I would like to welcome Alex Bank Rollins and Andrew Leemont of Take Over And Destroy to Abusement Park. In 2014 they released our personal album of the year Vacant Face. They are currently on the cusp of the release of their self-titled full length album. Which is due out on Prosthetic Records October 7th. Let’s get this thing started!
The first thing I want to ask about is the history of Take Over And Destroy. I have been listening to you guys for a while and do not know a whole lot about how you started. How did it go from Drone Throne to TOAD?
Alex – They were two separate projects that started around the same time. In 2006 Andy and I were playing in a band together. I started playing drums in Drone Throne as a side project. Andy wanted to branch out from the band we were currently doing, and started recording his own material in his bedroom under the moniker TOAD. It started out as a gloomy punk band. Once he recruited members for live performances, the sound changed and morphed into something different.
What are your major influences musically or even non-musically?
Alex – We are influenced by people who create their own sound. We want to be a band that when you hear us, you immediately know it’s us. Bands that have their own identity are inspiring to us. From Queen, to Queens of the Stone Age. From The Ramones to Rocket from the Crypt. From Nirvana to Nick Cave. From Danzig to Devo.
It’s inevitable that we’re always inspired by the films that we watch.
Not too long ago you guys announced the new LP was going to be self-titled, what made you guys decide that this one was going to be self-titled?
Andy – The concept of the album is that it’s a collection of singles. We thought it would be appropriate to play the self-titled card at this point in our discography.
Before the new material was even recorded you guys hit the road with Lament Cityscape to get the songs ready, did the songs change at all from road to studio?
Alex – Not really. We just got tighter as a band playing these songs. The structure of the songs never changed.
Andy – It’s a perfect thing for a band to tour right before recording. Especially since we recorded it live.
Are there any songs on the album that were not played on the road?
Alex – No, we played every song on tour at least once before we returned home and entered the studio.
Andy – We always switch the sets up live from night to night. We’ve always done that, but we made sure to integrate every song from the new album.
When I saw you guys, y’all played a cover of “Tired of Being Alive” by Danzig, which was awesome. At any point did you think about recording a version of that?
Alex – Thanks! It’s always fun to play, and having CT from Rwake join us on stage for the cover in Little Rock was a real pleasure.
Andy – We planned on recording it for a 7″, but those plans fell through.
Check out the cover
Once again you guys recorded with Bob Hoag, how would you describe y’alls relationship?
Alex – Andy and I have known Bob since 2006. We’ve been working with him ever since. We all have similar interests, so we’re always talking about current and past pop culture stuff. While working in the studio together, we can easily get distracted and go down the rabbit hole, but we try and stay on schedule. There’s been plenty of overnight shifts where we’re making up for time and finish up while the sun is rising.
Andy – He’s like an older brother, and another member. He’s very generous with his creativity. We love Bob.
On Vacant Face he wrote and performed “The Fly Is Awake” did he contribute in any similar ways for the new LP?
Alex – He played virtually all of the organ and keyboard on the new album. Aside from myself playing the keys on Out of Frame, Bob played the rest. Andy wrote keyboard parts for the album and presented them to Bob, who then enhanced, altered, and executed them. Getting the right sound and tone for each keyboard part was a joint effort.
Andy – We hope to take him on tour with us one day.
This is the third time you have worked with Branca Studios, first being a t-shirt and then the cover for the split with Gatecreeper. What is it like working with him? How did the album cover for this one come about, especially the reversible cover? I think it’s a very cool idea and looks freaking sweet.
Alex – Thanks Eli! It’s great working with him. We speak the same language (well, not really… he’s from Barcelona and English is his second language.) But he gets where we’re coming from. Working with him is easy because we can reference something and he immediately gets it. We’re happy to see him getting the recognition he deserves.
While discussing ideas and concepts for imagery to represent the new album, we were in our practice space. I have a framed poster of The Shining hanging up, and it hit me; we need an album cover that when flipped upside down, new images emerge. Much like the album you see certain things at first glance, then when looking closer more is revealed. While discussing it with him we referenced the collage style of The Beatles “Revolver” and Roky Erickson “The Evil One.” The back side of the album is another reversible collage.
Andy – We gave him the pitch that this album is a collection of singles. We wanted it to look like a collage with the color scheme of the Misfits “Earth AD”
Did you guys try anything crazy new on this one? The last album Vacant Face was insane. It had the gothic vibe as well as a song featuring a literal axe.
