Born out of being ‘forced’ together by their school headmaster, Dutch band TAPE TOY have come a long way in the last two years. The Amsterdam quartet of Roos (vocals and guitar), Wesley (guitar and vocals), Maurice (bass) and Marc (drums) have honed a sound that they describe as ‘bubble grunge’ – like Gwen Stefani but louder, like Nirvana but happier.
So you’d be right in thinking it’s upbeat, lively and super-catchy. It’s also seen them enjoy plenty of streams on Spotify and a support act with Skunk Anansie in a few weeks time.
We took a listen to their latest single Sad Girl, which opens up with a funky little guitar riff then Roos’ laid-back vocals “I’m really mad at you but I’m afraid, To be left all alone so please explain, I’m so scared but I might not want to watch you from the sidelines, While I am stuck and you are hopping through you sad life.”
A more dreamy atmosphere takes over, then “I’m not gonna stand here being all poetic, I’m not gonna stand here being all pathetic,” before picking up pace and diving into a more energetic chorus of catchy repeats of “I’m not gonna be your sad girl.” A second chorus drops into a chilled out section of light vocals and trippy little synth sounds then gradually builds up to a final blast of the singalong chorus.
We are loving the sound of TAPE TOY, especially the lively, synthy, rocky Dive Deeper. Give it a listen below:
We had a chat with the band to find out more about them, their music and the Dutch scene, which you can read below….
GR: Who are TAPE TOY? What’s the backstory and how did you get together?
TT: “TAPE TOY is a musical baby born out of a school project two years ago. The four of us were put together by our headmaster and we were ‘forced’ to create twenty minutes of original music. So in the first place, we didn’t even know each other that well. But after the first rehearsals, there was the well-known spark. Fireworks all over the place. The whole shebang.
“We decided to raise our newborn baby into a slightly rebellious teenager and we kept on writing and rehearsing. Two years later we are best friends and see each other almost every day of the week due to the numerous shows we play in The Netherlands.”
GR: You just released Sad Girl. What should people be expecting from the song?
Roos: “I was really upset with someone. After a somewhat difficult conversation with that person, I wrote this song on my ten-minute bike ride home. The person in question and I made it up and are cool again. But at that point, I was just amazed by how someone can think and talk the way she did. Even though I was so upset, I didn’t want the song to be heavy and dark. ‘Cause that is not who we are as a band. So we made a danceable song out of it. Everyone can dance to my misery!”
How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
TT: “We would describe our sound as bubble-grunge. We write pop songs, but they are played on loud, electric guitars. The most important thing for us is that everybody’s having fun while they listen to our music. Live or at home.”
What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
Wesley: “The joy of daily life and the flowers in the meadows, while dancing in really short sport shorts.”
GR: We’ve met a few cool Dutch bands, but not many yet. What are your thoughts on the rock/music scene in the Netherlands? And how much support is there for new Dutch bands?
TT: “I think there’s a cool Dutch scene with alternative bands. We all quite know each other – ’cause The Netherlands is the size of a peanut – and we run into each other quite often at festivals and stuff. I also think it’s kinda cool that there are more female (fronted) bands upcoming. It is important to create a 50/50 music scene. We’ve got a lot of badass chicks over here!
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
TT: “The funny thing is that we don’t have a joint source of inspiration because we were put together. We listen to a lot of different music and everybody has a different musical background. Of course, we have some artist we all love listening to – Bon Iver, Arianne Grande, Unknown Mortal Orchestra – but they are not necessarily musical influences.
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
TT: “Last year we recorded seven songs. We are releasing them separately and now that Sad Girl and 020 are out, we have three songs left. They will be released throughout the year. This summer we will play festivals and on 6 September we will be supporting Skunk Anansie at her Amsterdam show.
“Right now, while writing this interview, we are in Texel – a small Dutch island – to write new music. Can’t wait to share it with you! But that won’t probably be earlier than 2020.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
TT: “Did you know that our previous released track, Dive Deeper, was the first-ever song we wrote when we were put together?”