November 20, 2020
Fearless Records’ Not A Toy Presents Series of Live Performances At The Toy Factory & Shares Advice For ‘Tattooed Youth and Bedroom Beatmakers’
Fearless Records’ Colorado-based music collective, Not A Toy released their self-titled EP earlier this year gaining a lot of new fans worldwide. It’s impossible to categorize Not A Toy because they blend different sounds and genres together seamlessly.
Not A Toy is known for being more than just a band. Lead singer of the collective, Branson Hoog has been quoted saying that Not A Toy isn’t just a band, they’re a lifestyle of art and creation. Recently, I had a chance to catch up with Branson Hoog and drummer, Benji Spoliansky to discuss their recent projects.
I asked the pair, why it’s so important for them to be more than just a band. They emphasized that they love so many different art forms that they couldn’t exclude it from who they are as Not A Toy. We had a laugh as Spoliansky shared that “there’s already a ton of bands,” which is true. Lead vocalist, Branson Hoog says “it wasn’t something we were trying to do to let people know we were different. It’s more that it was really hard to keep the other art forms out of the music because we’re so passionate about many things. I appreciate everyone in the band’s artistic vision where it’s not just how they look at music, it’s how they look at film, color correction, fashion, all that. We just really wanted to have a project that had no rules and that’s the biggest reason we wanted to combine everything.”
Since their self-titled EP dropped in the midst of the pandemic, the group hasn’t been able to perform live shows as they would’ve liked to. That led to them creating something special to give back to their fans. This past week (November 18th, 2020), Not A Toy hosted a livestream event of them performing some of their popular hit songs. That same day, they also premiered “Live At The Toy Factory: 11.18.20” which features two completely reinvented versions of already released tracks “J Cash” and “Antidote,” and a cover of Joji’s track “Attention.” The project is now available on all streaming platforms so if you didn’t get a chance to make it to the livestream, you won’t be left out!
Hearing Not A Toy’s music and seeing them perform together, you can tell that they each bring something different to the group and create music with a sound we haven’t heard before. I spoke to Branson and Benji about what the process of creating music together is like for them. Benji says “us coming together, we still don’t really know how to write music together to be completely honest. We’re always figuring it out and I feel like every song comes together differently. Sometimes it’s just one persons idea that comes to the band and it’s 75% there and we collectively input the next 25%. It’s all over the place honestly.”
Adding onto that, Branson shares how a song comes to be, “the most common two ways are either I write an idea for lyrics and melody, I show it to the band, and then we all create the instrumental together. Or it’s on the flip side, someone individually comes up with a cool hook or beat or whatever little piece it is and then I would take it and write the lyrics. But it’s definitely collaborative, everyone in the band is crucial to the band’s sound.” The respect and admiration for each other’s craft and creativity is present throughout the group which makes their strong chemistry shine through all their projects.
I made sure to get a question in for all the young creatives who need a little inspiration especially during these unpredictable times we’re living through. I asked the guys of Not A Toy what message they have for all the ‘tattooed youth and bedroom beatmakers’ and they didn’t disappoint. Branson Hoog says “specific to the pandemic, keep your chin up and keep finding what makes you happy. Keep creating and that goes for more than just young creatives, that goes for everyone. This is such a bizarre time, an uncertain time as well. I would say to any young musicians out there, just keep trying to find little ways to push this amazing art form that we all are so passionate about. And keep finding how this generation is going to be represented by music. We’re all a part of that, no matter how big or small of a musician. Everyone making music right now is a snapshot of the 2020 generation of musicians.” The message that Branson spread is very special for everyone but especially to all creators who need that extra bit of motivation right now.