By Dave Griffiths
There is certainly a case of irony in the air when I get to chat to Toxicon front man Wayne Clarris as he sits smack right in the middle of Ned Kelly Country in Country Victoria on their way to a gig in Canberra. You see, Toxicon are a band that have put in the hard yards over the years playing country gigs right across Victoria – but now the hard work is paying off as the band celebrate the release of their debut album – Purge.
When I congratulate Clarris on their album he admits the album was very much ‘hands on.’: “The recording was very much DIY,” he laughs. “We started the recording and sort of wanted to do as much of it ourselves that we could. So we figured out how to get the best possible product recorded, and then of course we took it to a studio to get and mixed and everything. So we went to a professional to get it mixed but with the actual recording it was very much ourselves. Which is pretty risky because sometimes the mixing guys don’t want to touch something that you have recorded yourself because let’s face it – you can’t polish a turd. Lucky our product was good enough but it did take a lot of mucking around so I would say next time we’ll save up the coin and get in the studio from the beginning.”
“Lucky our product was good enough but it did take a lot of mucking around so I would say next time we’ll save up the coin and get in the studio from the beginning.”
That, of course, leads to the obvious question: what was the most difficult that the band faced while putting together the album? “For
“For me it was definitely the clean singing,” he says. “I’d never really done clean singing before this, so I had to get help from my friend Jayden. It was something I was looking at from the beginning and he really helped me to push – to push further. Going from only screaming to singing is very difficult, the techniques are very, very different. You use different parts of your throat, so let’s be honest my singing has always been terrible but I really worked it at, I’ve worked with a vocal coach and stuck with it and that has pushed me further. So at the end of the
“So at the end of the day Purge ends up being a great snapshot of where we were as a band at the time and I’m really happy how it all it turned out.”
Perhaps one of the bravest moves Toxicon made with Purge was to make their debut album a concept album, but Clarris admits that it didn’t exactly start out that way. “We actually didn’t aim at the beginning to make it a concept, it became a concept organically about half way through. During the writing process of the songs we kind of realised that there was a running theme and we all realised that it felt a little concepty so we all sat down, went through it and created some ideas. But at the same time we did want to make sure that all the songs were stand alone so if the people listening didn’t know the concept or didn’t listen to the tracks in a row that it would still sound okay.”
Being a country boy myself, Wayne and I soon start to talk about the metal scene in rural Victoria and he is quick to point out that bands that ignore rural metal fans are doing it at their own detriment.
“It’s a pretty alive scene,” he says. “Once your band goes to a country town the second town you start drawing the people… and they are hungry for it. It’s worth it. Once you’ve done the rural thing and got stuck into that scene it just makes it much easier when you have something you want to tour about. So we’ve been going out to all the rural places for quite awhile now and now we’ve got the album we’re going back to these places and everybody is raring to go… we’ve had a great reception at all of our shows.”
Purge is out now. Toxicon have two gigs this weekend:
9th – The Reverence Hotel, Footscray [18+] w/ Flaming Wreckage, Nucleust, Naberus, Annihilist.
10th – Barwon Club, Geelong [18+] w/ Orpheus Omega.