Silversun Pickups have shared their new song, “Toy Soldiers,” a reimagined version of Martika’s classic track, which was produced by Butch Vig and recorded in January. “We were thinking about songs from the ’80s that we loved growing up, that had a big radio moment and was part of our cultural DNA,” Brian Aubert of the band says. “A song that you know right away when you hear it. We thought of ‘Toy Soldiers’ as a great example of this and decided we should try and record it.”
The band also shares their original music video for “Toy Soldiers,” directed by Claire Marie Vogel and Aaron Hymes, with animation by Hymes. Vogel reveals about the making of the video: “Creating a video from a distance makes for many limitations, but I love how limitations can shape an idea. The song’s melancholy nature and the sense of isolation permeating the world right now were both very influential when writing the treatment. The video we made speaks to that collective sense of yearning and disconnection many of us are experiencing.” Hymes adds, “The overall tone and feeling of isolation in the video is a pretty clear reflection of how we were feeling while making it. In a way, it was really therapeutic to take those feelings and put them on screen.” Watch the new music video for “Toy Soldiers” below.
Brian Aubert further reveals about the song:
“This version doesn’t feel bombastic and over the top, it’s crackling and tiny at times. Butch really helped with this. I dont think I’ve ever sung this intimately before. The guitar solo during it was very important to me, and we quickly realized that the solo worked during that time period, but not when we did it. We threw in a curve ball, some weird things, inspired by Johnny Greenwood. We put our weird stamp on it and it really came together.
There’s something about this song that hits me emotionally – this song has always hit me that way. At first, it wasn’t about the lyrics, but the feel of it. To be honest, I was not initially aware what the song was about, but listening to the lyrics, it was clearly about addiction. Someone else’s addiction. It’s pretty painful and very personal. You realize it doesn’t matter what the shell is, what the production is, what the era is…this is obviously a very personal story that at first I wasn’t sure we could touch. We ended up framing it into our own world and we think it works.”
Butch Vig adds:
“I was psyched when SSPU asked me to produce a cover of Martika’s “Toy Soldiers.” It’s great pop song and I have always had a soft spot for it. I read Martika wrote the song about a friend battling addiction, so knowing what Brian has gone through the song seems even more potent. We put our own spin on it. I hope Martika digs it!”
Silversun Pickups recently performed their latest single, “Don’t Know Yet” on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee. The band taped the stripped down version while socially distanced in their respective homes, and were joined by Samantha Bee who contributed finger snaps to the song. Watch the band’s performance of “Don’t Know Yet” for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee here.
Silversun Pickups’ 5th studio album, Widow’s Weeds, is out now via their own New Machine Recordings label. The band enlisted Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth) to produce their latest, an extroverted and open album about rebirth and renewal. Said lead singer Brian Aubert about Widow’s Weeds: “This was the first album where we were open. We were exposed. I see how that can be scary to people, but for us we really thrived on that.” Widow’s Weeds is available for purchase on all formats here. Upon release, lead singer Brian Aubert also provided an in depth look at the at the album’s origin and influences in a track-by-track guide via Consequence of Sound.
Bursting out of the Silverlake, CA music scene in the early 2000s, Silversun Pickups– lead singer Brian Aubert, bassist Nikki Monninger, drummer Christopher Guanlao and keyboardist Joe Lester– have maintained their independence throughout their storied career. They released their first three albums on the local label, Dangerbird Records, before founding their own label, New Machine Recordings, for the release of their most recent albums, Widows Weeds and Better Nature. Now almost two decades into their career, they remain a vital and important rock band and have racked up ten Top 20 hits on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart, as well as over a million records sold in the US.