Saturday, 22 June 2013

Interview with TOAD

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing rising USA Death and Roll Rockers – TOAD aka Take Over And Destroy. Whose blend of Scandinavian Black Metal mixed with Death Metal and Rock N Roll has won them a loyal following within the metal scene.

Their debut release – Rotten Tide – won them huge praise within the extreme metal underground. I raved on about this release back in June 2011.

Now two years later the guys are about to release their eagerly awaited follow up – Endless Night. And it's brilliant release which I have just raved on about.

Well the guys have kindly agreed an interview with myself. So lets see what these hugely talented Death Rockers have to say to us....

Q1 – Hi guys. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this.

Not a problem. Our vinyl shipment arrived today, so things are great here.

Q2 – Can you give people a brief history on how the band came about.

TOAD was formed in 2008 by vocalist Andrew. The lineup has shifted several times since then, and is now stronger than ever.

Q3 – Your about to release your new release – Endless Night. Can you give us information what it is about.

Ever since we conceived the idea of Endless Night, we’ve discussed the meanings and intentions behind the album. Eventually, we decided to write a collective statement illustrating the significance of the record, which should answer your question sufficiently:

Night time evokes conflicting reactions within the human psyche. As primitive man witnessed the sunset he felt intrigued and thrilled, but most importantly he felt afraid. His terror served to protect him from the chaos and danger of the unknown. The same animalistic fear of the dark remains within us today, though it has migrated into the subconscious.

Endless Night exploits both our aversion and attraction to the darkness. Recorded over the course of a full moon and All Hallow’s Eve of 2012, these songs swirl and creep with sinister melodies, then strike with violent hooks. The album is simultaneously exciting and permeating with horror. Our ancestors relied upon the warmth and light of fire to guard them at night. This record captures the dread of that fire being extinguished forever.

Q4 – It's been a long two year wait since your last excellent release. Rotten Tide. Which received a whole range of praise within the extreme metal scene. Were you pleased with the responses you got for that album.

Yes we were. However, we take every compliment and criticism with a grain of salt. If you let outside influences affect your decisions, you'll end up in a very confused state of mind. We have to trust our own instincts and create music that is meaningful to us.

Q5 – It seems reading the PR Sheet for your new album the band has been through a rough time of it. Can you explain more what happened. Or is it too raw to got into. Sounds like you guys went through hell and back but have came back stronger than ever.

Some of the difficulties we’ve encountered are a natural part of doing what we do. Others are more personal. Life can be cruel to everyone, and we have no more right to complain than anyone else. We feel like the intensity we put into the album is pretty obvious, so we’ll leave it at that.

Q6 – How would you describe TOAD's sound. Death and Roll. Black Rock N Roll. As you cover a lot of ground in your music. I am telling people you are the band that Kvelertak should really sound like. And they agree with me.

Well thanks very much. We are all passionate about such a broad spectrum of music that our sound is inevitably diverse. It’s easy to avoid classification because we draw inspiration from so many different sources. The closest we’ve ever come to describing our sound is that we are an American rock and roll band from the 1970’s trapped inside a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990’s, with a classic horror vibe.

Q7 – You guys have hooked up with Bob Hoag again. Hell of a producer. Was that an easy decision to make mainly in working with him again on your new album.

Absolutely. It was always the plan, and we will continue working with him in the future. Our mutual love of classic horror films was a catalyst for creativity. We've worked with him before, and he understands what we want to accomplish. His attention to detail is bordering between genius and insanity.

Q8 –Do you guys have full times jobs to contend with. Or is music classed as your full time job.

Yes, we all have jobs. The money we earn is used to support our real work, which is the band.

Q9 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music and the decisions you make when performing with your respective bands.

We have a strong network of supporters whom we greatly appreciate. As far as decisions we make while performing, we have no way of anticipating the outcome of any given performance so whatever happens, happens.

