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A Dirty Dozen with ANIA of I YA TOYAH – January 2019

| 2 January 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Chicago, Illinois-based Electronic/Industrial artist I YA TOYAH is pleased to announce the release of their debut full-length album, CODE BLUECODE BLUE takes you on an intimate journey through the chapters of inner darkness and struggle, caused by social distortions, depression and suicidal nature. Consisting of ten tracks, debut album reflects the story that is deeply personal, revealing the residue of tragedies that touched I Ya Toyah in her own life.” We get Ania to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Code Blue is an album focusing on mental health, social distortions and darkness. It’s also my debut album meaning it is filled with experimentation and testing the limits while staying in the spectrum of my musical preferences. What’s worth noting though is that I wrote, recorded and produced at at home studio by myself. Mix/master part was done by Brad Pack of Punchy Kick, but outside of it it is ‘the vision come to life’ from start to end. There is one hidden nugget- at the very end of “Farewell- Mirrors Don’t Lie” my dog barked crazy and I kept it; it is barely noticeable as there are other things layered there, but it’s present, haha

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve always knew I had music in me, and so did my family. I started music academy as a very young child. This education was interrupted at the age of 12 when I was in terrible car crash coming home from my guitar and piano evening classes. I barely survived this. After being in coma and recovery that took about a year, I never returned to musical education and sort of resented music, blaming my passion for what happened. I was a young child though- I didn’t understand then that you can’t just kill the music in you. And it returned, and I never let it go ever since.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

It’s so hard to give just one specific name… I let endless influences shape me, and with musical tastes it is forever changing and growing. I’ve always loved dark music and felt connected to it much more than the happy one. I’d definitely have to mention the HIM band from Finland, and the whole grunge era of dark, distorted sounds and sad, heart piercing lyrical content of people like Chris Cornell, plus, the dark goth aesthetics of Opeth.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

For the music I’m currently doing it’s definitely Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Collide, Guano Apes, Concrete Blonde. Did you say 5? I’m only getting started!

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d love to do a collab song with Android Lust. I feel Shikhee’s music on the very deep level and think our styles mixed together could bring something very interesting and new to the music world.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

My music has been compared to many other creators’ sounds out there. Depeche Mode, NIN, Unter Null, Kidneythieves, Portishead, KMFDM, Crystal Method, Collide, Massive Attack… so many different comparisons, but none of them making me cringe. Rather, I’m very intrigued by those comparisons as I myself would have a very hard time comparing my style to anything- I’m just too deep in to hear/see. The one comparison that stayed in my head was when someone said I sound like a ‘pissed off Lady Gaga’, another one was comparing my sound to ‘if Kate Bush was in Android Lust’.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

It’s to have the outlet for emotions, creative escape where you can lay down your pain, happiness, reflection, opinion… any and all of it, into the shape of sound, into the song, and then share it with the rest of the world. It is like a therapy. And, I love the connection and friendships coming out of musicianship. You meet so many beautiful people through music, it’s amazing.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Hah, I’m a one woman band so it is easy – multitaksing but, I love it all. It’s all about organization. I can compare because I used to work with bands, be in bands and I really love the way things are now. I can work in my own pace, in my own time, independently from everything else and it feels like such freedom.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

It would be Jared Leto for his talents, attitude and the fact that he is an ambassador for The World Wildlife Foundation. Also, David Lynch for his amazing creativity and working with at-risk populations to help relieve the trauma with his Foundation.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I’d be working full time with No Dogs Left Behind organization, saving dogs from China and Korea where they are severely abused and tortured. I still want to go and do it, I am on the waiting list for the rescue missions. Also, I work in music business – touring side of it, by day and I love it, it is sort of a dream job already haha.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

If I could have a do over, I’d decide to go solo much earlier than I did. I’m loving the way things are now. Other than that, I got no regrets.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

That’s a great question! It would need to be Damnation by Opeth. I love this record, it is one of my favorites and every time I listen to it, I’m like ‘I wish I wrote that!’ It would be mind blowing to actually be a part of something this beautiful. This record kept me going through the dark times in my life, both growing up and today.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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