Music

Dimitri Toonen takes us through his new prog-rock record, track-by-track

A record of dynamic and performative story-telling, Dimitri Toonen’s Leave My Mind Sometimes will not be leaving yours anytime soon.

A master guitarist and musician of 25 years, Dimitri Toonen wanted to perfect the vessel for the narrative’s sake this time. This resulted in eleven tracks of pure passion. Ranging from metal and progressive rock to ballad-like acoustic moments, the album feels like it was made for film.

Like the soundtrack to Bowie’s Labyrinth, or a chapter of Pink Floyd’s stadium-ready anthology, Leave My Mind Sometimes is cinematic to say the least. It’s a uniquely personal record in every sense. Toonen not only plays each instrument (with the exceptions of drums on a couple of tracks), he recorded, mixed, and produced everything. His brilliant musicianship is undeniable, but the message, he says, was something more holistic:

“I wanted it to be an album that’s about stories and music. Not about the instruments per se. I really focused on the stories I wanted to tell, and song’s musical aspects.”

Dimitri Toonen

Shameless

This song was the first song that I wrote and the last to finish. This probably has to do with the fact that It is a rather personal song about a person in my life who acted rather shamelessly throughout his and my life.

Not Home Today

One day I was watching the news and it was about fugitives fleeing their country. These people were forced to leave their homes and leave everything they knew behind and just run. I found this heartbreaking and cannot comprehend how difficult this must be. I wrote a story about a father on the run with his young son, fleeing his country. Leaving everything behind even the child’s mother.

The Ganges Story Part I: Tragedy

After seeing The Ganges documentary with Sue Perkins one particular incident jumped out for me. Sue was interviewing a couple of kids who were fishing in boats on the Ganges river. At first, it looked like a great fun thing, but after Sue kept interviewing the kids they told more about what they were actually doing. They were fishing with magnets to fetch coins out of the river. There was a train bridge going over that part of the river, and because of the holiness of the Ganges river, people threw in money. But these children were not fishing to get rich, but they had no parents anymore, so this was there only option to actually buy some food. No safety net for them, so they had to be really though.

The Destruction Of You

A story written from the perspective of a soldier operating a drone and is ordered to bomb a city. This person does not agree to it, but became a soldier due to his own personal issues when he was young. Going into the military was his only option back then. But now he is sitting there with this order he got and feeling this moral dilemma.

Leave My Mind Sometimes

Basically a song about a guy with a borderline thought process. In one moment he has these happy thoughts and thinks about the past and about his girlfriend. Then out of nowhere his thoughts shift to destruction, gruesome acts and atrocities. Then when his mind is settled down, he wishes that these gruesome thoughts and emotions would leave his mind. It is exhausting because he is a kind person at heart.

Us

Another personal story. This instrumental pieces actually captures that emotion I have when I think of home. Home or Us, which is anywhere with my girlfriend and my cats.

Ganges Story Part II: The Other Place

When I wrote and demo-ed the Ganges Story at first it was on acoustic guitar. Then when I had recorded it on the piano and wrote the rest of the song I still wanted to use the guitar finger picking style part that I had. So I wrote this song. What it’s about is hard to say, because this was pretty much the lyrics I had before I named it Ganges Story. This is how it goes sometimes and I love that.

 

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The Day I Stopped

A couple of years back I had a burnout when I worked at a financial firm. I’ve been a musician all my life, but I had a career moment in IT (which I still work in). I’m a perfectionist at my core, and when I was working as a contractor I really pushed myself over the edge. It took me a couple of years to get back on my feet again which was a really dark chapter of my life to be honest. But now I realise what I love doing the most. Creating music.

Desolation Suite (I, II, III): Early Days, Choices & A Dark Chapter

Desolation Suite is a three-part song about a person with self-destructive behaviour. Which at first isn’t really noticed by people around him but eventually comes through at a later age. This is what Early Days is about. When looking back it is clear that a lot of actions are quite self-destructive which could be mistaken for puberty. These actions will form habits which become problematic at a later age.

Choices tells the story that he made several life-changing choices that cannot be undone and realises the destructive pattern he lived by most of his life. This must change.

A Dark Chapter is then the moment where he falls into this depression, because of his realisation of the things that are done. Reflecting on all those years and those choices that are made and cannot be undone.

 

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Enjoy the Leave My Mind Sometimes in it’s full glory on Spotify below: