Photo by Bailey Ann Gottlieb
Interview by Patrick Chappelle
Occasionally, the boundaries of metal are tested and stretched beyond the confines of what its fans find acceptable, by bands bands who seek to create something distinctive. Such efforts by artists who lack percipience or talent to make it happen, result in abominable recordings that often spell the demise of these bands. Canadian blackened death metal band Xul appear to possess more perspicacity and proficiency than artists twice their years in age. They are artists in the true sense of the word, as evidenced by their outstanding debut, Malignance.
Hailing from Vernon, British Columbia, Xul are poised to take the world of metal by storm. There is no denying it.
The first thing I have to ask you is why offer your first album for free? It has to be one of the best debuts I have ever heard.
Technology has come a long way. It doesn’t take a genius to know that being a band today is much different from back in the day. Instead of trading demo tapes through the mail, bands are posting their songs on Bandcamp or SoundCloud, making it accessible to a larger crowd. Although I envy the way bands operated back then, I think the main thing is getting your music out there given the mass amount of media available in this day and age. The whole “pay what you want” deal is the best way to get your music out there. If it’s good, and people like it, they will pay for it. Anything is available on the internet. If people want to get your album for free, they will. Why not facilitate that?
You’ve just put the finishing touches on a new album. When can we expect to hear it, and when is it slated for release?
We’re just finishing up the mastering process. As soon as we get everything together we will start releasing the track listing, and title, as well as album art, and a new single! Hopefully sometime this fall/early winter.
What will be the difference between this album and the last?
With an EP as our choice of medium, the purpose was to expand on Malignance as well as explore our musical limitations within a specific genre. There are songs that lean towards, or are blatantly, black metal and vice versa. The EP will act as a vessel which will gestate into a newly formed, yet familiar, entity that will be brought to the forefront of our second LP.
Who produced your first outing, and who will be on board to produce the new material?
Jeff Bryan from Hadean records produced our first album. We went back with him to record our EP because we wanted to maintain the same level of quality we had on Malignance.
Despite your chosen genre of metal, your particular brand of blackened death metal is refreshingly unique. Was this planned, or was it something that naturally progressed?
We’ve all been friends and jammed together for a really long time. To make a long story short, we initially started XUL because we wanted to create a type of music that we didn’t get to hear living in the Okanagan area. Our first songs contained a lot of folky elements, so yeah, it was a natural progression to start playing things as heavily and as evil as possible.
I was once a huge fan of seventies classic rock band Kansas. There’s something reminiscent of that band in “Winter’s Reign.” You list a number of extreme bands as having influenced yours at your Facebook page, but are there any bands outside of your genre who have influenced your music?
We all listen to a variety of different music that has influenced us in different ways. It would be super difficult to narrow it down to just a few… Pink Floyd, The Pogues, Primus, Dead Kennedys, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Nirvana, Vivaldi, Mozart…
Is it just me, or did I hear an instrument or two not normally associated with metal in one of your songs?
I don’t think there are many instruments that haven’t managed to make their way into metal somehow. But, our good friend Tanner Revak (Gladius Sky) composed all the synths that you hear in “Winter’s Reign,” including French horn, tubular bells, whistles and whatnots.
You’ve done some touring in Canada, any plans to hit the US in the near future?
It’s something that is constantly on our minds. It’s only a matter of time until we devise a way to invade the USA.
Who are some of the bands you’ve toured with?
We’ve never toured extensively with a single band or package of bands. But while on our recent cross Canada tour we shared the stage with bands such as: Skeletonwitch, Striker, Axis Disrupt, Pagan Ritual, Autaric, Desecrate Scripture, Noir, Entity, Gross Misconduct, Harvest the Infection, Bushwacker.
Your band name is of Sumerian origin, yes?
The name “XUL” came from the Sumerian word meaning evil. It’s also the opposite of the Latin word “Lux,” meaning “light.”
Originally published in Gorgeous Freaks magazine.