Interview: Toxins


San Diego-based melodic punk rock group Toxins has recently released Brown Bag Special, a new track that announces an upcoming full-length release called Existential Dread, due for release on June 9. I spoke with Matt and Sean about the origins of the band, their new material, and many other cool stuff. Enjoy!

You can pre-order Existential Dread HERE

Hi guys! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. How have you been?

Matt: Haha, next question.

Sean: Anxious would be an understatement lol. 

Can you tell me more about the origins? What sparked the idea to form Toxins?

Sean: Toxins was formed in 2020 when I reached out to Branson to see if he was doing anything and he had JUST started playing with Gui and Matt at the time. We clicked immediately and wrote the first two songs we released. 

Have you played in other bands before?

Matt: Yes, before moving out to San Diego I was a part of a band called Signalman and we used to do a bunch of west coast tours and that’s kind of what, you know, helped me become established out here and make connections.  

Sean: Yeah, we all kind of knew each other from the San Diego scene and running into each other through the last decade. 

You recently released a new track and announced a full-length album. What’s Brown Bag Special about?

Matt: Brown Bag Special. It is about losing yourself in weaker moments and not appreciating what’s actually there for you, who is actually there for you, until it’s too late. And also losing yourself to addiction

Can you share more details about Existential Dread? Where and when you recorded the material, how many songs you’ve included on the LP, and are there any anecdotes/funny stories from the recording sessions, etc?

Matt: We recorded it in June of 2022 over at our practice spot off of Mira Mar. There are ten songs on it and a pretty funny story about it is that when we started recording it and when it was time to do the vocals I had… and we were on crunch time because our recording producer Alex was here from Brazil and he had to go home soon… and out of the ten songs I only had 3 or 4 fully written and solid. Everything else, I had no idea what I was doing. I just showed up to the spot with all my notebooks that I have, on me, and I just ripped out a bunch of pages and laid them out in front of me. And basically pieced together songs as I went along. And I would probably do that again. I’m always, and never, ready.

What are the themes you explore in your songs?

Matt: Well, I mean, see question 5. I’m never prepared. So I never have a theme ready to go; it just ends up being whatever it is. But it’s usually just, you know, heart on your sleeve kind of shit. It’s honest. It’s real. It’s scary. It’s the little slice of life that everyone wants to ignore. I write songs for people who feel broken like I do.

Existential Dread is not your first recording, am I right? How much does this material differ from your previous works?

Matt: If anything, what I feel is different is song structure. It’s a little more mature, you know. But overall I feel like it doesn’t really stray too far from what I’m usually writing about. Lyrically the same, musically it’s different.

Sean: For me when writing a full length vs. an EP or stand alone songs; I try to write a diverse bunch of “parts”to bring to the table and then build on. I like when full lengths have peeks and valleys and different moods so I try to write that way.

What are the bands that inspired you the most? What are you guys listening for inspiration, and are there any other music genres you’re into aside from punk rock? Any recommendations for our readers?

Sean: Toxins definitely draws our inspiration from the 90’s punk/hardcore era. Bands like Propagandhi, AFI, No Use For a Name, Strike Anywhere are big into the foundation of our writing. But we all listen to an insane variety of music so it’s hard to answer this in too much depth. Y’all should check out Se Vende. I’ve been listening to the latest Dave Hause record a lot as well as the new Samiam. Also been on a big Fugees kick.

How much daily routine affects your activities as a band? Is it difficult for you guys to find time to write/compose/record songs, do rehearsals, or play shows because of other duties?

Matt: Yes. We all work full time jobs and Sean lives in Temecula, Ricky lives in Oceanside, so our schedules are kind of hard to line up sometimes. Most of these guys work mornings, but being that I work in kitchens, I usually work nights. So it’s hard for me to meet up with these guys.

What are your plans after the album release? Are any shows, tours, or other activities in the works?

Sean: We are trying to line up as many out of town dates as possible this year to support the record. (so if anyone out there wants to help!!!) We are also trying to get to Brazil next year for a tour. 

That’s pretty much it. Thank you for your time. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Matt: Thanks for everything. If you see us out there, let’s have a beer. 





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