London trio Totem (comprised of Toby Burroughs, Todd Timney-Fowler, and Luke Forbes-Adam) release their debut single See Saw Girl on September 23rd on Moshi Moshi Singles Club. The band are set to play a free single launch party at Total Refreshment Centre on September 26th, and are also playing a show with Crushed Beaks at The Lexington on September 19th. We caught up with Totem’s Toby Burroughs in a recent interview, so have a read as we talk about the single, songwriting, children’s TV, and the weather forecast.
AMBY: Hey Totem, please introduce yourselves to AMBY’s readers!
AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
Totem: Wouldn’t really want to describe our music to people, think it’s up to them to find out.
AMBY: Where did the name Totem come from?
Totem: From a track off an old drum and bass record, not an exciting story.
AMBY: Your debut single See Saw Girl comes out on the 23rd of September. What’s the song about?
Totem: I suppose the purpose of the song is the feeling and movement of it more than anything, some of our tracks have more of a lyrical narrative, but this is pretty instinctive and just us enjoying ourselves really.
AMBY: The deep vocals and rumbling bass against the higher backing vocals is a great contrast in the single. But what’s next as far as upcoming releases go?
Totem: We are writing and recording a lot at the moment so that’s our main focus, we don’t know what will be released next although there are a few in mind.
AMBY: Between the three band members, what’s the songwriting process like?
Totem: The writing process ether happens one of two ways – ether we all jam and record it, live with it for a couple of days and then find the most natural/unnatural arrangement for it. Like a really rough sketch, then a think, a cup of tea? Some rubbing out then a permanent marker and colouring in.
Somebody brings an idea – maybe a couple of parts, we play around it and soon becomes pretty obvious if it works or not – sometimes they’re really good ideas but they don’t feel right or meant for the band. It ends up evolving into something unrecognisable that’s fun.
AMBY: What are your rehearsals usually like? Does the band have a set time to practice or are rehearsals more off-the-cuff?
Totem: We practice in a small studio in Harlesden, usually once or twice a week, we all have jobs so have to fit rehearsals around them.
AMBY: What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve ever said or done?
Totem: It probably wouldn’t be a great idea to publicise that info.
AMBY: If you could choose to have your music featured in any movie or show, which would you choose?
Totem: The news or maybe children’s tv, as it seems to be a bit rubbish at the moment.
AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?
Totem: Keebo – Native American
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Totem that nobody knows yet?
Totem: What will the weather forecast be tomorrow?
Thank you Totem, for giving us your answers!