Emerging songstress I Ya Toyah has rapidly caught the attention of music fans & critics alike with her vibrantly charismatic musical style & passion-filled vocal range.
Not long ago, I Ya Toyah released the new single “Death’s Kiss”, which is the fourth of the fifth single that compiles into the forthcoming E.P. ‘Out of Order’.
“Death’s Kiss” was written, produced and performed by I Ya Toyah and produced, mixed and mastered by Nick Palazzo at Evolution Recording.
I Ya Toyah has kindly taken the time to speak with Fierce & Fabulous Revolution about “Death’s Kiss”, along with discovering more from the artist behind the music. Check out what she said below.
Hey I Ya Toyah, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Can you start by telling thereaders a little bit about yourself?
I Ya Toyah: Hi Fierce and Fabulous, thank you so much for having me. I am the person behind a one woman army musical project that has been categorized as industrial electronic, goth electro, dark pop, alternative, punk electro and dark wave. Music hasalways been my number one passion, butthis solo thing is fairly new- I’ve started I Ya Toyah in 2018, when I independently released Code Blue- a self written, recorded and produced debutrecord. 2,5 years later and I am simply amazed by this voyage. I’ve just released my Out ofOrder E.P., a record consisting of five songs-five chapters that talk about human condition duringa dark time of lockdown and isolation.Currently I’m working on prepping my live concert-I perform solo and my performance involvesplaying on multiple different instruments live alongside visuals displayed behind me and a light show. I am very excited for things to be slowly reopeningand I have my first post- pandemic show booked for September 10th- after which I hope the world will be ready for more.
When did you first discover your passion for music?
I Ya Toyah: The passion for music must have been microchipped in my brain because it has always been
there- even before I can remember. I was told I was very perceptive of music in early stages of life, and I’d respond to it with reactions that would be unusual for a newborn. I picked up my big sister’s guitar when I was 5- I started learning how to play watching her do it, and soon I’d be writing my own songs- they probably didn’t make much sense back then. I was fascinated by English language- I am Polish and I grew up in Poland- so I would make up words that sounded similar to some English ones I heard on the radio. I’d also frequently grab a remote control and pretend it was a microphone, to rock out.
Have you always known that you wanted to pursue a career within the music industry?
I Ya Toyah: I guess so. All my life music was that part of everyday that made things better- especially performing it. Everytime I sang or played a guitar or piano, I was able to lock the outer world away, and just be. But my story is about defeat and overcoming- all the signs that music really is that one thing I desire to do. As a child, I auditioned at a music institute and I got in. Soon after my education was interrupted as I was in a gravely car crash, which put me in a coma for a long long time. I was not able to come back to music after that, needing to focus on recovery and regular school. Then, when I arrived to USA, after I went through an endless amount of different jobs trying to figure out the way to survive in the new country with no roots, no made paths but my own, I decided to just stop and give it all to what I’ve always wanted to pursue- I then chose to go to SAE Institute to learn music business and some music production. I graduated as a valedictorian in 2016 and soon after, in 2018 I Ya Toyah came to life.
How would you describe your musical style with someone unfamiliar with your music?
I Ya Toyah: My music is a mix of passion, energy and pain. It is a mix of chaos and balance. It’s a fusion of smooth, cutting edge vocals, surreal guitars, hypnotizing beats and multiple electronic synth elements arising into dark arrangements that, combined with storytelling lyrics, respond to the paranoia of everyday reality. I write it inspired by emotion, observation and feelings, with a deep focus on a human condition, but then it becomes so many other things – and I guess it is hard for me to talk about it like this, I create it therefore my insight is deeply personal and for sure swayed because of that fact. However, my music has been described as something I’d never think it would be. It has been compared to NIN and Depeche Mode, to The KidneyThieves and Kate Bush, to Soundgarden and Garbage, to KMFDM and Lady Gaga… So many different elements and it all makes me very happy because I never intended to be just ‘this’ or ‘that’ in music. On the contrary- I love to dive deeply into the emotion that inspires me to create and I use whatever tools can help me convey it- whether it is an Arturia synth or Goth Explorer guitar, or plain Grand Piano, or midi notes transformed into weird noise with the modulation or a bunch of plugins. Music is a form of art and should never be restrained by any frames- they can only kill its true beauty- and I guess my sound sums up this statement.
You recently released the new single “Death’s Kiss”. How did the idea for this song come together?
I Ya Toyah: I was sitting in my home studio working on another song and I was messing with one synth
sound, tweaking its eq and messing with a space designer trying to get it to match the sound I envisioned in my head. Suddenly I realized, wow this is actually really cool- and immediately I heard this arrangement in my head- a song that had nothing to do with the one I was working on. I then switched to the new project in my DAW and started exploring this idea. It was very rapid and intense. I was so hyped cause I knew this would be something, even just by its very early sound. The lyrics for the verse- not in its final form but pretty much very close to what they are today- came to me just like that, as I started tracking the demo vocals so that I could
hear this idea that was just in my head, outside of it. And I really liked where it was coming. It was a mystery, danger, seduction, darkness. Death’s Kiss. Song was there, I just needed to complete it.
Did you always plan to release “Death’s Kiss” as a single?
I Ya Toyah: When I was in the middle stage of writing and demoing Out of Order E.P. at my home studio, it hit me that I am super proud of all 5 songs as they were becoming. They were the exact translation of the emotions I’ve wanted to express, and they were something I wanted everyone to hear. Then came this idea of releasing E.P. as a whole on bandcamp, while featuring each single as its own work on Spotify, iTunes and other streaming platforms. This being said, Out of Order E.P. is up for grabs on my bandcamp: https://iyatoyah.bandcamp.com/ , while I keep releasing the singles. Death’s Kiss is the 4th song on the album, as of now featured as a single, worldwide.
