Rockcult: How did you become musician and how did it happen to be a metal?
Grimo: I think it was my dad that somehow boosted my fascination for guitar based music. Through him I had access to AC/DC, DEF LEPPARD, DIRE STRAITS. Especially ZZ TOP and JUDAS PRIEST are still some of my favorites nowadays. I started my own discovery to all styles of metal and became stuck to thrash metal at first and later moved over to death metal because I was fascinated by its roughness, brutality and direct transmission of energy. The first harbor I anchored a while was Swedish death metal like GRAVE and DISMEMBER.
Rockcult: How does your family feel about your music choice and band?
Grimo: My parents grew me up as a child that feels strengthened to make its own decisions. I felt this support over all the years and especially how my mother shared her pride with me, visited concerts and shared information and news about our band work. Words can’t describe neither the love between a child and parents nor the gratitude I feel for this support.
Rockcult: Tell us about your band: how it was founded, why did you choose the Chernobyl theme and about bands name.
Grimo: As we started the band without having a name in 2010 we realized pretty quick that we will perform something really brutal. Located in the east area of Germany and in my case also born in 1986 we felt familiar with the Chernobyl theme. So we searched for a name that had a link to that topic and also sounds strong and unique. Also, we searched for a name that was not hard to keep in mind, and we created a band logo that is pretty recognizable on festival and show flyers. We are still happy with that.
Rockcult: How do you write music in the band? Do you do it together or, for example, you have two songwriters and one lyric writer?
Grimo: Somehow we developed our songwriting procedure over the years. Sometimes we create it right from the beginning with playing an idea at the rehearsal and reacting to it. Regarding the distance between our hometowns we also use online sessions to write songs. But nothing can replace real life meeting to play new stuff and feel the radioactive energy of fresh fuel rods from the reactor. I write the lyrics by myself but in the finalization process everybody got the chance to share thoughts about it. The songs itself are written by Fonzo and Jason.
Rockcult: We know that one of your band members is from Kazakhstan and speaks Russian. There’re some parts on Russian on the Gammageddon for example. Which part of this doing belongs to him and how did you pull it through.
Grimo: Well, we always try to aim for an authentic sound design for our music. So for example we used samples like news reports from the Chernobyl incident on the songs of our debut album. Then we grew into the idea of making the samples, interludes and ambient parts by ourselves even if that means to record single sounds like pulling switches, human breath or footsteps. We are so damn lucky to have Vitalis in the band, not just because of being a bass monster. He took over at a lot of the spoken parts in our ambient tracks on Radiophobia and Gammageddon. In addition to this we are able to do own dialogues by using his skills in translation or even his specific, Russian sounding pronunciation. It was great to develop an own story line and combining our death metal music with an authentic Chernobyl dead zone atmosphere. In case of Nuklearth Vitalis translated a Russian poem and spoke the pilot track for the main recording.
Rockcult: Do you want to visit Russia with concerts/tour sometimes?
Grimo: Yes, of course. I want this. It is a wish for me since I saw the flyer and live footage from the Kiev Sonic Massacre. I hope to do that soon because I know that we got many supporters in East Europe that more or less share the unique spirit of the band.
Rockcult: Do you know any Russian extreme metal bands? Have you got any ideas why Russian bands not really known in Europe?
Grimo: Yes of course I know a bunch of bands. Katalepsy for example. And I am a fan long before they joined the same label. I remember their old stuff, and we played several shows together with their old line-up. Russia is huge and want to explore it in terms of nature, people and getting more into its death metal scene.
Rockcult: Do you plan to keep going whith the Chernobyl theme or do you plan to change it on upcoming albums.
Grimo: Well I have to say that I am really proud how we went on our way and somehow found our own community, spirit and style. There is no reason to stop this or make big changes. On Nuklearth we also wrote lyrics about recent events. Along our researches we found a link between global climate events (Drown in Havoc, Soul Harvester) and the ongoing struggle of mankind with creating nuclear waste without having deposits for it (Coast of Lies). War remains a daily threat and also nuclear Weapons (Quarantine Fortress, Uran Breath). Believe me, this can be depressing sometimes, but we found a way to get inspired and motivated by it to proceed.
Rockcult: Have you ever been in Chernobyl? If you do please tell us about most cool and memorable moments. And if you don’t, do you want to visit it someday?
Grimo: Life is short. Sometimes an answer is short tot. No, I Haven’t. But yes I want. It feels like a duty.
Rockcult: Playing with which musicians was the most enjoyable for you? With which musician would you like to play together?
Grimo: The Tour with ABORTED and BENIGHTED was so outstanding for us. They are not just great musicians and beasts on stage. Besides that since that tour they became close friends. We had a great time by having fun and respecting each other, had awesome shows and also worked out together around the locations. I really enjoyed that and I think my bandmates did too. Personally I would like to do a tour with BENEATH THE MASSACRE (one major influence to me until today) or SHADOW OF INTENT. Those guys are just great. If I die one day I wish for Ben Duerr to be my „gravesinger“. ;-)
Rockcult: Tell us about the most memorable things or unusual situations you’ve gotten with band in your musician carrier: concerts, tours or may be in life.
