Toodles & the Hectic Pity are lead vocals and guitarist Callum McAllister, bassist Max Cole and drummer Dom Mosley – with a medley of more unusual instruments between them, from a melodica to pizza boxes.
Firm friends from school, they initially came together as a band to play the inaugural Inglefest, so it’s fitting that their first gig following the announcement of forthcoming EP Ghosts, Guilt and Grandparents is the Somerset festival’s Christmas party at Exchange, Jinglefest – with a full UK tour to follow in March.
The new EP was announced today, and comes with a single release for live show (and band tee) favourite, Ducks – delivering a great insight into what this hard-working band have achieved in a few short years.
Two years on from their Call in Sick EP, Toodles & the Hectic Pity have left behind their acoustic remit; with more reverb, fewer finger plucking sections and a healthy dollop of catchy pop hooks in the mix to refine their emotive, folk punk sound.
more reverb, fewer finger plucking sections and a healthy dollop of catchy pop hooks in the mix to refine their emotive, folk punk sound
With doses of emo and uplifting conveyed in every breath, Toodles & the Hectic Pity are here to make you feel something. Between singalong-ready ragers and longer, more introspective ballads, the five-track EP feels like it’s over all too soon and leaves us hungry for more.
Toodles & The Hectic Pity have supported Jake (Callum’s brother) and the Jellyfish on tour, Ducking Punches and are a mainstay of DIY punk all dayers, but they’re clearly ready for their moment in the limelight. Frontman Callum answers our 20 questions –
singalong-ready ragers and longer, more introspective ballads
Who are your top three acts right now?
I’m getting pretty obsessed with Garden Centre’s new LP, A Moon for Digging, out from Specialist Subject a month or so ago. Haven’t seen them live yet, but can’t wait to.
Dom’s new project INTOKU are a really impressive band and an absolute pleasure to watch live. They’re nothing at all like us or what I’d usually listen to, but they’re a really unique addition to the Bristol music scene. They’ll be playing alongside us at Jinglefest in a couple of weeks.
A band I can’t wait to see again is Katie Ellen. I saw them touring with WOAHNOWS earlier in the year and they were absolutely phenomenal. They need to come back to the UK soon as.
Which song by another artist most inspires you?
I saw The Mountain Goats live for the first time a few days ago and I think that basically any song they’ve ever written really just lights that spark of inspiration in the dusty back corners of my brain. They just manage to get down to the real emotional core of a song and do it with deceptively simple lyrics and instrumentation.
any song they’ve ever written really just lights that spark of inspiration in the dusty back corners of my brain
First piece of music you bought?
I’m fairly sure the first piece of music I bought was an AC/DC album. I don’t remember which one, but I knew I wanted one and so asked my dad to take me to HMV and bought whichever one was cheapest. Still a sucker for them.
Waxahatchee’s Cerulean Salt. Absolute cracker of an album.
Who is or was the most underrated artist, in your opinion?
I think Sincere Engineer deserve a lot more attention right now. Their LP Rhombithian is an absolute pop punk masterpiece from start to finish.
You’re at a house party and no one is dancing. What’s your favourite floor filler?
I’m not much of a house party person, but if I was I’d be putting on the song Walking in Memphis. Or anything by Martha.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grow up?
As boring as it sounds, I did actually want to be an author from a really young age. Me and my sister were both big fantasy nuts as children (still are too — her more so than me). We spent a lot of our time growing up together planning our future novels. At a certain point in my early teens I decided that this wasn’t a very cool thing to want to be, so I ditched the french horn and learned the guitar and said I wanted to be a ‘rock star’, which is much more embarrassing.
I ditched the french horn and learned the guitar
What was the last book you read?
The last book I finished was a book of essays called It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track by Ian Penman, out from Fitzcarraldo Editions. For the most part, the essays centre around iconic black musicians. I learned quite a lot, but for me the style of writing was a bit dry and to be honest, when it comes to books, I’m a bit of a style-over-substance person. Right now I’m reading a few things, including In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin, which is brilliant, and a collection of short stories by Argentinian writer Silvina Ocampo, which is a perfect autumnal read. Super weird and creepy.
Most recent binge watch?
