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Totimoshi - A Horse of a Different Color

Discussion in 'Metal Interviews' started by circus_brimstone, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

    Jul 5, 2003
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    [IMGLEFT][/IMGLEFT]By Jason Jordan

    California is known for its eccentricities, and Oakland-based Totimoshi are doing their part to solidify the reputation that often precedes their respective state. So, don’t be taken aback if you happen to bat an eyelash upon hearing the re-release of ¿Mysterioso?, which is the group’s whimsical, sophomore LP. Read on as Tony (vocals, guitars) talks at length about Totimoshi’s current status, despite being in the middle of an August/September tour of the U.S.

    Hey all. Before we get started, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

    Appreciate it! Thanks, Tony from Totimoshi here – thank you for having me.

    I know the name Totimoshi doesn’t actually translate to anything, though it does sound Japanese. I’m sure you find yourself being asked about the band’s moniker all the time, so have fans ever been turned off by the name not translating to anything specific?

    Not that we know of. I think it is a little bit harder to remember us, but although it doesn’t specifically mean anything in real language, it means something to me. Sort of my own personal language. My mom made it up, and she’s a very creative person.

    Your first album – Totimoshi – was self-released, your second – ¿Mysterioso? – was released by Crucial Blast Records, and your third and latest – Monoli – was released by This Dark Reign Recordings. Why do you think the group has jumped from label to label, and are you going to stick with This Dark Reign Recordings for the fourth installment?

    It’s always been just a decision based on who would put it out. We put our first out ourselves, more as a demo than a real release, to get some label interest. The second was originally put out my Berserker Records, which folded right after the release. And the third by Devil Doll, because they offered us money for the recording. As for the next release, we’re not sure who’s putting it out yet. We do however feel that we’ve earned a label that will really push and promote us properly. We tour a lot, work hard on our art and should at least be afforded that. I don’t really feel that we’ve had the support from labels we have deserved. What the future brings is what it brings, though.


    ¿Mysterioso? has just been re-released by Crucial Blast Records to much critical acclaim. Tell us: was this project an idea of the record company, the band, or a mixture of both?

    Well, like I’d said before, it was originally released by Berserker, which folded literally a couple of weeks after it was released. We were on tour when Brad from Berserker pretty much disappeared. Crucial was the distributor for Berserker, so the release was never really theirs. ¿Mysterioso? went under the radar for quite some time. It got really good reviews, though. What happened after that is the first pressing sold out, and Adam from Crucial approached us with the idea of doing the second pressing with a few new songs. I was into the idea – but there’s always the problem of recording budget. We had none and Adam had none so we finally settled on an enhanced cd with two videos – one being from ¿Mysterioso? and the other a new song. The new song is an acoustic song I’d recorded on Pro-Tools meshed with video Meg (my wife and bassist) shot on various tours. I think it makes a really nice package, and gives a better idea of what the band is all about.

    Chances are that people are going to be introduced to you through the re-release. In your opinion, do you think that’s as good a place to start as any? Or, would you rather the masses meet Totimoshi on Monoli?

    I think that a few years ago I’d have said Monoli is the better place to start, but now I think that ¿Mysterioso? is the better [place to start]. It’s a solid album, was a really long time ago, but with the videos included it makes a great presentation. Our music is very conceptual, and goes very well with imagery. I think it’s the perfect bottom of the ladder to Monoli, which is an album I loved then and am still in love with for very personal reasons. Our next is really going to outshine both, though… I can tell you that as a fact. It will be the best songwriting we’ve ever done. And having Page Hamilton on board to produce it will be an added bonus in our favor.

    You all have been compared to the likes of Melvins and others with experimental vibes. I know you’ve toured with the aforementioned, but is your trio more comfortable being on the bill with other experimental bands rather than on a bill where a mixing of (sub)genres occurs?

    I think that sharing the stage with any band that is of real true value will always create an atmosphere of comfort to all who are involved. Comfort is in that you know you will be touched in one way or another. We’ve played with jazz, metal, punk, and experimental bands – we’ve played with all kinds of genres of music and meshed fine. I think that our music is so varied and that it works. One of the best shows we’ve ever done was a gig with the Mitch Marcus Quintet in San Francisco. That was the most fun show ever. Just pure musicianship. I listen to all kinds of music anyway. One day I’ll be listening to Hank Williams or the Beach Boys, the next I’ll be listening to Monk or Coltrane, and the next to Mastodon or Melvins. People who stick to genres are blind in my eyes. They’re eliminating colors from their perspective.


    Getting back to the album, I’m extremely curious about “Vitreol-A.” What is the sample from, and why’d you decide to use it? I think it’s hilarious when the speed is slowed, which I take it is the point of the tinkering?

    Curt, the owner of Lucky Cat studios, had an old phonograph machine in the recording booth. Alex (Newport) and me and Meg were in the studio really late, and started listening to some of the old phonos. I don’t really remember who suggested it. It was just one of those – hey let’s fuck around with something – kind of things. It worked out really great.

    Similarly, I think the beginning of “Oblivion” sounds like it could be included on either of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Though the music was written and recorded way before those films came to being (the soundtrack a different story obviously), what do you think about this observation?

    Yes, I think our music goes well with visuals. I could see it as a precursor for a fight scene. Say - the song starts and Uma [Thurman] takes out some knives or some swords, you know, and of course is just in panties and a bra and starts just beating the shit out of the room she’s in… Yah, I could definitely see that.

    Totimoshi are in the midst of an August/September, U.S. tour. Tell us a little bit about the trek. And, are there any places you haven’t toured that you would like to, providing that the funding and interest are both present?

    Well we want to get to Europe. We’re looking for someone to take ¿Mysterioso? and release it in Europe. That’s our dream for now. As I write, I’m in Chicago. We had a show last night and a day off today. We’ll be in Newport, Kentucky tomorrow then Detroit, Lansing and Canada, and on and on. We’ve never been to Canada, but we are really looking forward to it. We’re in a new van. Our old van died in Kansas City and luckily I had a little in the bank and bought a ‘95 Ford van. It’s a lot better than that old piece of shit we were in. This is now our 6th Totimoshi van.


    What’s in the works for the future? Besides the new unveiling of ¿Mysterioso?, it’s been two years since your previous full-length was distributed…

    Well, we’re touring now, playing lots of new songs and selling a new 4-song demo. We have the whole new record finished song-wise, and now are looking for the right label to put it out. We’ve had a few good offers from some solid labels so far, and are now just concentrating on touring and getting home to record – hopefully this fall or winter. The new album is going to be called Ladron, which means “thief” in Spanish. It’s about the thief without and the thief within. The thieves that rob your external world, and the thieves that you have within your own head to rob your inner world. Like I’d mentioned, Page from Helmet is producing the next one and we’re really excited about that. Now it’s just putting all the ducks in a row and making a sound decision to proceed.

    Anything you’d like to say to the UltimateMetal readers before we pull the plug on this interview?

    Never eat yellow snow. It tastes like pee.

    UltimateMetal’s Review of Totimoshi – ¿Mysterioso?
    Official Totimoshi Website
    Official Crucial Blast Records Website

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