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Xm-3a Interview

Catherine May


Xm-3a are anything but average; They’re known for their long tracks, multi-instrumental metal and ‘Vinyl-only’ stance within the industry. Here at More Than The Music we were keen to learn more about the band, so caught up with them to discuss their new album.

MTTM: Bad Robot Man is nine minutes and nineteen seconds long, how do you find the stamina to perform one song for that long?

Xm-3a: Well we’ve had to cut down on the headbanging to stop our brains turning to mush, and you do have to remember to go for a piss before you hit the stage, but remembering it all is a bit of a bugger actually, especially for our drummer who seems to have short term memory loss due to years of bodily abuse by drink, drugs and listening to Level 42 albums. As all our songs are pretty long, 8 to 10 mins as it happens, and we can only really do about 3 of them live due to time constraints, the riffs just keep you going. Better than sex? Well not really.

MTTM: The single was named as Artrocker’s Single of the Month, does great praise like this from the critics fuel you to try and achieve the same success with your next release?

Xm-3a: It’s great when you see that people get what we’re doing. We do feel that we’re definitely out on a limb musically with the long slow songs and all, but it’s our sound and it’s what we do. There’s no point in compromising and trying to tailor things to what you think people might like, live and die by the sword we say. The next release will be another no compromise. Our album will be long, slow, doomy, psychedelic, riffy and heavy – It won’t be a pop record for sure. To be honest I thought we’d get a mighty slagging, but it doesn’t quite seem to be turning out that way. I definitely think heavy music is on its way back.

MTTM: Your forthcoming double album is a ‘Vinyl-Only’ release as was the case with Bad Robot Man, what’s your reasoning behind this?

Xm-3a: Well vinyl records are things of beauty and a joy to behold, you really feel that you have something, an artefact. The double album is a double because of the length of songs, there are only 8 tracks all housed in a lavish gatefold sleeve, the artwork is going to be done by one of the top sci-fi illustrators working today and we want it to look special, a must have thing. The idea is to listen to the music and stare at the sleeve and immerse yourself in our weird world. You can only do that with a black plastic record. CDs don’t cut it and downloads? Well…

MTTM: With this stance promoting vinyl records, how do you feel about downloads dominating the market?

Xm-3a: Downloads are obviously the way most people access stuff nowadays so you can’t ignore it (although we do). Records sound better anyway and we also don’t like the way you can cherry-pick certain tracks. What’s the point of making an album, which is meant to be a total musical statement, then allowing people only to pick bits of it? B******* to that. Buy the vinyl and get a piece of art for your money – then burn it to your computer or whatever if you want.

MTTM: What’s more important in a good song for you: the lyrics or the instrumentals?

Xm-3a: Both. A corking riff always hits the spot, but if you’re doing long songs, then it’s a challenge to make it interesting so we work hard on the instrumental sections without making it sound like ‘Yes’ and if there’s a catchy chorus that can’t be bad too. Our album is a bit of a concept piece so the lyrics will be important because it’s a story, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes down.

MTTM: At the end of last year you played at the launch party of New Heavy Sounds Volume 1, what was it like playing alongside White Hills?

Xm-3a: They were a great band, looked great and sounded utterly cosmic. Nice people as well. Fantastic musicians, they really knew how to stretch a song into something quite hypnotic. Those American bands really cut the mustard live and put on a show. A lot of British bands could learn a thing or two from them (including us!) The Americans tend to piss all over us live generally – It’s about time we fought back.

MTTM: If you could tour with any artist who would it be and why?

Xm-3a: Iron Maiden, so we can get to travel in Bruce Dickinson’s jet.

MTTM: With your new release this month, what else does 2011 have in store for you?

Xm-3a: The album is a big thing for us, we’ve been working on it for bleedin’ ages and it’s going to kill us. We also hope to see a few more heavier bands popping up too just so as we can have some more like-minded bands to play with.