Toren was interviewed for the UK Call of Cthulhu roleplaying magazine “The Whisperer” circa Oct 2003
How would you describe yourselves, the band and your music to someone who has never heard you?
To someone who has never heard us, I would describe us as the most amazing band the world has ever known. To someone who has heard us but can’t classify us, which happens from time to time, I would call us “rock and roll”. If that were too generic then I would say “power pop.”
What or who are your influences?
Nomeansno, Black Sabbath, Butthole Surfers, Queens of the Stone Age, The Masters of Reality
When did you first get together and whose idea was it?
We got together in 1992 as part of a cosmic joke (not unlike the cosmic joke of humanity as told by the elder things in “At the Mountains of Madness”). I forget whose idea it was so I’ll just say it was planted in our consciousness’ at the same time — by whom I dare not speculate.
What came first music or Lovecraft?
Lovecraft came about 2 or 3 years before Warren picked up a guitar and I picked up the microphone.
Do you all play Call of Cthulhu or other rpgs?
Merrick used to play Twilight 2000 and Gamma World many years ago. Bob plays D&D. Jordan plays pinochle. Warren and I play Call of Cthulhu and many other roleplaying games, and we both write for various roleplaying games. Of course we co-wrote Spaceship Zero the RPG together, and I also do illustrations for many rpgs, including D&D and Call of Cthulhu.
Which has led to the Spaceship Zero rpg – tell us about it.
When the Open Gaming License was initiated back in (I think) 2000, tons of small companies were popping up to print books for Dungeons and Dragons. One of these companies, Green Ronin Publishing, was founded by a friend of mine, Chris Pramas, with whom I had worked before. Chris wanted to do more with his company than just publish d20 books though, so when we used our mental powers to suggest that he’d be interested in publishing a game based on Spaceship Zero, he acquiesced. The rules system is percentile-based, like Chaosium’s “Basic Roleplaying System”, but the mechanic is based on an old homemade game system of mine from the 80’s. The player doesn’t roll to hit and damage separately – it’s all one roll. Joyously for us, all of the reviews of the game have been very favourable, and we even took home a silver ENnie award for the book. The second PDF adventure for Spaceship Zero, “The Slave Ship of Despair” is available online. There’s also a yahoogroup for discussion of the game at www.yahoogroups.com/spacecorp and a messageboard at www.greenronin.com. Right now I’m developing several short adventures for a new kind of campaign called “Fluid Spaceship Zero.”
What’s the best way for people in the UK to get hold of your CDs?
We don’t have a distribution deal outside of Canada, so the best way to order is probably online, at [itunes.com], amazon, cdbaby.com or divineindustries.com
Just what is ‘Dies ist Unverschamtheit’ about?
Well if you want me to spoil the fun of translating it yourself, I’ll tell you: It’s basically about a scientist who is on his greatest breakthrough. Mysterious men break into his laboratory, start trashing and confiscating his equipment and notes, and take him away. Dies ist Unverschamtheit basically means “this is an outrage!”
My favourite tracks are ’20 minutes of oxygen’ and ‘Burrow your way to my heart’ – what’s yours?
I really like “Frogstar” and “The Chosen One”, simply because they’re a bit different then our usual fare.
Which other bands/music do you like?
Besides our influences, I dig Ween, Bjork, Chixdiggit, Radiohead and Swervedriver, as well as the occasional spacey lounge music.
What music would you recommend to play for atmosphere for a Call of Cthulhu game? (other than your own!)
I usually throw in the soundtrack for Alien3, or if it’s a 1920’s game and it’s not a spooky session, the soundtrack for Miller’s Crossing.
What’s your next project? When is it out?
I dare not spoil the surprise. I have an idea, which I hope will work out. I can say that getting back deep into the Cthulhu Mythos is on the agenda. In the meantime, we’ve re-released Cthulhu Strikes Back: Special Edition once again, so hopefully that will tide over those fans who don’t already own it.
What’s your favourite Mythos story? (Lovecraft or otherwise)
That’s a tough question: I especially like “Rats in the Walls”, “Shadow out of Time”, “At the Mountains of Madness”, and of course, “The Call of Cthulhu”. Also “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” is great, and I think one of the best adaptations to film of Lovecraft’s work is The Resurrected, which adapts “Ward”.
What has been your involvement in Lovecraftian cinema?
Apart from our videos being shown at The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and on the HPLFF video compilations The Lurker at the Lobby, I personally have been involved in several Lovecraftian films. I helped produce and provided monster design for Return to Innsmouth, I starred in the Charles Dexter Wardian short film Graveyard, and provided the voice for Randolph Carter in the animated adaptation of Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. We’re all hoping that our music will be used in upcoming Hollywood films like Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy and At the Mountains of Madness, as well as Stuart Gordon’s next HPL adaptation, but we wouldn’t jinx our chances by mentioning them in print. OH CRAP!!!
Will we ever see you in the UK?
When the Stars are Right!
What will you do when the Stars are Right?
Play in the UK!