Less Lovecraft, More Cronenberg: Catching Up with Take Over and Destroy
What’s so exciting about Phoenix, AZ’s Take Over And Destroy is that they’re doing something unusual. A seasick amalgamation of black ‘n roll, stoner metal, prog rock, and ’70s horror soundtracks, the band’s music embraces both the violent headbanger and the introspective weirdo within us all. While so many musicians refer to the addition of an uncommon instrument or the copping of another band’s popular sound as “trying new stuff”, TOAD are busy carving their own path, changing drastically from album to album and doing so with seemingly little regard for the metal scene at large.
When I contact the band, they are in the middle of working on their new album while also celebrating the recent vinyl release of their 2014 record Vacant Face. Guitarist Alex Bank Rollins happily answers my e-mail barrage. Succinct and wry, his responses convey both a familiarity with how the metal world views his band and a complete lack of interest in such things.
Glad to hear you guys got Vacant Face out on vinyl! For those not involved in the workings of a band, why is vinyl so hard to get done?
We’re very glad to have it out on vinyl too! It was remastered specifically for vinyl, and is played at 45 rpm for maximum sound quality. We teamed up with Pulverized Records for this release, and we’re all very proud of the way the album turned out.
There are quite a few factors to consider when pressing vinyl. Besides being the most expensive form of reproducing music, it’s also the most expensive to transport. Vinyl records weigh more than you think, and sending them in bulk will cost a pretty penny. They’re also fragile, which can prove to be problematic.
With the current resurgence of people buying vinyl records, the pressing plants that manufacture them have experienced a massive back up. They can’t keep up with the amount of orders they’re getting, so the turn-over time for orders have been extended. We hope all of our fans can agree that it was worth the wait!
Vacant Face definitely took your music in a weirder, more pointedly-bizarre direction. What prompted that?
It was actually a very natural progression for us. We are ambitious about keeping things exciting and new. When bands attempt to recreate the same album over and over again, it usually proves to be boring for both the band and the listener. The most simple way to put it is that we aim to write good songs. If we show another side of ourselves and surprise people, we view that as a positive thing.
Similarly, the lyrics involved were much more focused on psychosexual themes than, say, H.P. Lovecraft.
A little less Lovecraft, a little more Cronenberg.
So where is TOAD going from here? What new themes are you guys exploring on your new album?
We are approaching our newest album like a collection of singles. We want to go back to a mentality where bands created an album where each song could stand alone and have a very strong impact. Think of albums that are made up of singles, like albums written by The Beatles, The Misfits, The Rolling Stones, The Ramones, etc. Not that our new record necessarily sounds like any of those bands, but we are writing the album and paying respect to bands that think like that.
What has changed among the band members? How have you guys evolved as people during the process?
Since our last full length Vacant Face, we have altered the line up. Pete Porter who played organs with the band up until now, has taken on the role of playing bass guitar.
We are always changing as individuals, that is evident. At the core, we are all the same people, but change must be made in order for progression to occur.
You and Gatecreeper are blowing up the Arizona scene. How is it overall? Are you guys the exception or the rule in AZ? I know so little about the scene there.
Things are really good here in Arizona. Our rehearsal space is located in Tempe at a building with about 20 different rooms and units in it. While spending time there, you really get a sense of the musical community. Everyone there knows each other. It’s inspiring to be there multiple times a week and see the same groups of guys working away at being the best they can be.
We are fortunate enough to play at great venues that don’t necessarily usually cater to the type of music that we play, so in that regard we may be the exception to the rule.
Given your very unique sound, do you find the lack of an easy genre to put yourselves in frustrating or liberating? What do YOU guys call Take Over’s music?
It’s very liberating. When you don’t subscribe to a genre, you are free to do what you want. We don’t have any purists coming after us. We generally refer to ourselves as a rock and roll band because that can encompass a lot of different things.
Finally, what’s the worst that can happen?< We all die in a plane crash.