We’re not playing around when we say that NOT A TOY are some of the most innovative, refreshing artists out there! This creative collective never fails to give us something new and exciting with every song they release, and if you haven’t listened to them yet, let’s just say your playlist is about to get a whole lot better. Their latest single, ‘Nervous,’ has been on what feels like an endless repeat for us, and we haven’t complained about it once.
No two NOT A TOY songs give off the exact same vibe, and their versatility is a huge part of why we love them so much. They’ve effortlessly combined bits and pieces of pop, rock, hip-hop, and even country throughout the years, building one of the most passionate fanbases around in the process. So why wait to join that fanbase?! We guarantee that you won’t be able to leave this article without becoming a NOT A TOY stan, especially after you read our Q&A with the group.
Check out ‘Nervous’ below, then let’s dive right in!
Congrats on your new single, ‘Nervous!’ What has it been like for you to share the song with the world, and were you nervous to see what fans would think of the full track?
It feels so good to finally have ‘Nervous’ out in the world! We started teasing snippets of the song online, and when it started going viral, we knew it had to be the next single. Honestly, we weren’t feeling nervous to show people the full track! The verse was the first part we showed everyone, but the chorus is one of our favorite parts of the song, so we hoped people would love it as much as we do.
There are so many lyrics we love on ‘Nervous,’ with one of our favorites being “she a whirlwind, make the world spin.” Is there a certain line on the song that you’re especially proud of?
I’m so proud of the lyrics for this one, I’m happy you like it! The verses were a lot of fun to write, but I really like the lyric “face painted with a kiss.” Also, “Cupid killshot” is a favorite for sure.
We also love the ‘Nervous’ music video, which flickers between car scenes and shots inside a pretty house. How did you come up with the concept, and what was it like on set?
Originally we were trying to film in an Impala and a motel room as a nod to the Supernatural fandom that helped make our song pop off in the first place. We decided on the house instead of a motel when we were reaching out to friends about film locations.
Actually, Benji’s old boss had a really pretty house that he was nice enough to let us film in. Same for the car scene, funny enough, Benji met a guy with a vintage car collection in a bar a few months back, and after making fast friends with him like Benji so often does, we wound up asking him to see if he would let us use one for a video, we knew it was a long shot, but he graciously said yes.
The set was pretty low-key, we filmed everything ourselves. So it was the four of us with a camera that we honestly were still learning to use. We were actually looking up camera settings while filming! There was no crew or anything, just us trying to get creative with what was available, but I think that’s why this one was so fun.
‘Nervous’ is such a cool fusion of different genre elements, including rap-esque verses and more alt-rock production. You explained during a 2020 press conference that you “wanted [your music] to feel like a snapshot of this generation’s artistic expression.” How do you find the perfect balance of sounds to not only make your songs into what they are but to make that exciting, NOT A TOY sound stand out?
When we were first learning to produce, we were still trying to figure out what the NOT A TOY sound was. So we tried producing rock songs like rock artists, tried trap beats and pop songs, but it turns out we weren’t very good at any of them. It wasn’t until we ignored genres that we really started writing music that felt like it was true to who we are. The process of finding the right sounds is us four all pitching sounds and ideas until it feels right! Honestly, we are still learning and experimenting, but we are really proud of how ‘Nervous’ came together.
You’re very involved in all aspects of your artistic process as a group, and you’ve even printed your own merchandise, which is so unique! What are your favorite aspects of that process, and are there any that you find challenging?
As a band, we pride ourselves on being heavily involved in the artistic process. We like doing things ourselves because we are very specific with how we want everything to feel. It’s been really fun learning new mediums and applying our creativity to all aspects of being in a band; writing, producing, design, film, clothing, etc. Writing music is probably the most fun part of our process, with the most challenging being video or screen printing.
You recently finished up working on your debut album, PRBLMS, and we’re absolutely stoked! Which songs are you most excited for fans to hear?
PRBLMS is done! This album was a labor of love. We would rewrite songs over and over again until they felt perfect for this album. We are so proud of this body of work. We are excited for everyone to experience this album as a whole, but if we had to pick specific songs we are excited about, I’d have to say ‘say so’ and ‘Grown Folk Problems.’ Both of which you’ll hear soon!
Were there any big problems that came up while you were working on PRBLMS?How did you resolve them?
Writing an album is such a crazy process. Of course, finishing songs is a challenge; we want our album to give us the same feelings that our favorite albums give us. That’s a high bar to set with a lot of self-pressure. But the unexpected challenge of writing our debut album has been the process of discovering who we are, as individuals and as a group. It involves a lot of looking inward and picking apart everything about ourselves; our taste, who we are, and who we want to be. We’ve been through a lot as a group, I don’t think we would have made it this far without
all four of us supporting each other.
When you released your debut single, ‘J Cash,’ in May 2020, the world was going through a bit of chaos thanks to Covid. We can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to kick things off during the pandemic – what was your experience like? How have things changed now that the world is starting to come back to life?
The pandemic was, of course, a challenging time, but we used every opportunity to get together to continue to make music and film videos. It was very difficult to not share our music in the way we had anticipated, but we treated the pandemic as a type of boot camp, knowing that when the world opened, we would be ready.
You’re playing some shows with DE’WAYNE this June, which must be so exciting! How do you prepare for a live show, and how do you choose the perfect setlist?
We are pumped to go on tour with DE’WAYNE! We love playing live because it gives our fans a whole new way to experience our music. Our set is dynamic, having moments with a lot of energy and also moments that are more intimate. We hope to put on a show that takes the listener on a journey.
What can your fans look forward to in the rest of 2023?
2023 is a big year for us! PRBLMS will be released this summer, and we couldn’t be more excited. It is our first full-length album, and we are so proud of it. We plan on playing a lot of shows and releasing more content throughout the year. The NOT A TOY family is gonna grow a lot this year!
Is there anything else you’d like to mention or say to your fans that the questions didn’t touch on?
First off, thank you, Honey POP, for taking the time to talk with us. And a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way, we have the most incredible fans, and their support means so much to us. Thank you all for being a part of our journey!
Thanking us? No, thank you to NOT A TOY for chatting with us and giving the world so much amazing music! We’ve had ‘Nervous’ on repeat, and we’ll unapologetically do the same with PRBLMS later this summer
Now we wanna hear from you, honeybees! Do you love ‘Nervous’ as much as we do? Which part of this Q&A was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below, or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And for more exclusive interview content, click here.