Thursday, May 17, 2012

From my recent newsletter

Fear of humiliating failure aside, I'm trying to prevent myself from becoming a lesbian-coiffed aging rocker by writing music for "classical," "fine arts," and/or "serious" contexts such as amazing creepy zombie-esque Japanese modern dance forms!

In April, I held a performance of such a piece, ICHNEUMONIDAE, as a trio (guitar, violin, and dance/percussion). I like to think of that performance as sort of like a flag along the road of commitment to a larger-scale and more intensive work. So, the time has now come to try to expand this piece for a larger ensemble and actually make some killer media (album, film, yes!!!) out of it that people can enjoy at home. Ergo, a Kickstarter campaign to try to get this thing going...!

I would so so so greatly appreciate it if you could take a look at the project page and consider donating to support the production of this movie. I'm super-excited to finally take this first step into the realm of combining intrinsic visual elements with my music, something I have always wanted to do.

It took me a while to decide which one of my running projects to try to fund this way. I've got a whole bunch of things on my plate, such as a handful of solo songs, as well as new Kayo Dot stuff (in the style of Gamma Knife and hoping to do a real studio recording, what!) But, I decided to do Ichneumonidae here because it seems like the MOST difficult to fund through other means. Just to be candid for a minute here, you know there is a whole scene of musicians who apply for and receive grants/commissions to do stuff like this. I tried to get into that world a bit over the past couple of years and have had no luck with it whatsoever. Can't get anything funded through those means. Really, that sort of thing makes a guy start to get pretty dark on himself, to be succinct. And labels don't want to fund Ichneumonidae, it's unmarketable. Anyway, you guys are the listeners. You're the people that actually want to put this stuff on your iPods and have it come at you during a rainy train ride, instead of keeping it on a shelf in an archive of all the classy shit your organization helped produce and only pulls out of storage when it comes time to apply for more funding. So if you're interested in hearing/seeing it, please consider donating to the kickstarter campaign, that's the only way it'll happen!

Yeah, I know it seems like summer is kickstarter season and everyone's doing it. I felt a little bit weird about launching this at this exact moment just because two of my closest friends have also just launched their own kickstarter campaigns for their own incredible music. Just want you to know that we are not competitive. You can check their projects out at the following links, and also please consider donating. Their music needs to be out in the world and it gets my highest recommendation.

Tim Byrnes/Hazel-Rah:

Jeremiah Cymerman:

And, this one:

In other news, the Kayo Dot west coast tour has been moved to August 16-September 1. We have some if it booked already but are still looking for dates. If you can help, please get in touch!

And - our most recent album GAMMA KNIFE is having its vinyl and CD release and is available for preorder at

And - I've just put almost ALL of my recorded output up for streaming, buying, downloading, whatever, at - check it!!!!

Thanks for reading. Your support means everything,
much love
Toby Driver

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Hot on the hooves of everyone else's mailing list messages comes my very own mailing list message! March is mailing list month, after all. It comes in like a postal truck in DC at Christmas and goes out like a delicious bhuna gosht. Anyhow, on to the news.

Just yesterday (Feb 28) was the official release date of the CD & LP by a new band I'm in, called VAURA. We in the band have agreed that VAURA is like Van Halen meets The Police meets Queensryche meets Dysrhythmia meets Kayo Dot meets Religious to Damn meets Weakling meets Krull (the movie) meets Ukelele (the instrument), and a few other things that I can't really remember right now. In any case, I'm in this band with Kevin Hufnagel (Dysrhythmia, Gorguts), Josh Strawn (Blacklist, Religious to Damn), and Charlie Schmid (Religious to Damn). People have been psyched about the album so far, and can I tell you, goddamn, it's nice to be in a band that people actually want to listen to! The album, "Selenelion," was released by WIERD Records, and is available to buy at their store... I recommend the colored vinyl for its delicious resemblance to black raspberry hard candy and its superior sound quality.

