Please tell us how your musical origins started.
Pretty much in the womb. My parents played in a band together and my mom played keyboards, my dad drums. When they rehearsed I used to kick. Then when I was born, I had the toy drums, guitar and would pretend to be playing while they rehearsed.
What were your musical influences growing up?
As a kid, I had a tiny/toddler record player and by the age of 4 I was raiding their vinyl collection. I remember really liking Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Alice Cooper, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple.....but the album that really transformed me was Led Zeppelin 2. I mean, at four years old- that's a dark and terrifying album. The sounds of Hell coming through the guitar...
What motivates you to create music?
These days it's because everything sucks so bad if I want to hear a good album, I have to make it...with a few exceptions of course.
Reading about you, you have done so much musically involving yourself in all different metal genres. Do you have a favorite genre of metal music?
Well, I've flipped. I was an instrumental guitarist who dabbled in Black Metal on the side and now I realize Black Metal is my favorite music, the real stuff, the music that is barely created anymore because popular culture and mainstream labels got their hands on it. However, I like non-groove Metal....80's stuff, serious stuff, progressive. Groove metal is just a word for sell-out thrash bands now doing nu-metal.
I think it is interesting that you play Black Metal...When did you get started with that? Have you always been into that style of metal?
Yes, I was into Black Metal from the days of Venom and Bathory....later on I had demos and LP's from Emperor, Rotting Christ, Blasphemy, Necromantia, Master's Hammer, Beherit....I didn't specifically call it "Black Metal" I just thought it was raw, crude and twisted death metal.
Tell us about the beginnings and end of your band Onward.
Onward was originally me and three friends rehearsing eight songs I wrote...labels got news of us; these guys out in Montana going completely against the grain. We dealt with so many labels on our way up the ladder and I met vocalist Michael Grant and things just went so well for us. The cliche musical differences between Mike and I got in the way and I was really starting to distrust Century Media, not the staff, the guys running the show. I saw all these bands that had toured and been around forever and they had earned nothing.....
Tell us the names of all your albums including Ep's and compilations.
As a solo artists there is Guitar Distortion, Infinite Opposition, Polarizing Lines, Misanthropy Divine, The Campaign, Static Warfare, Archives of Magick Volumes one and two. With Darken a self titled album, with Waxen "Fumaroth" and soon "Agios Holokauston" on Moribund Records, with Onward- Evermoving, Reawaken and The Neverending Sun, with Godless Rising "Trumpet of Triumph" that's off the top of my head, there are a few more I think.
What/Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Musically I'd say Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Robert Fripp, Slayer, Algaion, Fredrick Soderlund projects (Parnassus, Octinomos, Puissance), Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Rush, Yes, Loudness, Voivod, King Crimson and an almost infinite supply.......Other than music I study Aleister Crowley, some Deepak Choprah.... and I am interested in War....the ones that have came and the ones that are coming.
If you could play musically with any musician, past or present, who would it be?
Well, Jimmy Page or Robert Fripp probably aren't going to be taking me under their wing anytime soon....the Swedish musicians I mentioned earlier, like if Algaion or Fredrick Soderlund ever requested any guest guitar work that would be big for me.
What bands have you toured with?
Just Onward and a Canadian tour with Darkane. I turned down Vital Remains when they asked me to tour in 2009 because they asked me to join their band in 2006 and just left me hanging...so I said no. Norway's Mayhem contacted me in 2008 and I very nearly joined them, but logistics prevented that...
What are the things that inspired you to go forward to make your last album? How do you feel about it?
I love the album...I hadn't touched the guitar for nearly two years prior to recording "Static Warfare".....all this penned up music just burst out and the music just keeps flowing out of me.
Between 2005 and 2007, you played a series of shows under a temporary band name in support of Despised Icon, Wolven Ancestry, Psyopus, and Light this City...what was that temporary band name?
You know, we never really figured that out. We just threw things together to get on these somewhat decent regional gigs.
What are the names of your bands, the bands you've played in or been a part of, and everyone you've collaborated with.
Waxen is my one man Black Metal band recently signed to Moribund...I am also now collaborating with guitarist Markus Johansson on an instrumental album....there might be another pretty significant collaboration but that in the discussion phase right now.
What does the future hold musically and non-musically for Toby Knapp?
To keep playing, writing and carrying on in all aspects of life. Music is my life, nothing much else matters or interests me except for a very select few people.
I always like to include a fun question for the fans. what was the name of the first cd you ever bought? the name of the first concert you went to? what are your hobbies?
As an actual purchase, long before cd's it was Led Zeppelin four...as a cd, to celebrate getting a cd player it was Venom's "Welcome to Hell". The first concert was Motley Crue...but I didn't care for it, it was a place to get hammered, they were background noise. I collect books and music as hobby...I probably need something else as this narrow way irritates my wife. Maybe I'll try golf or something.
Questions by Heather Williams