Tom G. Warrior Discusses Triptykon's New Releases
Band Photo: Celtic Frost (?)
After the second break up of metal titans Celtic Frost, front man Tom G. Warrior went on to found his own band Triptykon to release more heavy sounds on the world. The new extreme metal outfit launched both its debut full-length "Eparistera Daimones" and an EP titled "Shatter" earlier this year. Celebrating the start of a new band and the release of new material, Triptykon stormed North America alongside 1349 and Yakuza. Shortly after the end of the tour, Tom G. Warrior spoke with me about how the band has been received by fans and press so far, how the EP and the full-length album are connected, and his plans to release a new autobiography.
xFiruath: Not too long ago you were on tour with 1349 and Yakuza. How did the tour go?
Tom: It was for me of course not just another tour. I had toured North America several times with Celtic Frost in the old days and also after the reunion. The last two tours with Celtic Frost were quite substantial. When I left Celtic Frost, I had absolutely no guarantee of whether I would be able to resurrect my career or not. It was quite an intimidating prospect to start from scratch again in my mid-40s. To be able to go back to the United States after the first album of my new album is something special for me. It’s quite an honor and quite a relief. In addition to being so well received by the audiences and by the media, it was absolutely amazing. We’re hopefully going to be able to come back before too long. We’d like to build on that. This was our first trip there with Triptykon and we definitely want to come back.
xFiruath: I heard there were some problems and the last few shows were cancelled. What happened there?
Tom: No, it was just the last show in Texas that was cancelled. I think there was quite some confusion when the tour was booked. I think it was the same promoter who also booked Danzing on the same day and the same time, which of course was much bigger because Danzig has been doing this for years and it was Triptykon’s first tour there. So there was really no competition. If you do it on the same night it’s ridiculous. There’s only so many fans in the city and if you have two concerts that basically appeal to the same audience, it’s ridiculous. So I think it was the only sensible step to cancel one of the shows, and of course it made sense to cancel the smaller one. Even though it was unfortunate for us, it was a very logical business decision. Having said that, Texas has always been an extremely fantastic place to play concerts for me ever since the ‘80s and I’m looking forward to coming back and playing the show finally. We also didn’t play San Antonio because it wasn’t even included on the tour. There’s many places we still want to play which is why we want to come back and continue what we started.
xFiruath: You mentioned how it was a leap to leave behind the Celtic Frost name and reinvent yourself. How has the band been received so far?
Tom: Well, “leap” is an understatement. I’ve worked on the path of Celtic Frost for 25 years all in all. I left Celtic Frost at the top of the band’s popularity. We had our most successful album and our biggest tour. 25 years is a lot of time. I dedicated most of my life to this band and that band was synonymous with my life. It wasn’t really easy to leave that behind, both musically and success-wise. Leaving such a project, you never know if you are going to be back in the music scene. It’s by no means guaranteed. People forget quickly, the market forgets quickly, record companies forget quickly. There are very complex mechanics at work and leaving such a band I knew there were risks involved. I simply left the band because there was no other way to continue. The human relations had deteriorated so much that if I wanted to stay sane I had to leave that band. Having said all that, I knew people would look at Triptykon’s album with a microscope and see if I could do it without Celtic Frost. The album has been so overwhelmingly positively received, and it’s an incredible honor. It’s something I certainly don’t take for granted. I didn’t know what to expect. I paid great attention to recording quality and the production of the songs and so on. It’s a huge honor that the album has been so successful and been so well received.
xFiruath: Your latest EP is “Shatter.” Tell me about that and how you chose the cover tracks.
Tom: The Triptykon songs on the EP are part of the body of work we wrote and recorded for the album. We separated out the songs during a very strict pre-production last year. When we went to the studio, we were determined that all the songs we recorded would be released. But the album already had a very long playing time as it was, so we determined we would make an EP even before the album was out. When we went on tour it was the perfect time to release the EP to give the fans a little goody. We had the EP on sale before it was released, so the fans who came to the shows had a little goody. The songs are as good as anything on the album, and in fact “Shatter” is one of the most important songs to me that Triptykon has recorded. It really shows another aspect of the band that is quite important to us. The cover songs were chosen simply because the live recordings we had from the Roadburn concert, which are the best quality live recordings Triptykon has, had some technical problems. The songs on the EP were actually the best songs from that live recording. We were concerned about quality so we picked those two songs that were the best. They are hardly mixed and not edited.
xFiruath: You did a music video for “Shatter” awhile back. What prompted you to do a video from the EP and not from the main album itself?
Tom: “Shatter” to me is a very personal and significant song that represents an important side of Triptykon. We had a script idea for a video for quite awhile that actually predates Tripytkon. It’s something I would have done with Celtic Frost if Celtic Frost had continued. I found the director in Germany who shared my vision and was interested in combining Expressionism from the early 20th century with heavy metal. It seems odd at first, but that’s really the concept behind the video clip. To do such a thing, you need music that fits such a concept. I listened to all the material we had again and it became clear to me that “Shatter” fit perfectly with the concept. I don’t think any other song we recorded so far would have worked as well.
xFiruath: Who did the female vocals on the track?
Tom: That was a woman called Simone Vollenweider who has already worked with Celtic Frost and also sang on Triptykon’s first album. She’s our long term studio vocalist, and if I have my way, she’s definitely going to be on the next few Triptykon albums too. She’s a good friend and she’s an excellent vocalist. She’s worked with me for a long time. She used to play in a metal band, so she’s very well versed in what’s required and it would be an honor to work with her again.
xFiruath: Are there any plans to re-release your “Are You Morbid?” book in the future?
Tom: Not re-release it as it is, but I’m working on a completely revised version of it. I’m re-writing the entire book because number one, I’m hopefully a much better writer now. The original “Are You Morbid?” script was written in 1992, and I certainly hope I have matured and become a more experienced writer. Of course, in 18 years I’ve collected a lot more material: anecdotes and text and facts, and also photos. It will be a much more comprehensive book. I can also include the reunion of Celtic Frost, the second demise of Celtic Frost, and the formation of Triptykon, so it will be a far more complete picture of the story. It seems like now it will be published by the same publisher that did my last book. We’ve already had preliminary discussions about it and I’m looking at publishing this in maybe two years or so.
xFiruath: So will that be an updated second edition, or a completely different book?
Tom: It’s going to be a completely different book. I’m literally re-writing every single word. I don’t want to just cram on a few extra features and say it’s a new book. It’s also going to have a new title. It’s basically the same story, but in much more detail and much more openly written and has more material. I think that qualifies for pretty much a whole new book.
xFiruath: The EP is out and you’ve released a box set for the full-length album, so what’s up next for Triptykon?
Tom: We’re in the middle of a tour still. We finished our first trip to the United States and we played Europe and Japan before that. We’ll continue to play Europe starting in January. We’re negotiating a number of festivals throughout the year and we’ll also be playing a proper European tour in addition to that, we’re looking at hopefully coming back to North American sometime next year. In the middle of that we’re writing for the next album and we’re working on quite a significant DVD project as well. There’s tons of stuff going on right now.
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