Toblerone Boys: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Textured landscapes and auditory hallucinations.
File next to: Retro space-horror movie soundtracks.
Playing: WL653, Friday (March 27) at Ratio, 283 College St.

It’s amazing, the things we can hear. From the subtlest hum to the loudest cheer, what we hear shapes the world around us in ways that our eyes or our hands cannot. The complex auditory landscapes we hear change daily, hourly, even by the minute. They influence us in ways we almost don’t notice.

Toblerone Boys have been able to capture the essence of these landscapes; how fleeting they are, and how comforting and consistent they can become. Listening to Toblerone Boys’ album feels like a wander through a digital audio hotel while a party’s going on. As you wander through each hallway and in and out of each room, you experience something new. Each track on the album feels like exploring a new floor. Overall the floor has many of the same underlying beats and feel, but as you travel down the corridor and open each new door the details punctuate your experience.

Many of the tracks will challenge your emotional state — pushing you closer and closer to disorientation and confusion as dark voices brood behind disjointed synths. You’ll be guided back from the edge with comforting tones and lighter sounds that create the feeling of open space, such as on the track “Dimension X Blvd.”

If the album is the auditory hotel we’re exploring, then “Inverted Larvae” is definitely the fall down the elevator shaft. High-pitched, sketchy voices guiding you further and further down as your anxiety builds. How far down are we going? Will it be a hard landing? We won’t know till we’re there. Almost as soon as the anxiety peaks, it’s cleared away by the intrigue of airy bustling on “The Feeding Area.” From there we explore the hidden basement rooms before we exit, on a hunt for coffee and an explanation for what just happened to us.

Raina Hersh touched based with the Toblerone Boys themselves — Greydyn Gatti (Wolfcow) and Randy Gagne (Man Made Hill) — to learn more about what makes them tick.

How did Toblerone Boys came to be?

Greydyn: Randy and I met at Noise Tuesday at Not My Dog in September 2007. It was a show with Man Made Hill and my old band Infinite Godzillas. Randy had a cool old WWF hat on and we soon discovered we had the same record collections and we both loved Silver Convention, specifically that song “San Francisco Hustle.” It made sense we would start a band, so we put out our first CDR Woom Tomb on Inyrdisk the next year.

Randy: Toblerone Boys is the pubescent incarnation of a band that used to be called Toddler Body, resulting from a slow hideous morphing process that continues to this day. It began through a mutual acquaintance of Mr. Kevin Crump. One day in 2007, Greydyn gave me a copy of his solo album Psychedelic Nightmare, and it was like finding a long-lost brother, a kindred spirit hazarding the same strain of mutated pop music. We began trading a lot of songs back and forth, rapid-fire, and bonded over a mutual love of disco music, especially Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band.

What musical elements do you get to explore in Toblerone Boys that you don’t get from your other projects ?

G: We share a telepathic connection when it comes to music, so neither one of us has to think while playing. It’s like the uni-mind on auto-pilot. That is a refreshing thing to get to do.

Your album runs a fine line between anxiety and fluidity/calm. Was that a conscious move?

R: No. We are at the mercy of random impulses from a uni-consciousness that vibrates the entire spectrum of existence in HD.

G: Nothing is ever conscious with this band; life runs the same way with brief periods of calmness and relief mixed with anxiety and uncomfortable moments. Its nice to be able to express that through a colourful blast of music and replicate some of those feelings in a song.

Tell me more about the uni-consciousness you’ve both touched on.

R: The uni-consciousness is the looming spectre of failure, the thrill of success, the invisible forces that drive you to do the thing you’re doing, namely doing music. Humanity’s rock’n’roll dreams, baby. That sweet congeal. Loss of self. Mastery over nature.

G: We both have the same kind of record collections, the same gear that’s breaking down and taped together, and the same musical ideas, and I think we kind of play off each other and inspire each other a lot. Not only in Toblerone Boys, but also in our other band Tranz DéFoncé, where we are the rhythm section, and in our solo jams as well. It’s weird when you meet someone you’re really in tune with. You just gotta go with it and see where it goes.

R: And you don’t know until you’re doing it/going there. That is the thrill.

Were you always so in tune with each other while making music or was that something that took time to grow into?

G: It’s always been this way, we have been tapped into the same hive-mind since birth; it’s not something we could escape, it’s pre-ordained!!

R: Yeah we’ve always been long-lost sisters. Greydyn is also my grandma.

You’ve created a visceral album that could totally be the soundtrack to a retro sci-fi film. If this album were a soundtrack to a movie, what would the movie be about?

G: Mutant drawings of Beavis and Butthead, old shoe commercials, fast food jokes, sci-fi novels.

R: Yeah, it would contain all those things! It would be about two nerds finding themselves in a metropolitan setting. One day they discover a teleportation machine, but they only wanna go back a couple years in time, to make themselves, like, popular y’know? But then a gateway to another dimension opens in the machine, and they start getting all these evil alien transmissions. Hilarious scenarios ensue. Do they live the rock’n’roll dream or succumb to the powers of evil? It would be a choose-your-own-adventure movie.

For the uninitiated — how would you describe your sound?

G: Cyber Grunge. Wasted pop. Teenage Infantilism. Two dudes hunched over their keyboards. It’s very wicked.

What’s the best part of playing shows in Toronto?

G: When Kevin Hainey is there.

R: Nice people that ask us to play shows.

What’s next for Toblerone Boys?

G: We have a new album coming out on Singapore Sling Tapes from Russia. Should be out some time in 2015.