I was introduced to Toxycane by an awesome Swedish friend who also happens to be an immensely talented musician himself. He pointed me in the direction of Gustav and Vassili, and I wasn’t disappointed. I watched Lectic and one of the main things that hit me was just the amount of fun these two guys were having, it was infectious. I’ve actually lost count of the amount of times I’ve listened to Lectic. Well, I’m hooked, and wanted to know more, and Toxycane were kind enough to agree to an interview.
Firstly, could you tells us a little bit about yourselves and how Toxycane were formed?
Toxycane is Gustav Bond and Vassili Neplokh. We got to know each other through the local music scene and local pubs. We just got together one day this February to jam and later that day we wrote our first song “Beans”. And only ten days later, the song was already recorded, mixed and mastered, we had a name for our project, a logo and we released a music video for “Beans”. And we did all this ourselves. After that we set up a goal – to release a debut EP on Spotify and iTunes within a couple of months and, voilà, in the beginning of June “Everything’s OK” was released.
Could you also tell us which bands / musicians have inspired you and had an impact on your musical development?
Gustav: Slipknot, David Ellefson – the bass player in Megadeth, Fieldy – the bass player in Korn and the douche bag trader Owl from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat.
Vassili: I grew up listening to nü-metal bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot, so the main inspiration for Toxycane comes from them. I really admire Wes Borland – the guitar player in Limp Bizkit, both for his musical and visual style. The lyrics are somewhat influenced by Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) and Maynard James Keenan (Tool, APC, Puscifer).
Both of you seem to be multi-instrumentalists, just what can each of you play?
Gustav: I play bass, guitar and I sing in Toxycane. Me and Vassili write everything together. I’ve also learned to master the flute, wood recorder and triangle, so we’ll see if we might incorporate those into our metal in the future.
Vassili: I play guitar and I also sing in this project. I can also play drums and piano. Since I have a bachelor’s degree in Sound and Music Production, I record, mix and master everything in my home studio. And while I’m the “sound dude” in Toxycane, Gustav is definitely the “video guy”. He comes up with all the wacky music video ideas.
In your videos it looks like you’re having a lot of fun, do you think that’s something missing from a lot of bands intent on being successful at all costs”?
We think that there are way too many bands and artists out there that take themselves way too seriously. People too. If you want to stick out and evolve both as a band and as a human being, you need to be self-distant at least from time to time and be able to laugh at yourself occasionally. We have pretty serious goals and the lyrics are serious as well, but we just like to serve our music and our ideas with a lot of humour on the side. We try to have as much fun as we can and we believe that an important or provoking subject can be accepted and processed much easier if you use humour.
Lectic is your latest video, it literally looks like you went nuts! How much fun did you have doing that, and how much of it was “spur of the moment, what if I did this…?”
Oh, we had lots of fun! It started out as a pretty serious idea, where we first were planning to be “cool”, but as we started filming, we realized how silly and stereotypically metal we looked. Two dudes with long-hair, playing metal, by a rusty gate, on an abandoned railway track in the middle of the forest. “Cool” wasn’t even in the same city at that point, so we just kept the camera rolling and went bananas for 20 minutes instead.
Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your EP “Everything’s ok”? Do you have any personal favourites on it and why those?
The EP is about questioning the norm, the society, the trends and, of course, the government. We know, so original, right? There is also some pondering and philosophizing about where the line between sanity and insanity really is. All this wrapped in satiric cynicism, contradictions and spiced with humour.
For example, there are several food metaphors about life among all the confusing lyrical chaos in “Beans”. Then there is an encouragement during the calm bit in the middle: “An open eye, doesn’t need the other eyes to see and do what’s right”. The name of the third track on our EP – “Lectic” is a word that we made up, along with its definition: a person, who knows the ultimate truth about everything in life and has access to all the knowledge in the universe, but because of that he/she is being perceived as crazy by the others. The song is written around that concept.
The song “Beacons” is mainly about wanting to leave this planet, because of how our species has damaged it, almost beyond repair at this point. The title of the EP comes from the ironic lines of the chorus: “Calm down, everything’s ok, we just need a new home…”. Since the song is a brutal metal song with a lot of screaming, the line “calm, down, everything’s ok” is really contradictory and out of place. We’ve formed the lyrics so that they can also be perceived as a sexually confusing experience. On the rebellious song “Studs”, Gustav reads the definition of the word terrorism during a jazz bridge, in the middle of a metal song.
We really want people to be able to listen to our songs many times and discover new things, different meanings and hidden Easter eggs and references that we’ve incorporated in our lyrics. And we like all our songs!
Who did you work with in producing “Everything’s ok”?
We had a very clear idea about what we wanted, so we composed and wrote everything ourselves. Most of the lyrics for the song “Beacons” were actually written by a close friend, Sebastian Kjelsson, who can also be heard on a telephone recording we used in the song. Vassili mixed and mastered everything and we filmed and edited all our music videos on our own as well.
What so far has been the biggest challenges for Toxycane and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is to reach out to people. People are lazy and their attention span seems to be too short to watch a three-minute video and share it if they liked it. We will just keep on writing thought-provoking material, creating even more strange music videos and just doing what we feel like doing, while spamming people on social media.
What have you got planned for Toxycane over the coming year?
At the end of this year a full-length album will be released. Our plan is also to create a music video for every song we make, something that we’ve stuck to so far. In the near future we want to find other musicians who want to help us take this freak show on the road.