We’re Coming For You!
Michel Emms and Jake Graham talk to AAM
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! The new year is upon us and what an exciting time for up and coming rock bands. In the last two years there has been an amazing pool of rock bands to come out. Bands like The Answer from Ireland, Blackstone Cherry and Endeverafter from our own backyard. The UK has given us rock and rollers around the world a reason to stand up and shout as well. One in particular caught our attention. The band is called, Toxic Federation.
Now don’t be fooled by the band’s name, while it may sound like your typical speed death metal band, we assure you this band is a pure bred rock and roll band. Hailing from Nottingham, Toxic Federation have their sights on making their mark in 2010. Influenced by the likes of Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, make no mistake, Toxic Federation is ready to write their own chapter in the book of rock.
The band is fueld and powered by vocalist Michel Emms, guitarists Jake Graham and George Coleman, bassist Alex Stroud and JR Windsor. They won the Best Unsigned Band 2006 (Under 18s) in the Nottingham area, and have opened for both Saxon and Hot Leg. They’ve a self-released album, Behind The Mask, available now. The Rocker and I had the pleasure to chat with Mitchell Emms and Jake Graham of Toxic Federation. They gave us the lowdown about their band and what they have on tap for 2010. Here is what they shared with us.
AAM: First of all, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. So, how long have you guys been together as a band?
MITCHEL EMMS: The band has been through various shapes and forms, but in our current lineup, we’ve been together for nearly 12 months, since february 2009.
JAKE GRHAM: After several members, Toxic Federation was a 4 peace band with Alex Stroud (current bass player) as lead singer for 2 years. The current line up with front man Mitchell Emms has been since early February this year.
AAM: Talk to us about your CD, ‘Behind The Mask’. How long did you spend in the studio recording it? How many songs did you actually write for the album?
JG: We always released our songs as singles for the first few years. Once we had gathered 11 tracks we decided to start to record and produce our own album in October 2008 ,releasing our album in December 2008 (With Alex Stroud singing on the album). Because we had a new addition to the band in early 2009, we decided to go back to the album for a few months and re-record it with Mitch on it, re-releasing the album in March.
ME: 11 songs went onto the album, 2 of them bonus tracks by George and Jake. The majority of the tracks were already finished from playing them live and tweaking them in performances, so it was just a case of recording them and fine tuning the songs and lyrics.
AAM: What is the song writing process like for you? Is it a group effort or do certain members of band write the songs?
ME: It’s a group effort, but it generally starts with one of the guitarists coming up with a riff or melody, and we all start working on structure, and me and Alex will work on lyrics.
JG: I usually start the tracks with a catchy guitar riff and make a rough recording. The first person I show, is the other guitarist, George Coleman, who then helps me structure the song and adds his ideas. We will then present the song to the rest of the band in band practice and continue working on it sorting out all of the kinks. We will usually gig the song a few times before we decided to record it.
AAM: Do you remember the first show you did as a band. How was that experience? Now, you guys have opened for UFO and other big named acts, right? What was that like, playing in front of huge crowds? Were you guys nervous at all?
ME: Well it’s a big adrenaline rush, where we just get up there and giving it our all. We’ve all had previous experience playing live and its great. We all come together and enjoy going crazy up there enjoying each other’s company. For me, I turn into a completely different character onstage and just go mental. I remember the first time I sang with TF in Derby, and I just felt a great feeling from being up there with brilliant musicians and brilliant guys.
AAM: Can you talk to us about your next record? Did you approach it any differently than, ‘Behind The Mask’? Who is producing the new record?
JG: I remember writing the intro to our new song "As One" in my bedroom on a little recording device… I didn’t really think much of it and backed it up on a computer. A few months later I showed George the riff and he loved it and said we had to do something about it, so we did. Most of the producing for the later tracks is mainly done by George, me and Alex.
ME: We’re generally self-produced and this year has further widened our musical influences and ideas, including the addition of sampler pads and synths, which we’re looking forward to using even more to enhance our sound. We’ve already started recording new material with our latest tracks "As One" and "On Air", of which are more vocally based than our previous songs. I think we aim to reach out to more people with our next record.
AAM: With 2010 upon us, what goals have you set for yourselves as band?
ME: We’ve began planning tour dates across the UK for next year, of which we’ve had a taste of this year with "The Answer", and we’re also visiting Turkey again in 2010 for festival dates in Fethiye and Istanbul, Turkey. We also aim to get our next album done and improve our live show to the max. This first year has been awesome and a great learning curve, but this next year we’re moving onto the next step with bigger gigs and tour dates.
AAM: What does Toxic Federation bring to the table that seperates you guys from the other rock bands that are on the scene right now?
JG: I believe our music is very exciting. Also with bands these days, there sometimes overly produced meaning all of their tracks sound very similar. I think all of our tracks sound very different to one and other. I think you can still tell when you hear it that it is a Toxic track but all of the tracks vary. I believe this is due to us being able to produce our own music rather than someone telling us what to do, we do it our way….
AAM: Musical influences and other hobbies?
ME: I’ve always been influenced by bands who’ve had the brass kahoneys to bring something different to the scene. I’ve been doing music and playing since i was 9. When I first heard Nirvana, and few months after, I began playing live every weekend and I decided at an early age that this was what I wanted to do, so music is generally my main thing.
JG: Iron Maiden, Steel Panther, Kiko Loureiro, Breaking Benjamin, Queen… Also listen to a lot of chart music these days.Hobbies: Socializing, Web management, Music, Recording, Exercise, Sporty, Guitar’s, Gigs, Driving
AAM: If you were not in Toxic Federation right now, what would you be doing?
ME: I’d still be out performing one way or another, doing what I can to make it in the music industry.
JG: I would be doing the same thing, playing guitar.
AAM: Any parting comments you would like to add?
ME: Just to say a big thanks to Tony Sison and Bill Rowan as well as All Access Magazine! We hope to play in LA in the future!
JG: "We are coming after you"!!!!
The Rocker and I could not have said it any better. Well folks the warning has been given! Toxic Federation are a band set for greatness! The band is so good that The Answer had them open up for them just recently. Now that is saying something. The Rocker and I along with All Access would like to thank Mitchell and Jake for their time! Cheers guys! We look forward to you guys coming to L.A.!