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Xe-NONE - interview for Femme Metal

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An interview with Lexydance from Xe-NONE. The latest edition of the Aaltjesrock festival was held at October 31, 2009 (at Halloween) and I was there for two bands, Hysterica and Battlelore. Crematory turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments of 2009 (Amon Amarth was the other one) and the rest of the bands did a nice job but could not really impress me. One of those other bands I saw there was Xe-NONE from Russia. They were a big surprise for me. I mean, Metal and House music?

Time for an interview!

This is an interview with Lexy Dance, the male singer of the band.

Some questions about you:

While some artists give themselves brutal names like Nergal (Behemoth) or Legion (Marduk) you call yourself Lexy Dance. Why do you call yourself Lexy Dance and what is your real name?
I didn’t have any intention to pick up a brutal nickname from the beginning, ‘cos I’m not that brutal in real life. Not true’n’evil at all, you know. Lexy is just a shorten variant of my real name Alexey and the Dance part means that I just like dancing. Actually I was tempted to pick up LexySex, but it would sound too trivial, right?

Did you always wanted to become a singer?

Nope. After the first time seeing Lemmy from Motorhead, I really wanted to become a bass player. Alas, I failed, so there was nothing left for me but to grab a mike and start, hm, singing.
To what kind of music do you listen yourself and what are your favourite bands?
Well, I listen to various kinds of music. Depends on what mood I’m in. But what I’ll never be tired of till death is good old metal stuff. Bands like Motorhead, Slayer, Pantera, Fear Factory, Danzig – I’ve grown up with this music and I still like listening to it. And of course I like good old eurodance music like 2 Unlimited, Capella, Scooter. Apart from that, there are two bands which had a particularly big impact on the sound of Xe-NONE, and these are The Kovenant and The Prodigy.

Did you have any other bands before Xe-NONE and / or are you active in any other bands right now?

Yes, allXe-NONEmembershave experience of playing in some other local bands, all stylistically diverse. EvilAnn, for instance, participated in two bands: one playing a sympho metal stuff similar to Nightwish and the other brit-pop. Newman previously played punk and melodic death. As for myself, I had my own dark brutal punk project. Now we don't have enough time for any side projects and actually we don’t feel any need to have one.
Is it difficult to combine Xe-NONE with your personal life?
Sure, it’s quite difficult. And not only for me. Other members have jobs, families, girlfriends and stuff. But Xe-NONE is what keeps us together and we put our hearts in it, so I can say we manage to combine making music and personal life.
And is it difficult to be a metal head in Russia these days?
I’d say it’s funny. Actually, ten years ago you could easily get problems for having long hair or simply looking unusual, not like other people around. It was also extremely difficult to get new music. The only way was to make a copy of a tape cassette brought by a friend from Moscow. Anyone who owned issues of Rock Hard or Metal Hammer was automatically treated as a kind of Emperor or a God by his metal friend. Now the situation changed for better. Local people got used to metalheads. You can easily get a CD via the Internet, it’s now just a matter of time and money. Moreover, the Internet makes it possible to be up-to-date about the news in the world of music.
What are your other passions besides music?
I like rest actively, be it going to disco after a week of hard work or just a cool party out of town. Unfortunately, good metal gigs are not that often in our city, that’s why going to nuclear eurodance parties is the only thing that helps me to survive. I also like go out of town on weekends. You know, barbeque, open air parties, Russian sauna and stuff like that. From time to time I visit a fitness center to keep myself in a good shape. Thanks to Glen Danzig – it was him who promoted a love of pumping iron for me.

About Xe-NONE

How did Xe-NONE end up at the Aaltjesrock Festival? Were you invited by the organisation?
Yes. In the beginning of 2009 Sander (the head of Noord Geldersch Metaal) invited us to play at the festival. For us, a band from a Russian province, it was like wow, like out of a clear sky, so we immediately agreed. Sander worked flawlessly as an organizer and we all would like to thank him for that once again. Our journey passed like in one breath – flight Moscow – Amsterdam, a ride through small Dutch towns, a concert together with such cool bands as Battlelore and Crematory. Everything was just fantastic! And, of course, we are glad that people there didn’t treat us like, you know, stereotypically - oh Russians, bears with balalajkas! Though, I must confess, we took a pair of bears with us but they didn’t pass the customs.

What is the idea behind the name of the band? Because Xe-NONE is a pretty unusual name for a band.

The name Xe-NONE is the result of a three hour brainstorming. It’s a hybrid combination of the Latin "Xenos" meaning "alien" and the English "none". For us it means that we are working in a music style that has not been fully established and at the same time is quite different from the existing music trends.
Like the band name, the music is also a rather strange combination of metal and house music. What gave you the idea to do this instead of the good old EBM / Industrial take on metal?
The main idea behind our music is to create a viable hybrid of industrial metal and modern dance music. That’s why we don’t want to limit ourselves to already existing trends and conventions. We are just experimenting, actively mixing drive that comes from metal with positive energy of the dance music


 And how would you describe your music?

We describe it as Dance Metal. Earlier we also added ‘Industrial’ to it but some true-industrial fans were constantly complaining that we don’t sound similar to Einsturzende Neubauten or Throbbing Gristle. So we decided not to piss them off, hehe. Moreover, Dance metal just perfectly refers to what we are actually doing.

