Great to see that Shiny Toy Guns, the Los Angeles-based foursome of Carah Faye (vocals), Chad Petree (vocals, guitar), Jeremy Dawson (synth, bass) and Mikey Martin (drums) are about to make what will surely be a victorious return. What ever happened among the group back in ’06 when their Grammy-nominated debut, We Are Pilots (released in 2005) was causing a lot of chatter in EDM culture circles seems to be a thing of the past. Their new album, III sees the original four members back together again doing their thing on their first album in almost four years. “We learned that you have to know what’s important to you, and what battles you’re willing to fight,” Faye says. “Most of all we learned you have to take care of your relationships.”
We caught up with Shiny Toy Guns and tossed out a few questions to them. We talk about character, style, lessons learned, commonly held societal beliefs, being involved in conflicts, the paranormal and supernatural, the secret to ones success and a whole bunch of other random topics.
exclusive EDM download:
Waiting Alone (LA Riots Remix) by STG2012
They played this music that literally scared the shit out of me, I had never heard it before…After being scared that night, I listened every night until they cancelled the show. And I knew that was the direction and vibe I was to become as an artist.
What percentage of your skills were you born with?
Carah Faye: Since I was a child I was told that my gift was entertaining people. Not just singing or dancing or performing, but just in the overall sense of entertaining people and making them feel good.
How did you go about acquiring additional skills?
Jeremy Dawson: My parents forced me to take piano lessons at age 4. For many, many years till it became a part of who I was, like brushing your teeth or tying a shoe. I resented it in my teen years, but now I'm pretty happy about it. Otherwise I would have been a damn good plumber. One who plumbs, professionally.
Favor us with a moment in life that changed the course of, or defined, your sonic aesthetic.
JD: I would say it was one late night in Shawnee, OK where Chad and I are from. I was listening to a local pop radio station in my bed when this midnight Sunday show came on called "Underground Lounge" with "Stage Whitmyere.” I was a young child and the year was 1991. They played this music that literally scared the shit out of me, I had never heard it before. Bands like Blur, Lush, The Cure, Jesus Jones and James. After being scared that night, I listened every night until they cancelled the show. And I knew that was the direction and vibe I was to become as an artist. Not specifically the style or sound of those exact bands I heard that night, but simply to go completely against what played on that station in the middle of the day, and do the best job of breaking the sonic skills I possibly could.
Speak about the hierarchy of skill (craftsmanship), style (your unique aesthetic) and emotive content in your work—and/or in the work of those you admire.
JD: We spend entirely too much time being perfectionists in all of these areas. Since we are a band that not only writes all of our own music but we additionally produce and basically mix all of our work, it's incredibly personal and emotional from the embryonic conception of each song all the way to the final mastering and release adoption to our fans.
As for others, we admire those who also just live and bleed for their music. There are so many that take care like this. I would rather list some of the newer bands out there now that we are admiring... Beach House, Charli XCX, College, Grimes, Purity Ring.
If you were to describe your sound as a scent, a signature fragrance as it were, what would it be called?
CF: "Flowerbomb" by Victor Wolf.
What about a tagline ?
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
JD: We would fly away into the sky and burns into ashes in the upper atmosphere; floating back in a cloud of grey … scattered over the Atlantic where porpoises leap into the air and catch them in their blowholes. I think he would understand a little bit of what we try to sound like from that maybe?
If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?
Chad: No we wouldn't have learned what not to do had we not already done it.
What’s the secret to your success? We will accept any secret if you have not yet found the former—i.e. success.
JD: A complete obsession with moving forward and outward.
What was your favorite toy as a child?
Mikey: My GI-Joes. And I would still be playing with them today but I brought them to the beach when I was little and this evil seagulls who clearly worked for Cobra Commander stole all of them and took them out into the ocean and drowned them.
Describe a moment of what may or may not have been “paranoia” in your life.
JD: All four of us have massive anxiety attacks frequently. In the end, it’s usually just a result of past trauma on a personal and sometimes private level. Sometimes it was "true," sometimes just the idea of something actually possibly becoming true in the future causes the paranoia.
Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal?
JD: Yes actually. Chad and I used to rehearse in this old abandoned piano showcase room in Oklahoma. It was quite haunted. Late at night, in the still dead of winter, these floating balls of light would move through the walls and then zip away into the ceiling. Happened several times. It was very moving and freaky.
My life will be more difficult until I meet and fall in love with someone who has not lived in the city of Los Angeles for more than 5 years.
What’s the most disturbing event you’ve bore witness to?
JD: May 3rd 1999 when I watched many die right in front me chasing an EF5 tornado through Moore Oklahoma.
Talk about the most hectic conflict that you’ve been involved in.
Chad: When I was riding a big wheel when I was a kid I got hit by a car. I landed in someone’s front yard … somehow I didn't break a bone or anything, so in the end I was positioned as a lucky bustard.
Do you think there are any commonly held societal beliefs that are false?
JD: Drugs are bad for you. Especially Bath Salts.
How will you feel six months after your heart stops beating?
JD: I won't care about anything south of the sun; I will be in a super happy place.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever learned?
JD: Don't ever trust a girl that has spent more than 5 years in the city of Los Angeles.
How did it make your life easier—or more difficult?
JD: My life will be more difficult until I meet and fall in love with someone who has not lived in the city of Los Angeles for more than 5 years.
Does character invent style or does your style invent character? Or is there a mysterious X factor only you are privy to?
JD: Life and the people around you are the hands on the clay. Character is developed from the ability of your parents and the world around you from age 4-14. It’s all a very delicate elevator that you must remember to stop on every floor on your way up. If you take the express elevator, you will miss out on the ability to get back down to the bottom without falling face down at 500mph.
The below 6 minute and 45 second short film titled “#Loverunner” was conceptualized by Faye and Dawson and directed by Luke Eberl and Edgar Morais. “#Loverunner” finds a girl (Carah), running cross-country from Los Angeles to New York City in a quest to join the love of her life, overcoming daunting obstacles posed by a mysterious evil figure. During the making of the video, the band covered almost 6,000 miles through 22 states over 24 days, filming at such landmarks as the Grand Canyon, Pike’s Peak, the Alamo and the Empire State Building.