OVERTHROW – Ontario, Canada.
Answers by Ian Mumble (guitarist), later played also in Beyond (Can)
Ian, do you still remember how did you get involved in the metal scene and what made you to be a metal fan? How did you get in touch with that music style at all?
Excellent Question. I just started listening to bands like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden and I was hooked. After that I just wanted to listen to heavier and heavier music and start writing my own material.
What were your early faves that have had the biggest effect on you?
The biggest effect on me was Black Sabbath, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Bathory and I hate to say it but Venom.
Were you into small, brutal, underground outfits or rather into bigger, established ones?
It was a mix for me. Anything that gave me that rush fit into that category.
At which point did you start playing guitar and how did your choice fall on this instrument? Were you self taught or…?
I started playing guitar when I was 12. I just felt the drive to take up that instrument. The guitar is very powerful. I had a number of private instructors and also attended the Yamaha School of Music. After that I went to college for music but that was after Overthrow.
What were your influences to become musician?
My influences were Black Sabbath, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and Bathory.
Do you agree with, that just like Heavy Metal itself, Toronto, has gone through many different phases, starting as far back as the early to mid 70’s?
Absolutely!! Toronto has gone through many different phases. Toronto has been an excellent place to be part of the metal community.
In the early 80’s the growth of Metal in Toronto exploded with Hard Rock bands gaining mass popularity, not just city wide but across the world, correct?
That is correct. The 80's brought a lot of interesting music to Toronto. Toronto is still a great place for Hard Rock.
Not long after that the NWOBHM ( New wave of british heavy metal) which had already taken the U.K. and other parts of Europe by storm, also followed that same path, but was more underground than that of the Hard Rock/ Metal, what do you recall of that period? Were you aware of the existence of the NWOBHM scene, that started at the late ’70s?
I was pretty young at the time but I do remember. Again many of my influences came from that era.
Did the NWOBHM gain most of its success through word of mouth in Toronto? Did you deeply get involved in the underground scene?
I think that most of that music was surface level here in Toronto. It was played on TV quite a bit and we were all exposed to it whether you were into it or not.
Bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Saxon, Angel Witch, Motörhead, Raven and Diamond Head were slowly gaining worldwide success, correct? Would you name them the most influential metal bands?
Yes they were gaining worldwide success and I would agree they were the most influential metal bands of the day.
Was it easy to get NWOBHM tapes and/or records in Toronto? Were they import materials?
It was very easy to get tapes and records. Again by the time this music hit Toronto it was surface level and had a large following. These bands would easily sell out large venues.
Do you think, that for Toronto, the 80's were the best of times for the Hard Rock scene as tons of clubs for local Hard Rock/ Metal acts opened all over the city, such as The Gasworks, Rock and Roll Heaven, Entex, Nags Head North, Nags Head West, that were just some of the clubs which hundreds of live bands would play every week?
That is correct. Even though I didn't frequent those establishments they were very popular.
Does it mean, that in Toronto started a big underground buzz and in the city was a healthy and big metal scene, that seemed to be supportive of metal?
Yes it does. Toronto had a solid metal scene and it still continues today.
What about your early musical footsteps and experiences as musician? Can you tell us more about it?
I started out in a suburb called Pickering. There was very little metal following at the time. As time progressed and I develop as a musician the following increased. It was quite impressive to see the growth. Before you knew it the following went from very small to large. It was incredible to see.
In which bands did you play prior to Beyond?
I played in Overthrow before I played in Beyond. I left Overthrow for about a month and then ended up rejoining the band. Prior to Overthrow I played in a number of other garage bands that played parties and events like that.
How do you view, that the early/mid 80’s to early 90’s saw a change in the way Metal sounded, as the Hard Rock era slowly faded Thrash/Speed Metal entered to start what was to be another big breakthrough in the scene as Heavy Metal evolved to Thrash/Speed Metal in Toronto?
It was great. It was like music had gone to a completely new level. Everything got more intense leaving you wanting more.
As Thrash and Speed Metal takes over in Toronto, bands like Sacrifice, Slaughter, Anvil ruled the clubs until the early to mid 90's, would you say, that they opened the doors for ton of thrash acts that started popping up later on and put Toronto on the map of the metal scene?
Yes they had a big impact. In my case Sacrifice was a major influence and probably opened many doors for Overthrow. There music impacted a lot of people and continues to do so today.
What about bands, such as Kraken, Aceium, Reckless, Rapid Tears or Witchkiller who came from Ontario as well?
Unfortunately I am not familiar with any of these bands.
During '85 the Ontario Thrash / Hardcore scene started to develop a lot with tons of new outfits appearing such as Death Militia, Massacre, Infernal Majesty, Death Adder, Guerilla Warfare, Beyond, Lethal Presence, Holocaust etc. to the point that the scene was as strong as any U.S. scene, what kind of views did you have on that? Did you have also a good friendship with the other bands?
We had many friendships with other bands. We would host shows in each other's territory and bring each other to play. A big part of the music scene in those days, as it probably is still today, was based on who you know.
Was it easy to find the suitable members for a thrash band at this point? Did the talented musicians pullulate in Toronto?