Grimo: Wow, that is somehow a tough question because it is not easy to find a way to start. So everybody who reads this: visit our concert, let’s have a juice together and I will tell you some of those stories. And if I got none at hand we will make a new one :-). I remember the first show with Fonzo again after he fought himself through this focal dystonia disease that almost killed his career by erasing the passion and joy for his instrument. The first show we had together I looked to him after the last song and had wet eyes. Also, I remember my former soccer team that joined my third show ever in my hometown. They got drunk on the Christmas market (to be brave enough because they never been to such a concert) and they were yelling my name during the breaks between the songs. My former coach was asking my mom (she was there for the first time too) what the hell she did wrong by raising me that way. It was too funny. Like said, too many stuff to tell. Maybe I write them all down in a legacy one day. But so far too much stuff is happening.
Rockcult: You have an unusual show. You use so much different stuff: gas masks, roundabout sign and barrel with radioactive hazards. How did you come up with it? Did you work it out before the stage or it’s always improvisation?
Grimo: The roundabout sign was a gift from our fans in the early years. So that is not our idea even if creating circle pits is something usual in the scene. We made „Circlepitonium“ out of it and praised that headbanging is the cure against too much radiation. In the beginning we tried to play full shows with gas masks but it’s impossible for me to breath and for my bandmates to hit notes, but we still stuck to it and try to bring it on our shows for one song. There is a lot of work in the stage equipment, and we got different kinds of barrels. We got the stage barrels that create atomic fog suited to the songs, we got the huge fan barrel (On Obscene Extreme I putted pyrotechnic inside and threw it into the crowd). After the show we received it half destroyed. So you can see how much circlepitonium was inside the barrel and how much atomic energy was inside the audience. And we got a little surprise barrel that mostly Jason carries on stage like a lampion. We always try to improve our stage performance to create memories out of moments for the audience.
Rockcult: A lot of fans have a real serious question to ask: how did you come up with the microphone thing?
Grimo: I force myself to answer that as serious as I can. During the rehearsals over the years we tried a lot of stuff and also I explored myself (my voice!). It was somehow a running gag to sound like a strange, maybe unexplored animal. I remember when I tried this I swallowed the microphone, kneeled down and shove my head over the ground while I was inhaling. First we called that «the cricket». According to the way more serious tone this band got over its evolution the cricket learned to walk (I do not kneel anymore) and we renamed it the «human gasmask». I still like to perform that: Graaaaaaaaahhh!
Rockcult: As far as we know you’re a trainer. Can you tell us more about your work besides the music? What about other band members? Do they have any other jobs besides Cytotoxin?
Grimo: Fonzo became a guitar teacher. Stocki is a programmer but also used to give some drumming lessons. Jason is postgraduating in chemics at the moment and Vitalis is maintaining really important and heavy machines and constructions. I work in a rehabilitation center and got a wide range of daily topics. I teach kids how to swim (they are scared in the first moments and they even not heard the cricket vocals yet) and also motivate older people with artificial joints to do something for their muscles. My company has cooperation with a center for Olympic athletes. To prepare them for their high goals we try to combine their tough daily routine with new and also unusual trainings methods. It’s quite funny to use metal music along my sessions with them (they got extremely motivated by it) but I did not try Cytotoxin yet. Because I am shy. I have to say it is really motivating, enjoyable and inspiring to work with somebody who tries anything in life to reach a goal. And I am proud that I build honest friendships with some of the athletes over the years. I want to make a shout out to the ice skating brothers Nico and Denny Ihle that became Cytotoxin fans and supporting us in a great way. All the best to you both, see you at the final table or at the battle rope. ;-)
Rockcult: A lot of people thinks that musicians are the sex-drugs-rock’n’roll type people. But you clearly not a drug person at list. Tell us about vegan stuff, sport and e.t.c. Do other band members share in it?
Grimo: I am proud that the band became vegan over the years. Like I said, the band topic of Chernobyl is linked to climate change and that also to use (or better said waste) of resources and diet behaviour. I try to be strong and «clean» as good as I can, that I got my proteins plant-based and that no living being has to be killed or has to suffer for my nutrition. You can imagine how proud I am that the band shares this attitude. And also no drugs. You have to remain concentrated and aware of all your senses when you play technical death metal and deal with Circlepitonium. That’s a drug way far enough to stand :-)
Rockcult: Cytotoxin released a new album at 21st of August, tell your fans about it.
Grimo: If you reached this line I would like to thank you for your endurance and interest in our music and topic. We spend much nuclear energy in our 4th album. Thank you in advance for your support. We will never forget Chernobyl and recommend you to do the same. Cheers and see you all in the pit.