Coming up to just shy of ten years as a band, Spanish instrumental post rock outfit Toundra are set to release their fourth album next week. The aptly titled ‘IV’ is eight tracks worth of powerful, epic post-rock that takes you on a journey. Whilst that might sound like a bit of a cliché, it’s actually true. The concept of the album follows two foxes escaping from the forest they live in as it’s ravaged by fires; a metaphor for the effect mankind has had, and sadly continues to have, on the environment. This story is captured beautifully in the animated video for ‘Oro Rojo’ released at the tail end of last year, as well as the album’s fantastic artwork.
From the new album, first track ‘Strelka’ feels like an epic journey all by itself, opening with gentle birdsong and dogs barking, before building and building to a mighty crescendo, the last minute of which sets the precedent for the rest of the record. Then second track ‘Qarqom’ builds into a frantic sense of danger for our vulpine protagonists, hardly letting up across its lengthy running time. One of the major highlights from this striking record is the track ‘Viesca’, with its tender acoustic guitar beginnings that lead onto the intertwining strings and brass that make up the captivating ending. It’s a wonderful piece of work and a sign that Toundra are still knocking them out the park as they close in on a decade together as a band.
You can hear an exclusive stream of the record ahead of its release over on The Independent website right now!
The album is officially released on January 26th through the radical Superball Music label. Leading up its release, I spoke with guitarist Esteban about the making of IV.
BCFB: Your new record ‘IV’ is set for release at the end of this month. What can you tell us about it? What can people expect this time around?
Esteban: Hello and many thanks for these questions! Well, this new record is a new step for the band. We have had a lot of changes during these last two years and I think you can “hear” those changes on this new album. We wanted to create a new Toundra album but not using only the typical elements we’ve already used in the past. We have a new guitarist and we experimented a little bit more in the production process. We enjoyed this a lot. The most interesting thing is the fact that we distributed some elements in the whole album (the foxes, the forest, the fire, the video clip, the artwork, a lot of sound during the album…) and we think that every person that listens to it is going to create a different story inside the album.
Can you tell us a bit about the production process? Is it right that you demoed the tracks in a particularly picturesque area of Spain?
Yes, we live in a big city with stressful jobs… so when you are writing a new album, sometimes you need to go out the city and be focused on the writing process. For this album, we’ve been in the mountains of Béjar in a house studio with Raúl Lorenzo (our sound tech and a great cook). We spent 2 weekends there and we enjoyed these days a lot, playing in nature.
What are your main highlights from the new record – could you pick a favourite track?
I can’t pick any one… so sorry. This is always changing. Maybe I loved one song two weeks ago and now I hate it… maybe now I love one I hated in the past…It’s always the same with our own music. You always think you could do it better and… That’s positive.
The last track on the album ‘Oro Rojo’ debuted in the public eye in December of last year, with a breathtaking animated video. The artwork for the video and the album itself is stunning. What was your decision behind choosing this track for a video and for picking the artist that you did?
My partners in the band had a clear choice in working with Jorge García in the video as director… He’s a really great artist and we’ve been fans of his stuff for years. We really like what he has done and we are really grateful. He simply has done incredible work with this song. On the other hand, it was a little bit difficult to choose just one song, but finally we decide this would work properly so… after two weeks, we all knew that “Oro Rojo” would be the right thing.
With this being your fourth record in just under ten years as a band, what’s different this time around? Where do you stand now compared to when you released ‘I’?
We’re different people in every album… every year. It’s normal when you are in a band. When we started the band I was 19 years old and right now I’m 27. We started with no expectations… any one. After the years and after some highlights, it’s impossible not to want to make progress with any project… but the really important thing here is to keep on making music we love and enjoy being in this band.
To coincide with the album’s release, the band are embarking on a European Tour in the coming months, so if you like what you heard of the album, catch them at the following dates:
12.02.15 – Heretic Club, Bordeaux
14.02.15 – Rocas, Luxembourg
15.02.15 – Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
16.02.15 – Sebright Arms, London
17.02.15 – Bar Bloc, Glasgow
18.02.15 – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
19.02.15 – The Hope, Brighton
20.02.15 – So What, Gouda
21.02.15 – Patronaat, Haarlem
22.02.15 – Vortex Surfer, Siegen
24.02.15 – Headquarters, Aarhus
25.02.15 – Blitz, Oslo
26.02.15 – KB18, Copenhagen
27.02.15 – 1000fryd, Aalborg
28.02.15 – Alte Meierei, Kiel
01.03.15 – AZ, Wuppertal
02.03.15 – JUZ, Mannheim
03.03.15 – La Gravière, Geneva