Toner Low

Roadburn Studio Report - NL (July 2005)

TONER LOW is a doomy stonerband with psychedelic influences from Leiden, Holland. Formed in 1998, Toner Low went from five to three musicians. The current line-up is around since August 2002 and consists of: Deef (bass, vocals - pronounced as ‘Dave’), Daan (guitar), Jack (drums). The band released a first full-length album in June 2005 on their DIY-label called Roadkill Rekordz. In earlier years several promocd’s and a split-7" were recorded.

words‌‌│Toner Low Propaganda Headquarters

To get their best release so far, Toner Low used high standards when working on their self-titled album. Therefore it took more than a year for the band to complete and finish the recordings. They first went into the studio in Leiden in April 2004, but due to poor sound-quality, bad acoustics or too little groove the band started like five times over with recording the drums. Finally the recordings of it took place late May 2004. Over the course of a few months guitars and bass were done. Used for those were Orange-, Sunn Model T- and Sunn 2000S amps. Every riff was recorded twice on guitar in order to get a massive sound. After Daan finished recording the rhythm guitars by September 2004, all of the rest of the work was done by Deef and Jack adding more guitars, vocals, bass, sound-effects, samples and what not. They worked in the studio on several occasions in different periods of days or weeks getting the best results from the equipment that was available to them. No other producer was ever involved in the studio-process. In April 2005 all recordings were finished. During May Deef and Jack made several mixes from which the best ones were picked. On 2 June 2005 the Toner Low-cd got mastered by Alan Ward at Electric City in Brussels, Belgium.

DEVILBOT

This song was written in the Winter of 2001/2002 by Deef and Jack. We changed the initial song-structure not too long before recording it for this cd. The earlier version of it appeared on Toner Low’s 2003-promo, but our first album holds the definite Devilbot. The lyrics are about technology turning against its master, be it by losing control over it or by losing control over ones life due to computer- or technology-addiction. We don’t know who or what inspired the mainriff (with vocals), but Sleep was probably of some influence when it comes to the instrumental riffing-part that leads to the endriff.

GRASS

Grass was written by Daan in September/October 2002, with the breaks in the second part of the song added by Jack in March/April 2003. The lyrics are too vague to get to know what they’re about, but on the contrary of what the title might suggest they have nothing to do with Dope. For most of its nine minutes Grass is an instrumental song, by the way. Halfway, just before the vocals come in, the slow-riding rhythm turns into a more driven drum-beat and ditto guitar-riffing.

INTERLUDE

To introduce the third song Jack and Deef recorded this intermezzo. It’s based on a theme Deef had been playing for years during our rehearsals (possibly since we started in March 1998) and on acoustic guitar in his living-room, but we’d never created a complete song from it. The upcoming scorch burns the theme away before it ends.

MURPHY

This one is based on the old Toner Low-song Slightly dating back to March/April 1999, and released on our 2002-promo. A few weeks after the promo appeared we stopped playing the song, but we liked the lyrics ‘nothing works and ev’rything breaks down’ as well as the riff Deef sung those words on. October/November 2003 we decided to bring that part of the 1999-song back to life and created a sort of, mostly laid-back, jam around it. It’s about when things go wrong and the Englishman in the second half of Murphy tells all about it. No one knows who wrote the original riffs for the song, but it was one of our current or former bandmembers.

SUNN OF

Our only two-words title, and just like the interlude created by Deef and Jack in the studio. It’s not really a song but some sort of soundscape-alike introduction to the following Nymrod, consisting of low-frequency humming on bass, a feedbacking guitar and some sound-effects in the last ten seconds.

NYMROD

When we first started jamming this song, the idea was to create a short song but Nymrod turned out to be our longest, clocking around 14 minutes. It’s an instrumental with all sorts of sound-effects and ending in psychedelic audio-onslaught. Deef came up with the first riff. We don’t know who of us wrote the other riffs. The hard-rockin’ second part however has created itself in our rehearsalroom. That was very cool, ‘cause we started playing it without knowing what we were about to play. It just was there and so it had to be. Nymrod was written March/April 2004, shortly before entering the studio.

Albums/movies of influence
There are no movies that have influenced the lyrics or music of Toner Low. Each of us is into different sorts of movies, so there’s no consensus on that point. It’s the same with the music we listen. We all have different backgrounds and listen to different music. ‘cause Of Kyuss’ ‘…And The Circus Leaves Town’, Deef wanted to start a stonerband but we did never sound like Kyuss. Jack added some influences of The God Machine and Motorpsycho to the songs on our cd. Daan thinks a couple of Electric Wizard-riffs, ‘Jerusalem’/‘Dopesmoker’ by Sleep and maybe High On Fire’s first album have influenced the music partly. However, there are no single albums that really have defined the Toner Low-sound as a whole.