This sounds judgmental (it isn’t), but I’m not much of a binge watcher. When I watch TV, it’s more often films than TV series, and then it’s an episode at a time kind of thing. Right now I’m watching the BBC’s His Dark Materials adaptation as it comes out every Sunday, which is great. The books are fantastic and this is thus far doing them justice.
I think that most mottos have to have a bit of nuance to make any sense — which makes them a lot less catchy. But one thing I do live by is putting your own self-care over other people’s expectations of you. Don’t neglect your friends or anything, but if you need a bath and an early night and that means you’ve gotta miss a show, that’s just sometimes what you got to do. And I do that quite a lot. A lot of times that’s not the best advice, but you’ve just got to know yourself and know what makes you able to get through the week. So in that case the motto would be ‘Never feel FOMO again.’
if you need a bath and an early night and that means you’ve gotta miss a show, that’s just sometimes what you got to do
Urban fox. Solitary, or so it seems. Moves around quietly. Lives out of the bins.
Tea or coffee?
Both. But coffee is the fave.
That specific time in autumn when it’s acceptable to break out the scarf and gloves.
I’ve worked as a bookseller for the last few years and I think my biggest pet peeve is when people ask whether a newly released book is in paperback yet. To be fair to the general public, not a lot of people know that in publishing hardbacks come out first, with paperbacks following a year or so later. So it’s a little unfair for me to find it annoying, but when you get asked the same thing all the time it eventually starts to wind you up! A more rational pet peeve is people who refer to their female partners as ‘the missus’. People who do this are rarely doing this in a complimentary or respectful way.
Mosh pits – yay or nay?
It’s a nay from me. People can do what they want though — I’ll just stand at the back and enjoy from there.
People can do what they want though — I’ll just stand at the back and enjoy from there
What do you want most for Christmas?
Pants, socks and a new jumper.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Not sure it’s advice, but it was actually a friend of ours, the organiser of Inglefest, who suggested the three of us start a band. And ‘start a band with some friends’ is really good advice. With the right people it can be a really satisfying collaborative project and a personal, visceral outlet for the soul. It gets the endorphins flowing. You meet people.
‘start a band with some friends’ is really good advice
It’s a lot of fun and can seem pretty daunting, but there’s lots of resources out there, including Eat Up! for starters, which runs workshops for newcomers with the aim of promoting diversity and inclusivity in the Bristol music scene. Honestly, if you’ve never picked up an instrument before, that doesn’t mean you can’t make music.
Tell us something people don’t generally know about you…
I was a pretty decent french horn player at school, which I gave up because I thought it wasn’t very cool and because my tutor wasn’t a very nice man. Which is to say that an unpleasant teacher can really kill young people’s enthusiasm for something. My guitar tutor was a much nicer dude and all he cared about was that I was learning something and enjoying myself and getting what I wanted from the lessons. The french horn teacher was more concerned about us meeting the curriculum than enjoyment or nurturing enthusiasm or skill. Our main fall out was that I didn’t find reading music very easy, even though I could play things by ear pretty easily. Everyone learns differently and everyone comes to music from a different way. So being prescriptive about it is very unhelpful.
Everyone learns differently and everyone comes to music from a different way
What is your oldest possession?
I was given a cuddly toy rabbit when I was still in an incubator as a wee baby — which is still at my parents’ place. He was called Cat. The oldest possession I have that I still keep in my house is my acoustic guitar. It’s totally beaten up and has had more work done on it than it’s actually is worth, but it’s just become a sentimental thing for me. It’s really light and easy to play and if it ain’t (very) broke, then don’t fix it — which is why I still haven’t bought an electric.
if it ain’t (very) broke, then don’t fix it
What are you doing tomorrow?
I’ll be working at Exchange in the morning. The rest of my time right now is going into organising 2020 shows for our next record, which is going to be released in February by Specialist Subject Records. It’s been an absolute labour of love on these songs and we’re just finishing up the final touches in terms of artwork and release plans. That’s occupying all of our thoughts right now and I can’t wait until it’s just out in the world for people to hear.
Photos via @thefotomatic
Pre order Ghosts, Guilt and Grandparents via Specialist Subject Records.