Q10 – Which bands and artists influence you on your music. And have you met any of your musical heroes.

We addressed this somewhat in a previous question. Our spectrum of musical inspiration is too vast to list anyone specifically, at least as far as bands go.

However, when it comes to cinema we draw inspiration from the likes of Cronenburg, Carpenter, Polanski, and West. We draw direct influence from the emotions, imagery, and sense of dread captured in their films. We channel these elements in our music.

Our guitar player Nate met John Carpenter in a strange twist of fate. Nate lived within walking distance of an old theater in Santa Monica. One night the theater screened Carpenter's apocalypse trilogy. Nate happened to sit directly in front of Mr. Carpenter, who was gracious enough to exchange a few words and honor a request for a photograph (seen below):

Q11 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.

The idea for a song typically begins with a guitar part. Then each member of the band contributes his unique perspective. Our songs are all collaborative efforts. Each song evolves the more we play it, until its full potential has been reached and we’re satisfied with it. We make a conscious effort not to force or rush anything we write.

Q12 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band. Obviously the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect.

Dedicating ourselves to music is a choice we all made a long time ago. As with any other choice, there are both positive and negative consequences. Doing what we do obviously isn’t the best way to become wealthy, financially speaking. However, all the money in the world couldn’t buy the experience we share when we’re fully in the zone performing or creating music together. No other feeling compares to that.

Q13 – I have heard you will be going on an exhaustive touring schedule for you new album. You guys looking forward to that. Which places will you be visiting. (Hopefully the UK..)

Touring is something we all live for, so we’re definitely looking forward to it. We’ll soon be visiting as many corners of the globe as possible, beginning with the western United States.

Q14 – Congrats on releasing your new album on Vinyl. Which a lot of bands seem to be doing now within the underground scene. Was that an easy decision to make to release it on vinyl compared to CD and Digital Download.

Considering that the album was tracked to tape using vintage gear, it was an obvious decision to release Endless Night on vinyl. We all prefer listening to music on vinyl. As a matter of fact, there are a number of studies comparing the brain waves of people listening to digital music as opposed to vinyl. Put simply, our brains naturally prefer analog sound waves. TOAD's theory is that we as a species are accustomed to naturally occurring sound waves rather than technology's attempt at reproducing them digitally.

Q15 – How big of a help has BandCamp been in getting your music across to the masses.

It’s definitely useful. It’s a simple way for as many people to experience our music as possible, which is our goal.

Q16 - What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records as opposed to mainstream magazines.

We are equally grateful for every bit of support we’re offered. Whether or not that support is significant to the mainstream doesn’t matter to us at all. What matters is that someone appreciates what we're doing and wants to help.

Q17 – What are your views record companies shutting down blogs and websites due to illegal downloading. Some people are for it and some people are against it.

A wise man said that every song he ever wrote, he wrote to be heard. We agree. If given a choice that fifty years from now we could either have a dollar, or know that someone had heard our song, we would prefer the person hearing our song. File sharing has changed everything, and with any change you either adapt or you die. That goes for labels as well as bands. One way to counteract downloading is to tour and play shows. You can’t download vinyl or shirts. That being said, if you’re a fan of something and want it to stick around, you have to support it.

Q18 – What pisses you off most in music today. And if you could what would you change.

Rather than allowing ourselves to get pissed off or frustrated, we get motivated. Motivation can come from hating something just as much as it can come from loving something. As far as changing other music goes, we aren’t as concerned about that as we are with our own mission, which is spreading our music to as many people as we can. If that happens to change things for the better, then it’s just icing on the cake.

Q19 – If you could provide any advice to people wanting to start a band, what would it be.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.

Q20 – Finally do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thanks for the support. We look forward to seeing all of you soon.

Well guys thanks for your time again. Best of luck with your new album. Hope to see you guys perform at a gig one time.

Endless Night will be available to buy on Comfort Point Records from 25th June 2013

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