!!!OLD SCHOOL THRASH METAL FROM GERMANY!!!
We had a conversation with Dominik Rothe (Guitars). Enjoy!
Welcome to the FILTHY DOGS OF METAL Webzine.
The last time we talked was almost 2 and a half years ago. It was when you released your EP "Reborn in Thrash". Now you are going to release your first full length studio album "Laser Samurai". Tell us a few things about this project.
"Laser Samurai" has been in the works for quite some time. We worked on the demos for some of the songs years ago. Most of them already existed, although not in their final form, when we recorded "Reborn In Thrash". Back then we wanted to do another EP, because we had a new drummer in Lysander and wanted to get a feeling for how the band works in this new line-up, before committing to record a full-length album. And that was a very good idea. We learned a lot from doing “Reborn In Thrash”. And we used what we learned to make the recording experience for “Laser SamuraI” the best we could. For the album we worked with Cornelius Rambadt as a producer for the first time, who worked with bands like Sodom or Bonded in the past. His input and guidance were extremely helpful for us, especially in terms of arrangements. Corny brought a lot of cool ideas to the table, without pressuring us to use them or trying to push us in a certain direction. He always left us in control in the end. But most of the time we went with what he suggested anyways, because it just made sense to us, haha. When it came to the conception of the album, we wanted to bring our music to the next level in every possible way. We had demos for 15 songs, before we entered production. From those demos we chose the 10 songs we felt worked best together as a whole. We wanted to create a record that has a great flow to itself and is more than just a collection of songs. Every track on “Laser Samurai” makes sense to us at exactly the position it has. Our goal was to make an album that has a film-like dramaturgy to it. At least regarding the music. Meanwhile everyone in the band upped the ante on “Laser Samurai”. The songs have much more details and complexity to them than anything we did on the EPs, while still maintaining the classic thrash metal vibe we always had in our music. Lars and I worked hard on the guitar solos to make them more than just some fast doodling. Just listen to Lars’ Solo in “Snow Controlled” or “Laser Samurai”. He plays some ass-kicking stuff there that is on whole different technical level than before, but also very melodic and catchy. And after “Reborn In Thrash” was his first time in the studio, I think you can feel, that Lysander felt much more comfortable while recording. His playing has a mean punch to it this time and there are some killer fills as well. His fill before the final chorus of “Hangar One” gives me an adrenaline-rush every time we play that song. Fabi also worked a lot on his voice. His vocals are much more diverse than on the EPs. He does everything from thrash shouts to deep growls and high-pitched screams, which is extremely exciting. Also, Hendrik, our new bass player, is a great addition to the band. His playing style is very different from what Oli did on the EPs. He brings a great new flavor to our sound. We really gave this album all we got. And I hope people can hear that and enjoy the album as much as we enjoyed making it.
The cover artwork of “Laser Samurai” has a great atmosphere! Tell us a few things about it.
Yeah, Timon Kokott, who also did the artworks for our EPs, once again delivered a killer artwork. In my opinion it is by far the best he has done for us yet. I’m sure the next one will be even better. Just like us, Timon is someone who always tries to outdo himself. And he succeeds in that if you ask me. When I saw it on the vinyl version of the album for the first time, I cheered. It’s really an awesome artwork. When we approached Timon, we told him, we wanted to continue the neon-colored theme of the “Reborn In Thrash” artwork. And then Fabi came up with the idea to make a little tribute to the film poster of the very first “Star Wars” movie. Since Lysander and I are massive “Star Wars” fans, we welcomed this idea with open arms and the rest of the band was convinced very quickly as well. What I love the most about this artwork – besides how detailed it is – is the fact, that you can still see where we took the inspiration from, but it feels so vastly different than the original, that it doesn’t come off as a simple copy. Timon did a fantastic job there and we couldn’t be happier with the visual presentation of the album.
What about the lyrics of the new album?
