Spanish post rockers Toundra have recently celebrated their tenth anniversary and they finally taste fruits of their work. Their previous album IV reached historic #2 in the Spanish charts and their current release Vortex will be the second release at Superball/Century Media. Its name, falling out of the titles pattern proves band’s massive progress and hunger for new horizons. With band’s guitarist Esteban J. Girón we spoke not only about their latest album, but also about songwriting, gear and sadness as a source of inspiration.
Pre-sale of the Vortex here
For the start, if I can be fully honest, I was never a die-hard fan of Toundra. I knew about you guys for a while, I found some songs interesting, but I totally fell in love with the latest album Vortex. I believe it would be a door-opener to love even more tracks from your past. I find new tracks even more massive and melodies even more convincing than ever. How would you personally compare Vortex to your previous releases?
It’s difficult to talk about your own songs. I think there are more emotional songs but they are more related to our heavy metal side. So it’s a mix of this. We felt angry recording these songs but personally I felt really sad during the first months of the writing process. So it’s a mix of both sides of the band.
What was the reason to change to album names pattern?
Because we felt that we finished a cycle. And we definitively did it. On the other hand it was a kind of tribute to Led Zeppelin so there was no reason to make a “V” album.
Give us please an idea about the songwriting. Do you build on your or/and David’s ideas and then build the tracks during jams?
David and I bring ideas to the rehearsing sessions and then we finish the songs together. Toundra has always been a band based on guitar melodies and riffs but we’re so happy to see how Alex and Alberto are more important on each record.
Do you also jump between roles during jams? Once supporting/other time leading?
I have the rock and roll… David has the Walt Disney melodies, hahahaha
Do you scream at jams? I mean it in the positive way, while you might be moving from one song scheme into another during wilder parts…
Hahahahhaa not really. We’ve never done that. I will start to scream the rest hahahahahaa.
I must also congratulate you guys for a great production. With whom did you cooperate?
Santi Garcia and Borja Pérez at Ultramarinos Costa Brava Studios in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Girona, Catalonia. They are our producers since our second album.
Everybody have the right of having a depression
What do you believe is the best environment to listen to your music, next to a live show obviously? I personally loved to listen to Vortex, while traveling in a bus or a train. It fits well to the landside and realizing more about your homeland and values of random people.
I really love country landscapes and I live in a big city. So I think both are cool. The best thing of instrumental music is the free interpretation you can do with it.
What atmosphere are you trying to build while writing music? Are you trying to represent some story, mood or even a flight over nature?
Writing songs with no anger in Toundra is not possible. You have to be angry or sad to write songs in this band.
I find new tracks very massive. Sometimes even to a point, it reminds me, why I am currently leaving my manager/stuck-in-the-open-space job. I am talking about chest pain, high pressure and intensive heartbeat. Your music can represent that and it’s massive in a good way. Basically to be aware of the pressure and stress around, but there is always melodic way out, into sunny green field. It supports pushing forward, whatever your direction is. Does it makes sense for you?
I think new songs are more melodic than our previous albums. But it doesn’t means to be happier. I think it’s our saddest album.
Would you be willing to share more about the sad emotions you are currently feeling in the band?
Sad emotions… well… in 2017 I was 30. That means anything but it was the first time I looked back in order to see what I’ve been doing during my life. All my friends are building their lives and everybody have different projects during all these years. Me not. I’ve been doing the same since I was 7 years old: dreaming about having a band, touring… that’s my life. Sometime I have the feeling of not doing anything fine if I’ve been trying to be a musician… and failing. Sometimes you feel alone because you’ve been focused on music maybe too much time… Everybody have the right of having a depression 🙂
You have to be angry or sad to write songs in this band
Pillars of life
Coming to a classical question: How do you determine names of the tracks? Is it related to creating some story line?
We are friends since 14 / 15 years. We are a real family. We spend a lot of time together so we have a lot of internal jokes. That’s the truth. We are inspired on Japanese mythology or in GI Joe’s cartoons.
Who did artwork for you? Did you give an artist any idea upfront or let him/her absolute artistic freedom? It fits incredibly to the music, to its massive beauty and tasty element of melancholy.
This cover has been made by Fran Rodríguez from Lacabezaenlasnubes from Barcelona. He wrote us an email months before the writing process but his mail was on SPAM inbox. We finally found it and we thought he would be the perfect person to do our next artwork. We told him that we would love him to be inspired by Surrealism as Breton or Dalí.
Where do you find answers for your internal questions and future direction? Based on the artwork, I can personally imagine long walk alone…
We would love to know how to find the answers. You never know. Playing guitar has always been the best thing to do when you are sad. Music can save your life.
The best thing of instrumental music is the free interpretation you can do with it
As Muzikus is the gear oriented magazine, may I ask you to present us main part of your gear collection, which you are relying on the tour? Possibly also some cool latest discoveries within gear.
Old Marshall heads, old Gibson guitars, Fender Bassman, Orange for bass… . Fugazi is the answer.
Are you looking forward to the Pilsen city in Czech Republic? I guess one of the reasons was the top quality beer. It would be an honor, if I can buy you one. Looking forward to meet you. Cheers. Dan
Can’t wait to know you Dan. It would be a pleasure to share with you and your friends a beer. Have a nice day :D.