What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Ever since I was tall enough to reach the keys, I would mess around with the piano in my parents’ living room. This slowly evolved into songwriting, picking up the drums, guitar, and bass, and eventually recording with a Roland V-Studio (one that recorded onto Zip Disks!). In 2014, I started to make music with my roommate Max Rafferty, who taught me to calm my perfectionistic tendencies. A few years later, I picked up a guitar and started playing some Tootilage tunes at a Chanukah party. Donovan Dwyer was listening to me play and, next thing I knew, he became our bassist. And thus Tootilage was born!
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
America Day is a song about a fake holiday. What if our lackluster president was actually our role model for a day, and everyone eats fast food and stops believing in working out. The song sarcastically asks the celebrator to give up the gym and their diet, and become an all-around worse version of themselves for a day. The song is the opening track of our new album “Evercoop.”
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Our biggest musical influences are 90s alternative bands like Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, Ween, and anything Rob Crow was in before 2005. Non-musically, Tootilage is influenced by life’s minutiae and ironies. We don’t tell stories about full-blown tragedies, just aspects of life that are mildly irritating; minimized drama.
Non-musical influences… really anything can light the initial spark or idea for a song.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
The ‘Tootilage sound’ boils down the tropes of 90s rock into its very essence, creating a pastiche that is almost more 90s than actual 90s rock. We also stopped taking things seriously a long time ago, so you end up with songs about ridiculous stuff like pizza recipes and switching buttcheeks.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Albums: Scary Monsters by David Bowie, Loveless by My Bloody Valentine, and Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins
Movies: 8 ½, Brazil, and Run Lola Run
Books: The Sound and the Fury, Lolita, and Ulysses
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I personally have a lot more experience in the studio, so I’m more comfortable recording than performing. But with the pandemic, we’re feeling eager to perform!
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I was playing guitar in my apartment one evening, when one of my roommates randomly tells me to do a cover of the ‘Babysitters Club’ theme song, from that 90s movie for girls based on a young-adult book series. We listened to the super cheesy original, and I slapped together a grunge version on the spot. I was still recovering from having had pneumonia, so my voice had this shaky, vulnerable quality to it, which really changes the effect of the lyrics. “Say hello to your friends, they’re always there” takes on a stalkerish quality when delivered with vulnerability. This continues to be one of my favorite tracks of ours.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
We did a song on our first album called “The Weasel,” which is a semi-psychedelic story song about a prehistoric animal with two conjoined bodies that narrowly avoids extinction despite being unintelligent. The song is super strange, the verses are slow and trippy, the choruses a fast and furious, and the lyrics are generally weird and unsettling. We don’t have another song like it.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Our plan is to release our new album as a series of singles, make as many music videos as we can, and survive the pandemic long enough to play live again!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Who are the members of the band and how would you characterize each band member, comparing each to a member of the Beatles AND a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?
Tootilage has three members: Ace Salisbury, “Donno” Donovan Dwyer, and “Magnum” Max Rafferty.
Ace is the band’s songwriter, singer, guitarist, and in times of quarantine, the engineer and one-man-band on our album. He would be John Lennon (with a bit of Paul McCartney’s softness thrown in), and he’s Leonardo, the turtles’ fearless leader.
Donovan Dwyer is the band’s bassist and backup vocalist. He would be George Harrison, innovative and preferring to shy from the spotlight, and being the programmer of the band’s website earns him being Donatello, the turtle with all the technical skills.
Max Rafferty is the band’s comic relief, occasional co-writer and monologist. He would be Ringo, the goofy one, and he’s Michaelangelo the party dude.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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