SONG: "I Want To Be Free"
JOHN RYAN: Did you have a good time (at Manchester Pride)?
TOYAH: (on the phone) Oh - I had such a good time! I loved Europride (in 2003) and the audience was wonderful!
JOHN: And do you know - the weather wasn’t brilliant, when you came on stage – the clouds parted! Did you notice that?
TOYAH: Yes, I did notice that! (laughs) I thought that was just perfect timing but also what was great fun was when the rain got really heavy all the umbrellas went up and they were swaying in time. It was so sweet!
JOHN: I’ve got a picture of that from the very back of the arena and you’re right - it looks amazing. It was a very Manchester sight. A sea of umbrellas and you on stage and if I had a pound for everybody who said “Oh my God - doesn’t Toyah look amazing!?” I’d have hundreds of pounds!
TOYAH: Oh, good! Well, pass them over here! I have to say that audience was so friendly and just so up for it - it was great.
JOHN: Tell us about the outfit that day for people who weren’t there?
TOYAH: Well, at the moment - all of this year I’ve been touring a show called “From Sheep Farming (In Barnet) To Anthem” and it’s a three album span and all of those three albums went gold, platinum and “Anthem” was triple platinum.
So I’m not only doing these albums which start from 1979 to 1981, I’m wearing the original outfits as well. Because I can just shoehorn myself into them.
JOHN: I was going to say there probably aren’t many women who can say they can get into something they were wearing 30 years ago!
TOYAH: I know! And on Gay Pride Manchester I was wearing an original costume from 1981 which was made for Top Of The Pops. And obviously I don’t have pink hair today but I have a fantastic hairpiece maker called Sean Chapman who does all my make-up as well and he made this incredible clip-on pink hairpiece which just looks so good!
SONG: THE HUMANS “Quicksilver”
TOYAH: The Humans is a romantic concept. About four years ago the President of Estonia phoned my husband Robert Fripp and asked him to play on his birthday –
JOHN: That’s an everyday occurrence!
TOYAH: With my husband it is. You wouldn’t believe – we get David Bowie to Kanye West to phone up here and sadly I never get to talk to them! And my husband turned this offer down so I phoned the Estonian President – the embassy – and I said I’ll put a band together and write the music especially for this birthday.
We did, it was a huge success and I created a sound where my voice wasn’t competing with drums, it wasn’t competing with keyboards. It was sitting right in the middle of the sound spectrum.
And if I was to describe to you what The Humans music is it’s like fragments of consciousness during a dream. It’s kind of European film noir, it’s the kind of music you see on a surreal landscape when you go to the movies. I personally really love it. It’s experimental. It’s out there, it has extreme moments of energy and beautiful moments of sincerity and colour and odd sound scapes.
And we’ve been signed to the End Records in New York and they released our second album “Sugar Rush” on the 27th of September. We get to England on the 3rd of October and we play Manchester on the 4th.
JOHN: 4th of October. Where are you playing that night?
JOHN: Do don’t know, do you?! (laughs)
TOYAH: I’m going online to my website …
JOHN: Toyah’s consulting her own website to see where she’s playing! (laughs)
TOYAH: I do this daily!
JOHN: I bet you do! Looking at your website as I did earlier, in fact I might be able to tell you, let’s have a look ...
TOYAH: The Rugby Lounge!
JOHN: The Rugby Lounge? The Ruby Lounge!
TOYAH: Yes, it says Ruby Lounge (John laughs), I need to learn how to read!
JOHN: The Rugby Lounge sounds interesting! I don’t know where that is!
TOYAH: I was getting quite excited at the Rugby Lounge!
JOHN: We’ll try and get you some rugby players down there for you Toyah but it’s amazing, it’s a very intimate venue right in the middle of town.
TOYAH: Is it?
JOHN: You’ll love it, yeah yeah yeah – it’s good!
TOYAH: Intimate is incredibly important because this is all about sound and how sound affects your emotions.
JOHN: Now you said “experimental”, you said “out there” and I think that is one of the reasons why we love you. Royal Court, Derek Jarman, punk, pop – you've never settled on one easy route, have you? It’s not you. You’re a bit of a butterfly artistically? In a good way?
TOYAH: I am an eclectic. That’s the way I prefer to see it that I live by an eclectic rulebook. And that is I’ve never seen the point in focusing in one thing in a world that has over six billion people. It’s kind of "how can you focus on one thing?" There’s so much out there, there’s so many flavours and textures and I kind of – I’m a bit (?) that I want to experience kind of everything.
JOHN: Just as The Humans but you’re playing here just as Toyah?
TOYAH: Yeah and I’ve got it up on my website!
JOHN: Where and when?
TOYAH: I’m playing the Club Academy, the Academy in Manchester –
JOHN: Another great venue, you must’ve performed there before I’m guessing?
TOYAH: Yes, at the university?!
JOHN: Yes, it’s the big venue on Oxford Road where all students are.
TOYAH: Oh God, that’s going to be lively!
JOHN: Just a bit!
TOYAH: That’s – it’s a really fabulous show because we start off with the “Anthem” album which was triple platinum and then we slowly through the hour and a half on stage work our way into the punk era so the energy just builds and builds and builds. By the end we have the whole venue pogoing!
JOHN: Sounds amazing! And also at Pride we saw you play new music, the single “Fallen” which I’m going to play next.
TOYAH: Yes, which is Yomanda featuring Toyah. This is Paul Masterson (below with Toyah) who’s a wonderful DJ. He’s also written and produced for Kylie Minogue, Boy George and many many others. And he sent me this wonderful track and said would I write a lyric to it? It happened, it worked, he loved what I did, we shot the video which you can view on toyahwillcox.com. It’s very very gay pride!
JOHN: Are you happy with yourself right now?
TOYAH: Yeah, I’m OK. I like being busy. And I kind of didn’t intend the next three months to have three different projects –
JOHN: I was going to say! They’ve all come at the same time!
TOYAH: They’ve all come at the same time which is because America - obviously I have a very different career in America than in England. In America I’m a new kind of cult artist so when they released “Sugar Rush” this month they didn’t realise it would kind of be coinciding with something very different that I’m doing over here. So it just is a very eclectic time!
JOHN: I do love your website. 27th September The Humans play the Highline Ballroom in New York. Three days later Friday the 30th September –
TOYAH: The Isle Of Man? (laughs)
JOHN: Toyah plays the Isle Of Man! (both laugh)
TOYAH: We are going to be so jet lagged!