Today’s feature is on Lead Guitarist Toby Woods who joined the band just under two years ago. A guitar teacher by trade, he stepped in after A Crisis of Faith and helped write and record the latest album Reforge The Steel and this is what he had to tell us…
When did you start playing guitar?
I started playing at age 6 taking lessons at primary school. The first few years were on a nylon string classical guitar which I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would but at age 8/9 I got my first electric and that’s when it became a obsession.
What were your biggest influences starting out?
The reason I play guitar is because of the Darkness. I remember wanting to learn to play because I wanted to be the guitar player for the Darkness. AC/DC have always been a massive influence to me. As for metal, the first album I ever bought was Metallica’s Black Album so they have been a big influence on my playing as well. When I first started playing electric, I used to copy James Hetfield’s picking hand, gripping the pick with two fingers. Nowadays, anyone can tell you I’m hugely obsessed with Marty Friedman. Hes definitely my biggest inspiration at the moment.
You are a guitar teacher by trade, how do you enjoy teaching?
I really enjoy it! It’s really special to be a part of someone else’s musical journey and helping them to progress. Plus I get to play guitar for a living, what’s not to love.
How can someone book a lesson with you?
The best way to get a hold of me is to email email@example.com that’s where I deal with all of my lesson bookings and any music business.
You are a guitar enthusiast, how many do you currently own and what models and set ups are you using?
I currently have 6 guitars: Gibson SG Standard; ESP EX standard; ESP LTD Gus-200; PRS SE Marty Friedman; Jackson Marty Friedman; and a Sigma acoustic. My collection has downsized massively. I decided to get rid of most of the guitars that I wasn’t playing. I’m a big fan of EMG pickups, the Marty Friedman set being the best set of pickups that have ever been made! I use D’addario 11-52 on everything along with Dunlop strap locks. I’ll hopefully add to my collection again soon.
And which amp are you currently using and why?
I’m currently using a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister Deluxe 40. It’s a really great sounding head and it’s small which is a massive plus. I went to Andertons with Isaac to get a new Head and Cab and after trying a few different brands, we plugged in the Hughes & Kettner and it blew every other amp out of the water. I only use the lead channel boosted with a Boss SD-1. It’s quite the tone. Every guitar sounds great through it as well. It sits well in the mix with Rage’s guitar tone and Issac’s bass.
What were your musical endeavours prior to joining Kaine?
I had a lot of performance experience at secondary school playing lead guitar in our Schools AC/DC tribute band which was a lot of fun. Then when I got to college I was in a band with Isaac that we’ll get to in the nest question.
You and Isaac were originally in a band together called Cannon, when did that start?
We started that with some of our college friends in 2015/16. We had a good time playing lots of local shows and putting on gigs at college with some other college bands that we were friends with. Our best show was our EP release gig at Colchester Institutes Swinburne Hall with our good friends State of Millennia, who have recently release their first album. We promoted the gig our selves and it was filmed for a YouTube release which might still be out there somewhere. That was a lot of fun.
Did you record any material?
We recorded a five track EP called Time Machine which was fun to write and record but the band came to a natural end when we went our separate ways for University.
You applied to try out for Kaine on the morning of the announcement of Saxon’s departure from the band, what drew you to want to join Kaine?
I started off as a fan of the band. I had all the albums before I joined so when the opportunity to join came up I jumped at it. I was rehearsing the songs in-between giving guitar lessons at the primary school that I teach at. I wanted to make sure I knew them as well as I could for my “informal audition”.
After joining the band you played one gig with Stephen Ellis on bass, how was that?
That was a good gig. I was a little nervous with it being my first gig with the band but I new I was in good hands. Stephen is an awesome bass player so I was really pleased that I could share the stage with him.
You recommended Isaac Healy to the band a new line-up had been put together in a fortnight, what was it like to suddenly be in a whole new version of an established band, although also with Isaac who you knew?
It was extremely exciting. I couldn’t wait to begin playing and writing and cementing my place in the band. I new that Isaac would be a good fit as bass player as we have played and rehearsed together many times.
How long have you known Isaac and how long have you been playing together?
We first met when Cannon started. We were on the same course at college but we were in different groups so we didn’t actually meet until the first Cannon practice. It turned out that we had a very similar music taste so we ended up going to a load of shows together with our friend Karl.
