SONG: Castaways

RICHARD SKINNER: That was “Castaways” from the Toyah LP  "The Changeling". The idea of "The Changeling", the actual title of it is obviously perfect for the kind of changing the imagery that you’ve come up with in the last three years -

TOYAH: Yeah, but it’s also something … this album is intense as far as the lyrics go because it’s sort of multi meaning. I’m going through a phase at the moment where I’m positive certain people on this planet are not human. I walk down the street and I think "that’s a changeling, it’s got to be a changeling"

RICHARD: What sort of people?

TOYAH: I think the day of the alien is really about to approach. The day of the new messiah being here, the day of aliens making themselves present is about to happen. That’s sort of something that I believe in because it makes me happy. It it sort of satisfies my mind -

RICHARD: Who will the messiah be then?

TOYAH: I’m not telling you that

RICHARD: Getting rather profound at the moment

TOYAH: Yeah, it’s getting too profound

RICHARD: You’re not telling me then?

TOYAH: No, you’ll know soon enough (laughs) But "The Changeling" sort of - I believe that at some point aliens - they’re very close to human form - can possibly come down here for a holiday and have a good laugh at us. "The Changeling" sort of fits in with that image as well -

RICHARD: Are you a great science fiction reader?

TOYAH: I love it, I love it -

RICHARD: Funny enough I get the impression from these lyrics that there is a fair amount of sort of -

TOYAH: It’s sort of my religion really. You have these beliefs that keep you going, they keep you believing in mankind and science fiction does that for me whereas the bible does it for lot of other people

I just love fantasy and to me - why on earth do people talk about fairies in the woods, not fairies in nightclubs (Richard laughs) but fairies in the woods because they must’ve existed in the first place and the same thing with dragons -

RICHARD: Why must’ve fairies existed?

TOYAH: And the Loch Ness monster - because people don’t come out of the blue and go “oh, I’m going to invent a dragon, make me a lot of money”

RICHARD: But people find them interesting -  

TOYAH: But these things, dragons and fairies, have been around for before printing was invented. I just believe they’re there, the little people are there. I like to believe they’re there because I don’t think human beings are the superior race. I put dolphins first, then the little people and them human beings, I suppose

RICHARD: What kind of things - I mean of lot of your songs seem quite sort of pantomime and picturebook -

TOYAH: Watch it! Not pantomime

RICHARD: It’s not, it’s not (Toyah laughs), it’s getting a bit dangerous in here! But did you used to read a lot of stories when you were young?

TOYAH: I tried to read, I didn’t have to read when I was young because I could invent things in my own head and I still can. If I’m tediously bored, I’ll just turn off and go into my own mind and dream up a fantasy, whatever I want

RICHARD: You tend to go through certain ... of ancient civilisations and things, I mean the last LP "Anthem" -

TOYAH: It’s a phase -

RICHARD: Sort of Egypt -

TOYAH: It’s a phase, I go through phases. I’m sort of ... I don’t know - "Sheep Farming In Barnet" - it was definitely my space age. "Blue Meaning" was just plain depression

“Anthem” was sort of middle age, medieval times and this new album "The Changeling" is a mixture, and conglomeration of depression, space age and the druids. As you say, the middle ages. It’s a mixture of everything

Because the song “The Druids” is all about that, it’s about all earth’s magic and space technology and pagan man thrown into one. And it’s about this meeting to decide who owns which planet, which is what goes on on this singular little speck of dust in the atmosphere, as to who owns which island …

SONG: The Druids
RICHARD: “The Druids”, third track from the new Toyah LP "The Changeling". Now I think the last time you were on this programme was about the time of “Sheep Farming In Barnet”?

TOYAH: Yeah, it must be about three years ago

RICHARD: Yeah. Obviously since then rather a lot has happened. I was reading something last week, it said if Toyah started wearing wellington boots, everyone would

TOYAH: Really?

RICHARD: Yeah! I think it’s a slight exaggeration but there is a grain of truth. It’s an indication that you have become enourmously successful and influential in that time. Is there any reason - what would you tribute this to? If there was one thing -

TOYAH: I wouldn’t say that I’m enormously successful but I’m seen a tremendous amount. So if I started growing a moustache, probably all the women would want one because I have this habit of being seen everywhere at once!

