What are your names?
Brent: My name is Brent Randall but you call me Viiva Puff for short.
Johnny: Johnny Toomey aka “Johnny Sleeper”
What is the bands name?
Brent: It’s Vanity Mirror!
How did you come up with the bands name?
Brent: It’s from a weird 60’s toy mirror in Johnny’s basement. It was either that or “Puff N Stuff” and Vanity Mirror won out. I guess for the best?
It’s funny because our other band is Electric Looking Glass which is also mirror themed. There’s actually a metal band in South Americacalled Vanity Mirror. I hope they don’t beat us up.
Johnny: What he said.
What is your genre of music?
Brent: It’s lo fi bedroom pop. Indie pop with some psychedelic, sunshine, dreamy and nostalgic elements. There’s so many genres these days we’re always trying to come up a new name for whatever it is we do.Johnny had some good ones. Johnny?
Johnny: Genre? Sorry but I don’t Polly Vue 😉
Give us a little bio about you.
Brent: I used to make twee indie pop in Canada as “Gentle Brent” but I moved out to LA about 5 years ago and that’s where I met Johnny. We met in a trouser shop and realized we both liked polyester slacks. Naturally, we quickly formed a baroque pop band called Electric Looking Glass with some other friends. While that project has been on hiatus we’ve started amassing a large number of demos. I was recording lots of piano tunes at home and so I’d send them to Johnny and he’d lay down some choice backbeats. We quickly grew to love the vibe of our recordings and Eric at We Are Busy Bodies offered to put it out and here we are! We’re currently tracking the second album and hope to do some European dates later in the year. We hope to stick to our fast pace working style and be able to release lots of stuff. We love lots of 60’s stuff but are also trying to embrace the junk shop whimsy of groups like Television Personalities. We just like songs really and so we’re here make’em!
What made you go into music?
Brent:I watched the Buddy Holly flick with Gary Busey and decided I wanted to be an ugly guy who wrote sweet little songs about heartbreak. That and Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Honestly though, it’s just a nice way to spend time. I like locking myself indoors with headphones on for 11 months of the year and obsessing about piano sounds and what rhymes with “girl.” It beats golfing.
Johnny: When I was 7 years old The Beatles were everything (still are, shows I got it right) I somehow got a little cheap guitar but had a hard time getting my fingers to do all those chords. My Mom suggested I play drums instead, she was right, I was much better at drums and I’ve been broke ever since.
Who are your influences?
Brent:Jimmy Campbell, Television Personalities, Dolly Mixture, Connie Converse, Margo Guryan, Neil Innes, Daniel Johnston, The KInks, R Stevie Moore, The Raincoats, The Beatles, Belle & Sebastian, Emitt Rhodes, The Maughams, Ace of Base
Johnny: Television Personalities, “Strawberries” era Damned, Neil Innes, SuperGrass, Badfinger
Are you a signed?
Brent: Our first album PUFF is being released by We Are Busy Bodies on May 12th! We have some advance singles coming out before then and you can preorder now! We Are Busy Bodies is an indie label out of Toronto, Canada that releases a lot of amazing stuff. They are really cool as they aren’t overly genre specific. They release stuff like us but also reissue a lot of vintage world music and everything in between. We feel really blessed to work with them. We aren’t signed in the traditional sense, but we’d definitely like to get on Top of the Pops.
You released your new single ‘Tuesday’s News’, tell us more about the single and the meaning
behind the song.
Brent: It’s the first song off our upcoming album Puff. I think it’s about feeling stuck and stagnant. Frustrated about your lot and the passage of time. A little hymn on longing to “break free” or something. That being said, it’s pretty sunny, so it’s also about making the best of it. I think it’s cute and has a lot of personality. It’s hummable and has some nice piano chords and I had a lot of fun playing leads on it. If I’m being kind to myself I’d say it sounds like some loveable misfits pretending they’re McCartney in a suburban rec room. If that makes sense, haha.
Describe the track in two words.
Brent: Green Cardigan
Johnny: Mint Flavor
What was the writing and recording process like?
Brent: It’s a little melody I’ve had in my head for years. I had a phone demo of it from years ago that I managed to not delete. So last year I got my hands on a piano while I was staying in this empty house in Detroit. I had been waiting for the right time/place to track it but decided that I just wanted to record it anyway even though I didn’t have access to a proper studio at the time. So I tracked it really quickly and sent it off to Johnny. Johnny added drums and tambourine and came up with some choice lyrical ideas and sent it back to me. It seemed to click instantly so I added some guitars and harmonies and just like that we had a little homespun beatlesque number. It all happened quickly. It was the success of that recording that made us keep going with recording the rest of the album this way. So the song sort of cures itself. It’s about feeling stuck but by recording it we sort of lit a creative fire and set ourselves free.
Who did you work with on the single?
Brent: Just ourselves! A real satisfying way to work. Just capturing inspiration and staying true to the vision.
We see a music video for ‘Tuesday’s News’, what was the creative process like?
Brent:Johnny had the idea of a video where I’m driving around a series of characters but they are all him in different silly costumes. We weren’t sure how to quite pull it off but then realized that all those old 50’s movies would always use “fake driving” footage behind a fake car. So we thought doing something like that would be really funny. Kind of leaning into the fromage. So we did it in front of a green screen. We worked with visual artist/designer Mat Dunlap who we have collaborated a lot with on past projects. He’s great and a total ace at the green screen game. He really brought our silly idea together. It’s a fun video. I’m a singing chauffeur and you’ll Johnny as a lion, marching band leader, freaked out hippy, 70’s jogging health nut etc. We actually shot three videos in one day with Mat. We crammed into this little photo studio in East LA and banged out all these crazy ideas. Excited to share more! We’re also big Rutles fans, so doing little videos always seems to come quite naturally. Follow us on youtube if you enjoy music in visual form.
Can we expect an EP or Album and if so what can we expect from it.
Brent: Funny you should ask, our debut album PUFF is out this spring May 12, 2023! Worldwide, baby. PUFF GOES THE WORLD.
Do you have any live shows coming up?
BRENT:We have some Germany & Spain dates coming together in the fall! We can’t wait, we haven’t played Europe before but we love those freaky people.
Let us know where we can get tickets if so.
Brent:The dates haven’t been announced yet but follow us on insta and we’ll make sure you KNOW what you need to KNOW to go? You know?
What else can we expect in early 2023?
Brent:Two more singles! Three more videos! We’re also putting the finishing touches on our second LP so hoping to get that out this year too!
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Brent:Working on our 10th album and wearing some nice trousers. Painting a piano drinking freshly squeezed ginger.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Brent:“That’s not my nose, it’s a banana!”
Johnny: “Shoes make the man”
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Brent:The chords, the words, your trousers, your instrument and an umbrella in case it rains.
Johnny: What time to show up and that loading and unloading sucks.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?|
Brent : Yes. Insta is our main spot but you can get us here: