Drummers: sometimes the superstar, sometimes the ignored musician sitting at the back of the stage. No matter how they are regarded, drummers are an essential part of most musical projects. And while it may be common to have two guitarists or two vocalists, it is less common to have two drummers. It is certainly not unheard of and it’s a full-time staple in some bands while other groups only employ a rhythmic duo while on tour. What is less common is to see a drummer paired with a DJ, let alone two. So when we heard about an electronic music group employing a DJ and two drummers, we wanted to know more.

All Toys is a trio based in Barcelona, Spain. The group includes Vicky (DJ) and two drummers, Gabriel and Gregorio. Though relatively fresh on the scene, they are making big waves and already have several large festivals under their belt. The band started as many do: friends wanting to make music together. The issue was that two of the group played the same instrument. “We decided to give it a shot and our first rehearsals sucked. We started playing on homemade practice pads and experimenting with electronic samples. It wasn’t good at all.” Things were left in standby until a commercial sponsor of the two drummers approached them with an opportunity to play live. They rehashed their arrangement and began clicking. Some experimenting and a mixtape later and the band was off to the races. Since then, they have landed some bigger events with well-known headliners, playing to tens of thousands of eager listeners.

The group feels that the small lineup is an advantage as it avoids issues that come with more band members. “The creation process is fast. We got tired of dealing with lazy bandmates.” The unique arrangement also helps catch attention and create strong rhythms. However, the band has not been without issues. “Our biggest challenge is to try to make promoters understand our lineup as a band that usually doesn’t fit in a typical electronic music venue. It’s a new concept for the scene and maybe it will take us time and hard work to place in the market.” It is frequently suggested to the band that they abandon their acoustic drums in favor of electronic ones, but the group remains true to their style and makes do with limited space, both physical and auditory. “Vicky is the track queen, she comes up with ideas, mixes and concepts for the show; she is a big part of the show by herself. But the drummers have to compose drum lines and analyze how tight the parts are and be careful not to overdo it. We want to keep it interesting but avoid cluttering the parts with fills and showing off.”

The group considers themselves than more than just a band, but a growing audiovisual project. With help from cinematographer Felipe Cordero, All Toys recently released a live music video introducing listeners to their unique style. Though working on several production projects, the group focuses much of their attention on performances. “It’s fair to say that we are performers. We focus a lot on live shows: the visuals, the band, our display, the moments of the music. Of course we enjoy our time in the studio and want to come out with new material soon but our main thing is the stage.” The dedication can be seen in their energetic performance and audience engagement.

As a DIY group, All Toys is focusing on increasing their reach and spreading both their videos and their live shows. Potential international touring and record collaboration may lie in the band’s future and they remain motivated. “Be creative, stay hungry, and live to the fullest. Our show expresses energy and passion and we are constantly working in new ways to combine music, visuals and quality interaction with people. It’s a dream, we like that music always challenges you in every way and it’s shaped our lives.” Their advice to other musicians: “Remember that no one will ever come knocking on your door; if you really want it, you have to be restless thinking that absolutely everything is up to you and no one else.” We second that notion and can’t wait to see where the group goes in the future. You can find more information and content from All Toys on Instagram @alltoysmusic, Facebook, or Youtube.

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Squatch

Educated but self-effacing, opinionated but reticent, and unabashedly eccentric; Alex aka Squatch is the lead writer for Squatchful.com. A life-long musician, he founded the blog in the interest of helping independent artists gain exposure and to provide insight into navigating the creative arts industry.

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