4. The Tok Invade Bogland (4:58)

music and lyrics ©2003,2018 by colin nicholls


YouTube Video


Production Notes

Early Stages


YouTube video:



Based on True Events.

This was probably the easiest lyric writing process I've ever had. The bulk of it was done in an afternoon, followed by much polishing but no further substantial rewrites. Why was I inspired to even write this? No idea. Maybe it helped to be of an age where I was no longer embarrassed about the subject matter.

If the lyrics were easy, the same can not be said for the production. Originally this track was based around a Maori haka sample but I removed that for several reasons, mostly to avoid cultural appropriation, but also I think it was compromising my ability to move forward with the production. It's easy to get overly attached to the initial demos.

Going through the project archives I found that since 2003 I've tried at least four times to produce it. For whatever reason, I’d never succeeded in completing it.

In 2018 when I took stock of where this project was at, I found numerous project folders, in numerous locations, all in various degrees of completeness. Each of them substantially different in content and each contained some really nice ideas and arrangements. Some had vocals; others didn't, but instead had good instrumentation, or solos, or other things.

In 2012 my brother visited from New Zealand and I had optimistic thoughts of having him laying down some keyboard tracks – it’d be just like old times!

Alas, that was a Big Ask, and although we had some fun for an afternoon, it ended up stalling that version of the project because I wanted to keep as much of Walter’s contributions as possible, and it didn’t really work out.

I collated the various project files under a common parent and took stock. Then I worked through each project, taking notes on what was working in each one. There is no way everything could be included in a final project. I began to appreciate again why it has been so hard to work on this project and how I got to this point.

Too many good ideas. Some of them have to be jettisoned. I have to “kill my darlings”, even though they are special.

And perhaps this can only be done after we’ve gained some perspective. At this point I have confidence that pruning down a composition can actually produce a better final result; and also I’m confident that deleting a “really cool section with great instrumentation and performances” doesn’t mean that I won’t come up with something just as good or better in the future.

So I took the version of the project from 2015 and viciously pruned it back, keeping the drums and some guitar. Then, after listening to the very earliest versions from 2003, I identified what made them sound good - it was a really crunchy bass sound.

So I re-recorded the bass, this time foregoing pride of finger picking, and used a pick and the neck pickup to get a kind of John Wetton-y thing.

Then I went back to the 2012 project and salvaged the “hammond” and rhodes, figuring out what they were playing and re-recording them.

OK now we’re cooking. The awesome synth solo on the 2010 project is worth keeping, but let’s see if we can use the Novation PEAK for it instead because the Roland Fantom is packed away in the garage and, oh, using a different instrument means that we need to perform it differently... it’s still good. Better.

I worked out new vocal harmonies because the earlier attempts were just bad.

After years of threatening to invade, and then backing off…. the Toks may have actually Invaded.

Production Notes


Early Stages

2003 Toks Sketch (0:59)

This is basically just one step beyond singing a melody into the iPhone's voice memo app in order to save an idea.

2003 Toks Demo 1 (with synth lead) (1:50)

This is the demo that captured the "feel" I was going for. The Roland Fantom has this really nasty lead sound that was fun to play with.

2003 The Toks Invade - Demo 2 (3:17)

Wow, I went from a sketch to a reasonably complete demo inside of a year. Fast work, team.


The invention of a new piece enabled their construction

A genetic constitution was figured out

Tools could be mounted: diversity of function

Advantage evolution: opposable snout

They traveled in a craft made from a bass loudspeaker

Landed in the center of the living room floor

Curious faces at the angular portholes

Steps descending through the circular door

Their intentions could be peaceful - or did they bring destruction?

A counter-revolution: the Bogs had doubts

The mission of the council: a civilized protection

A perimeter solution was carried out

Defenses collapse against rubber band weapons

Their bodies broken down for sand bags

Superior design of elastic artillery

Launching assaults of irresistible force

Through tactics of subversion; with knowledge and instruction

Minimize the tension and culture shock

Time and understanding, enabled reconstruction

Eventual integration was not in doubt

Memory fades into the pages of history

The alien face becomes a best friend

The world revealed to a new generation

The cycle renews and a balance restored

The invention of a new piece enabled their construction

An action of creation with building blocks

Intentions can be peaceful and yet can bring destruction

The inevitable replay and paradox