Back on track with our artist discoveries today we bring you I Ya Toyah!
I Ya Toyah is a Chicago based independent musician that blends the chaos and balance with a familiar vibe of industrial electronica sound. Her music melts the smooth, cutting edge vocals, surreal guitars, hypnotizing beats and multiple electronic synth elements into dark arrangements that, combined with storytelling lyrics, respond to the paranoia of everyday reality.
The debuting single Code Blue was released on May 25th and got great feedback from both music industry professionals and the audience. Besides being positively reviewed by publications such as Brutal Resonance and Dark Life Experience, the song was also featured on the Rock Rage Radio and WKQX - Chicago's legendary Q 101 radio station. Code Blue now appears on a couple of Spotify playlists (Punchy Kick, Battle Royale by We Are Triumphant, 2018 Chicago Sound Check Vol. 5, ModulatorUK Dark/Futuristic and more.
I contacted her for a little interview in order to discover more about her music and persona.
How will you describe your sound?
My sound is a mix of industrial, electronica and rock influenced by 90's music era. Some other sounds include goth inspirations. My music is definitely dark both sound and lyric wise. When it comes to my voice, it has been described as 'a pissed off Lady Gaga'.
What can you tell us about your musical influences?
I'm inspired by a whole lot of different artists. My musical tastes and therefore the sound was definitely shaped by the music of NiN, Depeche Mode, Muse, Chris Cornell with Soundgarden and Audioslave, Crystal Method and more. My vocal style takes from Aretha Franklin, Sade, all the way to Guano Apes' Sandra Nasić, Garbage, Cory Taylor, Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano, In This Moment's Maria Brink, and a ton more. I'm heavily influenced by the grunge era, by 90's sounds, and just dark themed music in general.
What is your main goal as a musician?
I want to connect through my music, with people who lived through similar shit that I experienced, those who tasted darkness up close, maybe learned to live with it, maybe still struggling, trying to find the way. I wanna be able to play live and tour both US and Europe at some point as well. It's challenging, as I'm still prepping my live show- it's a lot of tech work, tech knowledge. Also, I definitely have a deep need to help increase the awareness of suicide prevention and mental health importance- 15% of my physical album sales are going to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. I wanna be able to keep creating-writing and producing music to share it.
What drove you to become a musician?
Passion. Since I can remember. I was singing before I talked hehe. In Poland, as a couple years old child, I'd use a broom and run around home singing and imagining it's my microphone. When I was 5, I picked up my big sister's guitar and learned basic stuff. Later I'd go to music school to study music. I'm very emotional and writing lyrics and music helps me deal with stuff, it's sort of a therapy. But nothing can compare to live performance, when this energy between the audience and stage is so strong it feeds me for weeks after. It's crazy. It's addictive. It's love. So I have no choice but to be a musician.
How do you approach the challenge of being musicians in 2018?
I work restlessly - I'm a DIY girl, I love doing things around music and music business. I never thought I'd be writing, recording and producing my stuff- not to mention trying to pull the whole performance on my own- I've been a band girl before, normal, you know, with band practices, going to studio to record, etc. It's challenging to be a musician today, but I think we shouldn't focus on the hard part- there is so much positive energy coming from doing all this work, it is priceless. I always say that I'd choose the most fucked up day in music reality over the best day ever outside of it. This is how I approach it.
What can you tell us about the highlights of your career?
In all the ups and downs, I sort of feel on the highlight right now. I feel rewarded just to see how well the first single, Code Blue, did. I got positive reviews by both the audience and industry professionals, got on the big Chicago Radio, WKQX known as Q101, is now featured on some prominent Spotify playlists and is part of industrial dark music compilations. And it's just the beginning- I could talk about my past bands' glories but now I'm here to do this thing, one girl thing. Excited about what future brings!
What are your future plans?
I'm going to release the second single: Farewell- Mirrors Don't Lie, on July 27th. With that release I'm also tweaking my live show preps, it honestly is a ton of work but I love it and am getting closer. The full album release is coming on October 26th, but I'll have a little music surprise before that release, in September so keep your eyes and ears open for that. The release show will take place in November- I'll have date soon, and other dates following. Next year will be active with more writing and playing here in US, and I'm thinking to hit Europe and my country, Poland, at some point as well- I'll definitely stay busy and keep you all updated on stuff, so make sure you check my website and subscribe to get the news as they come!
Farewell - Mirrors Don't Lie, out on July 27th. All the singles are going to be available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, Pandora, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Reverbnation.
Stay tuned to Modulator Records for our weekly updates on new discoveries, album reviews, and video premieres.
Join me and help IYaToyah to push the boundaries of dark electronic music.
Don't forget to check out I Ya Toyah social network and share if you like! Music is freedom!