EMQ’s with TOOTHDRINKER
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview, with Cardiff, Wales based Hard Rock/Metal/Pop project, Toothdrinker. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi! We’re Toothdrinker and we play a weird mix of hard rock, metal and pop – got to have a variety when you’re making a rock opera!
At this stage, Toothdrinker is more of a project than a traditional band. I started it at the beginning of 2020 as a side-project, while trying to get my then-main band ready for gigging. I had an idea for a rock opera based around the Resident Evil series and thought it’d be fun to write and demo a few songs as proof of concept.
When the pandemic happened, my main band fell apart due to totally understandable shifts in everybody’s lives. I decided to keep writing beyond my proof of concept, and it shortly spiralled in to me deciding I’d write and record a whole album as a DIY project. Being a backing vocalist at best though, I needed to get some singers on board – fortunately, my partner Elly (of Hubert’s Friend) has an amazing set of pipes and was very up for being involved. Then, over time a range of other great singers joined such as Kyle from Seven Sisters and Helgi from Ring of Gyges. I also managed to enlist the help of a couple of friends to contribute some additional lead guitars and voila, our album “Last Escape” is ready!
How did you come up with your band name?
There is a term for a half-vampire, half-human called a ‘dhampir’. Apparently, this literally translates to ‘toothdrinker’ in Albanian. I’m not sure how accurate that is or if it’s just one of those things bandied around the internet, but I thought ‘toothdrinker’ sounded great and was suitably horror-themed.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
When I started the album, I was living in London, England where I’ve spent most of my life. Against all odds, London’s metal scene still seems to thrive which is great.
Around 9 months ago, I moved to Cardiff, Wales. Moving in the thick of pandemic, obviously live music has been on a bit of a pause. However, Cardiff has a very strong rock and metal scene with local acts galore – I’m excited to start experiencing it first-hand.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
On 24th September, we’ll release the first single from the album – ‘Valentine’s Day’. The album itself, “Last Escape”, will come out 19th November.
“Last Escape” Album Teaser
Who have been your greatest influences?
There are too many to list, but with this project specifically, a lot of the concept is informed by my love of Savatage. Their melding of pseudo-Broadway songs and heavy metal on ‘Gutter Ballet’ and ‘Streets’ has always stuck with me. I love all eras of the band, but those two albums have a particular place in my heart.
Stylistically though, I’m not sure Toothdrinker sounds much like Savatage. Song-writing-wise, I’ve always been hugely inspired by Ginger from The Wildhearts – his ability to cram riff after riff after riff in to a song and punctuate it with catchy choruses is definitely what I attempt to do!
What first got you into music?
Probably my mum playing “Led Zeppelin IV” on repeat during childhood car journeys.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Oof, there are an absolute ton. Ginger Wildheart would obviously be great, as I know he’d write something incredibly catchy. It’d also be amazing to work with a band like Svalbard and learn how they make their music so incredibly atmospheric.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Wacken’s got to be the dream, right?
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We’ve only just started out, so nothing!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Seeing as this is our first release, I doubt we have fans yet – but thank you for listening!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I’m not sure I want the power of necromancy, but Peter Steele would definitely suit being undead.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Writing songs and writing songs, ha!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
More diversity, less discrimination.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Just one?! “Prince Of The Poverty Line” by Skyclad is always near the top.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
You do you. I like physical media, but my house is also filled with lots of plastic!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
My day job, which I am still doing!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
It’d be the other contributors to Toothdrinker – I’ve not met all of them in real life, and it’d be amazing to get them all together.
What’s next for the band?
With the first album just about to go out, that’s the big focus for us. I’ve got ideas for other things down the line, but that’ll be a way off.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Now this is the hard-hitting stuff. My view is that they are technically a cake, but function as a biscuit – like a tomato is a fruit you treat like a vegetable.
I’m sure this is deeply controversial, so please send all Jaffa Cake related hate-mail to our socials.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
We hope you enjoy the album and thank you for taking the time to read this!
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