IN 2023

From the DVD of The Changeling Reissue 2023

TOYAH: 1981 ended on such a high. It was the ultimate point in our lives at that particular time. It was extraordinary but we were really exhausted. We were exhausted by the sheer amount of people who needed to talk to us, be with us. We needed to do things. I remember in the lead up to Drury Lane the little things like signing 10,000 Christmas cards, and only having a week to do it in and also doing eight to 14 interviews a day and concerts. Dealing with an incredibly cold winter.

I know just before Drury Lane we played Milan, and we were outside. We were in a tent but it was still outside and this was December '81. I can remember the band could not physically feel their hands.

Every band will tell you that when success comes a great deal of pressure comes with it. And you do want to please everyone and not let anyone down and don't let yourself down.

So by the time we did the last number at Drury Lane (below), and we all retired upstairs for a drink at the bar it was a massive release. Well, yeah, I suppose that's a Freudian slip - it was a massive release. But it was also a relief that we were going to have a breather.

The year before, exactly 12 months before, we made “Four From Toyah” with “It’s A Mystery”, “Revelations” and “War Boys” so we didn't have Christmas off. We knew that we were going to have until the New Year off and then we had to start the next album.

We were in a state of elated exhaustion. But also retrospectively looking back we didn't have the luxury of time that we had to write “Anthem” in. The pressure was really, really on. The pressure was on Joel. We were being pushed into new technology with digital recording. We had to explore all of that.

We did know very early in the year that we wanted Steve Lillywhite on the project, because all through touring around Europe, through Germany, all we ever played was Steve Lillywhite’s production music from Peter Gabriel, right through to everything else he was producing at that time. We knew we wanted to work with him but we hadn't got one song written.

So finishing the year with Drury Lane was the happiest time of my life but also we were staring into the abyss because we weren't quite sure what was going to come and what was happening. But one thing we really did know is we wanted to up the age of our audience. There was no pressure on us whatsoever.

We kind of had creative respect, but there was a lot of dynamics going on that made the creative flow very, very difficult. We were having management problems. I can't remember exactly what those problems were - whether it was creative pressure, or just distraction.

But it was a big problem for me and Joel. Halfway through recording “The Changeling” we changed management. We had to. Joel ended up hating the manager. I felt harassed by the management. You've got to remember back then a woman was almost an object. You were pushed around. You were manhandled. I remember going alone into a management meeting and I was told to pack a suitcase. I was never leaving that office and I was never going back home to my boyfriend.

So there were very extreme situations going on. I don't feel that anyone was interfering with the creative process because Joel and I really made a very solid decision that we wanted to be a bit more of an adult band than the audience we won over with “Anthem”. There's also the positivity in that we were going to take that age group with us as they grew older. So we were consciously avoiding pop. That was a decision we both made.

At this time Phil Spalding, the bass player, was very much part of the band. (Keyboardist) Adrian Lee left the band just as we started recording to start his solo work and he met his wife Lorna Wright. Simon Phillips came on board, which was an absolute blessing.

Simon had the airy, creative openness that we were craving so badly, that we’d experienced with “Sheep Farming In Barnet”, with “Blue Meaning” and with “Anthem”. He just brought the joy of youth back into the room.

So I'd say that the pressures we were under when we were doing “The Changeling” were dynamics. There was a huge problem with dynamics around both me and Joel. Joel prewrote most of the music on a four track recorder and he didn't involve me. I can't remember whether this was because I was making a programme called “Dear Heart” for the BBC. I just wasn't available because of the endless interviews.

What I will say we never had that time in a studio, in a rehearsal room with a band, to play the music in. We never had that time. That is a problem with success. So that could have isolated Joel in his creativity, which meant, again, similar to “Anthem” I laid the top lines and the lyric lines over the top of what Joel had written.

