SONG: Race Through Space

DAVID DAVIES: You’re going back into the past and playing all the old songs again?

It’s the 30th anniversary of a platinum album I had called “Anthem”, which was just massive worldwide. And rather than just play "Anthem" I wanted play the build-up to it because I was such a different person back then

And also everything back then tended to be very very weird. I wanted to be weird, I wanted the lyrics to be weird, I’d dress weird, sounded weird. So I just wanted to include all three albums because I think it makes the evening more diverse.


DAVID: How did you get your break back then? We’ve got a young girl who’s come from Germany, 16, who’s playing tonight (Toyah's support act at the gig, Vera) and it’s her first chance of playing in front of a crowd

Back then and we’re talking 34 years ago the pub circuit was healthier than this kind of venue circuit. You wouldn’t play a nightclub back then, you’d play a pub. And thousands would turn up! You could do 40 dates in a tour only doing pubs and you would play to almost 120 000 people

It was ridiculous how many people you could play to. Slowly pubs have changed their position in culture. I think that makes it harder for young bands to get established. It makes it necessary tonight to have Vera on - it’s just fabulous. I don’t know how else she could get on in front of an audience without a record deal

DAVID: This is the test

This is the test. I think it’s very brave of Pete Newton as a promoter to do that. She’s doing it front of the right audience because my audience love to support the support. They are supportive of the supports. I think they’ll love her. And they will really be listening and support her which is nice

DAVID: So have you got any advice for Vera or anybody who’s trying to make it in music? What would you say?

TOYAH: Oh, God! I don’t want to be pessimistic because it’s such a difficult time. I think the saviour as well as the enemy is the internet. I think it’s so important to put yourself out there on Youtube

Pick a song that you don’t mind people listening to for free, put yourself out there. And then hopefully you’ll get enough interest that you can go to a promoter and say "I’ve had 40 000 hits on this, let me come and play your venue

DAVID: That just shows how different things are from when you made it?

TOYAH: Ah, totally different! I can’t tell you how different! Everything when I was working was word of mouth. There was no mobiles, no internet, it was purely word of mouth on the street and that was incredibly powerful

SONG: Good Morning Universe

DAVID: How’s the internet changed your career since it developed?

It’s given me complete autonomy, which I really like. That’s always suited me -

DAVID: You’re in control now rather than the record label?

Yeah. I’m in control and the other side to this is I am in my office 14 hours a day doing contracts and doing licensing. But it also means that I do mail order through the internet, I can post the video on the internet, I can put things out there that would’ve taken a three week tour 35 years ago

DAVID: Who would’ve thought that being a musician entails so much sitting down at a computer, do you know what I mean?

Oh God, yeah. And the paperwork is still there. What I am doing today with my albums took a team of 10 people two years to do 35 years ago. I can now do it all in one week

DAVID: So do you do it all on your own or do you have someone helping out?

TOYAH: I have. It’s really important that once you’ve got any form of success that you’ve got a really good bookkeeper, you’ve got to stay on top of it. Because once the taxman whiffs success they’re on top you like a –

DAVID: You can’t get away with -

Well, you can’t hide anything and you’ve just got to show that you can run it

DAVID: They’re out to get you?

TOYAH: They’re out to get you and you’re in big trouble. But I just have a team. I have a web manager, who also acts as my kind of absent PA. My web draws in a fantastic amount of work. I mean I’m well into quarter of a million on my web alone per year. I have a contact on my website for personal appearances

So my web manager runs me visibly as a PA and as a web manager and then I have a bookkeeper who is like an absolute - I was going to say she’s like a nazi but that’s not the right thing to say … but she’s really strict. I have five agents. The agents book me and do contracts but I still have the autonomy and final say. No one signs anything other than me

SONG: I Want To Be Free

DAVID: Are you happier with how the music industry is for you now than you were back in the day?

TOYAH: Well, back in the day I needed the industry. I was young, I knew nothing. All I wanted to do was to be famous and to write songs and to perform songs. I couldn’t run with the knowledge that I run the company now, it’s taken all this time to do it

I’ve learned as I’ve gone along and I’m a really keen learner. And I still don’t understand how publishing works, I really don’t understand it at all!

But also being a 52 year old there is no way I could start in the business now at my age. I work on what I am and what I’ve established through the past. I use that and I use the power that that has. And that’s going to diminish. By the time I’m sixty that’s going to diminish. So I’m making the most of it while I can

DAVID: That’s why you’re revisiting the old stuff tonight. Kind of you can’t forget where you come from? Is that what this is all about tonight?

TOYAH: Well, absolutely. I’ve sold hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of albums so I’m performing really to my age group. But also there’s a new generation of college kids out there that are discovering me thanks to people like Marina and The Diamonds and quite a few others who’ve cited me as an influence. Even the Ting Tings. So those people citing me as an influence - it’s done me so much good. So I’m doing all that material bearing all that in mind

DAVID: So what artists are you into at the moment? Is there anyone in particular that you really think is going to be the next big thing, that you’re backing up?

I’m not really good with new stuff ... I’m crap on new stuff!

DAVID: Yeah - me too!

But I’m a die-hard Muse fan. Absolutely die-hard. I tend to love most women I hear. I think there’s some fantastic women writers, women performers out there. So interesting. And I can now stand back and look at the dynamics of fame. Look at (Lady) Gaga in comparison with Madonna

Gaga is evolved as a voice and a songwriter and a person of image. So evolved. And then you look at Florence and The Machine and you look at The Diamonds, how they’re all evolving so quickly –

DAVID: Do you think this is a lot to do with artists themselves or do you think it’s the record company that’s kind of –

TOYAH: Well, it’s interesting because record companies don’t know their place at the moment. I think when you look at certain artists they’re achieving staggering fame. When you look at Adele, it is world wide fame

You get a very few artists nowadays what I call regional - just England or just Europe. The ones that tend to be just UK have come from X-factor. They don’t cross over the Atlantic

So I think how do regional artists work because I’m a regional artist, I’m mainly UK and Europe – I never crossed to America. I’m aware of my territories. But you were asking about record companies. I think they can only really deal with major major names now. I think the smaller names will -

DAVID: There’s no room for the smaller names. I think you’ve got to be the big fish now otherwise it’s hard to break on there

TOYAH: The internet I think makes the smaller fish survive, I really do. You can build your fanbase on the internet. I think there is such a thing as the pop-up gig, if you can find a pub that would take you. It could be that music will be the saviour of the pubs because pubs are closing ten a week

Perhaps if we got that as a live music circuit again, it might bring back to the music business what punk did. Punk was so instant. You could do a gig anywhere

DAVID: It was new at the time as well –

Thousands would turn up. Perhaps we need –

DAVID: We need something new and exciting that will change everything!

Absolutely. Perhaps Pete Newton’s the man!

SONG: Blue Meanings

DAVID: So you’ve worked with Pete before, haven’t you?

I did the Asylum last year and I did The Robin

DAVID: So how is it to work with Pete and (?) ?

They’re very very conscientious. I’m so touched by the fact that they’re putting Vera on tonight. I think their heart is totally in the right place. You come in, everywhere is clean, the rider is there. I can’t tell you!

They’re the only people that put the rider out in the dressing room. They’re good and they’re positive and you see them. I mean often I do a gig and you don’t see the promoter

DAVID: I know exactly what you’re talking about

TOYAH: Good luck to them because I think they love music and you really need to working with people who love music and who aren’t exploiting you. They definitely love their music


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