X-Calibur : Version X Metal

Throughout the summer, Radio Metal will be allowing upcoming bands to take over with interviews, articles and other of our home-made specialities. On the 19th of July this year, the Swiss band X-Calibur granted us a short interview to promote their album Distorsions, released last year. Gary, the trio’s guitarist, talked about his three year old band and the various mixtures of metal they perform. Indeed, X-Calibur are the living proof that a band can have influences such as Def Leppard, Rammstein and Slayer…

Radio Metal : Your first album is entitled Distorsions. It was self-produced and released at the end of 2009. You are now launching promotion campaigns that are somewhat larger than those in the past. What are your short term objectives?

Gary (guitar) : Our main objectives are to get known outside of Switzerland and to find festivals or venues where we can play. We feel that there might be greater opportunities abroad and obviously in France than at home. Another one of our aims is to find a label that will believe in us and take care of our promotion.

The Distorsions was very well made since when you listen to the album, it is hard to tell the difference between the production of a well-known band and yours, which is only just starting. What was your recording process?

Well we kept it very simple! The drums were recorded in a soundproof space and, Laurent (bass) and I directly into the machine. The vocals were the only part to be recorded separately. We are lucky to have a very good studio in our small village so we took advantage of it. It has to be said that the sound technician is quite exceptional.

Your music puts forward some good and catchy riffs (« Haine ») although they are not as hard as with other artists from the stoner metal scene. How would you define X-Calibur’s songs?

All three of us have some very different musical influences. From Def Leppard to Rammstein or Iron Maiden and then even Slayer! This would explain why our sound is not as heavy yet we have some groovy riffs. The main idea is to kick-ass! We often talk amongst ourselves about the fact that we have our own style and as a joke we call it X-Metal! Otherwise, we describe ourselves as heavy/thrash/metal…

Gary : « Many people have told us to sing in English, however, French is our native language. We think that this will allow us to stand out from the others by doing things this way. »
Linearity is noticeable through Laurent’s jerky way of singing. Would you not have benefited from using vocals that were even more varied to enrich the overall composition? Was it Laurent and your decision to keep an identical sound on all of the tracks?

This is due to the fact that we recorded the album in the space of only four days. Therefore, we were not able to spend a lot of time concentrating on the vocals. This was also our first time in a real studio, so there was a lot of stress and anxiety being felt. When we were rehearsing, Laurent would sing completely differently and it adds a lot more than in the versions on our album. As for the lyrics, it all depends on what comes to us at the time and we do take current events into consideration. Since war has been a reoccurring theme recently, it is normal that we should write about it. The same goes for the theme of death.

Laurent’s vocal tone is clearly close to the French rock scene, notably in tracks such as « On Ir » or « Avec Toi ». Do you feel that you are close to this music genre or do you think it comes from the fact that you sing in French?

I think that this is overall related to the fact that we sing in France… Many people have told us to sing in English, however, French is our native language. We think that this will allow us to stand out from the others by doing things this way.

You made a music video for the song “Dernier Voyage”. Do you think that it is a good summary of the album and if so, was it the reason you made the video?

It is true that it could be said that it is a summary of our album, however, we chose the song “Dernier Voyage” in order to stop always using the same tracks… “Apocalypse”, “Haine” and “From The Dark” are already on all of our internet pages. We needed to choose a new song.

The music video has a « true metal » side to it when we see you in the shadows while the images play in the background. Did you work with professionals when making the video or did you make it yourselves like the album?

Everything was self-produced! Laurent is passionate about making video montages and we trust him 100 per cent. He always has good ideas and since we are not really rich, we might as well make the most of it. A new video is in construction at the moment and will be online very soon on our website and our MySpace. This time the video will be a live act filmed in our rehearsal space. .

Will we get the chance to see you on the road? Do you have any gigs lined up?

Unfortunately we don’t. We haven’t got anything planned near you or near us! It’s hard to convince concert organisers with the proliferation of bands.

Last question. You are Swiss: is this a difficult thing to live with on a daily basis?

Being Swiss has its advantages and its disadvantages. The same goes for you being French! It really depends on the current events at the time…

Interview conducted by email in July 2010
MySpace X-Calibur : myspace.com/xcaliburmusic

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