A talk with
(Questionnaire by Stefan)
If you’re hooked on Bay Area Thrash Metal, I can friendly recommend you the debut album entitled “Decades Of Pain” from a 5 piece band called Toxic Waltz, originating from Germany. Due to my many years involvement to this type of Metal, I have to conclude that the album has a whole lot to offer. One by one, the representatives of Toxic Waltz know what they are doing and take their job seriously. I consider these guys as great musicians, fully determined to achieve their goals and ambitions. “Decades Of Pain” is their first and self financed cut but hopefully, they will hook up by a proper label soon to record more quality Thrash Metal similar to their debut silver shining little disc. They earn my support as will prove during the following interview.
Q: Congratulations with your horrifying good debut CD guys, first shot – first bulls-eye! To start I’d like to take you back to the early days of existence. Who can be identified as the founder of the band?
A: Thanks man, it really means a lot to us! Hello this is Jimi, lead guitarist of Toxic Waltz and I will answer the next questions in this interview. I started the band around the beginning of 2009 with our ex-drummer Tim but it took a while until we saw us as band because the other members joined at the end of 2009. Before that it was more a 2 man project to see what happens but with the goal to be a band one time. I am glad we managed it.
Q: How did the rest of the band found each other and what were the main goals that you cherished at that time?
A: Tim and I met Angelo on a party while he was busy with another band and we talked about playing a show together in the future. When his band split up we asked him to join us and so we get got him. Tim also knew Rahman from his music school and asked him to rehearse with us to see if he suits our needs and he was the right man. With this line-up we already wrote a few songs and played our first gig with Lenny from Dust Bolt on the second guitar who helped us out. On that gig we met Alex and after another rehearse he joined our band. When Tim left us last year we searched a lot for a good drummer to fill his place and I did some adverts on facebook and so Flo dropped me a mail he wants to give it a try and after the first rehearsal with him we knew he was it. Since the beginning we wanted to be a thrash band that keeps the spirit alive with all that goes with it.
Q: A bunch a young aged musicians who had been bitten by the Thrash Metal virus, right?
A: Yes - I think we could sign that statement even if we want to develop us and don’t want to limit ourselves just as thrashers but that’s definitely our main course. Thrash Metal is an awesome genre that combines so many musical elements and attitude so that it for us.
Q: What about the very first rehearsal, did all went quite awkward whether there was an instant mutual click.
A: Well, we wanted to be a band but we were only two guys who had no clue how “to be” a band so yes it was a bit awkward. Luckily the feeling disappeared soon and things went better and more focussed so we could win the other members.
Q: What is the average age of members – did you guys have a musical background to announce?
A: The average age is currently ~22 years, Alex and me are 23 and Flo is 24. Angelo is 19 and Rahman is 22. Angelo was already in a band before and Rahman, Flo and our Ex-drummer Tim had musical lessons and played in music school bands. For me and Alex it was our first band with not much musical background – to be honest I am still not very good when it comes to musical theory but I think a good ear and the right sense of musicality is more important than that.
Q: It’s clear that Toxic Waltz has been influenced by good old forced of Bay Area Thrash Metal. Whence comes this passion and which bands can be considered as sources of inspiration?
A: We’re listening a lot to Bay Area bands and so automatically the songwriting is affected by that but we don’t want to be limited just to the bay area sounding region as also other bands inspire us. Our main influential bands are Exodus, Heathen, Forbidden, Sepultura and Dark Angel to mention some of them. OK, pretty much Bay area based but not only, you see, haha.
Q: In my review I wrote about the fact that the name of the band presumably has been founded by the cult ‘Toxic Waltz’ track from Bay Area pioneering Exodus. Right or wrong?
A: Definitely right! While I created the band with our ex-drummer Tim I listened very often to Exodus and we as band wanted to create music which led to do the “Toxic Waltz” so we thought it might me a good name.
Q: To me there is a noticeably difference between European based and Bay Area Thrash Metal. Are you agree with me whether or not?
A: Of course I agree and I like it. For example when you think about german thrash it’s often more aggressive and less melodic compared to Bay Area stuff. But there are also European thrash bands that have a very melodic songwriting like Artillery or Paradox. It’s hard to describe the differences but when you listen to all of them you will hear they sound to the same.
Q: Can you tell me how a new song is created – I’m sure you guys pay a lot of attention on the technical moves, right?
A: Each song starts mainly with a single riff that could be a verse or chorus or some kind of bridge simply something where I have the vision for a song. Then around this riff I just add other riffs which fit to the first riff and on and on. Sometimes I also add some variations like a different rhythm or another pitch which makes them song more interesting. At the end normally I write the solos and sometimes program the drum beats. Then I show this whole song the rest of the band and we do some little changes and the song is finished most of the time.
Q: Have you immediately decided to record a full album or did you record a few demo’s in advance?