It was hard to find talent similar to my experience in recent years. However the growth of metal in the 21st century has impacted a wider audience and subsequently many talented individuals have stepped up to play.
Did the aforementioned band inspire a lot of musicians to form bands and drove you to be more better and better and talented musicians?
Absolutely and as you would expect inspiration continues to develop better musicians.
Did the underground scene reach its peak at this point?
Not sure about that. It is very hard to say.
What about the fanzine/tapetrading scene? Did the thrash/speed metal have a strong background in Toronto?
Yes it did. One of the magazine that featured a lot of good information was M.E.A.T magazine. Metal Events Around Toronto. It had a big following.
In the mid 80’s American bands like Anthrax, Testament, Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, Dark Angel and Metallica also enjoyed huge success as Heavy Metal evolved to where it stands today, how much effect did they have on you?
They had a massive effect on me. These bands set the bar related to the quality of metal. I played their songs and listened to their music constantly.
Besides the Toronto bands, there were a lot of other Canadian ones, such as D.B.C. Voivod, Assault, Aggression, Eudoxis etc., did you keep an eye on what’s going on in other Canadian cities, such as Quebec, Vancouver etc.?
Yes those other Canadian bands were a big part of what was going on at the time. It was a great time for Canadian metal.
To which extent were you familiar with Overthrow? How and when did the band together exactly?
I wasn’t familiar with Overthrow until I joined the band. I was contacted through a friend of a friend. They needed a guitar player so I went and jammed with them and the rest is history.
Was Overthrow the very first band for all of you or did you try your wings prior to it? I mean, did you play in several, local, underground acts before?
Overthrow was my first real band. Outside of that I played in a lot of different garage bands that played at parties and seasonal events like New Years Eve.
Did the line up consist of you and Derek Rockall on guitars, Nick Sagias vocals/bass and Wayne Powell on drums right from the start or did you go through some line up changes?
That is how it started.
What about your rehearsals? Did you start writing originals or were you jamming on covers?
We started with originals from day one.
Did you opt thrash metal as a musical path to start with or did it develope later on?
It started that way from the beginning. Thrash metal was the reason why we started in the first place.
What about the songcomposing as a whole? Who was responsible for writing the lyrics and the music?
All of us had a part to play when it came to writing music. Nick wrote all the lyrics.
You released your „Bodily Domination” demo April 1989 produced by Brian Taylor (Sacrifice, Slaughter), can you tell us more about this tape?
It was our first serious recording and it was a great experience. The demo had a raw feel to it that very intense.
Was the material good enough to draw the fans attention to the band?
I think it was. The songs were good and this was when our following started.
Do you think, that you came out a little bit late with this demo, since thrash seemed to be over and thrash started into decay?
I would agree with that statement. The timing was not the best and unfortunately this led to the demise of Overthrow.
A lot of Toronto based bands, such as Death Adder, Dark Legion, Lethal Presence, Holocaust, Death Militia etc. splitted up at this point, correct? How was the Toronto underground scene at this point compared to the early/mid ’80s?
It was very different. The buzz was gone and Death Metal was becoming the next big thing.
Was this tape, through the band got in touch with Epidemic Records?
The tape was done with Epidemic Records.
Were there other labels interests in the band by the way?
At that point Epidemic was the only one that I remember.
Derek Rockall left the band in November 1989 and was replaced by Ken Wakefield (ex-Dark Legion), why did he decide the leave the band? Was Ken the first choice being the new guitarist or did they perhaps audition other ones as well?
We actually had a different guitar player before Ken that played a brief time with us. After that Ken was our first choice as he is an excellent musician.
Did Overthrow have some quick buzz in the Ontario thrash underground scene doing quite well at local area gigs? What about your early shows and setlist?
Yes we did have some quick buzz. Things moved really fast and it was a great experience.
When did you start writing the material for the debut record? Did Ken also have a big hand in the songwriting?
The material on the debut record was written well in advance and some of the tracks existed when we did the demo. Again we all played a part in writing the material excluding the lyrics which were done by Nick.
In June 1990 you entered the Morrisound Studios to cut your debut album, were you prepared to record the material?
We were prepared to record. We had no choice since the entire record was recording and mixed in a week.
How did the Morrisound come into question, as the location of the recordings? I mean, what made you to record the material in the Morrisound Studios since it seemed to be the home of the local death metal bands?
That is the reason. The records being produced by the local death metal bands were intense. At the time it was really high quality and their signature drum sounds made us want to record with them.
Were you satisfied with the quality and with the sound of albums, such as „Slaughter in the vatican” (Exhorder), „Beneath the remains” (Sepultura), „Slowly we rot” (Obituary), „Altars of madness” (Morbid Angel), „Spiritual healing” (Death) etc., that were recorded at the Morrisound?
Yes I was satisfied with the quality and the sound of the album. I only wish we had more time to work on the mix.
What about the recording sessions of „Within suffering”?
It was a great experience. We had some challenges. Nick was injured and Wayne was sick so that had an impact on us. Outside of that things went smoothly.
