Friday, September 23, 2011
This up-and-coming band is one that you should look out for, because they're about to take over! With lead vocalist Jason Kloos, guitarist Ross Medico, bassist Joe Gigante, keyboardist Matt Hulse, and drummer Brian Maldonado, TOXIN has opened for the likes of Bret Michaels, Sebastian Bach, and Twisted Sister. They just released their debut album, Skindependence, which features an intro by the one and only Dee Snider.
I recently talked with Jason, and here's what he had to say:
FRONT PAIGE METAL NEWS: For people who haven't heard of TOXIN, why don't you introduce the band.
JASON: I'm Jason, and I'm the lead singer of TOXIN. I am 17 right now; I'll be 18 in February. Matt Hulse is on keyboards; he's the same age as me. Ross and Joe- Ross is lead guitar, Joe is on bass guitar, and they are both 19. Well, Joe's gonna be 19. And Brian is 18, and he's our drummer.
FPMN: How did the band start?
JASON: Wow, a long time ago. Me and Matt- we met in middle school actually. He played the keyboards, and I was always the singer. We wanted to kind of put together the band that we wanted to always go see. We wanted to put the band together that we never got to see live. So, that was our main goal. It took us a really long time to find the right members, and we were switching around for a long time. Eventually we found Joe, and Joe introduced us to Ross, and ya know, through the way we found Brian. And here we are today.
FPMN: How did you first get started in music?
JASON: Well, I've been singing always- since I was little. And I was in a couple bands before that, when I was really young, and that's really it. I always wanted to be- I knew since I was little. I grew up in like a rock n' roll sort of family, so I knew that I kinda wanted to go into that field. I wanted to be in a rock band. I started out playing drums. Either way, I became a singer. I wanted to be up front (laughs).
FPMN: Who are your biggest influences?
JASON: Personally, for me, I grew up listening to a lot of like KISS and Aerosmith and Van Halen, Def Leppard. All like the 80s hair metal, ya know, all the stuff like that. But I know everyone in the band, we all sort of have different influences. Like Ross, our guitar player, he's into heavy stuff like Pantera, Metallica, and Joe loves like 70s and 60s music, and Brian loves a lot of pop stuff from today, and Matt, I know Matt is into like Elton John, Billy Joel, ya know, piano player stuff. So when you kind of throw all of our stuff together, all of our influences together, I guess that kind of makes our sound and what's unique about it.
FPMN: How do you guys describe your style?
JASON: It's 80s rock, it's a bit 80s hair metal-ish with a new, pop twist to it.
FPMN: I just got the album, and it sounds great. It's so cool that you had Dee Snider in the opening!
JASON: Thank you very much. Thanks. We actually became really close with the guys in Twisted Sister, because that was last summer. We went on tour with Twisted Sister. We went to Germany with them, Kansas, Oklahoma. We went to Florida with them. We did a whole bunch of shows with them. The guys in the band treat us amazing, ya know? We're like family to them. So it's awesome. It's really cool to be close to them, and Dee was willing to come in and throw a track down on the record, which is insane. It's really cool. It was a great opener to the record.
FPMN: So you've opened for not only Twisted Sister but also Bret Michaels. How have their audiences been reacting to your music?
JASON: Well, the Twisted shows were amazing. One of them was in Germany at the Bang Your Head Festival, and that kind of kicked off our summer. And the crowd was just incredible! It's weird because, obviously, we're all from New York, and there's such a difference between the crowds. In New York you have to work really hard, and that's kind of what make us us when it comes to our performances. We love to work hard, and we love to get everybody on their feet and having a good time. But we went to Germany, and there was not a single person sitting. Everyone was there for the music, and everyone was there for the show. And that was just- that was an awesome opener to our summer. And then the Bret shows are like our favorite shows to play because of his crowd. They're just, they're perfect. It's a party crowd, and they just love to have fun. And also, after every Bret Michaels show, we always do a meet and greet after. We hang out by our merch booth and meet everyone and talk to everyone. It's really fun, and it's cool to meet people. We also became really close with Bret Michaels Band and Bret throughout that whole thing.