A: We did a few demo’s to get some studio experience but we wanted directly afterwards to produce a whole album not just an EP to have simply more songs for the listener.
Q: The new, debut Toxic Waltz album is a fact – independently released in all its glory, maybe I’m falling in reverse but once again… “Decades Of Pain’ blew me away during my first encounter with all of the songs. First on, who wrote the lyrics and to which subjects are those based on?
A: The lyrics were written by Angelo, Tim and by me. The topics are mostly cover different stories about war, hate, society and also something different like agrarian economy which can lead to suicide. I think it’s good to write about established thrash metal topics but also about current things to criticize and show what’s wrong with the world today.
Q: The first thing that struck me in the eye was the beautiful cover artwork, who’s the one responsible for it.
A: The artwork is from the Hungarian artist Peter Tikos. As we saw the covers from our buddies Battlecreek and also Alphatiger whose covers are also from him we knew this guy needs to do our cover. And we were pretty lucky it went that good.
Q: Released by the title of “Decades Of Pain”, a great work funded by yourselves. How to pay a young band like Toxic Waltz these high amounts?
A: We tried to do as much as possible on our own like the booklet and stuff. Beside of that we all have full-time jobs so we could effort all the cost. Also we got really lucky we could record the album by a friend of us who is very talented when it comes to recording and producing stuff so we didn’t have to pay a huge sum. Reverse, when you think about the jobs it’s really difficult to manage both band and jobs, but for our passion in our current situation there’s no other way.
Q: Who came on with the title and what story lies behind?
A: We all thought a lot about the album title and were unsure how to handle all those different kind of topics. As we tried to have generic term which suits to almost all lyrics I came up with the idea to differ the lyrics by decades which then lead to the title because most of the lyrics have something to do with pain.
Q: In how much time everything was canned and ready to launch?
A: We recorded the album in summer 2012 and then took care about the rest like artwork, booklet design and all the other stuff which was necessary. As we were pretty inexperienced how much work a whole album really is it took us a long time to get everything together and then also our old drummer Tim left us during that time so we had a lot of difficulties to deal with. After few months when Tim left us Flo joined the band and we could again focus to the release of the album and with help of our Manager Markus Eck last year we tried to get a record label but with no mentionable success. Finally after all that we decided to release it independently.
Q: “Decades Of Pain” is a real good album to me guys and it’s actually a shame you have to bring it out independently. You deserve to be picked up by a proper label - there have been rapprochements by certain companies?
A: Yes, as said we tried to get a proper record label but the search was a bit unlucky so we were forced to release without a label.
Q: What about the distribution of the album?
A: Since our release we distributed it completely by our own but we just got a distribution company which helps us in the future to spread it over the world.
Q: Did you read my review – agree with the words I wrote or not?
A: Of course we read it – very well written! – Thank you very much again! We totally agree with you – it’s good to see if the listeners know what we try to reach with our music and feel the spirit. You review is a very good summary of that. Also the comparisons to other bands and vocalists are well chosen – you did your homework man!
Q: Can we expect additional concerts to promote the new songs, maybe a gig Belgium?
A: We try to play as much gigs as we can but it’s difficult with only a few good connections and no booking agency to get good gigs outside the country. I hope our situation will change with this album but at least we need to make sure we don’t pay a lot on the top for the gigs which was already often the case. But let’s see what the future brings, we’re really hungry to play a lot of shows!
Q: By the way, have you often may occur with other bands in the past?
A: Yes, luckily in our area there are a lot of really good bands and it’s always fun with them to play and of course the aftershow partys are great most of the time. When you talk about much bigger bands then us the list becomes more clearly. There were only a few shows with bigger bands last year for example with Debauchery a very well-known band in Germany we’ve played with.
Q: What are the short and long term plans you guys hope to realize?
A: At first we try to promote our album really well with a lot of gigs but we also think about the next record. In my opinion for an unknown band it’s important to release the second album shortly after the first so the band won’t be forgotten too fast. Furthermore we want to increase the range where we play and improve us as musicians and songwriters.
Q: One last question, do you guys have other pursuits besides playing Thrash Metal?
A: I guess you know the answer – drinking would be another mentionable interest, haha! To get more serious again yeah I think everyone of us has a good social life and we do a lot with our friends and going to concerts. Beside of that we like to play computer games and some members do some sports.
Q: Thank you for the time you spent to provide me with answers, keep me informed about developments within the camp of Toxic Waltz and I want to worship the Gods of Thrash you will catch a meritorious record deal soon. Do you want to add something to conclude?
A: Let’s hope we get more attention with this record and a good record deal will come true. Again thank you very much for the interview and the good review. As we want to say on pretty much every interview we hope our music is liked and appreciated by the fans.
To every fan we want to say if you like us or any other band please support us / them by purchasing the music, merch and go to their shows. Music is a really though business! Cheers