Interviews: Xeno

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Metal band Xeno from the Netherlands. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Xeno means stranger in Ancient-Greek, and we thought it would be a great name for us when we underwent a lineup and style change from Semiazas. As you can imagine, we also wanted a name that was catchier and easier to remember. Also, instead of black metal, we wanted to explore the more niche genres that metal has to offer, to find something ‘rare’ or ‘strange’. Therefore, we found the name ‘stranger’ or ‘Xeno’ to be a cool translation.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

All of us have a massive love for music in general, specifically metal, and especially for progressive bands. Most of us like similar bands or acts, with the personal exceptions in taste left out of the equation. Progressive metal for us means freedom in writing, and creating while keeping our roots intact. We are a metal band first and foremost, but with this ‘label’ we get the freedom to do whatever we want besides metal. And that is wonderful for us, as we all write and bring different things to the table, and have quite a varied interest in music.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Since the band was formed, we have undergone multiple lineup changes. Most of us grew up in Middelburg, and because it is a rather small community, most of us already knew each other from the local metal scene. Two of us, Vincent and Edwin, did not know anyone until they joined, however, Edwin knew Vincent from his studies in Amsterdam. 

4. Each band member's favorite band?

As it changes a lot, we decided to list bands we are listening to a lot at the moment:

Ruben: One Hundred Thousand

Jasper: Leprous

Sean: Plini

Lars: Tesseract

Vincent: Ali Farka Touré

Edwin: Slice The Cake

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Inspiration tends to strike randomly. Most of the time, one of us has an idea or riff or rhythm, and they work it out by themselves, record it, and send it as an idea or theme. If we all like it, we start writing together. Often it is a cascade of inspiration: someone writes a piece, which inspires another to write something to that piece of music, which in turn inspires someone else to do something extra, etc. So actually, we inspire each other more often than not.

6. Where was your last gig?

Our last gig was in Eibergen, with our friends from Radeloos///Ziedend. This was a special gig because our ex-guitarist, Daniel de Coninck-Cadot, is in this band. Of course, we miss each other sorely from time to time, and playing this gig was a great experience to see how we all are developing while supporting each other. Obviously, we enjoyed some refreshments together afterward!

7. Where would you like to act?

We would love to play at some festivals next summer, to play in front of a big crowd. Something like Graspop Metal Meeting would be huge for us! But mostly we just want to play, we don’t really care where or with whom. We are happiest when we are performing live.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

A band like Persefone or Opeth would be a great fit for us. We look up to these bands immensely, and they have inspired us greatly to create our music. It would be an honor to share the stage with them.

9. Whom not?

Marco Borsato and/or Ali B

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Have we? Yes, all the time. Some of us have it more than others, but man that stage is scary sometimes. You know you have to play the best you can and that the crowd is watching your every move, and especially during solos or difficult songs, it can be really frightening. But it passes once you play the first note, and you feel the vibrations of your music, see the twinkle in the eyes of the crowd, and you just feel like you’re on top of the world. Nothing beats that feeling, and it’s even better when you share it with your brothers. How to beat it? Be prepared. Preparation is the key to a relaxed feeling on stage. Of course, the nerves never really go away, but you can deal with them a lot better if you have faith in the preparations you made.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Opeth, Periphery, Tesseract, Haken, Leprous, Persefone, Lamb of God, Porcupine Tree, Between The Buried, and Me to name a few. The list is rather comprehensive!! Also, quite a few genres are not categorized as metal. The words ‘singer-songwriter’, ‘jazz’, and ‘dubstep’ spring to mind.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Nothing too weird to be honest, we're probably weirder than our fans! It might even be a good thing that we don’t live too close together... However, ahem, we may have a funny story: in the early days, we always took a trophy from the place where we performed. Mostly something innocent, but one time we went home with a toilet seat. Don't know where it is now though, but it definitely was a night to (not) remember (clearly).

13. What do you think of your fans?

We love every fan! It’s a very special thing if someone else enjoys something you created. A very pure feeling of connection and understanding toward one other, and even if you are different in every way, it can bring a connection to people who never had that before. Any fan is a friend of ours!

13. What do you think of our site?

It’s a cool concept: the track-by-track is a really nice feature that we haven’t really seen before. Also, the layout is well put together. We love that it gives the listener a chance for some inside information about every track. Of course, some mystery must always remain, but it is nice to be able to explain our own thought process for those who want to know more per track

15. Something to add?

Thanks so much for your time and interest in us, we really appreciate it! We hope you check out our latest release, and perhaps we will see each other at a show sometime in the future. Stay healthy and happy! Big hugs, Xeno

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