TOBY KNAPP is a figure you all should be aware of. Here is his latest endeavour, WAXEN. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
Toby: It just sounded right for this music, something mysterious and dark about Waxen. Waxing and waning of the moon, waxen faces, waxen candles burning. When I was doing the first demos for this project that word just came to me.
What was it that made you want to be in a band in the first place?
Toby: I’m the only member of Waxen and I write, record and produce all the albums myself. It was never top priority be in a band or be a rock guitarist on stage, I wanted to make records. The whole goal all along was to become a good enough musician to make recordings, even if only for myself. I’ve played in lots of bands because it comes with the territory when you are a musician.The catalyst for everything was all the records my parents left laying around when I was a toddler; Zeppelin, Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Alice Cooper, Cream….I gravitated more towards the records than my toys.
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
Toby: I know when an album is going to happen because I can’t keep up with the ideas that start coming to me. I write and record a song a day until the album is done. It is hard to explain it just all comes together. The music definitely reflects what I have been listening to of course and what is going on in my life. I like to get the music done, a song is never really finished, you can fuck with it forever….but you have to conclude it and move on. I’m older, I record my parts on the first take these days, mistakes and all.
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
Toby: Well, I’m not in a band and never really thought that I was in some movement. For the things I do there is a small but global network of listeners. I’m a 46 year old man making the kind of music I want to make. I’ve been making records since 1993. I think in the early 2000’s I could relate with being in a short lived musical movement called “The New Wave of U.S. Traditional Heavy Metal” because my my band Onward was very militant about carrying the flag and spreading the word of pure, Traditional Heavy Metal. Grunge and post- grunge grunge and nu-metal were truly our enemies.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
Toby: To me it is not that important. The music is what matters. Waxen is grey and dismal and that’s that.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
Toby: I write exactly how I feel and what is on my mind. They are important and they go hand in hand with the music. If all hell is breaking loose in the music department with blast beats, atonal music and chords that just sounds wrong…then the lyrics go hand in hand. I wrote a Waxen tune called “Hollow Eyes” on the second record that was about myself….yet I didn’t know it at the time. It was about being ill and getting worse everyday and just knowing that the time is short. A few days later I had to have emergency surgery because I was having complete organ failure. My wife forced me to the ER ’cause I was turning yellow, they said I would have been dead that night If I hadn’t went in. So when I hear that song now it like I was writing my own funeral music.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
Toby: Too many bands are killing the album. Too many shitty bands. Whether it is commercialized groove metal with the cookie monster trading vocal lines with a whiny sounding voice or these labels that release several assembly line shitty so called black/death metal albums a month. It’s overcrowded. Greedy fans and shitty bands kinda fucked things up. When I make music I don’t think about money obviously….but at the same time I don’t think “hey everyone come download my album for free”.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
Toby: The future will end with a large nuclear exchange! Cd’s, tapes and vinyl will always be there…just not pressed in huge quantities.
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
Toby: Waxen is not a band, so no touring happens. Waxen was never a creation I wanted on a stage. Some Black Metal was created by those who stay in their room for those who stay in their room. It’s not “Hey everybody, you ready to rock tonight!? Put your hands together now, this track is about the effects of radiation sickness!”
What lies in the future?
Toby: Hopefully more music, I would like to create more music.Thank you for the interview!