Did you have a decent budget to record the material? Could you work with ease or were you in a hurry?
We were really pressed for time. We had a week to record and mix. We could have seriously used more time but that was all we had available to us.
Did you accomplish all of those gimmicks, that you planned for the record?
I think we did. The material contained everything that we had planned.
Were you satisfied with the work of Tom Morris and Scott Burns? Did they help a lot proving the best from the material, getting out the best achievement from you? I mean, did they help you a lot to do the best you can/could at this point?
From an engineering perspective Scott did an excellent job. He helped us significantly with achieving the sounds that we needed to produce the record.
Were Overthrow in the more frantic end of the thrash metal spectrum in your opinion?
Yes I would agree with that. It came down to that is what we liked to play.
Do you agree with, that you showed so much promise on this album?
The album was a good achievement for the band. I think that if the timing was right we could have gone a lot further than we did.
What do you think about, that „Within Suffering” is reminiscent of D.B.C. with a similar style of rough and terse thrash?
That is potentially true. Again we played what we liked.
The songs are short and rapid bursts that don’t waste too much time on details, how do you explain this?
We were all about intensity. The speed of the material was part of how we accomplished this.
With its rough charm this album is one of those energy blasts that one might play in the background just for the feel of it, isn’t it?
Yes that sounds like the intension.
You released a video for „Suppression”, was it the only video you did? What about the shot of the video?
It was the only video we did. The video was done by someone that was trying to break into the music video industry. The video was ok despite the synchronization issues.
Was the purpose of the video to support the record worldwide?
Yes that was the purpose of the video. It was to help us gain a wider audience.
How much support did you get from the label back then? How supportive were they of Overthrow?
The label was very supportive and did what they could to help us.
How many copies did you manage to sell back then? Did it succeed in making a name for the band?
I have no idea how many records we sold. I think it did help in making a name for the band.
Were there any shows in support of the material? What do you recall of the Overthrow shows?
We played a lot of shows all over the place. I remember that playing shows was the best part of playing in a band. The audience was always into what we were doing which really made all the difference.
Why and when did Overthrow story come to an end?
I don’t remember the exact date but it was shortly after the record was released. Nick had other plans to play in other bands and I was going to college for Recorded Music Production in a city far away.
Nick Sagias played in both Soulstorm and Monster Voodoo Machine after Overthrow, but what about you, Wayne Powell and Ken Wakefield? Did you also continue your musical career in other outfits or…?
I played in a number of different bands but none of them really did much. At that point I was looking into a career behind the scenes of the music industry. I did this for a number of years before I moved on to Information Technology. I am not too sure what the rest of the band did.
Is it correct, that Nick also briefly played bass in Pestilence (Hol) replacing Martin Van Drunen, but he only lasted about a month or 2 and never recorded with them?
I believe that is the case. I am not sure why things didn’t work out for him.
How much did the metal world change during the ’90s compared to the ’80s?
Things started to push limits more. The music was getting heavier and a wider audience was listening.
Do you think that the ’90s weren’t favourable for metal and was almost annihilated by the crap pop/punk bands and the grunge ones or did it still exist on an underground level supported by a couple of fans?
I think it still existed. The proof is the current metal scene. It has been strong in recent years and is still evolving.
For two years ago NHR Records re-released „Within suffering”, that contained the long-out-of-print album and the 1989 demo „Bodily Domination” with live songs, from where did come the idea to re-release the material and who came up the idea with? What was the goal of this release at all?
Nick was the driving force behind the re-release. Apparently the reason was popular demand.
Were all of you deeply involved into the making of the album?
I had nothing to do with it and besides Nick I am not sure what the rest of the band did.
Did you have some unreleased materials back in the day or did all of your songs make up on the album? Did you perhaps start writing new tunes for a forthcoming second album?
Yes there was some unreleased material on the new release. We did start writing new material for a second album.
Does this record perhaps help Overthrow getting new fans?
It may help. We will have to wait and see.
Was it easy to re-release those materials? Who owned the rights?
I am not aware of the details related to the re-release.
It was re-mastered by James Block of Rebarbative Productions (who has worked on releases by The Ravenous, Sigh, Abcess, Inquisition, Geimhre and Xasthur), were all of you satisfied with the result?
I can say that I am satisfied but I am not sure about the rest of the band.
Is this record for fans of Sepultura, Obituary, Death, Sacrifice, Slaughter?
Yes that is the same audience we are trying to reach.
Didn’t you think about to reform the band and write a brandnew material?
We have not had any conversation related to that at this time.
How do you view the Canadian scene as a whole? Would you say that the Canadian bands failed the breakthrough, perhaps with the exception of Voivod, Razor and Anvil or did it succeed them in gaining some underground success and did they have a great amouint of followers?
Back in the day it was very difficult for Canadian bands in all types of music. Metal was no exception. Currently Canadian bands are doing a lot better.
What do you think about Sacrifice’s new material and reformation? Is it a new beginning for them or…?
I have not heard their new material yet however I hope they are very successful.
Ian, thanks a lot for the answers, anything to add that I forgot to mention?
Thanks for the interview!