DH: As a begin could you please tell me a little bit about you and your artistically development. How did XP8 start out? Which members are involved in the project?
Three friends with a common interest. No one person makes XP8, and XP8 is incomplete without any one of us. We make the music together, I write the words and sing, Marko and Marco are trained sound engineers. One English guy and two Italians but this group is not tied to any one country.
DH: Your music sounds to me as a combination of electro, future pop and 80`s stuff. Am I right? Why did you decide to make such kind of music?
I grew up listening to music in the eighties. That influence is permanent. I love technology, electronic music was the only hope as I’m not a trained musician (unlike the other two). What I do is purely down to inspiration, experimentation and because at the end of the day, I do what I like and if I like it, I do it.
DH: Your debut album is called "Forgive". Can you tell something about the release. Where did you record the album and how long did it take to record it? How did you get the deal with Black Flames?
Black Flames came about when they got in touch with us. Marko and I had a group called Retina for about 8 years without ever bothering to record even a demo. When I say I do this for fun and not for fame I am not kidding. Without Marco coming into the fold we’d still be there doing music at home, performing once every 4 months and nothing more. With XP8 we started promoting our stuff and it took off. ForgiveN is a photograph of how XP8 began and grew in the first year and a half of our existence. It was then re-released. The whole process took much longer than we wanted but destiny took its course.
DH: Very dark futuristic pictures one can see on the cover of the CD. Why did you decide to choose such pictures? Has the content of the pictures something to do with your music?
The words talk about some not so good experiences that I just about survived when we started XP8. It isn’t a secret to say they all involve myself and the devastating highs and destructive lows of a relationship I was going through. That made it obvious to put a female on the cover. The idea was to have a human form which suggested female, but we wanted to give our graphic artist free reign with his artwork and this is what he came up with. I stand by it.
DH: What is lyrical content of your music? About what topics do you sing and how do get the idea for a song? Tell us something about the process writing a song.
ForgiveN was the first time I’d seriously sat down and tried to write songs. In the past I’d “played” at it, taking inspiration from books, films and other people’s ideas. This time I looked inside me and how I was feeling and the words just came out. Each song is a photograph of what I was living at a point in time. More recently I take inspiration from something that I live and then I take it one step further. Other times I’ve been inspired by something I’ve read, but even when I write a song about a physics theory of gravitational pull it’s still a metaphor for what I feel inside.
DH: To me, "Forgive" has a very dark atmosphere. In which environment do you live that this produces such an atmosphere? Is your music a reflection of your life?
If we talk about the words then for me, Paul, yes. They were totally about what I was experiencing, for better or for worse. The music inevitably reflects what we are listening to, what we like, how we feel.
DH: How do you get the idea of a remix EP? How do you get in contact with a all the remixers involved in the new project?
Collaborating with other artists is a good way to communicate and participate in a “scene”. Either we work as individuals and maintain isolation or we make contact with others who seem to share something in common. When you find friends in a city with the same interests you can create a group, if they live in another city (or thanks to the internet and technology you can find like-minded souls who live on the other side of the globe) instinctively most of us want to communicate with them too. Maybe we want to compare, compete, contrast and / or collaborate. Maybe some of us simply want to use each other to promote a scene or a movement, or just to promote ourselves by using a more famous group. Whatever the reason, sooner or later most of us do the remix thing, and once you start doing remixes a network evolves of remixes and collaborations. So then you find yourself with 10 remixes on your hands and you put them out on a CD. Sometimes it might be a commercial exercise, other times a document of work partnerships. The listener makes their own mind up about that. We put out a single with more than ten tracks and 3 different songs so I feel amongst the “just”. If I wanted to have fame and make money on this I’d do what I could to release a remix album featuring VNV Nation, Apoptygma Berzerk, Icon of Coil and then pick some big names who make trance, goth, power noise etc. You don’t need talent, just money.
DH: Your new EP "re-productions" sounds harder to me. How important is it for you that a song can be played in a club? Are you making music for the dancefloor?
We listen to a lot of things, not all of it hard, but we all still enjoy the thrill of being on a dance floor and dancing to a good hard track. Performing live we quickly realised that to make a good show we had to concentrate on the harder, faster tracks. That seeped into our music making process, and now the tracks come out harder. Obviously we have slower tracks, and they will always be present on the album, but live and on compilations the tracks are all dance orientated.
DH: You`re working now for years as a DJ. What do you think the music will sound in the near future? Do you think that electronic music will be played much more in the clubs?
To be played in a club music must make people dance. If it makes females dance then males dance too. A simple and ruthless rule. I love electronic music and always have so that is what I play when I DJ. The “alternative” scene will always go through a cycle of fragmentation and separation which will inevitably be followed by the different splinters reforming in order to gather momentum again. Alternative music becomes big and (relatively) strong so clubs can come into existence which concentrate on just a sub-genre which in turn evolves so much that it either alienates most of its followers or the music becomes so similar to another genre that it self-destructs when it becomes absorbed into an “alien” faction. Once all the splinter groups break down they have to group together again in order to have enough followers to merit existence. Now go back to the beginning.
DH: How important is your work as musicians for yourselves? What do you want to express with your music? In general: Is making music a kind of therapy? What do you think?
I make music with my friends because it is fun. Every now and then I lose that and I have to start again. Suddenly you discover other people like what you do too and that can confuse things. You think you have a duty to entertain, but you are wrong. You have a duty to be honest. That might lose you fame, it might make you alienate but deep down integrity should be a part of your art.
DH: Are you planning to play live in Germany? How do you play your music live on stage? Is it not a problem in general to play electronic based music live on stage?
Live we have worked for the past 3 years on getting a show out there that gets people moving and doesn’t rely on cool visuals and a devastating light show. We’ve made enough progress now to be able to do that, so now we are starting to put together people who can work the visual side of things. I want everything we do be strong enough to stand up on its own. We now have people who can perform as a video artist and light technician. All we need is the funding to get it on the road. Whatever happens though, we have a show that with just the music and a fixed light we can make you move and enjoy.
DH: Which further plans do you have with XP8 in the near future? Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Our next album is in the works and will be produced by Sebastian from Icon of Coil. We have the tracks down, words have been written and in the new year we will be spending all our time in the studio putting it together. In the meantime we have been working like crazy on remixes. In the new year a remix album will be put out by Synthphony Records called “Synthphony Remixed” which is basically a dozen or so groups all remixed by XP8. That has been a really interesting experience, having the opportunity to work on other people’s creativity making it something XP8. Alfa Matrix have asked if they can use “Straight Down” (remixed by Dunkelwerk) for their enormous “Endzeit Bunkertracks” four CD compilation… and also BLC Music already requested us for their fifth instalment of the Interbreeding series
DH: Thank you very much for answering our questions. We wish you good luck and many success. Your last words please:
Honour can only be judged by others, but respect begins within us all.
Interview: Andreas Ohle