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Toxic Waltz
I recently got to check out the debut self-release full-length album Decades of Pain by Germany’s Toxic Waltz. Before I even had a chance to begin putting my thoughts down to text,Markus over at Metalmessage asked if I would be interested an doing an interview with Jimi, the group’s guitarist, via e-mail. I got some questions together and sent them over. The other day the answers hit the inbox. Check out what the band had to say about the album, why they decided to release it themselves, and more!


How is everything on your end? I hope all is well.

Jimi:
Yeah, everything’s doing fine, thank you. Though it’s a little tough at the moment, because of all the work to do around the record release. But we’re all pulling together and we just got a distributor-deal, so it becomes more quiet for the single band members at the moment and we can concentrate more on the usual bandstuff again.

First of all, why did Toxic Waltz decide to do a full-length album first and not a demo or an EP?

Jimi:
Actually, we even did two demos before “Decades Of Pain”. One in 2010 and one in 2011. We recognized that working in the studio is completely different than playing live and we had some struggles with timing for example at the first demo. But anyways it was a good experience, because we got a glimpse of what we had to improve as musicians and so we could practice more focussed and got better. After the second demo we decided the next step must be a whole album and one year later we recorded our debut.

Why the decision to make it a self-release instead of looking for a label or distributor for it?

Jimi:
Well, actually we looked for a label and we applied by many, but we didn’t get the response we expected. Unfortunately only a few of them answered and sent us a contract to look through. But whether it was a specious contract from a small label, or we had to give them a lot of money first, so we decided to release it by ourselves.

When did you guys start writing the material for Decades of Pain, and how long did it take for everything to come together to the point where you felt you were ready to hit the studio?

Jimi:
The first song that got it on the album was World Of Hate, it was written in the beginning 2010. Afterwards we wrote a few other songs that weren’t good enough for it so we dropped them and wrote another bunch of songs. The last song Decades Of Pain was written in January 2012. After it was done we immediately focussed on that material to be well prepared for the studio where we went in summer 2012.

What is the writing process like for Toxic Waltz when working on new material?

Jimi:
Usually 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 (Jimi). Then around this riff I just add some 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 in the rehearsals, we work out the details of the songs together. The lyrics are mostly written by Angelo or Me when the song structure is done, but it’s not a must. Everyone in the band can share his ideas.

What were some of the bands that inspired you or the others in the band when writing the material for Decades of Pain?

Jimi:
Because we’re listening a lot to Bay Area bands, the songwriting was automatically affected by that but we didn’t want to be limited just to the Bay Area. Also other bands inspired us. Our main influential bands were Exodus, Heathen, Forbidden, Sepultura and Dark Angel to mention some of them. OK, pretty much Bay area based but that is just kind the sound we love and so most of the record is listenable influenced by that, haha!

Since Toxic Waltz has been around since 2009, is it safe to assume that you guys actually have more songs that didn’t make it onto Decades of Pain? If so, why did you decide to leave it/them off the release?

Jimi:
Yes, as mentioned, we have some more songs but they weren’t strong enough to get it on the album. We tried to put only the best songs on it with no fillers. I write a lot songs and drop them sometimes – only we I can listen to them also after a few month I decide they are good enough.

Decades of Pain sounds pretty damn good. Who did you work with as far as production and mastering goes, and what studio did you head into? Also, have you worked with these people or location in the past?

Jimi:
Thanks man, we appreciate it! The whole recording, mastering and stuff we did with our friend Eric Sündermann who has small studio (Mountainside Studios) in Rott (a really small village in Bavaria). Before we did the album with him we also worked with him on our second demo to check out his qualification. We knew immediately he was our man because his knowledge and musical comprehension really fitted to our needs.

From what I’ve read this is apparently the first major band for everyone in Toxic Waltz, but I get the feeling that’s not the case upon hearing Decades of Pain. Have you guys been involved with any other groups in the past?

Jimi:
Angelo was already in a band before and Rahman, Flo and our Ex-drummer Tim played in music school bands. For Alex and me it was our first band with not much musical background and for all of us it’s the first serious band that gets more attention.

So, with Decades of Pain available at this point, what has the reaction been like for Toxic Waltz? How has the album gone over in your hometown or Germany in general? Is it attracting some new fans?

Jimi:
The reaction ‘til this point has been amazing. We got so many very good reviews from all around the world in such a short time, we would never have expected that. But not only the reviews, especially our friends and fans are very happy about the result of our debut-album which makes us very glad. Luckily in the internet we see a constant increase of our popularity. If this is also the case in our local area where we usually play most of the shows we will see…

I saw a picture of the album in a store on your Facebook page. Are any bigger stores carrying it, any local shops, or is it just that one location? Also, are you pushing to get the release carried in more stores, or are you content with the availability it has now?

Jimi:
Like I said in the beginning, we just got a deal with a distributor from Germany called “AL!VE Distribution” and we are very happy about it, because we can reach much more fans now and can sell our album in more and bigger stores and music-catalogs. The picture you saw was made in a local store in our hometown we we just put it by ourselves.

How about what’s next for Toxic Waltz? Are you guys planning anything special like a tour around Germany or neighboring territories at some point, or are you guys going to take it easy and maybe do some local shows for the time being?

Jimi:
We sure are doing some local shows around still, but we want to take the next step and play more bigger shows and especially some festivals this year. We also want to play more shows in other countries of course. A tour would be absolutely amazing, but that’s a bit difficult without a booking agency. Anyways, we are looking forward to this year what happens.

Toxic Waltz: Decades of Pain
Toxic Waltz
Interview conducted thanks to Metalmessage.