Three years after their acclaimed Washed & Dried EP first unveiled the band’s distinct blend of hazy plaintive pop and psychedelic electronica, SF-based Melted Toys' self-titled debut album is set to release next month.
The band's dreamy sound all started with original members Daniel Rosado and Steven Harkins, who bonded over a joint while ditching PE at a local high school. Caught and suspended, they strengthened their friendship over music, and crossed paths with soon-to-be bassist Brian Wakefield from a high school nearby.
Three years has passed since the band's first EP – mostly due to the fact that one of the members left a laptop containing all their initial work on a BART train (ouch!) – but, Melted Toys seems to have used the faux pas to their advantage. In that time, singer-guitarist Steven Harkins travelled to Beijing, Tokyo, and Taipei, where he was inspired to write the remainder of the album.
In Taipei specifically, the sounds and views of surrounding villages inspired Harkins and his partner Isabelle to set out everyday, Walkman in hand, to discover and explore the region. Similar wanderings have inspired Shinsei Kamattechan, Pootee’s Yen Kids Mix, Chris Rainbow, and tons of J-pop artists, Harkins says, and it helped imbue the travel time with a sense of musical voyage. Returning back to Isabelle’s parents flat, Harkins would write songs on an old acoustic guitar that her father had used during his teenage stint playing in Taiwanese bands in the 70s.
Back from a three-year hiatus, and on the brink of big things with a dreamy new album in production, we chatted with bassist Brian Wakefield to ask him seven essential questions about band-life in SF.
What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?
I live in the Excelsior; I love it but would move if a space opened up with a big basement where we could record/ throw shows etc.
What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?
Damn that's hard ... the city has too many options. Maybe the Indian buffet on Fillmore? Ken Ken? Mission Chinese? I like food.
What's your perfect night on the town?
Play a good show, eat some free delicious food, and then head to where one of our friends is tending bar.
When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?
I usually walk around the X, maybe go to some thrift stores. And I'm always down for Chinatown, or Balboa skate park if I'm feeling active.
What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?
Any hiking spot, usually if I have to leave the city it's somewhere peaceful. Sebastopol is amazing.
Burrito or Burger?
Presidio or Golden Gate Park?
BiRite or Mitchell's?
Ben & Jerrys
Bike or MUNI?
14 all night
Fort Mason or Dolores Park?
The Independent or the Fillmore?
Fillmore (hit us up!)
Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?
Whichever we decide to meet on.
Three words that describe your life in SF?
It's probably legal.