Sound Bites Interview: Toys and Tiny Instruments Band

Some bands don't need a lot of explanation. Toys and Tiny Instruments Band just that kind of group. You see their name, and you know what they do. Except just how good they are. These merrymakers played Bruar Falls a while back and while the night started with some eye-rolling — oh boy what is this novelty thing about to happen? — everyone there ended up kinda being wowed. They may buy their gear at Toys R' Us but that doesn't mean they don't write awesome songs, and that they can't play their instruments well. Check out their MySpace page which now has some real recordings that will be featured on an upcoming EP.

When I partnered with the Seaport and Fulton Stall Markets to do this Lunchtime series, I wanted to book bands I thought would make people stop and say "hey what is this?" and then say "whoa this is great" TATIB were one of the first groups I thought of. They're playing the final week of the series this Wednesday (June 30) at 1PM, preceded by some DJing from yours truly. Colin Summers, head toymaker, kindly answered some food-related questions which are below.

You're playing opposite the Fulton Stall Markets. What's your favorite vegetable?

Avocado.  It's so delicious.  Wait . . . is that a fruit? 

What's your least favorite and why?

Avocado.  It's not even a vegetable!  I just looked it up.  It needs to stop pretending and come clean.

Does the tiny theme carry over into your eating habits? Is it just sliders and hors d'oeuvres for you?

Yes.  Every day all seven members of the Toys And Tiny Instruments wake up in the studio apartment that we share and make a breakfast feast that consists of clementine oranges, string cheese singles and M&M minis. Not only does this fit with our theme but it is all that we can afford.

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?

The purchasing of food has!  We have a song called Supermarket Rage.  That was written after working in a grocery store for about a year.  Working in a grocery store sucks as you get all the crazies.  They are often in a rage.

Any good food-related band anecdotes?

Does alcohol count as food?  If so we've got a ton.  If not we, we may have one involving having snack time and nap time on a Megabus to Rensselaer. 

What is your favorite cheap eats place in NYC? Where do you eat at most often?

Hmm . . .the cheapest, which happens to be where I eat most often, is my apartment.  Maybe this is a better question for one of the members of the band that goes to resturants.

Who is the most finicky eater in the band? Who is the best cook?

Alessandro has been known to cook a mean rice.  Karen cooks desserts.  Duffy doesn't like most food.  

What is your food secret shame?

I love Jamaican Beef Patties.  I just ate one actually.  I will buy one from anywhere.  Alec is a vegetarian so he doesn't eat those, but he does have a soft spot for McDonald's Mcflurries.  I'm not sure if he's ashamed about that, but I am at least.  

Do you have a go-to hangover food?

We only consume tiny beverages so hangovers are prevented.  

What food would you imagine your music being paired with?

Tiny 25 cent bodega ice cream sandwiches.

Let’s Do Lunch


Free for lunch next month? How about coming down to South Street Seaport for some free rock shows curated by this moi? The Fulton Stall Market launches its second season in the old Fulton Fish Market space on May 30 and to help celebrate, the folks behind it asked if I wanted to help put on some daytime shows the first month the Market is open. I said yes and now we've got the Sound Bites Lunchtime Series, which will happen every Wednesday in June. In keeping with the "go local" aspect that is so intrinsic to farmers markets, I stayed with bands from NYC, mostly Brooklyn.

We'll kick things off Sunday, May 30 — the Market's opening day — with a performance from up-and-comers North Highlands, and then the next five Wednesdays. I'll spin some tunes at noon and then bands go on at 1PM. It's free. Here's the full six-show line-up:

MAY 30 (Sunday kickoff): North Highlands (MP3: "Collar Bones")
Lovely orch-pop from one of the nicest, best new bands in Brooklyn. Their live show is pretty magical.

JUNE 2: Air Waves (MP3: "Knock Out")
Gentle jangle somewhere between Neil Young and Loaded-era Velvet Underground. Great songs, great stories.

JUNE 9: The Austin McCutchen Quartet (MP3: "Honey Don't Be Sad")
A talented songwriter from my neighborhood, playing bluegrass in the single mike style just like olden days.

JUNE 16: Ribbons (MP3: "Total Loss")
Dark and mysterious indie rock. This is one of their last-ever shows so don't miss it!

JUNE 23: The Beets (MP3: "What Did I Do?")
If Eddie Haskel formed a protopunk band, The Beets would be it. Bratty, but always leaving you with a thankyouverymuch.

JUNE 30: Toys and Tiny Instruments Band
The name kind of says it all. Serious pop music, but played playfully. And in miniature.

Again, I DJ for an hour at noon, then the bands play at 1PM. The Fulton Stall Market has local purveyors in addition to farmers, and I'm told they're getting cool food trucks under the FDR, so grab some grub and come watch the bands. Sounds idyllic to me. Sets won't be too long, so if you work in the neighborhood you'll be back at your desk checking Facebook in normal time. If you're not encumbered by a job, I can tell you where the cheep beer is at the Seaport.

The Seaport is one of my favorite places to see shows in NYC, certainly my favorite outdoor space, and I always look forward to the Seaport Music Festival every year (this year's schedule looks great, btw), so I'm honored and pysched to be a little part of it this season. And that it's also promoting local farmers (I try to be a locavore as much as possible), it's even better. Come down if you can, I think it's gonna be a good time.