“Avenger”, the latest album by Totimoshi, is one of my favorite albums right now. It’s got a great sound, a heavy, high desert sound…great riffs with a great groove. Guitarist Tony graciously took a moment to chat with me. This will be I the next issue of Obscene, but I thought I would share it here.
Many of our readers are probably not familiar with Totimoshi, can you introduce yourselves?
Hi, We’re Totimoshi. We’re a 3 piece out ofLos Angeles,CA. Drums, Bass, Guitars and vocals with all the trimmings on the side. Antonio Aguilar/Guitar, Vocals, Meg Castellanos/Bass,Vocal and Chris Fugitt/Drums, Vocal. Nice to meet you.
Where does the band’s name come from, does it mean something?
The Band name is absolute gibberish. It means nothing, and we like it that way.
You’re originally from Oakland, but now reside in Southern California. How long have you been down here and what prompted the move?
Actually, I’m (Antonio Aguilar) originally from Southern California and moved toNorthernCal. The band was founded inOaklandbut Meg is fromMassachusettsand Chris is fromMissouri. I’m from a little town called Tehachapi – 4,000 ft. up in theSierraMountainsjust on the other side of theSan Gabriel’s. We moved to LA because I couldn’t stand it up north anymore, I missed SoCal. Meg and Chris were nice enough to agree to come with me.
(Photo by: Tony Tornay )
Has living in the desert affected the bands sound?
Of course. I think growing up in the high desert makes you a certain type of person. Not sure if I could describe it, but I know it when I feel it. All I know is looking at the mountains around LA make something in my heart jitter. Like I said, it’s nice to be home.
While there are quite a few influences in your music, I can here a desert rock/stoner vibe. Are bands like Kyuss or Queens of the Stone Age an influence?
DefinitelyQueens, I dig them a lot. I also love Fatso Jetson – Mario Lalli is one of my favorite song writers. The guy is a poet and a monster on guitar. I think that if people hear a desert vibe in our sound it’s probably because I am from the desert. Not the same side those dudes are from, but definitely highCalidesert. In fact, Tehachapi sits higher than Joshua Tree, so it’s safe for me to say that I’m actually from the ‘higher desert’.
You’ve mentioned that Frank Zappa was an influence, which is evident in the diversity of your music. What was it about Zappa’s music that caught your ear?
Weird music always catches my ear, weirdly enough. I dig Zappa’s guitar playing the most. Zappa and Beefheart were fromLancaster, which is like 20 minutes from my home town, but apart from that, my favorite part about Zappa was his sense of independence. He never played along with the typical record industry line, but felt instead compelled to create his own little world. Our music in a sense isn’t as out there as his, but I like to think we reach for that same ideal in that we’ve never really lusted to be part of any scene or play part in some industry bullshit. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are from about the same area as well, they kind of invented their own world. Maybe there’s something in the water.
Your new album “Avenger” will be released on Aug 16, tells us about the new record.
It’s our best work ever! 9 songs of pure rock and roll fury with melodies and harmonies intermixed. A sort of orgy of Black Flag meets the Beach Boys with Hendrix and Dick Dale sitting in on guitar. It’s a must for every music library in the entire universe!
“Avenger” features help from Dale Crover of the Melvins, Brent Hinds from Mastodon and Scott Kerlly of Neurosis, how did these collaborations come about?
Pretty organically. We toured with Mastodon last January inEurope. Every night Brent would walk into our dressing room with a little classical guitar and we would occasionally jam out. I made a mental note task him to play on the record. In Dale Crover’s case it was more spontaneous . I was over at his house drinking beer with him and Toshi (producer of Avenger) and I just on a whim asked him. He ended up doing his parts using a headphone ear piece as a mic. It was amazing! With Scott Kelly, he just happened to be in town. I absolutely love Scott’s vocals. He’s incredible. I called him up and asked if he’d come over to Toshi’s with me to record. I asked one other person but the timing wasn’t right. Maybe next time?
What was is like working with these legends? Did they just come in and play on songs you had already written or were they created together?
The songs were already written. I did leave it up to them to come up with ideas though. I think when you’re talking about guys like these – dudes I consider to be musical giants, they don’t really need to be coached. There didn’t seem to be a lack of ideas, in fact I think the case with all of them was Toshi having to choose which one of their ideas was best because each one of them had a bunch.
You have released albums on Volcom and currently have a 7” split with the Melvins out on Volcom, but “Avenger” is being released on At A Loss Records, what prompted the move?
Volcom wouldn’t put it out and At A Loss would! We’re super happy about it. I really like Joshua (At a Loss) , and obviously we’re still working with Volcom. Who wouldn’t be happy to have a label?
Where can we pick up that 7”?
From the bands merch table, at least in our case. My favorite part about vinyl is you can’t steal a 7″ vinyl off the internet.
You just got back from a tour with Neurosis and are already back out on your own headlining tour of the States. How important is touring for you guys?
Well, I was tour managing Neurosis. Totimoshi was on hold until I got home. Touring is incredibly important to us. If we could we’d stay on the road 6 – 7 months out of the year.
How’s the tour going so far?
Some good nights some bad nights. Some nights you feel like you’re king of the world, some nights you feel like your just king of all assholes.
Who is touring with you? Any surprise special guests?
No one. It’s just the three of us in the van talking to ourselves and trying not to make eye contact with each other.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to Obscene and good luck with the rest of your tour.
Any last words?
Yes! Buy Avenger, our album will make you believe in rock and roll again. Also watch the Avenger video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE2heCA5slo
We made it in 48 hrs on no budget! Imagine that.
(Photo by: Tony Tornay )