Interview with Tothem

Tothem Logo

Tothem’s latest release Gemini shows a band that are progressing their sound, making best use of all of their assets and stripping away those parts which are unnecessary. The end result is an album that takes the Gothic metal style and imprints its own personality on it. I got the chance to find out a bit more, so read on…

Introduce us to Tothem!

Tothem is a band of five musicians sharing the same passion for music and art in general. We’ve been together for many years and this is definitely a positive thing for the cohesion of the band.

What are your influences?

We all have very different musical backgrounds, apparently incompatible, but that’s our strong point. Every band member brings in something ranging from classical symphonic music to brutal death metal, so that very few things remain outside.

Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend

Personally, I admit I haven’t listened to so many stuff in the last months. The last stuff I’ve listened to and I recommend are: the 13 album from Black Sabbath, Cyber Nation by Dark Fusion, Earthbound by King Crimson that isn’t properly a recent release but I discovered it recently and it fed nicely my never ending passion for the Crims, the Book of Souls by Iron Maiden and Point Blank by Nailbomb again not a recent release but a recent addition to my CD’s collection.

Tothem Band

Tell us about your latest release, Gemini

Gemini is our second full length album and, even though it’s not properly a concept album, there is a common thread that links most of the songs. Opposites colliding is the main theme and each song is about a different kind of opposite and its way to reveal its contrary.

How did you choose the cover artwork?

We thought that the mythology that stands behind the zodiac sign Gemini best represented the real message we wanted to communicate. So we decided to put Castor and Pollux in the center of the scene, surrounded by a dark starry night.

What’s the process you use for writing songs?

Actually, there isn’t a way. Most of the times we start the rehearsals by improvising, usually to warm up. Even when someone come up with their own idea of a song that is 99% “ready to play”, the final result is usually far from the starting idea.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

It’s hard to chose actually, it depends widely on the mood of the day. But if we had to, I think it would be Soul Mates. We think this song has a better capability of expressing emotions and our true feelings than other songs, that is in fact what a song should do.

For me there’s a noticeable shift in the sound between your début album Beyond the Sea and Gemini – how would you compare the two?

We see Gemini as the natural growth of the work we started with Beyond the Sea. We think there are some clearly recognizable traits, in both albums, that make a Tothem song easy to recognise. But this time we moved closer to the edges of the range in every direction: the dark parts are darker and the sweet ones are sweeter so we may say that Gemini is like Beyond the Sea but without filters.

Tothem Singer

I know it’s probably too early to tell, but how do you see your sound changing in the future?

Only time will reveal, maybe we’ll find other ways to enlarge the range or maybe we’ll follow a predominant direction like heavier or more folk oriented.

How would you sum up your experiences so far within the music industry?

These strange times we are living in have their goals and their traps. The Internet allows the bands to reach their audience from all around the world in a second but that’s killing the record market. The best thing to do is still to play on stage and feel directly the audience response.

Speaking of, tell us about your upcoming live shows

We will be in the Netherlands for a five gig tour from the 18th to the 23rd of May and we have scheduled a release party in Rome on June 17th. We are currently working on defining our presence at some summer festivals and other concerts in Europe.

What are the next steps for Tothem?

We don’t have long-term programs, we’ll see day by day. In the next months we will be playing some gigs abroad and working on the first videoclip from the album. And I feel we’ll soon want to go back on work for new stuff.

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