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Skeletoon’s Toni Fooler: “What if this was the first attempt to melt a Metal cover art with a Movie Poster, altogether??”

Interview with Toni Fooler from Skeletoon
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 08 December 2021, 10:12 PM

Devotion for the 80s, it doesn’t have to be summed by its music but it can be other part of this large concept called the 80s decade. There are those that just can’t live without the cult movies of that decade that inspired so many, even in their simplistic forms, in particular if compared to the industry today. The Italian Skeletoon, once again, went back in time but with the only franchise that actually did it well, “Back To The Future”. Basing their new album, "The 1.21 Gigawatts Club", upon the classic saga, their made their Power Metal sound larger than anything else. Steinmetal took the journey with the band’s vocalist, Toni Fooler, and found out some interesting things

Hi Tomi, it is mighty damn great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Hi everyone! It's a great pleasure being here again. I'm doing fine, dealing with this "eager for live gigs" mood!!

You know what, and for some reason it escaped me, because I didn't seem to notice that you had a Helloween cover band, you are the Italian Michael Kiske, and I believe that Skeletoon's new album, which we will talk about, emphasizes that even further. Please tell me, right before we kick things into gear, how do you preserve your form as a vocalist?

Ahahah well, you've just made me happy by making some amazing comparisons!! I think the voice is a mirror of your feelings: I still feel like I was 16, and I try to live my days with the same joy every guy that age does. Maybe this factor keeps my voice younger for this reason!! I can't say: I love music, I love singing, and I do what I Love everyday. this is probably the secret:))

Due to all this time that you had working at home, with all the lockdowns and the shutdown of the cultural life, in particular live music, in a matter of a year and here we are, with a successor to "Nemesis". Out of curiosity, was it just because you had enough material to go on, that you had to let it out of your hands or was it something else? Frankly, at first I thought to myself, what was the rush?

There was no rush. Even Label did not ask rush us through the process. After "Nemesis", I realized I had much time due to the fact I couldn't support the former record as I wanted to (Covid, you know…) so I tried to escape in some new music, watching 80's movies…and that's it: "The 1.21 Gigawatts Club" came to life!

Basing yourselves on the "Back To The Future" franchise's stories, Skeletoon unleashed the 80s touch of "The 1.21 Gigawatts Club". I have to hand it to you, this title is epic, really out of the ordinary and it draws interest. How did this title come to be? What does it mean to you?

I spent many nights trying to find it. I wanted something out off the average, something that would have summoned my love for the 80's, my love for having fun with Music, and something that would have fit the Movie Saga…

Moreover, it had to contain as many letters /icons in it (20), to keep going with our "Album Titles Riddle": if you ain't noticed yet, every Movie Saga Album of our own Starts with letter "T", and has a different amount of letters to reach every time different numbers that match with different letters on English Alphabet

And I loved it. The idea of having numbers in it, like, you know, is quite different from the Average Titles:)

Fun Fact: Original Title was "The 1.21 Gigawatts Hyperblast", but we had to change it because, in this way, it would have been impossible to pronounce it!!

I have been an 80s fan overall myself, and of course of the classic "Back To The Future" movies, which cannot be denied. After covering the "Goonies" earlier on, a step into a little bit of horror, but with a sense of humor, you decided to take paths through time. What exactly in the "Back To The Future" story inspires you? Is it time travel, the unknown?

Both! I think Sci Fi themes are really cool, and I wanted to dig deeper into them! Don't forget the mood in the movies is Fun, there's romance, there's comedy, there's action: I think it perfectly fits our own style.

Talking about the old movies, and there is a new one coming in, just around the corner. I have the feeling that you saw the trailer. What do you expect from the new film? Does it have a chance to recapture the old class of the early chapters?

Oh my God! You mean a "Back to the Future - part IV"?? I'd love to see it coming, but I am pretty sure it won't happen, 'cause main actors agree it'd be difficult to give fans something worth. I saw online kinda "Fans Trailer" that is actually veeeeery good, but I deeply hope the saga won't be continued: I think it is already perfect like this!

From my end, "The 1.21 Gigawatts Club" serves as the perfect escape from your reality, which is still influenced by the pandemic, and into the veils of imagination and mystery. Is that the path the chose for "The 1.21 Gigawatts Club", to become an instrument of leaving everything behind for 48 min?

Sure! For me it is exactly like this. And knowing it worked the same for you makes a smile grow on my face, buddy….;)

II liked the artwork, leaving that hint of the fiery trail boost of the Dolorian. I still couldn't make anything of the card right there, laying around though.  What can you tell me about it? How do you find the artwork in general?I

We worked harder than expected on this one, but we found a way thanks to the genius behind it, Mr. Stan Decker, an Artist taking care of our Artworks since 2017.