Also specifically for Andy, did you do anything different vocally? Because the “cleans” in “By Knife” sound gnarly.
Alex – We still have the same mindset that we’ve always had. We still believe that song structure is the most important thing. When we write it’s crucial for us that everything is fluid and flows as one. If it sounds good, and feels good to us, we hope that it will translate to the listener.
Andy – I did more crooning, weirdo clean vocals. I was more comfortable doing that on this album. It’s easy for me to scream and growl, I feel like our listeners deserve more than that. We implemented more rock and roll vocal harmonies on this album. Our producer Bob, and guitarist Nate [Garrett] did some layered harmonies on a few of the singing parts I wrote.
There’s a part in our song “Love Among the Ruins” where we did group vocals and we all shouted in key. That was a new thing for us, and is definitely a favorite moment on the album for everyone. Looking back, we wish we did more of that.
I remember hearing some pretty sweet guitar work in the new songs live. I also love the final result in the solo for “By Knife”. Are there any solos that you’re extra proud of, and what was your approach to them?
Alex -Thank you very much. The solo in By Knife is a double header. I play the first half, and Nate plays the second half. I tend to play more bluesy, melodic solos. At a really early age my Dad showed me Black Sabbath, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Moody Blues, Iron Butterfly, and the list goes on. For me it was never about how many notes you can cram into a solo, it’s more about the feel and emotion of it. In my opinion playing less notes, and the spaces in between notes can be more effective than shredding scales up and down the neck.
It’s not exactly a solo, but my favorite moment of guitar playing comes at the finale of the album. We close everything out with our song “Night Work Begins.” There’s an instrumental section at the end that has a real magic to it. I remember playing it in the studio and having chills sent down my spine. All the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, and afterwards it was hard for me to talk. I was just kind of silent, shaking my head.
I have to say these boys know how to close an album.
So as mentioned above you guys toured before the album was recorded, what are the plans for after the album releases?
Along with that I have to ask, will there be a new guitarist to replace Nate Garrett who has quietly departed the band?
Alex – We are doing a few out of town dates in November. A double feature showcase in California. We’re playing in Los Angeles on November 19th, and San Diego November 20th. There will be more to come.
This is a transitional phase, and we will be playing with a new guitarist.
Take Over And Destroy are recent signees to Prosthetic Records. I have to know how that came about because you’ve been basically DIY for so long.
Alex – We were approached by Steve Joh who is currently working A&R for Prosthetic Records. Steve is well respected in the music industry and we hit it off with him right away. We were in talks with him for some time and decided it was the right move.
Fellow Arizona heavy hitters Gatecreeper are also releasing an album on October 7th but through Relapse Records, the same day the new Take Over album drops, was that planned?
Seriously though the Arizona heavy scene has to be one of my favorites. Who are some other bands you guys think needed to be signed pronto?
Alex- It was not planned. Complete coincidence. After we announced the release date for our new album we received a text from one of the Gatecreeper guys saying theirs was coming out the same day.
Woundvac is a great band playing in Arizona right now. They play heavy and tight grind that has brutally catchy riffs.
Our friends in Spoiled play some wild tunes that are punk in nature. It’s fast, short, and to the point. They have the attitude of the 90’s. Arizona is a better place with Spoiled.
Warhead are a bunch of speed punks that will punch you in the face with their fast riffing. They’re young guys that are tight and determined. They rehearse at our space a few units down from us in Tempe and we like hanging out and headbanging with them in between jams.
And finally you guys have been described as “An American rock & roll band from the 1970’s trapped inside of a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990’s, scoring a John Carpenter film.” If you were going to be cast in a John Carpenter movie what role would you want in which movie?
Alex – I’ve always had an affinity for Kurt Russell’s character R.J. MacReady in The Thing. Cold, isolated, self sufficient, and lacking trust with an unsure fate.
Andy – I’d want to be Arnie Cunningham in Christine. Harry Dean Stanton breathing down my neck about a car that I love more than anything in my life. Love has a veracious appetite. …or Jeff Bridges in Starman. Being an alien in a dead man’s body, and ultimately ending up in Arizona.
I would definitely be Nada in They Live. I am always in need of bubblegum.
Once again the new Take Over And Destroy LP arrives on October 7th out on Prosthetic Records. It’s going to be one groovy album for fans of catchy riffs and interesting songs. Do not sleep on it!
Give the new songs a listen here! The nightwork officially begins October 7th!