Nextly, and speaking of Kevin Hufnagel, he was kind enough to hook me up with a show this coming Sunday, March 4, at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, opening for Eugene S. Robinson (Ox Bow, etc) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis). I'm going to be playing solo keyboard and singing at this show, and it'll be my first actual SOLO performance ever! So, I hope you can come and witness the spectacle. You can think of me as a gothier, smaller Kevin Hufnagel who doesn't play guitar or ukelele. Eugene and Scott are large, tough, and manly, so rest assured my set will pretty much be the polar opposite of theirs. I'll be like the pickle, if you ate the pickle before the rest of your meal (why would you do that, though??)

Later in April is gonna be CHIPPYFEST at the Stone, curated by the meticulous Heung-Heung Chin. It's so much later, in fact, that I may email you guys about this again. I'm going to be playing three times within two days, once with Vaura (unplugged!), once with Stern (the new live musical band rendering of Chuck Stern's perverted fantasies), and once more as a super awesome special premiere of something totally new:

A new trio for myself (on voice), Timba Harris (Secret Chiefs 3 violinist), and Michelle Morinaga, who's choreographing what's essentially going to be like an ultra-slow-moving half-butoh, half-percussion piece. Consider the instrumentation to be voice, violin, percussion, visuals, and manipulations of ambient reverb? If that makes sense? We don't have a title yet, but the piece is going to be about parasites. It should be really weird (and good!) - April 21st, see The Stone's website for the full calendar with times, etc.

KAYO DOT spring tour! This is still in the works. Sorry we don't have more information at this time... but soon! If you're interested in hosting (for May/June) please send me an email.

And - If you missed it last time, KAYO DOT released our new album, GAMMA KNIFE, via at the beginning of January. If you haven't gotten it yet, please head over to the bandcamp page and check it out and buy it if you like it! It's cheap (5 bucks!) and every single purchase helps. The CD and vinyl version are coming in April via Antithetic Records. I'll email you guys again when we have photos and pre-order info. Here are some comments that people have been making about GAMMA KNIFE:

"It's good, but it's no maudlin of the Well" - Internet guy #1

"It's back to the band's roots, reminding me of maudlin of the Well at times!" - Internet guy #2

"It's the most maudlin-ish Toby Driver has sounded in years" - Internet guy #3

"For the first time since maudlin of the Well, Kayo Dot sounds relevant again" - Internet guy #4

"Toby's screaming again. Is that Jason Byron I hear?" - Internet guy #5

"Blight of River Systems is amazing" - Internet guy #6

Those guys will all be happy to hear that the Finnish label Blood Music is re-releasing the old out-of-print MOTW CDs, BATH and LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP, plus also issuing PART THE SECOND on CD for the first time ever. Those CDs go on sale tomorrow (March 1st)!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MOTW CDs are going to press / repress

Some text from the label, Blood Music outta Finland


There will be 300 copies of each, if they sell well, then we will also press "My Fruit Psychobells"

Bonus tracks on the 2 re-issues, and 100 signed copies.

Discs will go up for pre-order on March 1st (Thursday) and release date is April 13th."

Monday, December 26, 2011


Happy New Year to everyone. The new Kayo Dot album, Gamma Knife, will be out in a few days. I'll post again when it's released, with more specifics.

I'm redesigning my site to be a bit more simple and modern, as you can see. One of the main things I'm doing is organizing all my past work into the "Archive" section so that it appears more like those pieces are in the past and not current. The reason for this is that in 2012, I'm moving into a new and more focused path for my visual art and want to leave the other stuff behind, in a way. It has bothered me that pretty much all of the artwork I've done, and which has been displayed on my site, has been work that's been done really inexpensively and relatively quickly (relative to the work of "real" visual artists). Usually when I get hired to do some album cover artwork, the budget is so low that I can only spend a few days maximum on a piece. Likewise, with artwork for my own albums, it's always been limited by production deadlines. The result has been that what the public sees of my visual artistic vision is a super-compromised version, and I want to change this.

