A talk with
PETER VAN TOREN (Drums)
(Questionnaire by Stefan)
I witnessed a live performance of X-Tinxion a few weeks at a Belgian based feast on steel called Metal Over Oostrozebeke, 2014 edition. Damn right this female fronted Thrash Metal act convinced me all over, that night I also received their EP “Act The Injured Innocent” to review… meanwhile the discussion has been published, the high score I gave at the end is well deserved, that’s for sure. That night at MOO festival, I knew to have a deal with a great band whodeservedmoreattention thanwhattheyhad beenup to now. That’s why I want to let them speak for themselves during the following conversation. Let’s dig into X-Tinxion’s early days of existence period as well as I’m pretty curious about the rest of their career so far. I direct myself to drummer Peter V. Toren.
Q: Hails Peter, I welcome you with great pleasure here atMTI – what’s up on a day like this in The Netherlands, your homefront?
A: Well, it’s a cloudy day....ha-ha (the Dutch like to talk about the weather) I finally have a few weeks off from work, so I can focus on getting the new X-Tinxion tracks finished for the upcoming full-length album.
Q: Let us begin this conversation with the creation of your band… how, when and by whom X-Tinxion was formed?
A: I started this band in 2003, but I’m the only surviving member from the early days (the rest got extinct) Conrad joined in 2004, followed by Monica in 2006, Sepp and Haico in 2012. We started out as an old-school thrash band, because it has always been my favorite music to play. Since then we sort of evolved into the more diverse style of thrash-metal we have now.
Q: Basically,who’s the founder and with which ambition the band was formed?
A: Me, to become the best thrash band in the world.
Q: How difficult to find the right players those days – what about the first line-up Peter? Give up a small tour please.
A: There weren’t many musicians who could play the fast and technical style I wanted to play. So it took me a while to find the right guys for the job. I started out with Frans Swaters, and Conrad followed soon after, they were the magic duo for quite some time. But later on Frans became a dad, and also had another band. He wanted to focus more on the other thrash band, in which he was also the singer. Our bassist was Paul van Son. Paul got all kinds of pains in his arm, that made it harder and harder for him to play. He hadn’t been able to make music for quite some time. Luckily his hand got better, and he is actually making thrash metal again together with Frans in a great band called Suicide Attack.
After Paul left, our bass player was Mischa van Rodijnen. We started out with a guy on vocals from 2003-2006. He was more of a hard-core punk singer, so it wasn’t the right mix for the X-Tinxion sound. We started auditioning and I had heard Monica perform with her band at the time. So I asked her to come audition. She did, and we were much impressed. Aparently, so was she, so she decided to stay. After Frans and Mischa left, we played with Fabian Verweij from Disquiet for a while. Unfortunately that didn’t work out, because he was just too busy. Conrad, Monica and myself remained and we were determined to keep the X-Tinxion flame alive and not let it become extinct. We had known Sepp Coeck, our Belgium friend for quite some time. He was a well-respected musician, who can not only play killer guitar, but is also a drummer, singer and composer. We ran into him when X-Tinxion opened for Channel Zero. It was Fabian’s last show with us.
Conrad asked Sepp if he was interested. We didn’t think he’d say yes, because it’s quite a drive for Sepp to get to Dordrecht every week, where we rehearse. However, to our surprise, he was very interested and it really worked out. Haico, our bassist had auditioned for Fabian’s band Disquiet, and Fabian told us, although he wasn’t the right man for his band, he was very impressed by his audition. So he tipped us to ask him to come try-out for us. We were like family from that moment on. It just clicked. Apart from the band-members, there are more guys always helping us out with stuff. So as extra members we need to name our guy Michael (Mighty Mike) Rijepert, who roadies, manages and thinks with us, and also Jelle, Patrick, Suzanne, Diana and friends, who roadie and sell merchandise. They have stuck with us and are always there to help out.
Q: Do you all have some musical background to announce?
A: Yes, we all played in loads of different bands. Some of us have bands besides X-Tinxion, like Fireforce (Sepp), 5150, 666The Nightmare (Conrad) and Downcast Collision (Monica and myself).
Q: Are you Always been a Thrash Metal band - what makes this genre so appealing?
A: Yes, it’s the energy of it. There’s no other style that gets me so tired after a show.
Q: Name a few bands you were infleunced by.
A: Me, as a person: Testament, Toxik, Exodus, Demolition Hammer, and so on.
Q: Line-up completed, loaded with the right skills and ambitions… X-Tinxion’s first demo saw daylight by the title of “Twisting The Knife”. Was the end result as expected in advance? Describe the demo in your own words Peter.
A: For me, it wasn’t how I wanted the band to sound. It was because the singer put such a hardcore-punk feel to it, that wasn’t what I wanted it to be. When Monica joined, she re-recorded the vocal tracks, which made it a lot better. The demo was mostly recorded by myself and Jan Dekker, for whom I sometimes worked in his studio called Pro-sound. Pro-sound is now a well respected studio, and Jan is a great engineer.
Q: How did the press and media reacted to this debut demo?
A: We got really positive reviews. Although with the old singer, some reviews also made comments about this sounding a bit odd
Q: To promote your own way of Metal music you have to play some live gigs as well. What can you tell us regarding the first few shows of X-Tinxion?
