Three years after “IV”, Madrid instrumentalists Toundra are back with a new and exciting effort. Breaking the trend of naming the albums with numbers, “Vortex” is set for release on April 27th via Inside Out Music
In their own words, Toundra´s sound blends powerful riffs, beautiful deep melodies and intricate atmospheres, all wrapped up in elongated electric songs. They are currently one of the most sought after instrumental bands in Europe, with their previous album “IV” reaching number 2 in the Spanish general charts. An extensive tour followed, reaching more than 150 shows in 18 countries, including the US. ‘IV’ was eventually chosen as 'Album Of 2015' in Spain's influential Mondosonoro magazine.
Lotsofmuzik´s Rodrigo Altaf interviewed Toundra´s bass and synth player Alberto Tocados, and the chat can be read below:
Lotsofmuzik - The cover art for all your albums is quite inspiring. The latest one in particular, is impressive. Who is the artist behind them, and what kind of input did he get input from the band to draw it?
Alberto Trocados - The artist is Fran lacabezaenlasnubes. We gave him total freedom, but the desert theme, geometry and surrealism were three concepts we wanted to have represented on it.
Lotsofmuzik - How do you choose the names of your songs, since they are all instrumental? Do you pick the names before or after writing the songs?
AT - Sometimes we have a bunch of names we like and we assign them to the songs when these are finished. But with Vortex song names came last, even after the artwork.
Lotsofmuzik - What other bands or artists have inspired you when you decided to become musicians?
AT - Fugazi, Cave In, At the drive-in, Refused... We have a strong hardcore/posthardcore background.
Lotsofmuzik - For the people who never heard the band, how would you describe your sound?
AT - Instrumental rock meets post-hardcore maybe...lots of energy mixed with expansive soundscapes.
Lotsofmuzik - How did you come up with the idea to mix the Latin rhythms to rock and ambient music?
AT - It's something we learned since we were kids from Spanish bands like Triana who mixed psychedelic music with Spanish traditional music.
Lotsofmuzik - You interrupted the “sequence naming” of you albums, and after I, II, III and IV, here comes album number five, entitled “Vortex”. What motivated that change, and why “Vortex”?
AT - This feels like an entire new era to us. We needed to break with the past somehow. The name Vortex is a tribute to the tour life, it's the name of one of the most important venues in Europe for us.
Lotsofmuzik - A lot of your songs have a cinematic aspect to them. Have you guys ever considered writing songs for a particular movie?
AT - We were told recently to make “Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari” music re-interpretation live recently. This movie really gives a lot of ideas and a new approach to making different music.
Lotsofmuzik - The album has one long piece called “Mojave” which has a hypnotic and syncopated beat, starting off gently and evolving into a dramatic and heavy song. Clocking in at 11 minutes and ten seconds, do you feel that this is one of the most ambitious song you´ve ever written so far?
AT - It is one of the most important songs we ever made, mainly because it has an entire new ingredient we didn't explored properly until now: electronic music. It's definitely ambitious and it will shape the way we create music from now on.
Lotsofmuzik - Five albums in, is it the time for a live album after this tour?
AT - It's a work in progress at the moment. It will be released someday, hopefully in vinyl.
Lotsofmuzik - Is it difficult for you to reproduce the albums live in a way that you´re satisfied with the end result?
AT - Not at all. We thought of Toundra as a live band from the very beginning. I'm not comfortable with overproduced music if you're a 4-piece band.
Lotsofmuzik - Instrumental music is quite broad and without boundaries. Is it tough to know when to stop expanding when writing a song?
AT - Not really. We usually record the songs before entering the studio to test the impact they have on us as listeners, and we rearrange them, make it shorter (or longer) depending on how it feels listening to them right after "finishing" them.
Lotsofmuzik - You hit number 2 in the Spanish charts with the album “IV”. Top what do you credit such an unexpected success?
AT - Hard work, nothing more. We have a great team behind us. We were in a great moment of popularity back in 2015.
Lotsofmuzik – Nowadays, bands can do their thing independently, and you did that for the first three albums, then got signed by Century Media. What difference do you think being signed to a huge label like that made in Toundra’s career?
AT- We're reaching new territories and we feel more pressure from ourselves to make a better work in each album. Besides that, everything feels pretty much the same. They look after us actively, like an independent label.
Lotsofmuzik - Is there any country you haven’t played yet that you would like to visit? And what are the current touring plans after “Vortex” is released?
AT - We want to go to both South America and Asia. Brasil would be great, since we always had a lot of support from people and labels there!!! The current plans are just Europe/Spain, but hopefully we will play a lot more later this year.
Toundra´s “Vortex” is set for release on April 28th via Inside Out Music. The tracklist, along with the band lineup and discography can be seen below:
TOUNDRA – Vortex (49:21)
1. Intro Vortex (01:30)
2. Cobra (06:30)
3. Tuareg (08:14)
4. Cartavio (02:16)
5. Kingston Falls (04:16)
6. Mojave (11:10)
7. Roay Neary (02:04)
8. Cruce Oeste (07:21)
Alberto Tocados: bass, synths
Álex Pérez: drums, drum machine
David López: guitars
Esteban Girón: guitars, piano
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