Interview: Toria Garbutt


We talk to spoken word performer Toria Garbutt about, poems, punk and her new album ‘Hot Plastic Moon’.

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Toria Garbutt is a bright new voice in the spoken word scene. Recently she signed to indie spoken word label Nymphs and Thugs to release her debut album ‘Hot Plastic Moon‘. There is currently a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to bring the album to life and The Wee Review catches up with the writer and performer to talk poetry, punk and spoken word.

It is very common for poets to release written collections and pamphlets, but for ‘Hot Plastic Moon’ you are going for an album release. Have you always written your poetry to be spoken out loud?

No, I wrote privately for years, partly for my own sanity and partly with the intention of one day releasing a written collection. It never happened because I would swing rapidly between believing in myself and feeling like a total loser with no talent. I turned thirty and joined a writing group at a pub called The Nook in Holmfirth. They encouraged me to write some new material, which I took, all stapled together in a big wad, to A Firm Of Poets performance poetry workshop at the Holmfirth Arts Festival in June 2013. Amazingly they liked my stuff and invited me to join them on tour, performing at festivals and venues all over the UK. Speaking them aloud adds another dimension to my words and allows me to convey the energy, sound and spirit of the poem exactly as I intend.

‘Hot Plastic Moon’ is being released on indie spoken word label Nymphs and Thugs. How did this collaboration come about?

I’ve been writing and performing with Matt Abbott for the past couple of years. We share the same DIY ethos and obsession with gritty Northern realism so it made sense for us to collaborate on what is essentially a punk album. I was in a punk band in my late teens so the underground album release model is what’s familiar to me. I think poetry is the most punk art form, it’s as stripped back and raw as you can possibly get.

The video for ‘It’s Alrate‘ really captures your voice and style of poetry, is this a good taste of what we can expect from ‘Hot Plastic Moon’?

Yes, I like to talk about real experiences in my own voice. It’s a brutally honest album that is at times hard hitting and dark, but there is hope and light and love in there too.

There is a crowdfunding campaign for ‘Hot Plastic Moon‘ on Indiegogo with some excellent rewards. With cuts to arts funding affecting many creative people, do you think that crowdfunding will become the standard method for poets such as yourself to get their projects off the ground?

Yes definitely. I love the idea of people supporting one another to create. We don’t need government funding for that, it’s all about the people power. The sense of camaraderie is a beautiful thing.

Do you have any plans to tour the album and if so, will you be looking to perform at music venues and clubs, instead of the traditional libraries and arts centres that poets usually find themselves in?

Yes,there will definitely be a tour. I love performing in music venues, the ‘gig’ atmosphere is electric and intoxicating and the one I’m most familiar with. But I also love the grandeur of a theatre show or the intimate intensity of a library or art space performance. Different venues bring their own unique qualities and energy and it’s lovely to connect with people from different walks of life.

Finally, in recent years spoken word has really exploded at the Edinburgh Fringe. Your style of poetry is really original and engaging and would stand out amongst the many other acts at the festival. Do you have any plans on coming up to Edinburgh during August?

Well thank you, that’s really kind of you to say so. I’ve never been to the Edinburgh Fringe, so this year I’ll be visiting as a spectator, soaking it all up and making plans to return next year with my first show.

The crowdfunding campaign for Hot Plastic Moon can be found here.

Follow Toria on twitter @toriagarbutt