So by the time we got into the studio, Joel and Steve Lillywhite (below with Toyah) already had quite a pronounced relationship. I felt really isolated from that relationship. I think Steve Lillywhite wasn't a female producer. That said I think the production he did was absolutely amazing. But it's taken me a good 30 years to address this album and revisit this album - just because I was in a really bad place.

There were other things going on. My brother was one of the very few Harrier fighter pilots ever to have successfully be trained. The Falkland war broke out and the whole of my family were having sleepless nights that he was going to be called up. That affected me very, very badly.

So there's all these dynamics going on, that weren't friendly dynamics, within 1982. So, I wasn't going to war, I wasn't sending a son to war, but the energy caused by Thatcher and the Falklands War was destroying lives.

Joel and I really wanted to write something quite deep and wanted to avoid pop and in retrospect, I think that year really needed the lightness of pop. But what we did do, I think, is a really substantial body of work at that time.

In the writing process of “The Changeling” I didn't gel immediately with what Joel was writing. Joel wanted to make the songs much more complex. He comes from a background of loving jazz, and being very accomplished in that field. I came from a background of learning on my feet through punk and musical development was a lot harder for me. I'm a top line writer. I'm a lyricist. I hear melodies in my head but it doesn't mean I hear the complexities of key relationships and all of that.

Joel was presenting me with songs that really demanded a lot more from me as a writer. Because of that you've got the blessing of growing and broadening in the process, but it's also a painful process. So with things like “Castaways” he went back to what is almost a similar structure to “IEYA”, where the verses alternate being longer than the one before.

With “Castaways” every verse was longer than the one before. So when I was writing that lyric I had to have a continuity of story to justify that verse being two bars longer. So that's much more demanding.

When I sat down to write “Anthem” I was being slimmed down by the industry. I was actively on diet pills to be below a certain weight for Top Of The Pops every week. I would take my diet pill and write the lyric. I'd be in absolute 7th heaven because the whole of that thing that the amphetamine was carrying me along. By the time we got to “The Changeling” I had to move from my heart as a writer into my head.

I'm always creative through movement, because movement unlocks my creativity purely on a very basic level. It makes my synapses work as a dyslexic. I was having to use a kind of academic part of my brain that has always been underdeveloped because of dyslexia, and it made it a lot harder for me.

But looking back when you look at the imagery and the depth of the lyrics and the journey Joel took musically, I actually think this is one of the most substantial albums of my career because of that difficulty and that stretching. I suppose people do it. They'll run the extra kilometre when they're training. They'll lift that extra weight when they're training. For me I had to go beyond my comfort zone in a big way.

The history of 1982 affected the writing very, very deeply. Looking back, you can just see it all. The need for escapism, with things like “Castaways”. The examining of druid culture in “The Druids”. “The Angel & Me”, the examining of my own sanity under this pressure.

It was a very deep, dark year of, I think, my generation, who always expected a Cold War, suddenly seeing a real physical war. None of us wanted it and none of us relished or enjoyed these people fighting over this island. It was just ridiculous. It affected everything.

I don't voice myself through politics, I voice myself through emotions. That's what came out in my writing - deeply emotional things. With “Creepy Room” I think what it was about was the absolute anger I was feeling of the industry and almost the opinion of other artists of being unsupportive at a time that wasn't very politically correct. And me just going “I'm different to you. So fucking what?!”. “Creepy Room” is about allowing the demonic forces in and just being badly behaved as a form of protection.

The decisions at this time were mainly by Joel and myself. We were still the driving force within the whole of the project and how the band went forward. We've always loved Steve Lillywhite’s work because of the journey of the musicianship and the journey of the vocals. When you listen to Peter Gabriel's first two solo albums - which are politically brilliant, but they've also sonically never been bettered.

We felt that Steve Lillywhite would be the right person to put us in front of the original punks we played for in “Sheep Farming” and with the sophistication of “Blue Meaning”. We wanted to bring that audience back into auditorium as it were. We felt that Lillywhite was the only person that could have done this.