Your Ipswich Witches hat has drawn some attention, how long have you been a fan?
I remember going to the good Friday races when I was much younger but me and My Dad have been going to meetings regularly for the last three years or so. I’m glad everyone has been enjoying the now named “harmony hat”!
Reforge The Steel came together quickly after the new band had formed in a fortnight, how was it to record a new album so soon after joining the band and what are your favourite tracks and solos from the album?
The songs on the album came together really quickly which I think reflects on how well we all work together as a band. I’m very pleased with how it came out and i enjoy every song on it. I think my favourite solo is probably the one in “Wake”. This is because I tried to make this solo more melodic that some of the others. Whilst it’s always fun to shred away, somethings it’s great to put some feeling into the notes. I’m also quite proud the solo in “Black” because it was improvised in the studio so it has never been played the same again. My favourite track is “Reforge The Steel”. Its normally the song we open a set with so it’s always a fun one and packed with energy.
You played both the packed out Kaine 10 year show at Colchester Arts Centre and Burr Fest with Kaine, how did you find doing those two big shows with the band?
The 10 year show was definitely an amazing time. It’s a venue I’d always wanted to play a show at and it being very close to sold out made it even more special. It was great to have so many people come out to see us and really enjoying the music. Because it was so close to where I live, it was awesome to have my Mum and Dad there who have always been very supportive of my choice to pursue music and have always done everything they can top help me, whether it’s driving me to gigs so I can play or buying for that new guitar for my birthday that I simply must have! I hope I did them proud.
Playing Burr fest was also awesome. To play on that stage in front of all those people, some who knew us and some who didn’t was truly special. Hopefully we made some new fans that day. Its was great again to have my Mum, Dad and sister there because it was my Mums birthday so it was really meant a lot that she wanted to spend her birthday in London to see us play. It was also great to have my Sister taking some great photos of us all whilst we played our set.
Being from the area, the Arts Centre is a special venue to you, what bands have you seen there? Also, you watched bands at The Dome before playing there will Kaine, what bands did you see there?
My first ever gig was at Colchester Arts Centre seeing Dragonforce. After that gig, I said to my friends that I would one day play a show there! Since then, I have seen Cryptopsy, Crowbar, Limehouse Lizzy, Live Wire and of course Skiltron and Etheral Sin when we supported them. At the dome, me and Isaac have seen Man With a Mission and Band Maid there. I always thought that it would be an awesome venue to play as well. It was really special to stand on the stages that I have seen some of my favourite bands play on.
You’re currently writing a new album during the lock down, you have put a couple of tracks together for it, how would you describe the new album so far and your tracks?
One of the tracks I’ve put forward for the album is purely a show off tune for me. It’s a power metal-y neoclassical shred fest that I put together a little while ago whilst listening to a lot of power metal bands like Dragonforce and Galneryus. The new album is shaping up really well, we’ve all been sharing ideas and writing tunes during rehearsals for a little while now and it’s been really fun bouncing ideas off of each other. I cant wait to get the songs finished so we can start to bring them out live and record them.
Are you enjoying the creative freedom in Kaine?
It’s been really great to put my own touches on existing Kaine songs as well as being as creative as I can with writing leads when it comes to writing.
The band is releasing a new EP and live album this year, have you tried to give the Waystone EP your own flair?
I tried to put my own spin on the songs where I could. This was mainly putting in my own solos and re-working some of the leads to fit them in better with my style. Other than that, I kept all the essential parts as they were. The live album will also be great when it comes out. It was a lot of fun to record.
How did the B2 live album night go for you? Did you enjoying doing the new album in its entirety live?
It was a great show. It was really great to see so many people out to see us at the B2. It was awesome to play all of the songs live in one go. They’re all a lot of fun to play and seeing the crowds enjoyment made the show easy to play. Again, it was really great for my awesome Mum & Dad and wonderful Girlfriend there to support us a share another special Kaine moment.
You can hear Toby’s lead guitar work on the latest album Reforge The Steel by clicking here. There are still copies available on CD available from Bandcamp and is free to stream across all major streaming services (Spotify link included on the tab on this website). Toby also performed on the Kaine X Live Album and DVD which can be ordered here, as well as the The Waystone EP which can be pre-ordered here.