We wanted to give people something to recall the movies, without losing the strength given by Power Metal music in general, or falling into plagiarism from the original movie.

We thought something like: "what if this was the first attempt to melt a Metal Cover Art with a Movie Poster, altogether??!” This is actually the reason why we also put the quote in the bottom corner of it….;)

IYour earlier album "Nemesis" delivered that European Power Metal energy blast that I needed so much. Nonetheless, "The 1.21 Gigawatts Club" is a step forward, as if making you become more than just a Power Metal band. The record sends you back and forth to the 80s flings of AOR and Hard Rock, while establishing a tight front of contemporary Metal qualities. How do you find the band's progress in its musical export while working on the record?I

I love many styles, and I think it's mandatory for an artist to try and manipulate them, pouring some of them into their imagination's cauldron: results could be great, and if you're lucky enough, you could even create something new.

…these last words sound like a potion recipe, isn't it?? But, basically, this is what happens to me;)

Writing catchy hooks has been your thing also on the previous records, and if I forgot to mention it, you always had a romance with the 80s, just not that intensified as on "The 1.21 Gigawatts Club". I have to know, in your own opinion, how do you find those pressure points while writing the songs, those that are bound to make a song a winner?I

I stay nights awake until that magic moment, in which I feel music is giving me shivers, comes out. I do this for every song I write. Sometimes it takes more, on other occasions, the riffs are born with that "sparkle" lit, but I do not deliver any of them, if there's not.

Naturally, in a record, there are songs that work better than others, but I know all of them (to me) sound exactly how I wanted to. Even If only 1 person in the world felt the same way, I'd be outrageously happy because the task would have been completed.

It sounded to me as if you pushed yourself, as a vocalist, to limits that are unimaginable. Would you say that recording the vocals did a number on you, a kind of number that sent you back resting for a while to retain your vocal chords to normal levels? What did you learn about your voice on this record, anything new?

I always try to learn from the experience. Every time I hit the studio I know I want to push it one step forward. But it depends, also, on the mood of the record: if you notice, "Nemesis" and "1.21" are different because the first one has got more "angry" and "frantic" vocals, due to the story telling behind, in comparison with a "lighter", more melodic & "easier" style given in "1.21".

I have to say thank you to Simone Mularoni and Simone Bertozzi, for this: they are my magic elves during my challenge to discover something new from my vocals, while in the studio!

The guitar work on the album is miraculous, crossing boundaries between classic Power Metal, Hard Rock niftiness  and wholesome progression. It was like gathering around Dream Theater and Helloween in a bar. What do you make of the constructive riffs and assorted melodies on the record?

Well, this (again) is due to Simone & Simone (ahahahah), working hard with my partner in crime Andy: they literally spent weeks reaching the "perfect" style for our record, you know. I only deliver the main idea (mostly played on piano), but all the arrangements see me less than how I like to admit! ahahahhaha

I could open a long discussion on some of the songs, yet there is one that I would like to talk about and that is the final tune, prior to the Chuck Berry cover, "Eastwood Ravine". Most people know that the song title is connected to the temporal displacement, made by Clint Eastwood, Marty's chosen fake name, in the 3rd movie in 1885. Musically and songwriting wise, it felt divided into two parts, the first delivering an enchanting, atmospheric hook, and the second is the summary of the entire record. What can you tell about the creation of this song? How did it pose a challenge for you guys?

When you hear a song more "proggish", you have to blame on our drummer. Henry wrote this amazing masterpiece, I tried to arrange it with some different vocals, but he did the hard work. He loves writing music like that, like a kind of Ayreon tribute, and I think this is amazing: he always delivers a tune that can make people think we are good musicians!!! Ahahahah.

Talking about the song's atmosphere, man, it is electrifying, and it is hard for me to shake it loose. Who handled the keyboards?

Mr. Alessio Lucatti, from Vision Divine and Deathless Legacy. An outstanding underrated musician every Metal/Rock lover should discover. He is truly amazing.

Slow and easy, cultural live events are returning to the fold, in a manner of sorts. What are the band's plans for 2022?

We will try to collect all that the COVID tried to steal: We want to play live, and badly, and this will be our main task for the year is about to come.

Tomi, it was great to have you for this interview, thank you for your time. I am more than expecting another blasting album by you guys, please keep up the good work. Maybe Predator for the next album ah? All the best

Eheheh why not? If you love music and good movies, world (like Nerd Metal) this is your Oyster. Thanks a lot for time shared, hope we will have a beer together, while watching some Live Gigs like we used to! RnR!!!



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