What we didn't realise is really how instrumental Peter Gabriel was in his own albums. I know Peter now. My husband, Robert Fripp worked with Peter. Peter is someone that will wipe an entire track. He’ll wipe entire album if it isn't sonically right. He will allow himself to take five years to write an album. We had three weeks to write an album and another three weeks to record it. That put us all under pressure.

Another pressure that added to this is we went digital, which is a far harsher, unforgiving sound than anything we were ever used to. It was harsher for the vocalist. I suppose it's like someone hearing their voice for the first time. They never like what they hear. Suddenly, with digital you have this hard edge sound, which I found very uninspiring. I found it brutal. It was brutalist in everything that we put to the digital machine.

There was also another problem that every time I was near it, it would break. I have this strange thing about me. I break watches, I break phones, apps will just go crazy when I'm near them. These machines - I got banned from being in that corner of the studio.

So I would have to walk into the studio, circumnavigate around the master desk and just stay as far away from the recording material as I could. The people who built the track system said that I have some magnetic relationship. This used to happen near the 24 track as well, that if I went too close it would blank the tape.

So I just had to stay away, which was really alienating. People were firstly seeing me as someone who has stay at the far side of the room, and secondly is the artist. So it's very bizarre to be banished from your own creative processes. Another technical thing that I found quite difficult in the very beginning was we were recording at the Roundhouse studios. There's one huge main studio, then a narrow corridor, down about six steps and then you're in this big live room.

So in the beginning, I had to stay in the live room to not break the recording system. So I was having to communicate through the class and eventually they'd let me into the room when we had enough tracks down. So all of that kind of alienation really ate at me as a creative process and having not had the live rehearsal room process to play the tracks in. I was genuinely struggling on this album as a singer.

What the technology affected for me was I couldn't experiment the way we did on the other previous albums. The previous albums had so much joyous experimentation. “Let's try this backing vocal. Let’s try this sound.” We just didn't dare do it. We were eating up so much time with breakdowns in the studio. Going back to “Anthem” what (the producer) Nick Tauber would do was give us, in the headphones, the fully produced track.

So you've got this rich, beautiful event coming into your ears. What we had with “The Changeling” was harsh, brittle, almost painful to listen to. It was the raw sound.

So if I wanted to try something with the backing vocal ... it just fell flat. It never lifted. There was very little experience on “The Changeling” album when I listened to something. That lifting, that emotional lifting of the spirit just held you up. In fact, as an experience of performing that album, I've only ever felt that lifting in this millennium when we've actually performed it live.

You feel that the arrangement of “Castaways” and the build actually lifts you as a performer. “Angel & Me” lifts you as a performer. “The Packt” - I mean my God (what it's like) to perform that live! I've only experienced that emotional lift in the live performance. Never in the studio. It was very strange.

In 1981 the band dynamic was beautiful. Everyone in that band was family. Adrian Lee, Phil Spalding, Nigel Glockler (drums), Joel. We were just so happy. Nigel Glockler got approached by Saxon and Joel and I feel that the management were not supportive. The management were gearing me up to become a front solo singer and we were no longer a band.

Adrian Lee I think had to make a really difficult decision to move forward as an independent artist, an individual artist, who could also produce. I think the management weren't supportive to him and he just broke free.

Also, Joel writing everything pre the album musically on a four track and not really inviting the others in to contribute to the music. It was like “this is what I want, this is what it is”. It meant the others felt even more like a backing band. What saved our morale, I think, was the arrival of Simon Phillips, who arrived with a great big open heart.

He was a beautiful replacement for Nigel Glockler because Simon had this vast array of equipment, vast array of creative ideas. He lifted life into the demo tracks and we could see how they were going to work live. I've never ever been 100% comfortable in the studio anyway. I feel music when I'm performing live, but Simon Phillips made those tracks work.

Having guest players on the album was really uplifting and exciting because they brought in outside influences. There was a feeling within the mixing room, which didn't feel like Abbey Road. It didn't feel like Marquee Studios. It didn't feel like the Battle Studios. It felt like a dead room and that is what studios are. They're dead rooms. I need ambience. I need natural reverberation.

