Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Maud: Hi, my name's Maud Mostly, my pronouns are they/them, and welcome back to Tunes Tuesday, a series where I sit down with and interview queer, 2SLGBTQ+ musicians and bands about their music, their experiences, and much much more. Today I am joined by California-based alternative band Hoity-Toity. Hello, would you like to introduce yourself?
Aria: Hi I'm Aria, I play guitar in Hoity-Toity and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I'm a lesbian, I am a double Scorpio sun and moon, Sagittarius rising.
M: Amazing, thank you so much. I find it's pretty frequent people share their like star signs and such on here and I love it because it's become such a big part of queer culture, that it's just like such a fun little fact to add. So the first thing that I really want to touch on because it really you know impacts you specifically, is you've recently garnered a lot of attention through performing riffs to different songs on TikTok. And these videos have made their way across so many platforms and even been retweeted by celebrities like Jack Black which is just incredible to me. But how has this recognition felt, and what do you think it means for the band?
A: It's- it's felt really good. It's also been a little (okay well I'll get to it) it's a little frustrating in some ways, but we'll get to that in a sec. But mostly it's great, mostly it's just a lot of fun, the fact that like I post something and Jack Black sees it, like that's hilarious you know like I never I never in a million years would like would have thought that would happen. And it's a really like specific thing too it's like like “oh yeah Tenacious D just reposted my cover of Clasico” like that's just a thing that happened now, and now I can just say like “oh by the way that's me over there and Jared Dines, who like I used to watch his stuff like on YouTube like all the time when I was in high school also shared it from Tenacious D, and like like that's that's crazy you know? Like that- that part is hilarious. The part that is a little frustrating is after the the Guitar Center videos…
M: Can you explain those a little bit more for those who haven't seen it?
A: I posted a couple TikToks (three actually) only two went viral which is funny, because 9gag reposted the the first one and the third one, but not the second one and everybody's like “where's part two, where's part two?” And I'm like “just scroll down there TikTok,” like it's you can just scroll. But it's basically like a Guitar Center- riffs the Guitar Center employees are tired of hearing and it's just a bunch of dad rock riffs, like played in sequence but like with really seamless transitions between them, which I did the first one literally in like 15 minutes first thing in the morning because I was just like “I could play a bunch of riffs, sure” and it just went randomly viral and I was like “what the hell is going on here?” So then I tried to do it again the second time and nobody cared, and then I did it a third time with like better sound quality and people liked it again, and it just went crazy and then there was another TikTok the one that went the most viral, and this is where it's really frustrating is that the one that the most that went the most viral has absolutely nothing to do with music. I actually said it to private because I was just tired of our notifications being flooded every day with thousands and thousands of comments from this TikTok that got I think like 17 million views, and it was literally my band went to a haunted hayride in LA- or not LA LA, but like around there (I don't know) but it was we like basically you drive in your own car and there's people in like costumes and stuff being all spooky, and I had like I had the window rolled down halfway and I reached my arm out with a bag of hot cheetos that Shelby was eating, and that this lady Riibbon who Riibbon with two eyes she's on like platforms (I don't know she's like a cosplayer) but she was in like this kind of weird like the purge clown makeup getup (I've never seen the purge) but that's what everybody was saying, so I held my hand out and I was like you want a hot cheeto and in the like a demon voice she's like “no, I'm allergic” and everybody thought it was hilarious and we all laughed in the car, and then two days later Kelsey the drummer in the band was like “you should post that on TikTok'' and I was like “okay, sure” you're thinking like five people would see it and then 17 million people saw it, and then I set it to private because I was tired of all of our notifications being things that had nothing to do with our music. And like, the the Guitar Center ones also like those ones went crazy viral but when stuff gets crazy viral like out of context and gets reposted on all these different places, I saw like a bunch of comments that were like “she should try to make like her own music instead of playing a bunch of like dad rock riffs” and I'm like “I do that, I do that dude, I do that I do that all the time” I wish that THAT went viral, I wish our music went viral but that's not my fault I can't control that, dude.
