“We just try and play as much as we can. Hopefully each time we go back, there will be a few more people. “

Bands like TOLEDO STEEL are ensuring the heavy metal scene still thrives. Before they took to the stage in Southampton; Lotty Whittingham caught up for a quick chat with lead vocalist Rich Rutter about their tour, their latest release and differences between the UK and European Metal scenes.

Hello Rich, thanks for joining us. First off introduce Toledo Steel to the readers?

I’m Richard Rutter from Toledo Steel, I’m the singer and we’re a traditional heavy metal band that’s based in Southampton.

Speaking of Southampton, we are at The Firehouse tonight. A local hotspot for you guys. How has the tour been going so far?

It’s a short number of dates, it’s three shows in a row. We played the first on in Newcastle and that was a great show. It was a long drive but the scene up there is pretty consistent and we have played there before. It was a great way to start the short tour.

You also have some European tour dates after this short run?

Yeah that’s right, in two weeks’ time we’re going to Belgium again for one show and then we’re following that up with our two first shows in France. So it will be falling on the Friday in Belgium, the Saturday in a city just outside of Paris and then the Sunday in Paris.

You’ve toured Europe quite a lot, do you notice any significant differences in the metal scenes in each of the countries? For example ticket sales, audiences?

Yes there is definitely a big difference, I think the UK is good but it’s quite hit and miss. Whereas Europe on the whole tends to be more reliable with regards to getting a good turnout at shows, people are more likely to travel further to see a band that they like. In the UK, unless it’s right on their doorstep, they don’t necessarily venture out to see bands unless it’s a big name. So it’s different in Europe in a number of ways.

You must have quite a big fan base in Europe?

Yes it’s slowly building up! We just try and play as much as we can. Hopefully each time we go back, there will be a few more people. So we try and build that up slowly.

There’s also a huge heavy metal scene in Europe too?

Yes definitely. Especially in countries like Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.

You released your debut album last year, am I right in thinking they are all brand new Toledo Steel tracks and not ones from previous EPs?

Yes that was all fresh material on that album, so it was eight new tracks. Prior to that, we had done two independent EPs. The first one was just a three track to get us started and the second one was slightly longer it was five tracks on that one. Obviously, we had to follow that up with a full length album with all new material.

Would you re-master any of the previous tracks?

Not remaster as such but re-release possibly. I mean we still have a few copies left of each EP and if they all go, our label Dissonance Productions maybe planning to release both EPs as one package at some point.

Do you guys have a particular routine when it comes to writing songs?

It depends from song to song. Everyone contributes in some way. Quite often, it will be Tom our guitarist who comes up with a riff idea and that will inspire a lyrical theme. We then just kind of flush it out from there. Sometimes it might come from a solo or a bass riff, it depends on the song. Sometimes it can be lyrics inspire a melody, a chorus and we work the guitars around that. We build it from there on out.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start a band?

Get out there and give it go. I mean make sure you get the right bunch of people that are in the same head space as you so you have a clear direction. Take it seriously, work hard at crafting some decent songs. Don’t rush to play live and make sure you get it together enough in the rehearsal room before playing shows. Get out there and learn as you go.

Thank you Rich for chatting with us today.

Photo: Tomasz Wrobel

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