First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Thank you for inviting me to share what I do. I’m the sole member of the band Toothpinch. I’m 45 years old from a little town in north central-ish Ohio USA.
How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
My music community is online. I have met people from all over the world that I connect to and share ideas with. It makes up for the lack of any type of local community.
What do you feel separates your music from the rest of the music in the Industrial music scene?
Overall I am just trying to do what I do. I very much appreciate what other artists are doing. I listen to music all the time, but to simply copy what others do would not benefit myself, those bands or the listeners.
It’s been a process to figure out what “Toothpinch” is and where it is going.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics that inspire you to compose? What draws you to those themes?
It seems to fall into two categories.
Personal frustration : With my place in life and where I feel I fit in to this crazy world.
Global frustration : The shitshow that it is. The state of the world is an endless buffet of lyrics for any artist that cares to delve the depths.
Industrial and Attitude seem to go hand in hand. With global war, civil unrest, injustice, and political revolution being primary musical themes that dominate your music, how do you feel nowadays about the current state of world affairs?
It sucks. No reason to beat around the bush about it. Humanity has the capability to be this amazing thing (and it is, I’m not 100% nihilist) but squanders it on instant gratification, the greed of the power hungry, apathy and inability to change due to the growing divide of the “haves and have-nots”.
What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
After some effort and persistence, this EP dream of mine is finally finished. That’s the now.
Didn’t think I’d make it to the end - and a shout out to all the people that listened to me get here.
Well, I have met some great people on this musical journey. I’d love to work more with them and expand my horizons and sound.
I have ideas for the next EP and possibly a single before that.
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself?
I am still really new at all of this (less than three years?). So I am very much still in the process of finding my personal sound. Hopefully this EP shows what I am capable of and I will expand on that.
When it comes to your musical self and your real-world self, would you say that there is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self?
My tagline for this project is “an outlet of self expression, release from tension & filler of my remaining days.”
I mean that. What I write about are topics I feel strongly about. It’s about being more than just the guy that shows up to work every day to make a living. It’s about leaving something behind to be remembered for. It’s about maybe inspiring someone else to take up making music like my inspirations have. It’s about getting a message out. So, yes and no. Deep down it is all me, maybe even more me than I’d show otherwise.
Are you musically self-taught? Or have you had mentors along the way to help you develop?
Do YouTube tutorials count? Self taught, but between video guides and some really helpful people along the way.. It’s all me (for better or worse).
When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?
I keep Google Docs handy on my phone at all times. It’s a great way to jot down inspiration and refine it later.
Sometimes I will just doodle music with no clear goal. It helps keep me active even during dry spells. Some turn into something cool, but most go into a folder never to be seen again. Other times I have a specific sound I am shooting for and write it straight through.
So, I keep writing lyrics and keep writing music - even when I don’t feel inspired that day, momentum is important.
When it comes to making music it can be difficult to balance atmosphere, song progression, musicality, and excitement. Do you have any tricks, techniques, or methods that you commonly use to help your music sound coherent and engaging?
I try to get the hook of the song down first. Build around it the best I can. Almost always something ends up getting cut for time or because it just isn’t working. As I have grown with all this I’ve learned if it’s not working, just get rid of it. I’d rather the song run a little short than have that “eh” spot in the middle. Hopefully I’m as successful as I imagine myself to be at that.
Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it's a balance between the two? What' your relationships with presets? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?
Crafting sounds… I’m not afraid or too elitist to avoid presets. I use them as a starting point and work my way out. As I have been learning and growing I have been pushing myself to explore sounds and create interesting bits for the music. It is a goal of mine to expand on that for future releases.
Everything I do is software based, even the guitars.
I do dream of getting some hardware synths down the road.
Do you ever find it difficult to balance the creative and technical aspects of musical creation? How do you strike the balance for the need to craft and tweak your effects and sounds, in contrast to actually just getting the song itself created with structure and melody? What sort of element of creation do you prefer, the sonic shaping or the song creation?
When a song has that “Aha!” moment, I get lost in it. It just starts falling into place when I am in the zone. That is part of why I say to “keep making music if you are inspired that day or not”. Maybe it goes back to my younger days when I’d meditate. You don’t sit down to meditate thinking “today is the day I’m going to become enlightened”. You just meditate. Then, because of persistence, you slip into that state that as if by accident.
Does that answer the question?
Do you find that when you are working on projects where you ended up learning new techniques during the process?
Yes. Constantly. I don’t believe you can ever learn it all.
Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path? What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Any time someone gives me a “like” or follows me. I appreciate every one. Even better is when someone messages and says they enjoy what I do. It keeps my sails full, but I have forced myself to continue on even when no one seems to listen.
What sort of new bands have come out in recent years that have caught your attention? Is there any bands out there you see yourself, or would like to, remix or collaborate with in the future?
That would be a long list indeed.
Don’t even know where I would begin.
Promotion can be one of the most difficult things in the music industry. Do you have an agent that helps book shows and manage your online presence, or have you decided to trek it out without and mantle the reigns of the social media apparatus yourself? Is it difficult engaging the online world consistently and originally, or do you find it easy?
I am currently working with Nowhere Now Records. My song “Humans are the Disease” was included on their debut compilation release.
The new 5 song EP released June 29, 2018 and is available on all the major distribution sites (Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple etc).
Finding time to hit all the social media, make videos, and the music itself takes alot of effort. On top of working full time.
Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?
Spending time with family and loved ones (and some World of Warcraft to forget about the real world).
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Thank you for having me. It’s pretty crazy to be on here with these other awesome bands.
Anyway, if you like what I do, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Check out Toothpinch on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his social media stream:
Find his latest release on Nowhere Records Bandcamp:
Stream his music free on Spotify or Soundcloud: