2016 – The Year In Review With Callum McClune Of Toy Mountains

We’ve asked bands/artists to share with us their highs and lows of 2016 and what they hope the New Year will bring to them. Here’s the year in review with Callum McClune (vocals/guitars) of Toy Mountains.

On a scale of 1-10, how was 2016 been for you?
In terms of our band at least, I’m going to go ahead and give it a 9. 2016 will probably be remembered and oft criticised for the talented people we lost throughout the year, but for Toy Mountains, on a personal level, it’s definitely been our busiest and most successful year to date. We wrote, recorded and released our first ever EP, signed a management deal, been spun on Radio 1 by people like Daniel P. Carter and Phil Taggart, toured the UK multiple times including some of our best out-of-town shows to date, and got the chance to play on some great small festivals. You can always improve and aim higher though, so we’re hoping for a 10/10 2017.

Have you learned any life lessons this year?
As individuals we’re learning and growing all the time, but if there’s any lessons I think we can take from our successes and failures from this year as a band, it’s that ultimately nothing is easy, and if you want people to take notice, sometimes you have to just grab them by the scruff of the neck. We’ve had nothing handed to us, and anything we can rank as a success this year is a result of the hard work of the array of talented individuals we have working with us daily. We’re extremely lucky to be in such a position.

What was the highlight of 2016 for you?
Our EP launch show in Nice N Sleazy’s in Glasgow. In fact, playing all of the launch shows with our great friends Donnie Willow was a wonderful experience, but there’s nothing like playing to a capacity crowd who are screaming every word back at you. It’s always a very humbling experience to perform in our home city, and we’re so grateful to everybody who regularly gives up their time and/or money to support us in what we’re doing.

Any low points for you?
Our drummer of two years and long-term friend Matt leaving the band. There’s nothing glamorous about being a small touring band attempting to make a name for yourself, and the financial constraints and constant couch-surfing that accompanies such a lifestyle can take it’s toll on even the most hardened people. There was no animosity when he told us he was going to leave, but instead, complete understanding. The hardest thing to swallow about the whole situation was realising that even the most passionate people have a breaking point. We wish him all the best and nothing but love for the future, and he will continue to support us with our new drummer moving forward.

What was the most overhyped thing of 2016?
This is probably more of a personal thing, but Glassjaw released an absolutely killer song at the beginning of this year and played a bunch of shows, then completely dropped off the radar. Their return has been so highly anticipated and I was half expecting them to be announced as the support for Deftones UK tour next year. The other day I found out it was AFI and my heart sank a bit.

Worst of 2016?
Where do you even start with this list? David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Ronnie Corbett, Gene Wilder. I know everyone has to check out sometime but.. could they not have at least spread it out over the next couple of years?

Best of 2016?
The week we spent hanging out with Lewis Johns, Dom Wright and Marc Thow at The Ranch whilst recording I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again was the best of times. We had great weather the whole time and those guys nurture an atmosphere that just inspires creativity and innovation. We were very lucky to have them all work on our record together.

Best albums of the 2016?
There’s been some amazing records released this year, and I’m going to give special mentions to Black Foxxes, letlive., Balance & Composure, Nothing and Knuckle Puck because they all released some incredible stuff this year. However, my picks of the bunch would be: Blush by Moose Blood, Stage Four by Touche Amore, and the absolutely sensational To Be Everywhere is To Be Nowhere by Thrice.

Worst albums of the 2016?
Definitely a more difficult pick, because if a record doesn’t really grab me on first listen, unless it’s a band I really like, I just won’t go back to it, and therefore won’t listen to it often enough to critique whether it’s really bad or not. However, I did (somehow) manage to catch the newly-reformed Busted performing their new single on The X Factor this weekend and on first impressions, it is absolute mince. Sorry Charlie, Fightstar might not be where the millions are, but it’s definitely where you excel, and it’s evidently what you’re more passionate about.

Any new year’s resolution for 2017?
Just to keep plugging away doing what we love. Any progress we’ve made this year needs to be topped next year, and I think we’re up to the challenge.

I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again EP is out now on Crooked Noise Records.

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