Passion Project: The Unstoppable Rise Of Tokky Horror

Virtual Hardcore terrors are making their dreams a reality...

Tokky Horror are finding themselves, and finding their audience – but not because they don’t know who they are. As a band, they’re hyper-focused on the fact that discovering their sound, shaping it and following it where it wants to go is the mission, and they as members are simply vehicles to make songs that rip as much as possible. Currently, the cocktail that makes up Tokky Horror is some parts punk, some parts electro, some parts fizzy futurism and some parts gritty, spacey noise, and it metamorphoses at will. Tokky’s Zee Davine talks us through the ethos of punk as it lives in this project. 

Having been in myriad bands, including Queen Zee most recently, Zee isn’t a stranger to punk shows, and muses happily about the crowd that Tokky draws in. “It’s such a nice audience we have. It’s a mix of punks, and ravers, queer kids, old dudes that remember The Prodigy, and then younger kids that have no idea what the fuck they are. So it’s a really, really nice vibe. And it feels quite exciting to be part of it at the moment.” 

For Tokky Horror, though, forming during COVID and the halt of all live shows proved something of a baptism of fire as far as gigging goes. “I like kind of came out of a punk scene, which was all about playing,” Zee explains, “and you’d have 200 shows before you’d even get 10 people in. It was kind of like doing your time, making your name in a scene. Whereas [Tokky Horror] went straight in at a sold out gig. It’s really bizarre.” 

It pays to be electro/punk/dance/however you could possibly categorise Tokky Horror/new music’s hottest upstarts, but the blend that the group have created is addictive and expertly done. “It was always meant to be a much more producer-led project,” says Zee, discussing things that set Tokky apart from their previous projects and involuntarily noting one of the things that sets Tokky apart from much of punk scene, where they create energy not with crushing live instrumentals, but by constructing a bold, rattling world through their instrumentals and production. “It was really a passion project for myself, Mollie [Rush] and Ava [Akira] to dig into over lockdown, for me to learn to produce music and technology in a way I found interesting and engaging. When we thought about performing it live, which I wasn’t even convinced we would ever do, it was very much a DJ thing.” 

The beauty of learning and experimenting on the go, especially in Tokky’s case, is that they follow the music, unlimited by convention or goals. Though the project started with a focus on production, the group are loyally willing to think about what the songs need. “I think I found it harder to break up the punk mindset than I thought I would,” Zee muses. “I keep picking up guitars, I keep wanting to make GUITAR music. Maybe it’s more about injecting punk with electronics than electronics with punk, you know? But then in terms of production, I keep finding myself taking guitars out, because it doesn’t add to the song. 

“The way that we do it, it’s all about the song. It’s not about, so and so has written a ten minute guitar solo that has to be in it because of the politics of the band, or we have a drummer so there has to be live drums. We’ve got two vocalists and we’ve got songs with no vocals on them! It’s always just about the song.”

Because of the intuitive nature of Tokky Horror, the band are open to so many different routes, but they aren’t daunted by the choice paralysis. Instead, Zee talks about the decisions that Tokky have to make with excitement and curiosity: “we’re gonna do a record! We’re in a really interesting situation. We’ve got two producers that really want to do it, and both of them are very, very different. One of them’s a very pop producer, and one of them’s very much not a pop producer, so we’re kind of debating that.” A situation that could have other bands questioning their identity as they head into their debut album has Tokky Horror buzzing – and there’s no doubt that however they approach things next, they’ll be intriguing, and definitely Tokky. 

Tokky Horror will release new EP ‘KAPPACORE’ on May 12th.

Words: Ims Taylor

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