“Every time we’ve played it, it’s a big, giant, fucking awesome, party where everybody is invited to have a good time and everytime I’ve been there, I dance my fucking ass off.”
In the life of any respectable alternative publication, there should be a go-to roster of artists that show up regularly. Under ideal circumstances, these acts reflect and have adapted to the shifting landscape, and can serve as a relief to those seeking opportunities to jam out with familiar faces.
We’re fans of Walter Alice Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys for many reasons; for starters, they’re a magnificent and boundary-evading band of creatives that’s kept us entertained for years. But they’re also consistently community-minded and supportive of scenes that support them. Which is the long version of us explaining why they’re a group we like to check in with at least once every year. As a reminder that some truly beloved acts have stuck it out and remain in the region.
As it so happens, there are lots of reasons to check in with Sickert right now—the latest Army of Broken Toys single, “Goth Beach,” has already become their most popular video to date. And they have local shows lined up to celebrate with the home crowd, including at the JP Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 10.
We asked Sickert about all of the above and much more. Their responses to our questions follow …
So here we are, our annual-or-so check in. How are things in Army of Broken Toys Land? New members? New adventures?
We have a new single taking the world by gothdamn storm! Almost 50k views of the video on YouTube. Hundreds of stations adding it to rotation. Several weeks, and counting, in the top 10 of the Indie Alliance Chart! It’s even on rstston on Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius XM!
It’s the biggest single the Army of Toy’s have had in our history as a band!
You all seemed to adjust quite well to the pandemic. How has the post-pandemic world treated you?
We’re fucking loving it. Because it’s made with our friends who happen to be some of the most talented, creative, queer, and revolutionary people in the art the music scene!
I created Bunker Buds during the pandemic as a way of connecting to our friends and fans. And trying to make up for zero live music! The viewership grew to thousands a week and at over 500 episodes and going strong; I have assembled a group of world-class writers and they are focusing on the next generation of Bunker Buds which we’re shooting the pilot for in November!
It’s more important than ever for us to create safe places for people to feel like they can be themselves. That’s why Bunker Buds lives on.
We saw you had a big show in Somerville, now the JP event. Compared to say, like, six years ago, how would you say things are for local bands as far as opportunities to actually make some money doing shows and events around here?
Being an artist has always been hard and it is extra hard so you have to diversify your art-bonds. You need to come at your vision from all kinds of directions and try to figure out how to monetize it in a way that feels right to you. You have to make sure you value yourself as well because your art is worth money, your time is worth money, and you deserve to be paid.
Have you played the JP Music Fest before? Any thoughts about the growth over there?
We’re so excited to play the JP Music Fest because it’s been such a big part of the community over the last decade. Every time we’ve played it, it’s a big, giant, fucking awesome, party where everybody is invited to have a good time and everytime I’ve been there, I dance my fucking ass off.
Here at the Dig, we have trouble finding writers in the city since no one can afford to live here. Has this impacted your crew as well? Or does it not really matter where your people live?
Edrie and I quit the city to be surrounded by forest in a place called WitchCastle. The rest of the toys are spread out all over the place. Some of us live in dirigibles, some of us live in swamps, some of us reside on a mountaintop, one of us even lives in giant shoe; but we come together as an army of toys for love…
And finally, what else is coming up? Anything particularly cool for Halloween time?
For Halloween we get to play one of our favorite annual haunted shows called the Halloween Happening at the Museum Of Science! It’s on October 27th and we get to perform inside of the Charles Hayden Planetarium under the giant facsimile sky where the crew beams illustrations of mine.
We collaborate with the artists who work at the Museum of Science and together we create a beautifully haunted, tripped-out visual experience supported by our live soundtrack. We’re so fucking thrilled to work with the Museum Of Science again, it’s been an absolute favorite show.
And then we’re taking over the Crystal Ballroom for two nights in November for Something Strange; our fun and bizarre take on The Nightmare Before Christmas. We utilize the incredible talent of some amazing performers and our own Army of Broken Toys to bring Jack and Sally alive in a multimedia extravaganza!
And then Goth Beach follows the summer sun to Australia where summer begins in December. So don your 666 sun-screen & meet us there!
At the Goth Beach
Come and find me
At the Goth Beach
You’ll never be lonely
at the Goth Beach, Yeah!