A: Wow, it’s such a long time ago. Our first show was in Roosendaal together with a band called Cypher. We played as much as we could to get our name on the wire. The highlight was playing with bands like Nuclear Assault.
Q: You also came out as abosulute winners of Metal competitions such as Metal Bash and Wacken Metal Battle, right?
A: We didn’t win the Metal Bash, but in 2011 we won the Dutch Wacken Metal Battle, that’s right. It was great playing at Wacken. We heard from the jury there at Wacken, that our performance there was great and we came out third place. No other Dutch band had ever ended in the top 10! It was a great motivation for us to go on, cause at the time we already knew Frans would leave the band. Wacken was his last show.
Q: As time passed by, you shared the stage with a lot of awesome bands such as Heathen, UDO, Nuclear Assault, Vengeance, Perzonal War, Thanatos among others… what gig you will never forget – why?
A: I would choose the gig with Heathen. Because it was near our home town. In The Baroeg, Rotterdam. There were loads of friends there and we were really proud to show them how far we had come. Also, the guys from Heathen were really nice. The same goes for Channel Zero. They were amazing! Afterwards we drank Jack Daniels with them and had a great laugh. It was a shock for us to hear about their drummer passing away. It was such a great dude. It was an honour to have shared the stage with him.
Q: You played twice at the Belgian based festival named Metal Over Oostrozebeke, what memories do you have held onto this?
A: Only good ones. First of all, it was organized by our good friend and fan Benny. Both times were special. Nice people, great BBQ and good beer.
Q: I was there at the latest edition of this event, all of the bands were very good to me but what about your impression regarding the present bands that night? Who did you prefer and for what reason?
A: All bands were great. For us it was special to see Disquiet perform with bassist Jerry, who came all the way from Surinam and is a long time friend of mine. I didn’t know he was going to play, not even that he had come over from Surinam. So it was a great surprise for me.
Q: As mentioned before, X-Tinxion completely convinced with their explosive live act reminiscent to the good old days of Bay Area Thrash Metal music. Shortly after the show, I’ve reviewed your 2010 EP called “Act The Injured Innocent”, great effort created by the grace of Thrash Metal ! How would you describe the EP yourself, to whom you would recommend the cut and if the product is till available, give up an address please.
A: "Act the Injured Innocent" was recorded in the late and legendary Excess studio’s by Hans Pieters. It was a real experience working with him. We wanted to sound in your face, aggressive, a bit old-school, but modern at the same time. We’re still really proud of the way it turned out. The reviews of the EP were all extremely positive. The product is still available at our live shows. You can also order it online via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: You’re pretty busy making a new album album, right? First on, why it took four years to give birth to a sophomore effort?
A: Act the Injured Innocent came out in 2010. It got us to Wacken and other great gigs in 2011, but then the line-up changed. It took us some time to find the right people. We also wanted to write new songs, instead of just recording what we had written with the old band members. Also, we didn’t want to record another demo or EP. When we got together the new crew, we decided to go all the way and bring out a full-length. We are bend on making it the best X-Tinxion record so far, and we are self-critics. Only the best is good enough.
Q: Anyway, I’m glad to hear a new piece is wel underway to release later on, do you have any idea on the release date?
A: We are recording the CD with Serge Naberman. Serge is a guitarist himself. He is also a very busy guy. For example, he plays in Najib Amhali’s band and has his own band called Rebelstar. We record in parts. We’ve done six songs so far. It is all coming together, now. After the recordings, we will be looking for the right producer and will master it. Then we will check if anyone is interested getting it into the stores officially. We are taking our time to get everything planned just right. As it is going, we expect to release it somewhere by the end of this year / the start of 2015
Q: I expect a furious, Bay Area styled Thrash Metal effort… can you give some more detailed information?
A: X-Tinxion will sound like X-Tinxion. Compared to Act the Injured Innocent, you can expect the same energy, but a more modern sound and thought-through songs, which are more diverse in influences than just Bay Area thrash. Although, you need not worry, it is still thrash metal all the way.
Q: On what topics your lyrics are based? Guide us through the lyrical content of some of the new songs.
A: Monica writes the lyrics. The new songs are about different themes. Monica is always a bit philosophical in her lyrics, but with a sense of sarcasm and humor. For example: Destruct an Reanimate is about re-inventing the human race, to become a complete uniformity so that there will no longer be racism and war. The lyrics are always over the top. The Divine is about how humanity becomes so involved in hi-tech and quantum physics that it fails to see its own divinity, but realizing this would make it god-like. The Divine is available as teaser, in a raw mix version on our band profile on Facebook .
Q: Have you been approached by a decent record label to bring out the new album? In my opinion, a band like X-Tinxion would rather earn to sign a deal.
A: Not yet, but we keep our options open.
Q: Whatever the future holds, you can count on the heartfelt support of Metal To Infinity webzine! Maybe you have something to say to our readers before we interrupt this connection? The final word’s on you brother – hail and cheers !
A: To you and your readers: Thanks for checking us out, keep thrashing!! We hope to see you all soon!! \m/