Fabi really put a lot of the thought in the lyrics, even more so than on our previous releases. There is some political stuff like “Slaughterhouse” about the frightening rise of conservative and right-winged forces all over the world, but also some fun songs like the finale, “Funeral Feast”. That one is inspired by the French “Asterix” comic book series. Asterix and his friends always have a feast at the end of almost every issue, where they eat a huge wild boar together and celebrate the defeat of their roman enemies. So that is the original “Funeral Feast”, haha. The song is about exactly that: Succeeding in the battle against oppression of any kind and the celebration afterwards. Some of the other songs take place in the science fiction world Fabi has created for our mascot, the Toxicator. He is an intergalactic warrior who fights dictators and tyrants of any kind to bring freedom to the universe. He is the “Laser Samurai”. Meanwhile “Commercial Confessions” takes a shot against religion and especially those who exploit the faith of others to enrich themselves with more and more money. Fabi always searches for a good balance between fun and seriousness. If you ask me, he found the perfect sweet spot between those two sides on “Laser Samurai”.
Recently you have released on your YouTube Channel your new official music video "Laser Samurai". Tell us about this experience of making a video clip.
That was a lot of fun. It was filmed and edited by Janis Prögler. He got us the location in his hometown for free, which was amazing. We had a huge stage to work on. Janis also had a light track programmed that was aligned to the song. So, the light always perfectly underlined the music. When it came to the actual shooting of the video, he knew exactly what he wanted from us to get the best shots possible, while being open to any suggestions from us. When we started planning the release of “Laser Samurai”, we quickly decided that the title track should be the first single. It has this huge gangshout-filled chorus, that just sticks in your head. That made it the logical choice for the lead single. And Janis really created the perfect video for the song. He also did another clip for the album, which we will release later this year and we will work with him on more stuff in the future for sure. He’s very competent when it comes to filming and a great dude overall. We really enjoy working with him.
How did your cooperation with Iron Shield Records occur?
That’s a funny story. I sent Thomas Dargel, the owner of Iron Shield, our album, because we really wanted to work with him. Personally, I wanted to work with him with one of my past bands before Taskforce Toxicator, but back then he wasn’t interested. This time he listened to the stuff, enjoyed it, but still gave us a pass at first, because he didn’t want to release as many albums per year as he used to do and had other obligations for 2023 already. So, we talked to some other labels and even had two offers on the table, of which we seriously considered one. Suddenly Thomas liked a lot of posts on our Instagram page one day. I told the others about it. We were all pretty confused, because he already told us “No”. Why did he seem interested in what we are doing then? Then answer came shortly afterwards. He wrote us a message on Facebook that was something like “If you don’t have signed a contract already, I will make you an offer within the next few days.” When his offer came, we all looked at it and there wasn’t really a discussion about what label we’ll release “Laser Samurai” on, because Thomas’ offer fit our needs perfectly. We told him about our decision right away and don’t regret it. Working with him is easy and he made it possible that we can release “Laser Samurai” on vinyl. For that and everything else he’s done for us so far, we are extremely grateful.
After starting a cooperation with a label are you now thinking to put any songs from your previous DIY releases into your upcoming albums?
No, I don’t think that will happen. We had this discussion in the pre-production process for “Laser Samurai”. We didn’t want to reuse old songs that don’t represent where we are as a band in 2023. All of us have evolved as musicians and we only want to release music that reflects this evolution in the future. The “Skull Splitting Force” compilation earlier this year, that contains both EPs and two new songs that were meant for a split that ultimately didn’t happen, is our way of leaving our past behind us. Of course, we’ll play older stuff at our upcoming shows. But the new material will always have priority for us because it reflects who we are as musicians and as people today. That is way more important to us than looking in the rearview mirror and always will be.
Is there any funny or weird story from the recordings or from your live shows that you would like to share with us?
