are back with a new EP Get Through the Time
and the band’s lineup is a little more scaled down, but it all seems part of their plan to get back to their roots. Life is hectic sometimes when you are in a band while still in college, and it doesn’t get any easier once you have graduated and are faced with more obstacles from the “real world”. Well, for Ron Gallo and crew, it seems that the answer is to just keep on playing to “get through the time”. We had a chance to find out a little more about life for Toy Soldiers after leaving the ivory towers of higher education and the release of their latest effort Get Through the Time
, which the band will be celebrating tonight at Johnny Brenda’s and making available tomorrow digitally. Check out what they had to say below!
The Deli: Is Get Through the Time a self-released EP? If so, why are you not working with Mad Dragon this time around?
: The Get Through the Time
EP is self-released. After the way things have gone and are going, it seemed like everything was telling us to step back and get back to the roots. Not necessarily as a duo making dirty garage band demos but something between that and a freak orchestra with strings attached, deadlines, and budgets. Plus we had the means (the recording genius of our bassist Bill McCloskey and drummer Dom Billet) and the energy to do it all ourselves.
TD: Where was the bulk of the EP written and recorded? How long did it take to make it?
: The EP was recorded at Millersville's Recording studio. We did it ourselves in about 24 hours, during a snowstorm crushing zah (pizza)!
: “Long Gone” and “No Fool of You” were both written a few years ago in my room of my old house. The chorus to “Get Through the Time” was written while I was riding a bike and maybe missing someone. Then the song later got finished a few months ago. I wrote the words to “Back Rider” and “Laughing Pain” during the last tour we did in August and made them into songs at home. “Desire” was a song that our bassist Bill wrote that I put some words to, and we pretty much finished that one in the studio a few minutes before we recorded it.
TD: Were there any differences from the writing and recording process from your last full-length?
: Definitely. Making Whisper Down the Lane
was basically us laying down the foundation and then me calling friends up to come in and do whatever the hell they wanted on the songs. Get Through the Time
is a much more cohesive collection with a solid, set band. Recorded guerilla style, pressure on - the new EP is also much more open sonically and not really heavy electric guitar chord driven at all. It’s raw. Let’s the songs breathe a bit and not very produced or with fluff.
TD: What inspired the EP? What is behind the name Get Through the Time?
: This EP is definitely a reaction to something specific as opposed to just a collection of songs. We went with that title, which shares the name of the third track on the EP because we all felt it summed up the whole feeling behind it. Also, that track might be the most “epic” (?) of the ones on the record.
TD: You recently won the Indie Music Awards Best Blues Song category for "Throw Me Down". What did you do to celebrate?
: I was napping while driving when I heard the news so out of sheer joy I drove off a bridge into a river actually. The truth is: Thursday at Johnny Brenda’s is going to be the celebration of everything that’s happening and will happen.
TD: Where does your love for the blues come from?
: I don’t know where it comes from. It just feels gooooooood!
TD: What are some of your best tips to manage life being in a band when you are still in college?
: I graduated in January 2010, and back then the band wasn’t nearly as busy or crazy as it is now. We could only tour over winter break and summer which aren’t great times to hit the road. My advice is that if you’re only going to focus on your music post graduation, then save yourself some money and get ahead of the game.
: Drop out of college. Not really, but you need to balance priorities. It's a lot easier now that we're all graduated.
TD: Were you looking forward to graduating or would you rather hide out in college for awhile?
: I surely was before I did!
TD: We’ve noticed that you have been performing a lot solo and with other combinations as well as other members of Toy Soldiers doing their own side projects. What does that mean for the future of Toy Soldiers?
: As far as all our other projects, I think we all consider Toy Soldiers our main squeeze, so it’s like having a lot of different girlfriends, and you can run to a different one when the wife’s out of town. Of course, it’s less emotional than that, but you get what I’m saying.
Me playing solo is something I’ve started doing a lot more over the few months. I started getting a few steady solo gigs each week and just ran with it. It toughens the skin and has been good practice in learning a lot of new songs.
: I think it's safe to say we're all pretty committed to Toy Soldiers. In today’s world where information is disseminated a lot easier, bands don't have to tour for a year at a time to have some measure of success - that doesn't mean there isn't countless hours of preparation, recording, and shows in order to promote yourself. As of now, there is a healthy balance between the other member's projects and Toy Soldiers. It allows us to do something different which helps us become better musicians by expanding our musical experiences, and allows us to find new outlets and contacts that could help us in the future.
TD: You are heading down South on this tour. What do you look forward to the most about tour? What do you look forward to the least about tour?
: Looking forward to Bojangles, Elvis’ piano, Jordan Hull, the people we’ll meet, playing every night for 11 nights, and just getting out of town and being a stranger for a bit. Hopefully the weather is nice.
Not looking forward to the potential disasters of everyday life that are heightened by touring. Knock on wood.
TD: What’s your favorite city in the South and why?
: New Orleans is a mystical gem of a town. It’s a mirage of how life should always be, if only it were real. Favorite towns to play in are Knoxville, TN and Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
TD: Would you rather bourbon or Irish whiskey?
: Irish Whiskey for sure - 12 year Jameson!
: Irish whisky, because it makes me warm and happy, unlike bourbon which leaves me in an urban canal vom sesh. (Urban canal vomit session that happened this past weekend in Maryland.)
TD: What are your favorite southern comfort food dishes?
: Oh man. This band has a fried chicken problem. Also very into biscuits, po-boys, gumbo, and fried chicken again.
TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?
RG: The news!