FPMN: What are your goals for TOXIN?
JASON: Well, we do wanna get signed. I'd say we would love to get signed, and we'd love to be touring. We hope to eventually be playing arenas. Ya know, as long as we're out playing and people are loving the music, we're gonna be happy. Because that's why we started, and that's what we wanna do.
FPMN: Do you have any more plans to tour?
JASON: Yeah, it's not really a tour, but we do have a date with Bret Michaels on November 10th at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I hear that a couple more hopefully will be lined up. So, we're definitely gonna go out with Bret, and we're planning big things for December. We might be doing a Christmas show. So there's a lot of stuff in the works right now for this year. We're excited about this year.
FPMN: I would love to see you guys again. You were amazing when you opened for Sebastian Bach. It was great to see the audience so into the show. That doesn't always happen with opening bands.
JASON: Thank you. We had such a fun night that night. That was really cool. Well, we'd never opened for Sebastian before, and again we got to hang out with his band. We got to speak with him, and it was really cool. It was really cool- and to meet people again. That's our favorite part- meeting people after the show. That's like the New York in us. When we go onstage, it's so engrained in us that we better work to get this crowd to have fun. We have to work to get this crowd up on their feet and singing and having fun. We love to do that. And again, we love to meet everyone after the show. We're very thankful for everyone who supports us.
FPMN: You've already opened for Bret Michaels, Twisted Sister, and Sebastian Bach. What other artists do you hope to work with?
JASON: Really anyone who's willing to work with us, ya know, anyone who's willing to try and push us to the next level. But on Skindependence, our new record, we got to work with Pete Evick, and he is Bret Michaels' guitar player. He produced our track "Party". So, that was like awesome. We recorded half here in New York at Diamond Drop Studios, and then we actually went to Virginia and recorded the other half with him. He produced it, and it came out awesome. It's one of my favorite tracks on the record.
FPMN: I really love the whole sound of the entire record. What was the recording process like?
JASON: It took us about a year to record everything and pick out the artwork and pick out which songs we were gonna put onto the album. So, it took us about a year. We've been really excited about putting out this album, because some of these songs we've been playing since we started writing music, and to finally get them on a record and have people buy it and listen to it, it's really cool for us. This is our roots, and this is where we're starting. Each song has a different meaning. The whole record is about being yourself and the way you express yourself, and that's why it's called Skindependence.
FPMN: I see that you write all of the lyrics yourself. Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
JASON: It's a little bit of everything. It's a little bit of rejection. It's a little bit of happiness. It depends on what you're going through at the time- what I'm going through at the time. Like the song "I Am" I wrote a really, really long time ago, and I brought it down to the guys, and everybody just kinda rolled with it. We loved it because it's a song about being yourself and sticking to your guns no matter what other people say, no matter who puts you down. Being in a band that's kinda doing something different, people are always going to look to put you down. Thankfully, we have so many supportive fans who are always commenting amazing things on our Facebook, and on our YouTube videos. It's just so cool to have everyone's support.
FPMN: I've also seen the things people have posted online, and they are all really impressed with TOXIN.
JASON: That's another one of my favorite things to do- to go on the internet and read the comments on Facebook, and we're always responding to everyone, ya know? Because if people are gonna take the time to talk about us and thank us, then obviously we're gonna write back.
FPMN: What advice do you have for other people who want to do what you guys are doing?
JASON: I would say, what I've been saying a lot, is just stick to your guns. Don't necessarily listen to what everyone has to say. Everybody has that inner rockstar inside of them. Everybody has that passion and that dream, and if you work hard enough, then dreams really can come true. I mean, opening up for Bret Michaels in front of 3,000 people? That's like a dream come true for me.
You can check out TOXIN at www.toxinrocks.com Be sure to "Like" them on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter. Also, you can buy their album here.