To what kind of audience are you aiming? I think Xe-NONE is too metal for true Dance fans and too Dance for old skool Metal lovers, although Industrial fans will love it.

Well, I think it doesn’t matter what kind of music one is fan of. Our concerts and tour activity have proved that our music appeals to people of different music tastes. We easily fit with stylistically diverse bands playing metal, gothic, industrial, alternative… We just follow the main rule – always be honest to your audience and do what you can do at your full capacity.
I think that is what the audience immediately feels and appreciates at the first place. It’s important for everyone to see and hear that a band on the stage not just doing some routine gig for money, but is really working for every person in the place. So I believe that getting positive impressions from our performance is not always depending on whether we fit the music tastes of a particular person or not.
About song writing, is there one mastermind behind the music in Xe-NONE or is this teamwork?
Main song ideas are coming from Newman. So one can say that Newman for us is like Liam Howlett in The Prodigy or Xy in Samael. He develops the main conception of a track, harmonics, structure, and after that the other members make all the necessary arrangements. I do recording, mixing and mastering. And of course shout something inaudible into the mike hehe
Can you introduce us to the other members of Xe-NONE?
Sure, with pleasure. EvilAnn – female vocal. A beauty, a sportswoman and of course a member of the Communist party (joking). She’s with us since the very beginning. When we were looking for band members, EvilAnn was the only and unquestionable candidate for a female singer. She likes good music with female vocals and is also fond of ice-hole swimming – just for fun hehe
Newman - synths and samples. As I already mentioned, he’s the mastermind of our songwriting. The experience he gained over years and a good setup help him to realize his musical ideas better and better. Apart from songwriting, he like designing, video gaming, and also likes to sleep.
Fucker – guitar, is with us since 2006. He’s a very calm and quiet person in life. When recording in a studio, he becomes a very hairsplitting person. Moreover, he makes me happy with his almost sequencer-like precision when he’s playing live.
Push – drums, is with us since 2008. He’s really a crazy person. His favorite hobbies are playing drums and extreme biking. Last year he managed to break his right leg when biking and now has a steel thing in there. Therefore now I suppress all his attempts to ride a bike again.
Your latest EP was focused on the Dance parts of your music. Will the new Xe-NONE work be more Metal oriented?
Well, usually, we don’t have any idea what the final result of our creative process will be. When we worked on our debut "Dance Metal [Rave]olution", we had some technical problems during the recording session and therefore the result wasn’t the way we wanted it to be. But as the time goes on, we are getting more experienced, and we can say for sure now that the guitar sound on our new album will be much more massive and metal. Moreover, some tracks will sound more dramatic and the final track is gonna be a real sympho black epic. At the same time, it will feature our trademark tracks, as we call them 666% Dance Metal Hits. So, for now I can tell you one thing – the new album won’t sound one long song!
Personally I did listen to some Dance music during the early nineties (like 2 Unlimited, Moby or Quasar to name a few) so I know what inspired Xe-NONE but I do not like the today’s Dance at all. What do you think of the current Dance scene?
Well, I think that it’s not the best days for the Dance scene today. Way too many projects that look and sound like clones of each other having hits just for one day only. The modern dance scene lacks drive and positive vibrations. Guess I’m not the only one who noticed that in 90% of cases when there appears a real dance hit in charts, it turns out to be a remix of some old hit.
Unfortunately, although we witness a steady development of new sound recording technologies and new musical instruments that sound so cool as nothing else before, it doesn’t give us any project yet that can compete with, say, 2 Unlimited – a band whose songs are still exploding any dance floor right from the first seconds. Among the modern dance hit makers I can recommend only David Guetta with a perfect album Pop Life – just great music for a Friday night. And also I feel happy that the heroes of my youth – The Prodigy and Scooter – are still alive and not losing ground so far.
What are the highlights for you with Xe-NONE?
Well, I think it’s too early to talk about any real highlights. We have some achievements like gigs with Hanzel Und Gretyl in Moscow or with Grave and Dismember in St-Petersburg or like this first concert abroad in Europe at Aaltjesrock 2009. But I wouldn’t call it highlights. I hope that the real highlights are yet to come!
And what are your favourite Xe-NONE songs?
Actually, it’s difficult to say. As for me I like performing almost all our songs. Maybe, it’s "Playstation" that I like doing on stage a little bit more, cos there’s some punk feeling in it, you know. And, probably, "Hell Awaits", for it’s our tribute to the great sympho-black stuff of the mid90s. I guess that my favorite song will be the one we will top the Billboard charts with!
What are Xe-NONE’s plans for the future?
Working, working and again working. We got lots of ideas, therefore we will continue to write new songs, record new albums and play live as long as we feel it’s interesting for people. In March we are releasing a new single and our second full-length album is due somewhere around the end of spring. And of course we are going to play live shows wherever we are asked for, ‘cos there’s nothing like a concert in front of people who are interested in you!
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Oh, I don’t even know what to say. The interview has turned out to be very informative. Thanks for good questions. As for listeners, I wish them to listen to more good music of various kinds, face the future with optimism and give each other some positive vibrations! Peace! And hope to see you on our concerts!

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