About Me

Interview with Toundra

Spanish instrumental rock band Toundra are about to release a rather original album called “Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari” that will be out on February 28th via InsideOutMusic. The album is a soundtrack for the classic German film, which celebrates its 100 years anniversary in 2020, so it is not a new Toundra album, it is a piece of art created by this four-piece band who revived this film creating a new atmosphere, always with Toundra's trademark. Bass player Alberto Lopez answered some of Metal Imperium’s questions regarding this new release. Read on…

M.I. - First off, many thanks for taking some of your time to answer our questions! How would you describe Toundra to all those who aren’t familiar with your existence/sound?

We like to say just “instrumental” but, the word energetic also fits well. It’s not just calmed post-rock.

M.I. - You have created a soundtrack for “Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari“ (a 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema) in order to commemorate its centenary. Why have you decided to do it?

It’s an initiative of Café Kino, they work together with bands to make this kind of events. We were looking forward to do something like this and we’re so fortunate we had the opportunity with them and with this film.

M.I. - Are you a film fan? Which genre attracts you the most?

All of us are film fans. We’re pretty much into everything from indie-obscure gems to blockbusters. So, it’s difficult to say... I’m into French comedies lately, but I’m a huge thriller fan.

M.I. - Did “Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari“ have an impact on you somehow? How important was/is it?

There’s an important message in the film. How some subjects can manipulate others to meet an agenda. It’s surprisingly accurate to the situation we live nowadays. You can relate to the message 100 years after the film was made.

M.I. - Is there another movie you would like to create the soundtrack to because you think its original soundtrack doesn’t make it justice?

We’re not here to put our work over other artists. We would like to have the opportunity to build something from scratch with filmmakers, it would be beautiful.

M.I. - What is your opinion on cinema these days? Are its glory days over? 

There’s so much to see lately... Thanks to companies like Netflix, the newer generations can study film much easier than ours. Just like the music, it was a necessary move.

M.I. - What’s your favourite film of all times? Why?

Mainstream... Alien, the 8th passenger. Indie... Primer.

M.I. - And your favourite director? Why?

David Lynch. I’m a geeky Twin Peaks Fan.

M.I. - The new album will be released in late February and you have a few dates lined up already… what are your expectations?

Show our fellow fans new approach to our music and also seduce newer audience.

M.I. - The tracks of your releases are not that long but this new album includes tracks with over 10 minutes… do you think they will work well live when compared to the older ones?

These are not... “songs”. They’re more like “soundscapes”. There’s no clear structure or hooks, but there’s motives for characters and also moods we want to print into the movie.

M.I. - Are you preparing anything special for the live presentation… like showing the film in the background to accompany the soundtrack or something?

This will be the only way we will play the songs. They’ll never make it into a regular show of Toundra. That’s why this tour will take place mainly in theaters or cinemas.

M.I. - The band supposedly shaped the future of instrumental music… why have you opted to be an instrumental band?

We’re musicians, not singers. For us it’s really natural, we weren’t worried about it back in 2007 and we’re happy we’re still doing it.

M.I. - What’s the best definition for your sound? In which genre do you think Toundra fit best?

For the last album... soundtrack or ambient rock. In general... Instrumental rock.

M.I. - Have you ever considered the idea of adding lyrics to your sound? 

We worked like that with another project, it’s called Exquirla. It was a beautiful experience, but obviously made us change the way we work.

M.I. - How complicated is it transmitting your feelings and emotions with melodies only? 

Surprisingly easy. Listeners find beautiful things in our music, sometimes they surprise us.

M.I. - The band doesn’t cease to surprise the listener with the albums you release… how’s the interaction live?

Lovely, many discover new feelings live they didn’t find in the album, there’s room to surprise the audience.

M.I. - What have you learned ever since the formation of the band?

Hard work and discipline!! The way to achieve things.

M.I. - Have Toundra achieved all the goals and objectives you first set up?

Every new milestones are fulfilled (after hard work)... we couldn’t be happier.

M.I. - You have tried to keep up creativity and you have collaborated with Niño de Elche in “Exquirla”… how was it joining forces with flamenco singers? 

It was surprisingly easy and beautiful. We’re really proud of that work.

M.I. - Have you considered pursuing this collaboration or was it just a one-off thing?

We’re open to do more stuff like that... so who knows?!

M.I. - What are your musical influences? How much impact have they had on your sound?

Bands like Fugazi, or At The Drive-in or Neurosis. I think it’s pretty obvious we listened a lot to them when we were teenagers.

M.I. - Please share a message with the readers of Metal Imperium Webzine. All the best! 

Hope you enjoy the new album along with the movie! It’s a beautiful film and we’re looking forward to play the soundtrack live for you!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca