Free Floatin’: Brooklyn’s BoyToy’s Tips on Touring Responsibly

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By Shelly Simon

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Brooklyn trio BoyToy consists of Saara Untracht-Oakner, Glenn Van Dyke, and drummer Matthew Gregory. These rock and rollers have been banging out catchy tunes since 2012 and released music on Burger Records and PaperCup Music. Homoground’s Shelly Simon spoke with them after their show in Paris in the basement of the diner Olympic Cafe in, she says, “the heart of the city on a typical rainy yet mystical kind of night.” The topic of conversation revolved around making money in music.  


“It seems like most of the money in music these days flows around touring and sync placements. It’s viable to tour throughout the year, but you run the risk of burning out, while landing a sync deal is mostly about luck and having an agent that stays hungry. So it’s a balance between money you can predict and money you can’t. Both make you a little crazy. To make money you have to be patient and persistent and crazy.


“Right now we’re on a monthlong run in Europe, where, even when the guarantee is modest, the promoters will also feed you and put you up. A burden of logistics are lifted on a European tour, leaving you (or your manager) more time to figure out weird shit to do.


“A recurring challenge for fly-in dates is transporting your equipment. Checked-bag fees add up quickly. If
you’re going to rent,
always ask for photos. I (Chase) was offered some gear that was described as ‘shitty’ but free, so I went for it. And now I’m touring with these cymbals that feel like plastic Fisher-Price toys. The drums are beyond shitty. My hi-hats are seriously two different sizes. It’s hilarious, but spare yourself the spectacle.”

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DIY Super Tip: “Find a used hardshell case for a marching band snare and some cheap eggshell foam. You can use the extra depth to stack your hi-hats and crash between sheets of foam, and save your band the cost of checking your cymbal case. I use any extra space to squeeze in the essentials that don’t fit in my carry-on; like a jar of Nescafé, a boot, a jump rope, and a growing collection of cool clothes and records I’m constantly finding overseas. Ziplock bags help keep everything nice. If your merch box isn’t big enough to hold a ride cymbal, you may need to rent one. You’ll probably still save money,  just remember to ask for pics!

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