Interview: XP8 - "More than just Music"
Date: July 4th, 2013
Interview by: Phil Bruce
Since 2001 XP8 have been a band that has constantly been on the edge and hitting us with perfect EBM beats. 2013 sees the release of Adrenochrome which a lot of people are hailing as the best XP8 album ever to be released. Adrenochrome is more than just music, there is a story behind it to, to which the album follows. So what happened when Grave Concerns Ezine caught up with XP8? Read on and enjoy.
Phill – Thank you for giving Grave Concerns Ezine this interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourselves?
MARKO - XP8 officially started in 2001, back then it was three of us, with Paul on vocal duties. We got the ball rolling with a couple of self releases and then got the attention of Infacted Recordings with our second full length, Hrs:Min:Sec.
With this album and the exposure that followed, we got to play round Europe quite a bit and that sort of caused the 2007 split, when Paul left the band and I stepped up to the mic, so to speak.
Since then we went on as a duo, producing The Art of Revenge, Drop The Mask, X: A Decade of Decadence and just recently Adrenochrome, our latest album.
Phill – Adrenochrome is just being released, what makes it different to all other XP8 albums from the past?
MARKO – Adrenochrome is a proper concept album, is based around a novel that I wrote back in the 90’s of the same title. We decided to use its 11 chapters as musical inspiration and to provide the lyrical content for the 11 songs that constitute the album, as well as setting the tone for the soundscapes that we created to link the songs.
Phill – What are you most proud of about Adrenochrome?
MARKO – The sound. Even though our mixes are far from perfect, I am really happy with the way our technical skills are progressing; it’s encouraging.
Coming up with lyrics for this one was also a bit of a challenge, I usually give me free rein when writing them, but this time around I not only had themes laid out for me, but actually words and phrases that needed to be sung. But I am quite happy with the results.
Phill - Adrenochrome does have elements of previous XP8 releases, do you feel that it is your defining work? If so what makes it the definition of XP8’s works?
MARKO – Hmm, difficult to say. I agree that Adrenochrome kind of encapsulate what XP8 are about sound wise. We have always tried to produce stuff that is highly danceable but still has a song type structure, you know, verse + chorus + verse + break + chorus, and maybe this time around we got it just right ;)
Phill – Why did you decide to revise your novel and put music to it?
MARKO – I don’t recall exactly how that came along, but it must have to do with the fact that the story takes place in a future post 3rd dip recession London, and we thought it was fitting since both Marco and I are now living in this city. Basically as soon as the first draft of idea came along, we found so many angles in which we could use the story to create an environment for the production AND promotion of the album that it was too good to let go.
Phill – Adrenochrome is possibly the last XP8 release, what song of you back catalogue do you think you will be most remembered for?
MARCO – No way Phill, we’re not going anywhere. We only just planted the seed for what is going to be our next full-length release, which should surface possibly early next year.
I don’t know what people will remember us for, if they will at all, I mean people are a fickle bunch aren’t they?
If I could choose I wouldn’t mind being remembered for Burning Down, because it’s been a really important track for us, both for its content and for what it meant as a turning point in our production techniques.
Phill – In some ways we have seen resurgence in the alternative scene but some people feel it is dying. How do you feel the music and scene needs to evolve to survive?
MARCO – By evolving. That’s the only thing it has to do, really, but so many people try very hard to stay put both sonically and aesthetically… such a stupid attitude.
I like pure dance music because it’s such a pressure cooker kind of environment: everybody is desperately trying to one-up each other, every producer tries to find something new, fresh, something to grab the listeners’ attention. Obviously you do that while also keeping both feet firmly rooted in something familiar that punters can relate to, but still, you need to experiment and look for fresh influences and sounds.
Phill – What has been the highest point of being part of XP8?
MARKO – so far? I think reaching our set goal for the Indiegogo campaign in 24 hours. It was an inspiring and extremely encouraging moment for me.
Phill – You recently announced that XP8 wouldn’t be touring much due to hard times, what was the response from your fans?
MARKO – Pretty much every one understood the reasons behind the choice and were very supportive and all. It’s sad, but it’s a reality we can’t escape.
Phill – Italy has some great bands including XP8, do you feel you have had to overcome many barriers as a band coming from Italy?
MARCO – One big problem with Italy is its geography, silly uh? But it’s true, it’s very complicated and expensive to move up and down the fucking peninsula, making touring not really feasible for alternative acts.
This has created a network of mostly amateurs working the scene. I say amateurs with the utmost respect, because most of these people deeply love the music and the artists, but it meant that the scene has never had the possibility to grow and command any real market.
So, being part of the Italian scene, it’s quite easy to be dismissed as wannabe and not being taken seriously.
Phill – Who would you consider has been your biggest musical influence?
MARCO – Coil, Current 93, The Cure, Katatonia and TOOL – that is, bands that have nothing to do with dance music, really. But those are the sounds I grew up with, and those who helped shape my world view.
Phill – There are a lot of great bands about, do you feel there are any lesser known bands that deserve a mention and why?
MARCO – The sad fact here is that most of the “great bands about” are in fact great only due to the fact of being lucky to be at the right time at the right place, to know the right promoters, and so on. I really have been feeling for some years now that the best of industrial-ebm-futurepop-whatever is not found on the bills of the big German festivals but playing small venues to a handful of people… only because no one is investing in them. If I have to go out and name names, I’d go for the likes of Nitro/Noise, Dreams Divide, The .Invalid among the total newcomers. But to be fair even bands at the “XP8 level” are still hardly known: the Modulates, the Surgyns, the Uberbytes, pretty much everyone who doesn’t play Amphi or WGT every other year. Those are the ones who deserve real attention.
"Click on the banner to listen to the album on Bandcamp"
Take a Listen to XP8: "Information"
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