So when guests players came in, like Andy Clark and The Haircut 100 boys on brass, they brought in outside life. This is the album also that reconnected me to Simon Darlow, who I started as a songwriter with and have been writing songs with ever since and will continue in that partnership. The outside people brought in very necessary outside positivity at that time.

I was able to undergo vocal training during that album because I wanted to expand my abilities as a performer. I studied opera at school so opera wasn't new to me, but the training of the voice was so it didn't get destroyed while touring, because it's very common for singers to just give over 100% per night and not have anything for the next night. So it was really important to train. I think what it would have done is anchored me down to the beat and I always used to sing across rhythms and sing across beats.

I mean for goodness sake if you look at “Victims Of The Riddle” and you look at “Sheep Farming In Barnet” I'm not keeping basic timing. I'm just moving with how I am emotionally moved. With “The Changeling” and also working with Adrian Lee, because Adrian Lee started to anchor me down on “Anthem” and with “Thunder In The Mountains” - I was starting to place myself as a singer within the structured bars and the vocal training really helped me do that. It helped me have confidence in my singing.

But I have to say while singing on “The Changeling” what I was working to in the cans was impossible for me. It just was impossible. I can't remember who the engineer was but up until that point I was working with engineers who understood what a singer needed. I wasn't getting it through the cans so I ended up singing as best I could from memory from rehearsing in the morning. It’s as simple as that and that can happen. It happened to me on “Desire” as well.

I never got what I needed in the cans to amount to what the finished track would sound like. So it's working to kind of basic sound structures. A really great singer, who knows the song really well, could sing just to the drumbeat. But I was singing to new material I'd never performed live so I needed more information. It was just challenging.

Going back to “Anthem” that was an album that inspired quite a few European writers. There was a book that came out, a French writer and it's called “The Fury”. He dedicated it to me and to the lyrics of “Jungles Of Jupiter.” So there was always a lot of interest in what I was writing with filmic people. Films constantly are going into development that never get made. So I wouldn't say I was writing for a horror film or writing ever for stage production. I was writing what the music inspired in me and made me feel.

So let's look at “The Packt”, which is the most perfect song for a horror film. It's a very dramatic piece of music that I was presented with. Very structured that completely made me see in my head good against evil. The battle of oneself within oneself, voices in the head and the battle of being a woman in this industry. So within “The Packt” there's this story going on of the devil killing femininity.

The evening it was written I was in a health farm. I locked myself away to do the lyric writing so that I could just be away from my home environment, which was not good at that time. There was a massive storm going on. It was about nine at night and doors were blowing open. At one point the windows actually blew open. The storm was that bad. It was a spooky room. That kind of lent to the information and the colour and the imagery within “Angel & Me” and “The Packt”.

I have no idea why only one single came out because the album sold really really well. It was about this time that Joel and I felt that we were receiving disinformation. It could also be about this time that (the record label) Safari was moving into First Night Records which was all about Western musicals.

I think we just weren't a priority anymore. It's very, very strange, that time, because we had to find new management and then eventually, I think two years later, we left Safari and I went with CBS Portrait. It was just a difficult year. It was a difficult year for everyone.

When you look at the album single wise, I'm not sure what could have been another single off that album. “Brave New World” was actually a very brave choice because it's a very adult song when you look at the history of my singles. It's a very grown up song. It’s beautiful. My goodness when we play it live today the audience go crazy. “Castaways” could possibly have been a single. “Run Wild, Run Free” could have been a single. It would have been very brave to release “Angel & Me”.

I just don't think the team who promoted the album and the record label understood the album. It went on to inspire many, many new bands. Joel’s sounds on that album - you can hear the influence in U2. You can hear the influence in other bands that followed it. It's a very inspirational album. I think it was at a time and people didn't know what to do with it.

