TOOTHGRINDER: Interview with JUSTIN MATTHEWS

Toothgrinder

Toothgrinder are ready to launch their new album ‘Phantom Amour‘ on November 10th via Spinefarm Records, a record that according to singer Justin Matthews will certainly confuse the band’s long-time fans, but also an album that was very fun to work on.

The band is currently touring North America together with Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist and Polyphia. Matthews talked with Prog Sphere about ‘Phantom Amour.’ The record is available in different formats; check it here.

The new album Phantom Amour is out on November 10th. How did this one come about?

Honestly, kind of out of nowhere. We worked really hard months prior, writing new songs and building up a particular mindset. As soon as we hit the studio we all had a sit down discussion about the album and really wrote a lot of the record in the studio. It was so much fun trying new things out and really putting it all out there for everyone to hear.

What was the vision that propelled Phantom Amour and what made this the right time to pursue that vision?

The record is the style of music I have always wanted to write but never really had the talent or the confidence to do so. I started working with a vocal coach about a year ago and decided it is time to do something completely different.

Toothgrinder - Phantom Amour

What was the creative chemistry for Phantom Amour like?

It was perfect. I was in a month long flow state. I kept coming up with these melodies and being like “holy shit did i just write that.” I have never been good at writing really melodic stuff, but with the right preparation and drive, it came quite easily.

Speaking of the album’s creative process, provide some insight into it. Did your approach change comparing with 2015’s Nocturnal Masquerade?

Absolutely, I learned so much from that album. I am no longer afraid of recording a full length. With Nocturnal it was very nerve wracking and kind of scary. With this record it was just fun.

This interview finds you on a tour with Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist and Polyphia. How was the run so far?

Amazing! BTBAM has been one of my favorite bands for the longest time and being able to tour with them is nothing but a blessing. Everyone is so nice and The Contortionist dudes have become good friends of ours over the years, so it is just a lot of fun.

Have you performed any of the songs from Phantom Amour, and (if so) are you satisfied with the reaction from audiences?

Yes, we performed three. “Phantom Amour,” “The Shadow” and “Futile.” The response has been fantastic. Since a lot of the shows are sold out, the crowds have been a lot of new faces. It seems like they are eating it up. The record is definitely going to confuse some long time fans, but it is gaining a ton of new ones.

Toothgrinder live (photo: Last Light Photo & Video)

Toothgrinder live (photo: Last Light Photo & Video)

The US tour with BTBAM ends in about week. Are you heading to Europe this year, or is it left for early 2018?

I wish! We definitely want to get over there, but financially it is just not in the cards yet.

Toothgrinder is by many described as a progressive metal band, but what in your opinion is what makes an act progressive? Is it an urge to constantly change and evolve?

Progressive has almost turned into a dirty word. Anyone playing a 7/8 riff now calls themselves progressive. I like to think that a truly progressive band pushes the boundaries and does something that has not been done before. Are we progressive? I don’t really know. I like to stay out of the genre game and just concentrate on putting out cool tunes.

Phantom Amour is out on November 10th via Spinefarm Records. Pre-order it here. Follow Toothgrinder on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo: Jonathan Thorpe

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: