Chris Lemon managed to catch up with Toecutter before their gig with Lords of Bastard and Scum on Friday the 23rd of March, 2012 at Mad Hatters, Inverness.
I met up with Toecutter (which consists of Craig Paterson, Andy Nisbet, Tim Latham and Jamie Airey) as they were celebrating Tim’s birthday,however it had been a while since we had seen the band.
Indeed last time we saw Toecutter, they were challenging convention at the Battle for BFest at Ceol-Mor last summer, since that point the band has grown . Jamie Airey (who does look like Brandon Flowers) came to the band in November, taking over bass responsibilities allowing Tim Latham to concentrate on vocals, Tim explains “I’ve never had that freedom before I have always been anchored behind a mic,…. I’m always nervous anyway but mega nervous as I thought if I got one part right I would mess up the other”. Trying to be supportive of Tim, Craig adds “If Tim doesn’t do well on this one, he’s out”
The sound of the band has changed albeit gradually, the band prefer “a mini evolution”. Tim explains “we started off as punk rock, we just got steadily heavier, with Jamie opening out a bit more”. As individuals they all share common ground in identifying System of a Down as an influence although from that point their influence become more diverse “it’s no good if you have a band that’s only into one band because you just end up sounding like them”. As a band they are clear that they fit the heavy metal genre,albeit not traditional heavy metal, more comfortably now although the temptation is to get harder “it’s a bit more fun to play”. Ultimately it’s “more assessable for metal heads”.
The history of the band has been spattered with ups and downs, although not dwelling too much on the past the decision to reform in 2011 is clearly the best decision and to have Jamie on board.”Having a fourth member, we talk a lot more in organisation and are all more involved”, Tim notes “its more of an even dynamic now”. This has seen a new confidence and being less self critical “we were far worse on ours selves than others said”. Indeed the process of making tunes, the band acknowledge is more fun, enjoyable, Tim explains “the whole process just wasn’t working but we were so involved we didn’t notice”
The band are currently planning their first EP with recording scheduled in March (although you can here the demos here).They are confident about the end product “it is the best line-up that we ever had and the best tunes, it’s a bit like this is the kicking off of Toecutter proper”. Accompanying the EP will be a video for one of the tracks.The hope being that next year, an album will follow.
“We don’t want to be a carbon copy of any other band, by being niche it means that we are doing something right”, Jamie adds “there’s no point, it’s about doing it for your self too, it wouldn’t make us happy.” Subsequently this attempt to stay original has seen a few tunes binned. The tunes that the band have a preference seem to come together very quickly “and just work” and avoid the generic melting pot of well known tunes or styles “riding on the back of other formulas”. A real faith in the band exists but of course it is essential that people hear it.
Of course there are obvious limitations for a band of such a niche being based in Inverness, “we have had loads of positive feedback in the likes of Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s probably a broader pallet”. The other difficulty is getting a consistent run of gigs, which, by necessity , requires a bit of travelling.”getting a proper stab at it”. However they add “Not enough of the right people in Inverness have seen us yet, there is definitely an audience.” and who are we to disagree given the success of Highland bands such as Zombie Militia and Ten Tonne Dozer. Of course an opportunity to play the Ironworks, a big stage on local turf, is an ambition of the band, but momentum is essential.
It’s clearly more important as a band for a few to appreciate them than to be forgotten by the majority” if 50 people came to see us we would rather that one person loved us than fifty saying that we were just ok and forget our name the next day”. The cliché “the music speaks for itself” is particularly valid although variety from punk to alternative to metal is clear.
Before ending the interview I could not help but ask about the musical guilty secrets of the band include chart music, Green Day, electronic music, ambient music and even an absolute an unapologetic appreciation for Electric Six, but we have removed the names of who likes what to avoid embarrassment.
Toecutter’s first outing as a foursome will be on the same bill as SCUM and Lords of Bastards on the 23rd of March at Mad Hatters, Inverness.. They are also competing for a place at Bloodstock on the 1st of April at Ivory Blacks , Glasgow (the competition that Zombie Militia wan last year).
The final word has to go to the band “it would be a dull world if we all liked the same thing, but it would be a good world if they all liked us!
Click for Toecutter’s tunes. They are well worth a listen.