documentary. Because the documentary made me out to be this wild person and people are sort waiting and expecting something from me…
DJ: You’re quite calm really aren’t you?
TOYAH: Quite calm, no … not at all! (laughs)
DJ: We’ll listen to “War Boys” in s short time but let’s have listen to “It’s A Mystery” the A-side and indeed one of the A tracks on the brand new EP from Toyah.
SONG: “It’s A Mystery”
DJ: Sounds like a winner to me but it’s up to you to decide that. “It’s A Mystery” from the brand new EP from Toyah. Back to Toyah now, how much can I say the business side do you get involved in? You seem very active when it comes to the work side. What about business, do you have much of a say?
TOYAH: Well, I design most of the … what I do is I come up with all the basic ideas and let the more advanced people take it from there. Such as record covers, when and where we’re going to play and same with the albums, when are we going to do the albums. I just say when and then other people work it out for me 'cos I’m no good with paperwork or anything like that, I stay away from accounts.
DJ: So it’s fair to say then, if you can veto venues to say “I’ll want to play here, there” or wherever … that is a big say. Why do you want such a say?
TOYAH: Because when you’re on the road you know more about the venues than actual booking agents know. And you say to the agents “I want to play venues where kids under 16 can get in” and they’ll go “Oh yes, I know those, you will play the universities, they’ll let them in”.
And you get there and they won’t let them in unless a student signs them in which is ridiculous because you can’t always find someone prepared to do that. I know for the next tour we’re going to be at venues and hopefully we’ll get special licensing, things where younger kids can come in but there’ll still be a bar.
DJ: Sort of matinee performances that Madness recently got into -
TOYAH: Yeah, right.
DJ: Seemed like quite a good idea.
TOYAH: Yeah, that’s the reason I want to have a say so that we give everyone a chance to come and see us. Because you get so many little kids hanging outside-
DJ: It’s true!
TOYAH: You always end up letting them in through the fire escape.
DJ: Shouldn’t say too much about that! It’s hearsay I’m going on now: I understand you had and album called “Sheep Farming in Barnet” out but just in Germany?
TOYAH: Well, we had it out as an AP over here which is really an equivalent to an EP and because we were with an label in Germany they released it just as an album with two more tracks on it. And that’s all, it was just the same as the AP.
DJ: So it’s good value here rather than going to go out and buy an album that’s going to cost you considerably more?
TOYAH: Yeah, cos the AP was the price of a single. And of course the album is much more expensive.
DJ: Fair comment, can’t argue with that. The live gigs, let’s get back to now, first of all who’s in the band at present?
TOYAH: Well, we’ve got Bruce Woolley’s ex-drummer -
DJ: Ah, local lad!
TOYAH: Is he?
DJ: Comes from Lothbury (?) just down’ the road-
TOYAH: (not impressed) Oh right. We’ve got the Original Mirrors ex bass player, I’ve still got Joel who’s the original guitarist and Keith Richard’s ex keyboard player -
DJ: (laughs) Well that’s got an … (Toyah laughs on top) You play down Leicester tonight, I understand the tickets are almost sold out if not completely?
TOYAH: Yeah, I think they’ve got about hundred or so to go, I know they’ve pretty well sold about a thousand.
DJ: Is it going, being very honest about it, is it going really well?
TOYAH: It’s completely sold out most of the places. I mean yesterday we played Durham and that’s the first gig that hadn’t sold out but it was still pretty full.
DJ: And how was reaction on stage?
TOYAH: Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I don’t know why ... (laughs)
DJ: Can you tell a Toyah fan… I mean it’s easy enough to notice a Status Quo fan-
TOYAH: There was one in the front who was screaming and crying and pulling his hair out, it’s quite amazing what’s been going on -
DJ: You must get a cross section down there then?
TOYAH: Well, we’ve got the calmer audience at the back and the younger ones at the front, they sort of sort themselves out. You’ve got people who want to listen stay at the back. One’s that want to dance in the middle and the ones that want to sort of grope and scream at the front!
DJ: Would you say the band you’ve got now is the best you’ve had so far?
TOYAH: Definitely. They perform more, they’ve got their own identity. I think the musicians, the quality of their playing is much better. I find them much more exciting to work with. They’re a little older than the last band, only a fraction though…
DJ: Experience counts.
DJ: That’s a good idea. We’ll be seeing you down in Rock City on Friday so then there’s no need to go to Leicester if you can’t get a ticket tonight, what should be a good gig in itself. Have a good gig!
TOYAH: Thank you.
DJ: I’m sure you will. What does the future hold for you after this tour?
TOYAH: “Tales Of The Unexpected” and an album and bang on tour again.
DJ: No holidays at all?
TOYAH: I haven’t even got a day off, just looking at it!
DJ: It’s sad for some people isn’t it? (Toyah laughs) “War Boys is the track we’re going to finish with, which is your favourite. Why?
TOYAH: Cos I wrote it all! Biast! It was the first track I actually wrote and it started off I played the keyboards on it as well but I couldn’t do it quite as well as Adrian our new keyboard player could do it so he did it all again.
DJ: You left it to the professionals?
DJ: Have a good tour! See you soon!
SONG: “War Boys”
You can also listen to the interview HERE