M: Yeah that's fair, it can be annoying when people kind of don't take that extra step but I think it you have recently seen an increase at least in social media followers and a bit in your monthly listeners from these videos getting so big right?
A: Yeah, it's been a lot more on TikTok and Instagram. Although TikTok is slowed down, TikTok we went to like a hundred thousand off of the off of the Hot Cheeto TikTok, and we went to like a hundred twenty, thirty thousand and now we're at like 180 something thousand I think off of like the guitar videos and whatever. And those go those those are- those go semi viral like most of my guitar covers will get like 20,000-ish views on TikTok or whatever, and then the guitar center ones got like like 700,000 or whatever. And so like those those do pretty well and so we've been kind of steadily going up on that. Instagram blew up recently because 9gag posted the Guitar Center videos and also I posted a cover of Flying High Again the Randy Rhodes solo on the Ozzy song, and that also is like one of our most viewed things like on our whole Instagram along with another video that's me playing while reading a book, which I want to do more of that because those are just fun to make, like just playing with one hand and I have one where I'm drinking coffee (the secret is I'm not actually drinking coffee I'm drinking soda but- because I'm a piece of shit). But I was gonna have a Kermit the Frog that I got for Christmas that I was gonna try to learn to do the Kermit voice and fucken muppeteer while playing guitar some shit like that. Like those are just fun, I've been doing that since long before TikTok, like we've been doing shows and I would like high five somebody in the audience while playing a solo, or like I held I have my friend's hand one time, like just off the stage we're like just holding hands being cute so like that that's fun. I think monthly listeners we're at 4500 now, which we were we were around 2000 I think, and then we got playlisted on- well okay so first the 9gag thing which one that took us up to like 3 000, and then we got playlisted on a curated playlist for the first time called Queercore which is a Spotify playlist full of LGBT artists, and that shot us up to right now we're at 4500 and we're still going up so that's- it's all been it's all been pretty good, our Instagram and TikTok are definitely a lot more than our Spotify though, I think people are a lot more interested in the videos and pictures than they are in the the music itself, so I'm trying to- trying to make that transition and get people to actually pay attention to the music part.
M: Absolutely, well speaking of paying attention to the music you know let's really let's really talk about that part, because it definitely deserves just as much if not you know more credit for all the work that you're putting out there. So in October of last year in 2020 you dropped the music video for your song Should Haven't in celebration of National Coming Out Day, and this video also happens to you know center around a drag queen. So why did it feel important to pair the song with so much queer culture?
A: Okay so that song. Shelby wrote that song when she was I think for a semester just one semester she was studying at Cal Baptist University which of course is a very christian school. And she really really hated her time there, and just felt that it was like super restrictive and like I don't know, like it just felt like a cult, and very like enclosed, and like a prison basically. And so she wrote that song essentially about kind of having faith shoved down her throat, and just feeling really alienated by the whole experience. And so I kind of took that and basically was like “well here's my experience with you know, religion feeling really isolating, and really you know just kind of overtaking so much of my life and really like restricting me, and making me feel like you know, I can't be who I am.” So I kind of applied that, obviously I'm not like a drag queen or a gay man, but it's I kind of applied the same principle, and the what I did was the the music video revolves around sort of two story lines so there's the one with the the drag queen and then there's the one with the guy who dances with the statue bust head, which is the head of Michelangelo's David, which I'm not a I'm not a theology major or anything like that, but basically David had sort of a covenant with Jonathan who's the son of Saul, and it's often interpreted as like having been sort of- people, people term interpret it in different ways a lot of people will say purely platonic or whatever, but a lot of people also do interpret it as having been romantic and people like associate that like in certain places, like it's kind of (what's the word? It's not like a euphemism) but it's like kind of code for you know like being gay and religious, and it's very like heavily referenced in that sort of subject matter, and so I kind of wanted to juxtapose that and apply that to the meaning of the song and just kind of be I guess kind of affirming to people who are you know like me and you know LGBT but were raised religious or maybe still are religious and just kind of you know that sort of finding yourself I guess kind of story you know?
