One of the last tours before the COVID-19 pandemic was Soulfly’s tour with Toxic Holocaust. During this trek, we caught up with Toxic Holocaust’s Joel Grind at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, New York, to discuss the new album, Primal Future:2019, and doing practically everything solo.
It’s intriguing that you do pretty much everything on your own. I always wanted to ask you, what made you decide on being more or less a “one man band?”
It wasn’t really intentional, it was more like a necessity, I guess you could say. Where I grew up, I grew up in a rural part of Maryland. When I was younger, before I could drive, I really had no choice other than to learn how to play everything myself because of the fact that I couldn’t find other musicians to play with. It was one of those situations where it was like either do that or not have a band. That’s kind of how that started and then kind of became my thing and then just continued on from there.
Primal Future:2019 is your first album in five years. How was it creating it compared to your prior efforts?
I kind of did it similarly to the way I did the first two records, went back to recording everything and did it in my house, which is the way I did the first few albums. It was kind of cool. It was kind of like a nostalgia thing. It was kind of back to the roots in a way, of the way I did things in the past. But on top of that I had 20 years of experience that I didn’t have when I first started. Things went a little bit faster than they did originally because I knew what I was doing,like streamlined it a bit. And technology has changed since then too. I recorded the first two on reel to reel tape, which is a bigger pain in the ass than it is to do digital stuff. So yeah, things like that really sped up the workflow and it was great.
What challenges did you face mixing and mastering it on your own?
When you do stuff by yourself, you don’t have people to bounce ideas off of sometimes and when you have to do drums and then switch to bass and then to guitar it’s a little more tiring than a normal record. You would just do one instrument and then you’d be done, but instead of doing the entire thing, that’s one thing that was like a challenge. But it was like I said, because of my experience now with doing stuff like that for other bands, I mix and master other bands as well, that really helped speed things up a little bit. So I wasn’t too burnt out at the end.
Can you talk more about the video, “New World Beyond?”
Yeah, basically it’s something that I just shot quickly in my hometown.
You shot it yourself?
My friend Jamie, we both shot it. I shot some of the weird like VHS footage and then he shot some of the more pro looking stuff and I kind of wanted it to be like a mashup between the two of like super low-fi raw and then like Hi-Fi, So he kind of like goes back and forth in between this weird little, it’s just a very big contrast between each other. And I’ve never edited a video before and I gave it a shot and that’s what came out. I wanted it to look really, really weird and kind of like cyber-esque, so that’s what I was going for.
It definitely reminded me of the eighties. What is the thrash metal scene like out in Portland?
Not really, there was not really one, you know what I mean? I can’t really name any thrash bands that are from Portland right now. But the metal scene in general is pretty big. Punk scene of course is pretty big over there. So, but for thrash, not really big, but I don’t know, that makes us stick out I guess.
Is there anything else that you just want to say or add to your fans?
I just like to thank them for sticking by me for so long. We’ve been doing like, me collectively, me and then collectively with the other members, that I’ve had in and out of the band, 20 years of this stuff. So it’s something that, without the fans I wouldn’t be able to do this. I really appreciate them allowing me to play music and tour the world and you know, there’s people there to come to the shows. It’s pretty awesome. When I started 20 years ago, I never would’ve thought that I’d still be doing this. I didn’t even think past the first year, like I was just kind of excited to do the first demo tape and then fast forward 20 years later I’m still doing this. So it’s pretty amazing actually. And without the fans, I wouldn’t get to do that. So that’s really cool.