I can’t really think of one specific story. But what I can tell you is that we always have a fun time when being on the road. One of the best experiences in regard to that was playing Kafest in 2022. It was our first time in the Czech Republic. We had two other shows there before Kafest and the weekend before we played three shows in Germany with Czech band Comander. It was like a small tour with six dates. And Kafest was the highpoint of that tour. The organizer was a great guy called Michal Kava. Everything about the festival just worked perfectly. It was an underground event that felt professional on every level. We met a lot of great people that day. Made new friends in Grindpad, who are now labelmates of ours, and met old friends like the guys from DIYY from Israel. It was an amazing time that really showed how music can bring people from all over the world together for an amazing day. There was no violence and no bullshit that day. Everyone just enjoyed being there and rocking out to amazing metal bands. This is the kind of stuff we live for. And we sincerely hope there is more of that for us down the road.
The last 3 years we have faced many dark, strange & new situations with our everyday life (covid, lock-down etc.) worldwide. Did this situation affect you, positively or negatively?
Yes, it definitely had a big impact on the band as a whole and I think of each one individually as well. I don’t want to talk for the others here, so this is just my perspective on this. First of all, for the band it was tough, since we couldn’t neither rehearse nor play shows, which is pretty much what keeps any band alive. The “Reborn In Thrash” EP was also something we did not just for the reasons I stated earlier, but also because we didn’t want to release our first full album, when touring was not possible. Our music is made for live shows, so it wouldn’t have made sense to us, to release an album when we can’t play any concerts. Since we couldn’t do shows, we focused on releasing videos for almost every song of the EP to make people aware of us online. The support in this time is what kept this band alive. The reviews for “Reborn In Thrash” were great. We had a lot of orders from all over the world and did interviews with magazines from the US or you in Greece. It was good to see that our music still meant something to people, even though we couldn’t really play live. But it was a tough time, nevertheless. The second lockdown here in Germany started in the autumn of 2020 and went on for eight months or so. Not being able to play music with and for other people or going to shows from other bands completely messed me up. Music is the focus in my life and as important to me as breathing. I can’t do without. Just listening to records at home isn’t enough to satisfy this need. There is a song by Saxon where Biff Byford sings “I can’t live/ I can’t breathe/ You got to give me what I need.” That pretty much sums up my relationship with music. So going through this covid lockdowns was brutal and I’m glad the pandemic is over. Don’t get me wrong here, I completely understand why all this stuff was necessary to give science the time to figure out a solution. But it still sucked having to live this way. On the other hand, I appreciate the time I have at concerts more than ever before now. I must admit, for a long time I took being able to go to shows regularly for granted. That isn’t the case anymore. Those pandemic years showed me how important all this stuff actually is and that it shouldn’t be taken for granted.
What shall we expect from TASKFORCE TOXICATOR in the near future?
At the moment we focus on booking shows everywhere where people want to see us play. We’ve put a lot of effort into “Laser Samurai”, and we want to reach as many people as possible with the album. That will continue in 2024, I think. Hopefully we will be able to play some smaller festivals besides the club shows we are planning already. We also have some more lyric and music videos ready to go, which we will release in the coming months. Maybe will shoot some more for the album as well. There are some ideas floating around for that, haha. Behind the scenes we already have new songs in the works. About six or seven demos exist now for a potential second album. Personally, I hope we can finish pre-production on album number two in the first half of 2023 and then go into recording the next album later that year. We are stronger than ever now and will use this momentum to deliver more ass-kicking thrash tunes to the world.
Thank you very much for your time & keep up the good work! The closure is yours.
Thank you very much for this interview and your continuous support, Steve! Without the support of people like you, we wouldn’t have come as far as we have. Also huge thanks to everyone who took the time to read this interview. Go check out our music, if it sounds interesting to you and be sure to support all the other amazing bands and artists out there. Music is one of, if not the most important part of human culture and it deserves all the support it can get.
By Steve the Filthy Dog.
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