Band Q&A – Hoity Toity

Hoity Toity hail from Redlands, California! Their members consist of;

  • Shelby Muniz – Vocals/Keys
  • Aria Hurtado – Guitar
  • Tana Snyder – Bass
  • Kelsey Caselden – Drums

1. Who are your top 3 influences?

Shelby: Twenty øne Piløts for their writing style and how they structure their songs, Paramore for Hayley Williams’ energy as well as how she has her own hair dyeing company, and Celine Dion because I’ve been listening to her since I was a little child and I think she has a beautiful and powerful voice.
Aria: It changes a lot, but right now probably My Chemical Romance and Doll Skin, and Guns N’ Roses too even though I don’t listen to them as much anymore.
Kelsey: The Sounds, The Distillers, and Green Day.
Tana: Nothing But Thieves, Highly Suspect, Halsey.

2. How did the name Hoity-Toity come about?

It’s an old word meaning “snobbish” or “haughty”, someone who thinks they’re better than everyone else. It’s kind of meant as a jab at that stereotypical rockstar egotism and how self-important and pompous musicians can be. Eventually that kind of evolved into our image as well; it’s very glam-inspired with a lot of bold colors and glitter, kind of a diva look but without the diva attitude. There’s a duality to it—we’re called Hoity-Toity and we dress like a stadium band but we’re still just regular people rooted in a modest local DIY scene.

3. What was the difference in your song writing process between your self-titled EP and ‘Not Your Kind’ EP?

Kelsey: On our first EP, we were all just learning how to write and we would all work together on the instrumentals, melodies, and lyrics. On this new EP we all worked together on the instrumentals, then Shelby would write the melodies and lyrics on her own.
Shelby: With the first EP, we had a lot of help from Kelsey’s dad with the lyrics, composition, and arrangement of the songs. With the second EP we were mostly on our own, all the lyrics are written by me, and we arranged the music and made it sound like how we wanted by ourselves.
Aria: Although I recorded all of the guitars on our self-titled EP, I wasn’t in the band when those songs were initially written. We did a lot of re-writing for those songs once I came into the picture, but the bare bones were all there before I joined – some of it even predates Tana – whereas the new EP was all written from scratch and I had the freedom to bring a lot more of my style and ideas to the table.

4. What do you hope to achieve with ‘Not Your Kind’?

Kelsey: I hope ‘Not Your Kind’ shows our improved sound and how we’ve grown as artists and gives a taste of what’s to come from us in the future.
Shelby: I want this EP to help us grow our following and give people a better understanding of who we are as artists. I feel like since this whole EP was strictly our ideas that it showed more of our artistic side and expressed more of what we are all about.
Aria: I hope it really resonates with people, I hope when people hear it, it makes them want to make music themselves.

5. What was your first gig experience like?

Aria: Not sure it really constitutes a “gig”, but my first performance in front of an audience was my 8th grade talent show where I played ‘Before I Forget’ by Slipknot on solo guitar.
Shelby: My first gig experience was in the backyard of our old lead singer’s house. It was New Years eve and I could barley play the piano with how cold my hands were. But despite the cold we had a lot of support and love from the crowd.
Tana: I was in another band but a bit nerve racking before getting on stage, but a great feeling once I was up there and lucky enough to be playing in front of a huge crowd.
Kelsey: My first gig was a Christmas themed show on my birthday with my first band and the promoter rented out the space from a church of Scientology. It was weird.

6. What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Shelby: I think the biggest challenge for us so far would be figuring out who we want to be and how we want to be perceived by our audience. We have many ideas for what we want but executing them can be really challenging whether it be what we wear, what our music sounds like, or what we post on social media.
Aria: I think a really big challenge for us and for every band at our level is that there are so few all ages venues in our area and they keep closing down.

7. What’s your favourite thing about performing?

Shelby: Being able to sing to our original songs. Singing lyrics that I wrote from my own head to people who have never even heard us before can be scary sometimes but I usually get over it every show because of how fun preforming and dancing around to our music is.
Aria: I think on some level we all question ourselves and get insecure, but when we play a show and the audience is having as much fun as we are, that tells me I must be doing something right. It’s probably the biggest thing that’s helped me build up confidence.

8. What inspired you to write ‘Not Your Kind’?

Aria: We drew inspiration from a lot of different places, I think a lot of it just came from a desire to experiment.
Shelby: Our inspiration really came from the songs we were writing. Most of the songs on this EP are in minor keys and can kinda sound dark – not including Y’know, but even the lyrics on that song are a little sad. I think that these songs collectively come together and say “what and who I’m singing about is not who I am or who I want to be therefore I am (we are) not their kind”.

9. What do you do when you’re not musically involved?

Tana: I’m gonna be honest…..I’ve been playing so much Minecraft.
Kelsey: I am a full time student at CSUSB and I work part time as a manager at a sweet shop and clothing boutique.
Aria: I’m also full time student at the University of Redlands, as well as a visual artist. I actually designed the cover art for our new EP. I also try to go watch live music as much as possible.
Shelby: I have a job at Jimmy John’s in Redlands. The perk of that job is that I get as many free sandwiches as I would like – I don’t know if that’s legal so I hope no owner of Jimmy John’s reads this. I also go to a school in Los Angeles called The LA Recording School where I’m focusing on music production. I have some friends that I hang out with, and sometimes me and the band will go to shows and support other local bands.

10. Who has the worst dress sense?

Kelsey: It varies.
Tana: Everyone.
Aria: It’s me for sure. Aside from my stage clothes, I wear basically the same outfit every day, very low effort. Onstage, though, I think we all dress pretty well.
Shelby: I feel like none of us have a terrible dress style, we all just have a different style that I don’t think we would look good in if we tried each other’s styles out.

11. What is your funniest show story?

Kelsey: I was running to grab Tana’s bass amp and I full-on sprinted straight into a tightrope and got clotheslined.
Shelby: I don’t know if this counts but we were playing at some theater in Modesto, and at the end of our set, Aria had three eyebrows over her right eyebrow and they looked perfectly stamped on her head. I guess her sweat was starting to melt her eyebrow makeup off and while she was headbanging her hair just stamped faint extra eyebrows onto her forehead.
Tana: After our set at The Whisky A Go-Go, I was drunk and Kelsey had pointed out that a dude by the bar looked exactly like Thor as a joke and I completely lost it because I wasn’t expecting this man to actually look exactly like Thor.
Aria: One time Tana met Chris Hemsworth at the Whisky A Go-Go and was too drunk to realize it was him. She still doesn’t know.

12. Pizza! What toppings do you all have?

Kelsey: I’m into supremes and I’m down with pineapple on pizza.
Aria: My go-to pizza is pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, and bacon bits, with stuffed crust, but there’s also an amazing pizza at the Redlands Gourmet Pizza Shoppe called the Annie Oakley, which has ranch for sauce topped with mozzarella, grilled chicken, bacon, and angel hair pasta – sounds a little weird, but it’s the best.
Shelby: All of them. Except pineapple.
Tana: Pepperoni only. Don’t try me.

13. Who’s the most annoying member?

Aria: Everyone else is gonna say me.
Kelsey: Aria, but she knows why.
Shelby: I agree with Kelsey, Aria knows.
Tana: I’m just gonna say me to avoid confrontation.

14. Fast forward and you’re millionaires. What do you do with the money?

Aria: I’d love to run a music venue of my own. I think this area is in desperate need of more all-ages live music venues.
Tana: I need a Lambo, asap. Thnx.
Shelby: I’d buy my mom a house and a car.
Kelsey: I would buy a miniature pig.

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