Arts & Music

Gimme Five! Nathan Toben of The Toddlers

photo by Jacki Huntington

Like any small child, Nathan Toben and his band of collaborators have a habit of throwing together ideas regardless of the boundaries “adults” might place around them. Forget rules. Forget genre. There is only play. For kids that tends to mean pulling down glass ware or wandering into closets, for The Toddlers it takes the form of post-punk Americana that surges with emotional honesty.

The band’s currently raising funds to record a debut album with Mitch Easter at his studio, Fideltorium. Are these the sort of Toddlers you want taking your $5? Find out for yourself after the jump!

photo by Jacki Huntington

1. If your band were a toy, what would it be?
Legos. Our songwriting process is all about constructing and deconstructing from an array of sonic tools and pieces. Each of us offers unique approaches to fit our individual intentions in to a body of sound and the result of that process is establishing a Toddlers base or foundation. When people ask us what Toddlers sound like, we usually give them an answer similar to this. We are less concerned with genre as we are with how effective our parts and melodies are at serving the Song.

2. When did you start to think there was something about this music that needed to be shared?
For me: After writing “The Ballad of Guns and Knives” in 2008, which became the first Toddlers song.
Noah: Day one, baby.
Missy: The first time I heard them play. That was last fall at The Cave. I felt a strong emotional attachment to the songs immediately.
Ellis: It’s always been about sharing the music. Toddlers songs are created with the intention of interacting with others’ taste and experience.

3. Describe your typical band practice.
Our practices are on average 3 hours long. Usually beginning with the obligatory improved kraut/space jam. If we need additional warming up, we’ll fly through a few older songs. The majority of our time is examining our newer material as we play it, making structural and tonal adjustments and then re-playing it. More recently, every practice has an element of preparation for recording our LP with Mitch Easter in September. Oh yeah, we eat pie pretty often. Key Lime.

photo by Jacki Huntington

4. Who/what might be a few inspirations or influences that would really surprise people?
Fela Kuti, Carl Jung, coffee, Greek epics, Les Baxter, Quakerism, Phil Spector, Ace of Base.

5. What did you dream of being when you were a kid? (How ’d that turn out?)
Noah wanted to be a rockstar, Ellis wanted to be a filmmaker, I wanted to be a writer and Missy can’t remember. But in all frankness, I think a little part of each of us wanted to be astronauts. The first band to go to space? We dare to dream.

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Help kick start The Toddler’s debut album by clicking over here and checking out their pitch. And, by all means, give Nathan a high five when you see him!