Editor’s Note: Chicago industrial artist I YA TOYAH is currently making some noise with ZWAREMACHINE on the “Code Blue” tour. This tour has been meaningful because it’s getting her further exposure in the Midwest industrial scene and Zwaremachine certainly has some momentum coming off of his brief European run. I Ya Toyah and Zwaremachine are also using this tour to promote their duet single “Smile That Killed A Country” and proceeds from her music sales and merch sales are going to fight suicide prevention. Fans can find I Ya Toyah at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Take us into the Chicago Music Scene.
I Ya Toyah: Chicago is the home of great musical vibes of many genres but it is also true cradle of industrial music. Industrial genre in all the ways it exists today is experiencing its revival in Chicago thanks to the amazing DJ’s such as Scary Lady Sarah, Jena Max, Jeff Moyer, DJ SJ, DJ Veganinblack and more, and endless artistic talent of acts such as Royb0t, Echo Haus, Boundless, Digital Gnosis, Freeze Etch, Kevin Lux, Traumabond, Lorelei Dreaming, Cyanotic, Nevada Hardware, and it is just the very beginning of the list…..Clubs such as Underground Lounge, Metro, Berlin that cultivate this amazing culture, events like Nocturna, Sanctuary, Cold Waves……it doesn’t stop, it keeps growing and taking over the musical universe because it is so powerful and amazing and also, on the human side, filled with such kindness and genuine care towards each other that it’s mind blowing.
Madness To Creation: You’re on the “Code Blue” tour, what is your favorite thing about performing live?
I Ya Toyah: What isn’t haha? Even the hustle part of each load in and load out, the stress of set up and tear down of all my equipment … here is the place to thank my dear ones who are kind enough to step in and help me with all that so it is less time consuming and draining for me. They are now ‘I Ya Toyah crew’ even though in reality they are so much more than that- Damian Ghaul ( my infinite love and also photographer behind all amazing photos you see me share ) and Joel Lopez ( creative talent behind my live show visuals and all the recap videos and promo videos you can view on my Youtube channel ), THANK YOU for all you do!
Now, back to question: I love it all. It starts with stage production for the night, making sure all is in the right place, connected, troubleshoot, and working. I always do this little run prior to starting, it is very important part of my performance, going through the checklist in my head and making sure all is good. Then, the real show part begins when I’m on stage ready to begin my set, the lights are off, but I can see people’s faces and it gives me a great vibe of excitement that I’m about to share myself with everyone, because this is how I take my performance. I give myself. My songs and music come from my heart, every word I sing, every note I play goes from my heart to my brain to my body and then to audience, only to return with multiplied power, straight to the heart as I go on with my show. I open up the story of my life, my day, and this very moment. Every performance is different because of that, each day, each moment is different and so is each audience and the energy. Sharing it, telling these stories is what I love. Then, setting myself free and being all about that moment, music in me to the point that I lose track of where I am, what exactly is happening, I let this force and the crowd carry me on, when the show is done, I’m all sweaty, and I love it too. Every drop of it is reminded of labor of love. Going off the stage and meeting people and spending time talking with them is another favorite thing. I want to live this life on repeat. I never want it to end. I love it.
Madness To Creation: What can fans expect from the tour?
I Ya Toyah: Code Blue tour is a fun and intense musical experience focused on delivering good vibes, code blue vibes- revival for life, awakening for the soul…. Just like code blue medical term where someone is needing an immediate resuscitation- Zwaremachine and myself are bringing it with our music, live shows and strong message. Code Blue tour is basically I Ya Toyah and Zwaremachine co-headlining so when we come to your town, expect unexpected- plus, an exclusive bonus performance of our collab duet song Smile That Killed a Country that we play together only during this Code Blue tour. It is not to miss- I love watching Zwaremachine set, it is full of energy, groovy hardened rhythms, and visuals you can’t stop staring at! Zwaremachine guys- Mach and Dave from Minneapolis- give a great live show that is both mesmerizing and hypnotizing. It’s a pure pleasure to travel with those guys and play to promote our efforts and Midwest Industrial powers! On additional note, we made little gift packages for first couple of people who show up at the door for our tour shows- goodies include limited edition Code Blue tour sticker, our own stickers and buttons and more.