M: Absolutely, I mean I definitely didn't expect that it's amazing to hear you know how much history and symbolism there is within that song, and I'm definitely gonna go watch it again after this you know knowing that now, and I hope other people check it out I will specifically link it down below to make sure that you see it as well knowing that but the last thing I want to talk about here is with two EPs out so far and you know, this growing fame across social media is there a plan for an upcoming album, and if so how can people best support the band with making that happen?
A: So there are not plans for an album, but there are plans for what we have right now our plan is to release two EPs and we have most of the material for those two EPs, and they're gonna be kind of like sister EPs. The reason we didn't wanna do it as an album is because the music that we're working on sort of fits into kind of two boxes and we felt like it would flow more if we put them into separate releases that would kind of coincide with each other, rather than trying to fit it into one album and making it all flow as 10 songs you know? So we are planning on a future release, and if people want to help with that or basically make it possible for us to be able to afford to record, and mix and master, and all of that, best way to do that is you can find our merch on our band camp, or you can buy our music. We also have a Teespring account which has a kind of a bigger variety of merch. The downside is we can't sell that physically in person but since we're not doing shows or anything, that's not really a downside anymore, most people are buying online anyway. And so any of that is a great way to support any band that you care about you know, and especially Bandcamp is just a really good platform, I mean people stream you know music on Spotify a lot and as most people are aware Spotify doesn't pay a whole lot of money, which doesn't mean don't use Spotify I don't think, I mean I try to use Spotify just because as a band monthly listeners on Spotify count for a lot, and kind of are most people's measurement of how much people actually care about your music which is a little messed up, but you know, so- but buying on Bandcamp it's a great way- it's a great community it's a great way to discover music, it's a great way to you know, support artists, you can donate extra money most of the time in order to like you know, kind of tip the artist, which I would recommend doing for any artist you care about. It's also just a great thing because it has it gives you the ability to like plug other artists at the bottom that you think that people who like your music would like, I like to use that, and you know all the search features. I think honestly as far as finding music Bandcamp is like the best platform, and then outside of that we have cassettes that we've just released that are almost gone, they're probably going to be gone by the time this gets posted, but we do have a second wave that we're planning on dropping. Those are through Solidarity Club Records so if you go to our Linktree, that's linked there. I think there's only five left last time I checked, so they might be gone pretty soon they said that we sold those out the fastest that anybody like has has sold them on the first day like the most sales from the first 24 hours that Solidarity Club had had, so I'm pretty proud of that. And then you can always Venmo us I mean, we're not going to like ask you to but I mean or Paypal there's a there's a Paypal link on our Spotify and at the top and every once in a while we'll get like you know, 10 bucks and like it all it all helps, anything that you can give you know, because right now we're finishing up on making the music exist, and then after that point it's a matter of recording is expensive and mixing and mastering are expensive, and anything helps you know. We put in our own money we do a lot of- we can't tour obviously, last time we toured we made we- I was shocked that we made a profit, at all because I was not expecting to. I was expecting to lose money and we made like 700 bucks off merch sales and everything, and like door sales and so like with that gone basically without us being able to sell merch in person or whatever, it's just really important to like you know be plugging that on our social media on all, you know all that so that that's the best way to help I think any artist.
M: Absolutely, well if you want to support the band and you want to see those really rad sounding two sister EPs coming out, then go to any of the links below to check out what she's been talking about, and thank you again so much for joining me today, it was a pleasure having you, and I'm so thankful for this. And stay tuned for next week's Tunes Tuesday, and Hoity-Toity will be playing out!
*Should Haven't by Hoity-Toity begins playing*