Mainly, I'm going to try to spend some more time and energy on visual art in 2012 so that what I can present to the public is a more accurate representation of my desires (within feasibility). I feel that I've approached music this way for so long, and it's time for the visual element to catch up. I've realized that visual art is actually a big part of my identity and I've been doing myself a disservice by approaching it as a hobby.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


- New Kayo Dot album details!
- Kayo Dot spring USA tour
- maudlin of the Well: Bath / Leaving Your Body Map vinyl box set
- Spoken word split 7" for Aniseed Records
- Tartar Lamb 2 shipments!


We've been keeping a bit quiet about this one ever since our concert of new material on October 5, which we recorded for the sake of turning into an official release. For all of you that were there, thanks for showing your support and participating! Here are the release details:

The album contains four songs, runs a little under half an hour, and is entitled Gamma Knife. It was recorded by Toby Driver and Jeremiah Cymerman. It's going to be mixed by Randall Dunn shortly at the end of November, and released IMMEDIATELY after mastering - so, mid-December. Let's say December 16. If you're one of those weird impatient types that makes your best-of-the-year lists before December is over, well, shame on you.

This immediate album release I mentioned is going to be the digital-only version, self-released by the band, without the help of a label. It'll be available on our own website, iTunes, eMusic, etc. etc. And the hardcopy version is going to come just in time for our May 2012 USA tour, possibly through a label. So, look for that sometime in April.

The lineup:
Live ensemble:
Toby Driver - bass, guitar, keys, and vox.
Terran Olson - alto sax.
Dan Means - alto sax.
Keith Abrams - drums.
Tim Byrnes and Ron Varod - audience direction.

with: Mia Matsumiya - violin.
David Bodie - percussion.

Once again featuring lyrics by the inimitable Jason Byron.


We're currently in the process of booking a full-USA tour for May 2012! Yes, full US! It's being handled by our new booking agent Starbird Promotions out of Portland, Oregon. If you'd like to host us at your place, please email Carly at


I occasionally receive emails from people asking about whether the old maudlin of the Well double album, Bath/Leaving Your Body Map is available to buy. Until now, it hasn't been... it's been sadly out of print on CD for years, and we certainly don't have any extra copies.

However, coming this winter, Antithetic Records (out of Florida) has teamed up with Blood Music (out of Finland) to re-release this legendary double-album on vinyl for the first time ever. This will be a box set, 4 LPs plus a 7-inch of "The Secret Song," (and of course, download codes for all the music) replete with extras such as a brand new poster, 10th-anniversary T-shirt, and maudlin of the Well logo guitar picks (what!!!). Most of these extra items are bonuses that accompany pre-orders only!

Also, we need about 150 pre-orders in order to be able to even go into production, since this is a box set and will be quite expensive to produce. The pressing will be limited to 300 copies.

So! If you're interested, please head over to one of the labels' stores (Antithetic for US and Canada and Blood Music for anywhere else in the world) and pre-order this baby!

BLOOD MUSIC -- Worldwide (except USA/Canada):



I'm currently in the process of finishing up a very special spoken word track for a series of split 7" records to be released by Aniseed Records out of Australia. The series will also feature Eugene S. Robinson (Ox Bow), Mike Sukys, and others. I think I'm the one holding up production on this. So as soon as I get my track into them, we can expect the record shortly after! More news on actually buying a copy to come later.


Well, it's been almost a year since our kickstarter campaign to produce the Tartar Lamb II album, Polyimage Of Known Exits, and the production process was quite long. We've received a lot of emails asking about the status of the kickstarter and pre-order shipments, and I'm happy to say that the packages have begun to go out. There are a lot of them, so the mailing process will take several more days. Thanks for being so patient!

For all who are expecting the DVD in your packages - we aren't quite finished even making the DVD yet, so when we do finish, we'll send these out under separate cover.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A couple shows this week:

A couple shows this week!

Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Rock Shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn NY. Trio with jeremiah Cymerman and Mario Diaz de Leon... whoa!!!!!!

Saturday, Nov 12 at Lulu's, Greenpoint, Brooklyn NY. Performing with HAZEL-RAH!!!!