Madness To Creation: Three biggest influences in your music.
I Ya Toyah: Connection. Observation. Travel through inner emotional landscape.
Madness To Creation: Summer plans for I Ya Toyah!
I Ya Toyah: More live shows, more touring plans with Zwaremachine and Gothic Lizard and on my own … Also works on remix of Code Blue album songs by various artists, including Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly, Delerium and Conjure One who remixed my ‘Flashback’. I’m very excited to share this one- it is so good it is perfect for the summertime- Rhys himself called this remix ‘sadness on the dance floor’- it is so dark yet so groovy! Other plans involve a collaboration with the very exciting industrial act I can’t publicly speak about just yet but will soon. And….life. As it brings challenges and surprises all the time. I’m planning to enjoy this summer doing what I love most, to the fullest.
Madness To Creation: Take us into the song “Flashback”, what’s the song talking about?
I Ya Toyah: Flashback is a very dark song. It talks about the past that you wish to forget chasing you back, haunting you emotionally but also taking over your physicality. It’s the song about vicious cycle and being surrounded by the invisible walls that are hard to break through even though you give it all to do so- yet, they keep finding the way to keep closing you in. One of darkest songs I’ve ever written, every time I perform it I shake inside and genuinely feel it take over me just like if I’m reliving darkest moment of my own life- moments that inspired that piece.
Madness To Creation: Describe I Ya Toyah using a movie title.
I Ya Toyah: ‘Run Lola Run’- not only for Lola’s redhairness because sometimes I change the hair color with no regrets, but rather for not giving up, and going for mission impossible no matter what awaits. I Ya Toyah symbolizes not only ‘It’s just me’ in Polish when spoken out loud, but also one woman army- woman power, strength, focus and drive. Mission impossible as a non existent option.
Madness To Creation: Anything else you would like to add?
I Ya Toyah: I want to thank everyone who supports what I do. When I’m on the road, your kindness and heart openness means everything to me! Everyone who comes out to the shows- THANK YOU! Everyone who gets the piece of my merch, whether it is CD or Benek sticker ( my dog who travels with me on tour ) or t-shirt or any other thing- THANK YOU! I couldn’t do this without you Lastly, everyone coming to talk to me about suicide and mental health- each time you do, it saves my own life a little. THANK YOU. Those who don’t know yet, I’m very close and connected to the cause of suicide prevention and mental wellness as I lost my dear Mom to suicide couple years back- I always have booklets and other items from Hope For The Day and American Foundation For Suicide Prevention by my merch booth on the side and you can always come and grab anything you want, and if you feel like it- talk to me about your experience. I also donate 15% of each physical Code Blue CD profit to American Foundation For Suicide Prevention so you getting this album has double powerful meaning to me.
Madness To Creation: Thank you for your time to interview with me for Madness To Creation!
I Ya Toyah: Thank you so much for having me!
And there you have it! The “Code Blue” tour with Zwaremachine continues with a one-off date supporting Mortiis in Joliet, Illinois. Check out the dates below:
Fri. 3/29- Underground Lounge in Chicago, Illinois
Sat. 3/30- Warehouse in La Crosse, Wisconsin
Tue. 4/2- The Forge in Joliet, Illinois (w/Mortiis)
Sat. 4/20- The Red Sea in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Fri. 5/17- Midtown Art Supply in Omaha, Nebraska
Sat. 5/18- miniBAR in Kansas City, Missouri
Fri. 5/24- The Fremont in Des Moines, Iowa
Sat. 5/25- Kirby’s Beer Store in Wichita, Kansas
For tickets and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.