Hailing from Providence, RI and growing up in the nearby suburbs, Toad and the Stooligans is far from the typical hip hop group. The band has prided itself on a very strong DIY work ethic since day one, relying heavily on imagination and creativity to push their brand, which is often displayed in their videos.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Mike Jencks (aka ToadStool) is our vocalist / emcee. Dan Pomfret is our guitarist / vocalist. Alex Caimano is our bassist. Matt O’Brien is our drummer. And last, but most handsome, is our keyboardist Daniel Hill.
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Toad and the Stooligans? How long has the band been around?
We’ve all been playing in different bands in the Providence music scene for a long time, and Toad was releasing songs on his own before we all got together. Three of us actually play in a progressive / post-hardcore band called The Morgana Phase as well. Toad and the Stooligans has been around since the beginning of 2015, but started taking things really seriously in 2017.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
I believe our friend Sean came up with the name. Toad has been Mike’s nickname since he was a kid and it evolved into ToadStool as his rap name. Toad and the Stooligans is a play on words of both ToadStool and the term hooligans, cause we like to think of ourselves as a bunch of kids having fun.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
We all kind of write together, equally. One of us usually has a certain idea/song part/whatever have you, then we all sit together and flesh it out a little more, then practice with it. We write about some serious topics; anywhere from depression to loss of loved ones, to more light hearted things like being a pirate and running a circus. Honestly, we’re all kind of all over the place, and it really translates, what we think is well, to our music. We never stay constant, so we can guarantee we’ll move on to other ridiculous topics.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
We just finished up with a practice where we were riffing off jazz standards and turning them into hip hop beats… it’s all different stuff. Definitely a lot of jazz and funk, but some classic 90’s hip hop and modern hip hop as well, and even some alternative rock, indie and metal. It’s all over the place.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
I think the answer would be very different for all of us. I know for me (Matt), the answer would be blink-182 and that was when I was like nine and a terrible representation of what I’m playing now. All five of us are super passionate about music and find inspiration from a lot of different artists.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc…
As a drummer, I’m doing a ton of stretches and rudiments to make sure I’m ready to go. I know it’s very big for Dan and Toad to do a lot of vocal warmups beforehand as well.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Self releasing our debut album “Very Handsome” back in the fall of 2017, and our three music videos that we’ve done pretty much on our own with the help of some friends.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
I think our choices would probably be The Roots and Snarky Puppy. Hiatus Kaiyote is another good one. We draw from so many different places, but I feel like those are some groups all five of us would agree on.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, our new single “Trap Song” is available now on all streaming services! The accompanying music video can be found on our YouTube and Facebook pages. And if you’re into Instagram you can check us out there (@toadandthestooligans), as well as on our Twitter (@stooligans)! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this with us!