INTERVIEW: Get to Know LA Mood Pop Duo, Toyko
LA duo Toyko broke into the scene early in 2017 with the help of Reddit followed by their first single, "Stronger Love," and with their genre bending sound and a drive to continue releasing great new music, this certainly won't be the last time you hear their name this year. Sonically, Toyko's Matt and Zac seamlessly blend elements of pop, hip-hop, electronic and rock into their sound, making each new song a unique journey. With a handful of songs out now, the duo is gearing up to release their debut EP later this summer. Until then, they're tiding listeners over with their most recent single, "Beautiful." Listen to the new track and learn about Toyko now below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Toyko for any readers who might not be familiar?
Over the last few years Matt and I have been doing songwriting and production in Los Angeles but lots of the tracks we made never saw the light of day. We started Toyko as an outlet to share our music with the world! We consider ourselves pretty versatile genre wise and like to fuse a bit of electronic, pop, hip-hop, and rock into all of our records.
Around the beginning of 2017, you shared your story and posted some rough demos on reddit, where you gained quite a bit of support. Did you expect any sort of positive feedback to the songs back then?
Honestly not at all. After work one day I randomly replied to a thread on /r/AskReddit and the post ended up with 1k+ upvotes. I had just given a bit of a background into my life as a musician and people started asking to hear music. I ended up sharing four Toyko demos and they got around 10k plays over 12 hours. It was a really crazy response! I got a few hundred messages from people saying how much they liked the songs and encouraged me to keep pushing it. A few months later we launched Toyko but that initial Reddit response was not just a surprise but a reaffirmation that we should start releasing our own content independently.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned from previous projects that you’ve taken into this one?
You know we've worked with countless artists, songwriters and producers and every interaction has brought us closer to where we are now. It's tough to say exactly what the take aways have been since every artist project is such a unique set of variables. We knew before we began though that Toyko was going to be based 100% around quality records. Our philosophy is that if we can meet our own expectations with a record then it is good enough to be released to the public. We look forward to building our Socials and putting together a live show for the future, but right now its all about writing/releasing as much good music as we possibly can.
Flash forward a few months, and you’ve released a few more songs, including “Like What I Like.” At the beginning of the year, did you imagine that you’d find yourself where you are now?
To be honest, yes. We told ourselves before we started Toyko that if we were going to do an artist project we would have to go in with the mindset that this would be, at a minimum, a 2-5 year endeavor. We had no clue how the music was going to be received but regardless we were going to keep putting out tracks. Its great that some people have been tuning in and are along for the ride because we have no plans of slowing down.
What inspired “Like What I Like”?
You know we didn't really set out to make this track, it kind of just wrote itself. Matt had written the chords to it and I started throwing around vocal ideas. Within the first few takes I had tried out the 'Like What I Like' idea and we kept it as a placeholder. As the song kept evolving we realized that it made a great theme for the song and wrote the rest of the lyrics around that line. It turned into this sorta indie-pop track with the lyric focussing on individualism and standing up for your own interests.
Later this summer, you’ll be releasing your debut EP - are there any goals you’ve had in mind for those songs?
Yes, we are almost done with the EP and are looking at an August release for that! All the songs fit into these sorta "mood pop" realm that we've been experimenting with. I think all the songs are super strong and work really well together. We are very excited to get this EP out into the world.
Could listeners expect to hear some more new music soon?
Of course! We are continuing with a single a month for the indefinite future, along with the August EP release! There will be a few more surprises along with all those releases.
What would you like fans to be able to take away from your music?
You know we work really hard on our songs and we are always pushing ourselves to work outside of our comfort, experimenting with new styles and techniques. Hopefully people can listen and take that kind of energy and apply it in their own lives.
Do you have any other big plans for 2017?
For the time being, our primary focus is on the music!