Creating the imagery for the single artwork was really great fun. I loved it. I was in a good, creative, ongoing relationship with (hairdresser) Robert Lobetta, who created the hair. We wanted to move away from the pink hair pictures and the crop hair pictures. We wanted to go in a far more extreme image environment.

We brought in Carolyn Cowan, who was a watercolour artist but also a makeup artist. She came up with this idea from having heard the track and me telling her it's about breaking away and starting again and it’s all about new beginnings and trusting the future so the future can come and find you.

She had this idea of my face being the sky and putting clouds on and painting birds on. She did that as an actual watercolorist. She did it in real time. It took 12 hours. We didn't shoot until late in the afternoon. So Robert Lobetta created the hair, Carolyn Cowan created the face and we shot it, I think, literally in an hour.

I wanted some extra shots. I wanted something that kind of broke the mould of just having head and shoulders. So I said “can we go outside and just improvise with the camera and just mess all this up? So that it's not so precious and not so pristine.”

So we found an alleyway and we found all this rubbish that hadn't been collected. We threw it in a pile and I just dived into this pile of rubbish as if I'd been thrown away and discarded. The whole physical idea of this was I was a doll and the doll had been discarded. The child had grown up and didn't want this doll anymore and threw it away.

That's how we got the back cover. The day was just fabulous. It was so wonderful to kind of recreate and go through all of that process. We were a really good team.

But by the time the single came out, “Brave New World”, we knew the concept of the album and obviously “The Changeling”. Not fitting in, not being accepted, being an outsider, which is very much the entire theme of the whole album. Standing outside of the opinion of others and living by their received opinion.

It's part of the punk ideal of standing outside, but it's also - I found as a woman, and as a woman who didn't look like a supermodel - I was constantly on the end of received opinion and mockery. So “The Changeling” is like saying “well ... you think I don't have value, but the changeling has greater knowledge than you.”

So it was me just being really defiant. When it came to creating the idea of the video I wanted to really play on the concept of this. We had to shoot on Hastings beach about seven in the morning so my makeup went on at midnight, because we did what's called a 24 hour shoot.

We put the makeup on in the studio in Wandsworth, then we drove to Hastings. The idea was that I had to walk backwards into the sea so that film could be reversed so it looked as though I was coming out of the sea completely dry to give my character otherworldliness.

We then had to drive really fast to get to the studio in Wandsworth to shoot that really short sequence of me walking across two islands, across water and I'm surrounded by white rabbits because we only had Battersea Power Station for one hour. So the crew had to be a double crew that went ahead. So we have one crew in the studio and the second crew was setting up at Battersea Power Station.

I wanted to be seen riding on this very large white horse even though I had no riding lessons. I think I've only ever been on a horse once before and I just had to brave it. I couldn't say “I need a bit of time on this horse”. So the horse hadn't been fed and they put the horse box with the hay in about 500 yards away and it just bolted so the camera had to keep up with me.

By the end of that sequence I'm actually shouting into camera “how do I stop this!?” Get me off his fucking horse! I'm out of control! I don't know what to do!” And then we went back to the studio and finished off the cityscape shots. So it's a long day but it is a fantastic video.

(The photographer) Bob Carlos Clarke was a huge inspiration to me. His work was dark, it was experimental. It had depth of field like no other depth of field. He also would hand tint and I just really liked that he could probably take me into a different space. He was complex to work with. He always felt very pressured by life and let's face it, he ended his own life.

So he was complex to work with but utterly brilliant. I said to him I wanted to be the outcast within the cover. I've been outcast, I've been banished from the society thus the castle in the background. I just want to be the rebel outside of everybody else's lives.

So he came up with the concept of sitting on the rock. We also arranged together having the horns made and I think (make-up artist) Pru Walters might have come in for the body painting on this. I don't think it was Carolyn. We just set about making it happen. It was one of the worst days of my life because he did something to me that I think in today's society you wouldn't do to anyone.

