Joseph Tholl started his musical career playing guitar for Enforcer. He quit in 2016. At the same time his other band, namely Black Trip, which he was singing for, turned into Vojd. Besides, Joseph Toll is also part of the touring line-up of Robert Pehrsson’s Humbucker.
And it was indeed Robert Pehrsson, who gave Tholl the idea for his first solo album entitled »Devil’s Drum«: “Me and Robert Pehrsson have been working very close to each other over the last couple of years, and he has assisted me throughout the making of this album. He also did the mixing which I’m very pleased with. Robert Eriksson (Hellacopters) plays drums on most of the songs, and then Jakob Ljungberg (Second Sun, ex-Tribulation), Stipen Karlsson (Merciless, Dia Psalma) and myself play drums on one song each. Other guests are Tobias Lindkvist (Enforcer), Pontus Tahir (Dia Psalma) and Malin Stensson.”
The live line-up of Joseph Tholl’s solo band includes Robert Pehrsson, Anders Bentell (Vojd) on drums and Oscar Ulfheden (Humbucker) on bass.
“I wanted to step outside of the box from what Iv’e done previously,” continues the guitarist/singer/drummer. “For a long time I had the idea of making an album free from restrains, to write music without being too caught up in a certain genre. That’s why it became a solo album, I wanted to make sure there would be no compromises on this album. It can be a virtue to create music together with others, but this time I felt I needed to do it all by myself. I started recording it in April 2018.”
The first track on the album is called "It's Just Rock'n'Roll", so does that sum up the entire record? ”’It’s Just Rock’n’Roll’ is a sarcastic title,” explains Tholl. “It’s about dedicating yourself truly to something that becomes a part of your life, music for example. To remain a passionate soul instead of giving up on yourself in order to fall in with the system. Anyone who plays music with passion knows that it ain’t just rock’n’roll, it is in fact an important part of yourself that makes you get through the day. People who don’t deal with music or art might have a hard time understanding why someone would put so much effort into something that doesn’t necessarily pay off in big money. Furthermore, »Devil’s Drum« is quite far from a conventional rock’n’roll album which is also part of the sarcasm in the opening track. The title track is about a dream where you get seduced by the devil’s beat as he hits his drum and takes you on a trip through different scenarios. I thought it suited well as the album title as I like to think that this seductive trip is what’s going on throughout the whole album. I suppose there’s parts on this album where you can recognize the 70’s style that Black Trip had for example, although this album is inspired by all kinds of music, not only vintage hard rock but also more contemporary stuff. I think one main difference from records I’ve done before is that »Devil’s Drum« doesn’t focus on riffs and twin guitars even though it can be found here and there, but most of the time its more about the mood, and in a song like ‘Follow The Fire’ for example I’ve left out the guitar to give room for the piano. There’s definitely elements of the darker kind of 80’s rock in a couple of songs. I do have a taste for that dark kind of rock. It’s nothing I grew up on, it’s more like a new found curiosity that I guess is mirrored in some of my recent songs.”
So is »Devil’s Drum« a dark, a melancholic album? “For sure, I guess that’s just the way I prefer to make music, I like it a little dramatic. Iv’e been working a lot with mood and dynamics on this album and the lyrics usually tend to become quite dark.”
Whereas a lot of younger bands do not focus on writing meaningful lyrics, it’s the opposite for Joseph Tholl: “Lyrics are always very important to me and I always write with the same approach whereas it’s been for Enforcer, Black Trip or for my solo songs. There’s usually a rather dark and dreamy touch to it. I like poetry, if you can read a music lyric as a poem without the music and still enjoy it, that is a good lyric. ‘I’m The Machine’ is the only song without drums on the album and it has a pretty simple instrumentation, the lyrics are definitely the focus in this one and therefore it has to have something to say.”