But I wouldn’t say the whole of England necessarily loves me … (both laugh) I think I give the whole of England a laugh. Each time they see me it’s “oh, God it’s that weirdo again!” (both laugh) No comment, smash! (slaps hand on table) (Toyah laughs)

RICHARD: Well, there is a certain similarity between you and the careers of Adam (Ant) and Gary Numan. You started out at the same time being fairly unpopular -

TOYAH: Yeah -

RICHARD: In the general press -

TOYAH: Yeah -

RICHARD: And took no notice of it -

TOYAH: Yeah, but the difference between me, Adam and Numan is that I'm still unpopular in the press (presenter laughs) I don’t think Adam and Numan are anymore, they have sort of started being appreciated a bit. But I’m nowhere as big as those two, at least I don’t think I am. I hope I will be one day, touch wood

RICHARD: But also on the sort of level being fantasy merchants it seems significant that the three of you have done very well by putting out songs that aren’t necessarily getting to grips with frightfully important matters of state and political things …

TOYAH: I don’t know though because on this album for the first time I’ve voiced my opinions - on the very first track of the album called “The Creepy Room”

SONG: The Creepy Room

RICHARD: “The Creepy room”, another track from the Toyah album “The Changeling”. What were you trying to get across on that? It’s a strange sort of -

TOYAH: It’s a cruel ending. I find that ending very funny. That is really saying OK, if this was a fascist country and you dare speak out against the world, they’re going to send you to a little room, where, say, 200 hundred years in the future, if we are still here as the human race, they’ll send you to a little room for some cold discomfort. Because your mind is out of tune and the point of the creepy room is to scare you, to scare you into fitting in with the rest of formalities

RICHARD: Toyah, the make-up side of your public image has always rather fascinated me -

TOYAH: Why are you smirking? (laughs)

RICHARD: What else could I do? I know you’re not wearing any today, I notice?

TOYAH: Yes I am! I don’t look that bad do I ?!

RICHARD: Compared to the pictures I usually see of you, you can be described as having on very little indeed -

TOYAH: I wear make-up virtually the whole time, facially I’m not perfect. I don’t think anybody is really. Just to go out on the street or just to live your everyday routine, you don’t want to paint birds all over your face -

RICHARD: That’s the new look?

TOYAH: Yeah yeah, see I like to -

RICHARD: So how song did that take, it’s amazing that – you’ve got a sort of block of birds flying across your face (both laugh) (above, "Brave New World" cover, 1982)

TOYAH: … Sorry I was about to say something I shouldn’t! We spent a whole day, the make-up - say, we spend three hours on, the hair three to four hours on

RICHARD: I don’t know much about these things because I don’t dye my hair every Tuesday but didn’t your hair begin to suffer somewhat?

TOYAH: No, my hair is like a Brillo pad (a metal pad used for washing up). If my hair was normal colour it would be all fuzzed out in a big afro cos my hair is wild. I’ve just got this wild matt of black hair and it doesn’t suit me

RICHARD: You did lend your name to a brand of make-up?

TOYAH: Yes, well, I designed it -

RICHARD: Who’s idea was the title? They were called “Toyah Man Scratchers”?

TOYAH: That was mine, yeah -

RICHARD: That's a strange name?

TOYAH: To me nails, glossy long nails have always seemed like a weapon. A weapon that the female’s natural weapon … I think nails are very aggressive things. And I thought “man scratchers”, it’s quite nice really, it’s nice to say -

RICHARD: So do you think you are quite aggressive then?

TOYAH: No, of course I’m not! I’m a big softie (they both laugh)

RICHARD: You didn’t strike me like that in "Tales Of the Unexpected"  (Toyah as "Blue Marigold" 1982, below)

TOYAH: Yeah, that was acting, that’s not me!

RICHARD: That was very convincing acting, I was definitely taken in -

TOYAH: Oh, really?

RICHARD: Is there anything you can tell me about the track “Angel and Me” on the album?

TOYAH: It’s just totally aggressive. The reason I like it is I want to put a video to it. It starts of very sweet and you start to gather that there’s this girl talking to her mother. And you’re not sure where she is - she could be in a bedsit, she could in a hospital

And then suddenly she’s like “can’t you see, it’s the angel, it’s the angel” and the whole thing bout the far section is she’s singing about the angel spreading the wings. And she can see this vision but her seeing the angel is her in the process of killing the person she’s talking to, it’s an incredible energy feeling -

RICHARD: It would be much easier to describe on a video -

TOYAH: It’s the feeling of adrenaline when we were working on this. She’s actually having a mad fit while she’s seeing the angel and suddenly it flashes to pushing a blade in someone’s eye, it’s totally schizophrenic

RICHARD: It’s a sort of video that’s unlikely to be shown on Top Of The Pops?
TOYAH: I mean it really is a horror horror horror experience in a way, in a nice way -

RICHARD: What you mean it’s going to be a horror experience in a nice way, I wouldn’t have thought that -

TOYAH: When you listen to that track first off you don’t catch all those words because they happen very quickly but if anyone wants to listen to, say, for the third time - if they haven’t thrown the album way by then (presenter laughs), (they) will strart picking out the different inflections and different meanings

"Get your hands off me, don’t touch me" - that comes out while she’s explaining how the angel is moving towards her. And it’s really someone encasing her in a (straight) jacket

SONG: Angel And Me

You can listen to the interview HERE


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