When I arrived he took me into a room with his book collection and said "have a look at this". It was a book on everyone who'd been beheaded by the guillotine and it was a before and after book.

In that moment I died. I'm an empath. I tune into people. I experience what they experience. And in that moment I died. It took me years to come back from that moment. We then went and shot the cover and I was in a very bad place. No one could understand. There's there was no one I could tell. There was no one in my life I could talk to and I was haunted by this for a very long time.

So as usual I get up, brush myself off and I'm a survivor and I get on with my life. But I would easily say that was the worst day of my life and we had to move on from there. It just took a long time to get back from where that imagery put me.

The title for me came from the discovery of folklore and within folklore what a changeling is. A changing was a child that was swapped in the cradle. The fairy folk would go into a home and take a baby and swap it for one of their kind. A changeling. That just really related to everything I felt about life.

I had a very difficult relationship with my mother. She very famously within our family, when I was born - and I was conceived and born in the same bed at home - she said to the midwife “this is not my child”. And she would tell people “this is not my child.”

It wasn't until I actually became successful in 1980 that she accepted me as a human being. So “The Changeling” came from how I was brought up. I had a mother who had me exorcised when I was 14. She had me put in religious education when I was 14.

She thought, because I was never christened, that I was possessed and she was just absolutely convinced that there was something very wrong with me. That's where the title comes from (laughs)

I had no strength of conviction of what was coming out. I think it was a very masculine environment. I had no one I could talk to. There was no empaths on that album. I certainly didn't talk to Simon Phillips even though he was a great friend. I put all the onus on myself that I was in a bad place. I had conviction in what I was writing as a lyricist. But my confidence was eroded by lack of positive feedback.

When Simon Darlow came into the studio, it was just a ray of sunshine. Because he came in knowing me and knowing how I work as a writer and how I work as a singer and that was really gorgeous. But what I will say is yes, I was in a dark place. I don't have happy memories of that album but it is a bloody astonishing album and I think Steve Lillywhite did an incredible job.

But you have to remember things were happening to me. During this time the isolation was tremendous. I was told to come in at 5.30 one day to put a vocal on and Joel (above with Toyah) and Steve Lillywhite didn't arrive until about seven. They’d been out to dinner with their girlfriends and hadn't told me.

I was just sitting, waiting in an empty studio. It was emotionally a very, very difficult time. There were dynamics going on that I couldn't articulate or understand. But I'm a fighter and not a loser. So it just made me a stronger person.

I do look at “The Changeling” very, very differently. It's still a very painful album to visit. It's like when I wrote The Humans’ “Sugar Rush”. My father had just passed away and all the grief is in this very brilliant album. But it takes me right back there. With “The Changeling“ performing it and listening to it takes me right back there.

The bridge that has bridged me to this body of work are my fans and what it means to my fans. You cannot ignore the fans opinions because they live something from your life experience and they give it a new interpretation. So I just know that this album is incredibly important to my loyal fans who have stayed with me for 45 years and that is why I respect this.

The extraordinary thing about touring this album in 1982 was the effect it was having on live audiences. So even though it was a difficult album to make and I was living terrified of losing my brother to the Falkland war … the live shows were iridescently brilliant. We had Simon Phillips on drums. The pedigree that brought to this band was amazing, but to actually have the dynamics of a song like “Angel & Me” and the audience loving that song.

Performing “Castaways”, which lifted the whole energy within the auditorium. Performing “The Packt”, which the audience love the sheer storytelling and drama of. The touring was much happier as an experience that year than the making of the album.

Performing the songs live I have utter respect and so much respect for Steve Lillywhite. Nothing has changed my emotional journey while performing them. I'm profoundly uncomfortable with that album. But you've got writers who would have chopped their fingers off writing a book and yet it's their best seller.

I totally understand that within creativity ... creativity doesn't have to be easy as long as the end process has an audience and the end result has an audience. I have utter respect for everything about this time in my life.


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