Exclusive Interview: Toxicon talk “Be The Fire & Wish For The Wind”!

A band with a flagrant disregard for genre boundaries who simply create what sounds good to them, Australian Alternative Metal act Toxicon recently released new album “Be The Fire & Wish For The Wind”, as a sophomore record that has a little bit of everything and so much more. Thrash, Nu-Metal, Progressive, Symphonic and Alternative, it’s all covered in an hour of mayhem that follows their 2016 album “Purge” and after two years of hard work it’s fair to say it has paid off handsomely. Here’s the first of two exclusive interviews with them about how everything fell into place…

How have you found the reaction to “Be The Fire & Wish For The Wind” so far? “We feel that the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. As far as the music goes everybody is loving the tracks and it seems like everyone has a different favourite song. We had the same thing happen on the last album too so it’s nice to see that our wide array of influences appeals to fans of several different metal subgenres who like different aspects of what we do. We have had a little push back from some reviewers over the length of the album, but that was something we expected to happen. Its 58 minutes long which in today’s popular music world is unheard of but as far as we are concerned the foundation of metal was built on great song writing, both long and short. The cost of releasing music is also rather high, so we feel we are giving people more headbang for your buck. A half an hour album is easy to get through but often I’m left wanting more from my artists which I might have to wait 2 or more years for. We’ve been sitting on this album for 3 years and we can confidently say that it only gets better with multiple listens. There is always more to hear the next go round and your favourite song now might not be your favourite song in a month, or 6 months”

In 2020 Bart Walters joined the band to replace Paul Jones on guitars. How much of an impact did his arrival have on the rest of the line up? Were there any cuts that made the album which had any of Jones’ ideas on them? “Bart joining the band was great for all of us. He’s a long-time friend of Jacobs (Bass) from school and has been friends with the rest of us for years so it was cool to have someone who was a genuine fan of the music come on board to help us out. Our band doesn’t necessarily have “lead” and “rhythm” guitar parts so he’s been thrown into the fire as it were. The new album has some seriously difficult parts on it and some of our old material is very hard to play even if it doesn’t sound it. Bart is an excellent guitarist and fast learner, so has had no trouble in slotting right in. As far as songs ideas of Paul’s that made the final album, Fear of a dank planet is almost entirely his riffs. It was taken from a guitar review he did for a Mick Thompson signature guitar. We fleshed it out into a full song, then played with the layout to get the final product. Paul wrote a lot of the solos throughout the album and was involved in the recording process”

You’ve described yourselves as a “Hybrid Metal” act who like to experiment with Thrash, Nu-Metal, Progressive and Alternative Metal in forging your sound. If you had to pick the single biggest influence on style on your music, which of those would you pick and why? “Musically it’s gotta’ be Thrash. When most of us we’re getting into metal it was all the usual suspects getting thrown around, Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth, Black Label Society, Lamb of God, Trivium. Our roots are heavily in Thrash but as time has gone on, we’ve wanted to incorporate more of our favourite bands into what we do. So that’s seen influences like Alter Bridge, Fightstar, Coheed & Cambria, Machine Head, Mastodon and many others all have little influences on not necessarily just the riffs but how we put our songs together as well. Vocally though Wayne takes his influences from an entirely different generation of bands. He’s got a good 8 years or so on the rest of the band members so he’s big into 90s alternative and Nu Metal, so his influences range from Korn, Deftones, Tool and Limp Bizkit to Sound Garden, QOTSA and Foo Fighters. Using the term “Hybrid Metal was a way of describing the sound with a few, all- encompassing words rather than having a half a page just to describe our sound. Most bands think that they sound different from their peers, we are no exception, but you’d be hard pressed to find a band writing music with so many styles in mind that still sounds cohesive. It’s a testament to the thought put into every song”

In the centre of the album, you’ve got a huge, epic piece of Symphonic Metal in “Husk“. Where did the seed for that piece of brilliance start from and how did it evolve into its final majestic form? “Husk was written by our drummer Tom. Usually, he will noodle on a piece for ages until he has a whole song that he’s happy with so that he can fully get his ideas across. Husk itself was a clean, acoustic idea he had from years earlier after his grandfather died that got “metalized” when we started writing new material for this album. Tom has never been a big song writer on a music level but has always contributed to the structuring of songs and adding in his own parts where needed so this was his first attempts at writing an actual song. Tom explained the way he felt during the process of his grandfather passing to Wayne who did an amazing job of putting those feelings into words for the song. Often as children we are kind of left to figure out the strange emotions surrounding the passing of a loved one in the time after the fact. The lyrics are about dealing with an inherent feeling of guilt associated with loss at a young age. We contacted local producer Misstiq, who is usually known for her collaborations with deathcore bands, to add some string sections. This would have been a hard task considering the length and the constant changes in timing throughout but what she did added so much to the song with some truly beautiful piano lines that really capture the mood of the song and make it as symphonic and emotional as it is. It was nice to have a ballad to add to the album and even though it clocks in at close to 9 minutes it doesn’t feel that way. All our songs got the look over to see if anything needed cut from them to make them more concise and the idea was thrown around to split it into 3 acts, but every part of the song was needed to tell the story we had to tell and once it was finished, we wouldn’t have had it any other way”

You whittled 30 songs to 11 for the final album so what happens to the remaining 19 songs? Do you have any plans to release any of them? “As much as we’d love to say everything was absolute gold, we threw a lot of stuff away that was just bang average. Even once we’d whittled down the songs to a lesser number those chosen got major overhauls and there just wasn’t time to do that to all the songs we wrote. There was a good half dozen left on the cutting room floor that were worthy of being on the album which might be getting a look over and a tweak for a future project”

What’s next for Toxicon? “Well, we are busy pushing our YouTube channel as usual. Plenty of videos to go up on there for those who enjoy playthrough content and stories about the songs and we have a documentary in mind too with a modern day look at what a “local band” goes through when releasing an album. We have those B sides that are getting a second look in which will be a great opportunity to get Bart involved in our writing process and to follow up our extensive album with even more music. We’ll be trying to throw a tour together for some time next year as well. It’s become hard to tour these days, especially in Australia. Great distances between cities, cost of fuel and living make it extremely expensive. Wayne (Vocals) has recently moved interstate with his family so that makes things difficult logistically. But we plan to throw together a great show for anybody who would want to come out and see us during our east tour, before we settle back in for more videos and work on the next batch of songs”

Be The Fire & Wish For The Wind” by Toxicon is out now and available everywhere you would expect it to be

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