Toadeater is a German extreme metal band with a sound that’s hard to pin down, but really digs its hooks in and scratches that extreme metal itch when you yearn for something strange, distressing and heavy. With the band having recently dropped their great latest record Bexadde on FDA Records I caught up with drummer L.L. Schneider to learn more about the band.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview for Blessed Altar Zine. I’ve been enjoying the new album Bexadde. It’s powerful and inventive.
Schneider: Thank you for the opportunity Tom!
How has the band evolved on this record from your last album Bit to ewigen daogen?
Schneider: First of all, we took as much time as we wanted to write songs. With the Covid Pandemic on our backs, you could not play live anyways and focus on writing songs. For the first time, we made demo-Recordings before hitting the studio, to reflect the songs and possibly work on them again. We welcomed our second guitarist P. to our Band Line up, which also gave us new opportunities and perspectives, especially with the possibility to implement the songs live. With regard to the lyrics, we limited ourselves to a certain thematic on BTED. This time, this wasn´t the case, and writing the lyrics felt like a relief, despite the hardship in terms of content and the general wholeheartedness of them.
What impact did the Covid pandemic have on the band and the making of the latest record?
Schneider: It was a disaster. We put out our strongest Album to date, and had almost no chance to promote it live. We had to cancel great gigs, also in foreign countries like Poland, and a planned tour. That is the reason why there will be also songs from BTED on our current setlist.
The album art for Bexadde is striking. What’s the idea behind the artwork and how did this come about?
Schneider: In general, there is no need for us that the cover artwork has a contextual connection to the Album title or the lyrics. What is important, is that the artwork conveys a feeling, that reflects the fundamental mood of the album. „Beholding the complexity of death“ by Rafael Pascuale Zamora immediately struck our attention, because it’s dark and uncomfortable undertone.
What’s the origin of the band?
Schneider: We started out of the ashes of different split up Punk /HC Bands and had the urge to try something different. We had years of desolateness in practice rooms behind us, in band settings that were limiting us musically and creatively, with almost no live gigs and zero ambitions. It was just a frustrating situation and we tried to catalyze it with Toadeater. If you listen to our demo, you will still hear a lot of Hardcore Punk Influences. Mogel from Kellerassel Records released the Demo on Tape, and we quickly received the chance to play some live gigs. We tasted blood and knew, that this is what we wanted to do.
Your songs seem to have gotten longer with each release. Was this a conscious choice or something that just happened organically?
Schneider: It feels like a natural process. Toadeater is a band that is constantly developing. No Album will sound the same like another. Different things come together: With the years you gain more experience in general, you get tighter in the band setting, you listen to other and different music that has an influence on your sound, and you develop as a person. Nevertheless, we pay attention to always keep a certain characteristic to our sound, that is why we also scrapped song ideas and riffs that were great in general, but not fitting to us. We will never set ourselves a limit when writing a song. When we have the feeling, there is something missing in a song, we will add it, however long the song already is. However, it is not our intention to write long songs in general. It was just what we were feeling at the time of the writing process. It could be that there will be shorter songs again in the future, we will see.
What’s the meaning behind the name of the band?
Schneider: A Toadeater was a helper of a fake doctor, a quack, that had to eat a toad that was considered poisonous and then received a “medicine” to help him from his pain. Weak people were lulled in and deceived. Ask yourself if you want to live a fake live just to receive your personal drug, or if you are deceived. I stumbled on the word Toadeater when I read it as a song title of the Seattle D-Beat / Crust band Deathraid on their Killer Album “ The Year The Earth Struck Back”. Highly Recommended.
What music first inspired you to play music and what are the biggest influences on Toadeater today?
Schneider: Most of us started with Punk from the 80s. You could feel the power and anger, and the music was simple enough to inspire you to make your own band. Today, there is a wide range of music playing in the car when we are touring, you will hear stuff ranging from Raw Black Metal to highly atmospheric Post Rock Stuff. Genre´s doesn´t matter, as long as the music is honest.
Are there any books, art or movies that have been a recent inspiration (not necessarily directly influencing the band, but just generally in life)?
Schneider: For this question, I can only speak for myself. Personally, I try to shift away my focus from western media a little bit, as I get the feeling we are constantly getting old wine in new bottles. East-european and Asian art is dramatically neglected in Germany. Recently I rewatched classic series like Brigada or enjoyed the movies from Bong John-Ho.
You’ve got some live shows coming up in Germany, what can audiences expect from Toadeater live?
Schneider: Our goal is to convey as much energy as possible, maybe that it the point where the Hardcore Background has an influence again. We want to display atmospheric music that still holds a powerful edge. When we work ourselves into a frenzy, it is one of the best feelings you can get. We always show our true colors, no hoodies, no gimmicks.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Schneider: Shout out to everyone who is setting up shows, despite these hard and unpredictable times. You are the MVP. Also shout out to El Mogel for always keeping the DIY Spirit Alive and FDA Records Rico for trusting in us and releasing BEXADDE despite running a death metal label.
Interview by Tom Osman
Thanks to L.L. Schneider for his time. Bexadde is out now on FDA Records. Head over to bandcamp and check it out.
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.