What does this song personally mean to you?
I Ya Toyah: Coming from the world of classical meets metal music, I’ve never aimed to focus on creating a song that would be a dancefloor favorite. It seems that Death’s Kiss became that- I get a lot of hype response from DJ’s about massive requests for Death’s Kiss, more than any other of my songs ever received and this is just such a huge accomplishment to me, personally. To overcome the musical ‘hold back’ that existed in me somewhat invisibly and prevented me from this crossover into the club universe. Now that it has its checkmark, I’m ready to have more fun with the music writing and production in the future, because the idea of being able to give my audience something they will unwind to, in a physical way- beyond an intellectual point- is just very pleasing and addicting.
How would you compare the creative process behind this song to your previous releases?
I Ya Toyah: My creative process is a flow of ideas, against all time and space constraints. When I work for hire, my songwriting process looks different than when I write for my own releases. With writing for someone else, I actually sit down and plan ahead. I focus on the person or the purpose of the release: who are they, what do they sound like, what is their story, their vibe, their audience. Then I begin. With the score for film, it is similar: I need to tune into the creative world beyond just myself, I almost have to escape myself partially to be able to become a right tool for the job- without inserting too much of my own element- unless it’s specifically desired to do otherwise.
When I write for I Ya Toyah releases, I get caught by sudden creative strikes in the most random and often inconvenient moments. I will be driving a car and boom, I have this idea I need to register now or else I’ll forget it. Because of this weird writing process I always carry a portable recorder with me and track my ideas on the spot. I’ll emulate a drum sound, bass sound, synth with my mouth, sing a melody line, I’ll go as far as ramble about thearrangement to then later be able to play it back at the studio and understand what I meant.
With Death’s Kiss, I was lucky to be at home studio when the creative idea came. And in this case- as I described before- the idea came while I was trying to tweak a synth sound in another song of mine. It’s different each time, and it’s one of the things I love the most about songwriting, producing, and making music. It is always a surprise, an unknown.
If listeners could take something away from this song, what would you like it to be?
I Ya Toyah: With this particular release, I just hope that whoever listens is able to tune their current
thoughts out and step into the gravity of a dark yet playful groove Death’s Kiss brings. Give into the moment, escape mental and physical inhibitions, and enjoy.
What are some of the things you enjoy outside of music?
I Ya Toyah: I love my dog Benek! He is my little Everything. My favorite things always involve him, whether it is a walk in the forest, cooking and having him assist me in the kitchen, or meeting with friends and having him as a main highlight of the party. I love spending time in nature, rock climbing or any of the water sports. Travelling to new places and watching people of different cultures going about their day.
If you could perform a duet with anyone on the planet, who would you choose & why?
I Ya Toyah: It’s hard to pick just one person. I think my first natural pick would be David Bowie- and he is not here anymore, physically. His persona has a huge impact on who I am today. His art has been with me through my whole life and it silently imprinted itself in me. It would be such a pleasure to be able to share the stage with this musical hero of mine. Another person I admire hugely and am a fan of is Chris Corner of IAMX. His writing style, voice and performance skills are a huge inspiration, it would be a dream come true to be able to perform together.
What three words best describe you?
I Ya Toyah: I. Ya. Toyah. I Ya Toyah when spoken out loud, in my native language, Polish means It’s
Just Me. It’s the statement that describes not only who I am and how I am musically as a solo act, but it also represents me in terms of being my own person and standing up for myself and the values I believe in. And these are an independence as a human and woman in the modern world which I always hope helps inspire others to follow their dreams, passions, and not listen to the noise around telling them they cannot do
something, or that they are not good enough. We are what we believe we are, and we can do anything we aspire to- with the proper mindset
What song do you always keep on your playlist & why?
I Ya Toyah: It is forever changing for the most part, as it depends on the mood and the current moment in my life. But it’s been a while since I began being obsessed with Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’ and this song seems to fit every mode I’m in, every energy I experience within myself and the world which is quite unusual. So, I’ll say it is that song. No matter where and when, it always seems to leave me just a little interrupted- in the most pleasant, exhilarated way.
If you could possess any superpower, what would you choose & why?
I Ya Toyah: The greatest superpower I can possibly imagine is the gift of foreverness. There is this incredible darkness I feel everytime I face the fact that we are mortal. I do not have a great relationship with death. I am brave and almost reckless in life, not afraid to take risks, step out of my comfort zone, do things that are a total opposite of what should be done, but when it comes to deathan ultimate goodbye- I fear it. And it’s not as much my own, as everyone else’s around me. Which then makes me not want to die, so that they don’t have to experience and deal with that as well. I lost some dear people and each time it hurts so much, it’s like the greatest evil- to be separated this way- yet deep inside I know we are born to die, this is the way life is, it comes with death attached. If only I could give immortality … Perhaps this is why I chose to be a creator. Music, art and its impact, they are immortal on the cultural and emotional scale.
Finally, is there a message that you would like to share with the readers of Fierce & Fabulous Revolution?
I Ya Toyah: I just want to say, thank you for reading this conversation, and for being a part of I Ya Toyah’s journey. There is so much more I want to say, do, and share with you. But in shortcut: I love you and can’t wait to see you on the road
You can check out “Death’s Kiss” on Spotify below.