2014 Artist Survey: TOY | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2014 Artist Survey: TOY

Maxim "Panda" Barron on U2's Free Album, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the Ferguson Shooting

Jan 14, 2015 Artist Surveys 2014 Bookmark and Share

For Under the Radar’s 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman’s Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Maxim “Panda” Barron of TOY.

Top 10 Albums of 2014

These aren’t in order of preference but they are some records we’ve enjoyed this year.

1. Morgan Delt: Morgan Delt

2. Gwenno: Y Dydd Olaf

3. The Voyeurs: Rhubarb Rhubarb

4. The Proper Ornaments: Wooden Head

5. Jane Weaver: The Silver Globe

6. The Horrors: Luminous

7. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck-A mixtape made by Kurt Cobain pre-Nirvana, found this year.

8. Mac DeMarco: Salad Days

9. Faust: Faust 5

10. Ariel Pink: pom pom

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band?

We played a few shows in Southeast Asia this year, playing in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. Taipei was a real eye opener, especially the night markets, wandering up and down Snake Alley.

What was the low point of 2014 for you?

Not being able to play Shanghai, Singapore, and Manila on that tour. They were cancelled at the last minute.

What are your hopes and plans for 2015?

To release and tour our third album. We’d like to visit some places we’ve never been before, like South America.

U2’s new album was downloaded for free into millions of users’ iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

The latter. We don’t think a band’s music should be forced on anyone, especially theirs.

Did you take part in the ice bucket challenge? If not, why not? Grimes declined due to animal testing issues, was the grief she got for that deserved?

We didn’t. It feels too much like self-promotion and a bit self-congratulatory. The fact that money is being raised for these causes is a good thing. It’s just a shame people can’t give without following an Internet craze.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri opened up a new national dialogue on police shootings and racism in America. Do you think anything will actually change because of it?

Police brutality and racism is a problem that happens every day. We hope something changes and some good comes out of this horrible incident.

What’s your craziest theory for what happened to the missing Malaysian Air flight?

We have no idea what happened. Hopefully one day we will find out.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them “hillbillies” for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

During your own performance you should have the freedom to do what you want.

“Weird Al” Yankovic was back in a big way this year. If he were to lampoon any one of your songs, which one would you want it to be? What would the “Weird Al” version’s lyrics be about?

We’d like him to stay as far away from our songs and us as possible.

Which common criticism of your music do you most agree with?

What criticisms?

What’s the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you’ve ever had?

In Japan we were given a TOY branded bottle of plum liqueur.

What’s the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

We’d like to be asked more multiple-choice questions. Being asked what genre our music falls into.

Who from your youth (such as a former bully, an unrequited love) do you most hope pays attention to the fact that you’re now a successful musician?

We don’t care.



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January 14th 2015

A beautiful combination of ingredients! I should eat more lentils,
this salad would be a great way to add them to my diet.

July 14th 2016

I'm new in web anyltaics and you guys helped me so much also to love this job. Thank you and more power to both of you! Happy holidays everyone!