Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Interview and New Release: Xerosun - I Spared Hundreds (Single + Lyric Video)


Xerosun are a metal band located in Dublin, Ireland and are comprised of Fiachra Kelly (Guitars), Gareth Jeffs (Guitars), Damien Dziennik (Drums) and Martyna Halas (Vocals). They have just released a new track from their upcoming EP called I Spared Hundreds which was premiered on The Metal Deli on 2nd March 2015.

Combining an eclectic mix of influences, Xerosun produce a melodic, powerful, aggressive and above all, original sound. Crossing the boundaries of heavy music with soaring and passionate vocals, they have carved a place for themselves in modern metal. Honing their song writing skills and live performance, the band quickly became recognised on the local scene in Ireland and these efforts culminated in the band making their live television debut to an audience of 500,000 people on a national TV station.

With 2015, looking to be pretty busy for the band as they release an EP and a second album while also planning their touring calendar, we had the chance to ask Xerosun some questions about all of this and more ... plus we had a chance to listen to their new single.

Can you introduce us to Xerosun and tell us a little about each member?

Fiachra Kelly - Guitarist from Dublin, Ireland. 

I'm the founding member of Xerosun and originally it's bass player in early Xerosun days but have since moved on to guitar duties. At present, I'm in the process of learning how to record and mix to keep costs down and enable us to produce more music, more often.

Gareth Jeffs - Southpaw Guitarist from Caernarfon, North Wales. 

I joined the band in late 2008 after seeing an advert from the band online ... it said something along the lines of "this bands music will suck the paint off your house and give your family a permanent orange afro" a quote from the 1985 movie "Spies Like Us"... how could I resist!

Damian Dziennik - Drummer from Zielona Gora, Poland. 

I joined the band in early 2013 and I'm the baby of the band at only 23 years old. Style wise I like to play a mix of traditional death metal drumming with modern progressive elements and focus on developing my talents through studying my contemporaries.

Martyna Halas - Vocalist from Bydgoszcz, Poland. 

I've played in many random projects since arriving in Ireland, including another band with Gareth back in early 2008. My father was a 80's legend back in Poland as the singer for a heavy metal band called Lord Vader. I began doing death metal vocals as a joke one day in practice and was quickly encouraged by the rest of the band to bring that element in to the mix which in part, has enabled Xerosun to realise their true direction. Also, I've a "little" addiction to cats and would one day love to own a sanctuary!

Unfortunately, we are in the process of searching for a talented & dedicated bass player. Our former bassist Marcin Nowak joined Xerosun back in 2013 and is currently assisting us with our live and recording commitments. He recently got a chance to join a band called Thy Worshipper, whom he had followed for many years, so sadly we had to part ways. We lost a very talented bass player and a true gentleman, but in typical Xerosun fashion we remain upbeat and continue to write as a four piece. Anyone who feels they may fit the bill, please contact us at www.xerosun.com

Where did the name Xerosun come from?

Fiachra: It's a word of my own invention and it's the most simple representation of a complete and final apocalypse; the destruction or loss of the sun which of course would effect all life. In essence, it's pretty dark and bleak to say the least, more so than the name actually sounds. We decided to to use an X over a Z as it aesthetically looked better in a logo.

How would you describe your sound? What makes you stand out as a band?

Fiachra: For our sound, we would simply describe it as heavy but melodic. For us, a song that we create has to be memorable, catchy and hook driven. It's melody has to grab you and stay with you. How we write depends on various influences or events occurring in the band at the time, and we don't tend to stick to one genre for inspiration. With a female vocalist with the ability to sing both clean and death vocals, we feel it gives us a very different and interesting angle on a what is a largely male-dominated genre; it gives us with a varied and sonic flexibility which we enjoy exploring. We also don't shy away from using synths and samples to add that industrial edge to the music, and often we will employ them to create atmosphere or add a certain "darkness" to the music. All this coupled with twin down-tuned 8-string Mayones guitars and a 5 string bass, very competent death metal influenced drumming and an energetic live show mark us out as a very different beast I believe.

What have been your major influences or styles?

Gareth: Although metal is probably the number one influence on each of us as musicians, I think it's safe to say that none of us in this band are metal elitists. Don't get me wrong, we absolutely love the metal genre and always will but there's so much more out there to enjoy. These various styles include the likes of Depeche Mode, The Agonist, The Gathering, Opeth and Sisters Of Mercy (Martyna), Dead Can Dance, Whitechapel, Intervals, Threat Signal and Karnivool (Damian), Carcass, Cole Porter, The Beatles, Porcupine Tree, Skyharbor, Skinny Puppy and Deftones (Fiachra), The Beloved, Hurts, Paradise Lost, Bloodbath, London Grammar and Septicflesh (Gareth).

You released your debut album, Absence of Light, back in 2011. Can you tell us about the album?

Fiachra: The title 'Absence of Light' came about during the making of the album when both a then member of the band and myself experienced bereavements within a few months of each other. Although not set out to be a concept album, there are a few reoccurring themes within the songs that deal with personal struggles, the losses and general life hardships but there is also some optimistic fightback in some songs too.


For the artwork, we contacted a favourite artist of ours, Seth Siro Anton (Vocal/bass with Septic Flesh), who had worked for Paradise Lost, Soilwork & Kamelot to name a few and he agreed to do art for us. When we were sent the final piece, we were just blown away by it, he later told us that it was one of his favourite pieces, and that he took inspiration from the lyrics to create the art. We got helped out by Takt in Poland to produce limited edition Digipaks which were adorned top to bottom with Seth's beautiful artwork.

Martyna: Media wise, we got a lot of very positive feed back from large publications such as 3Ks from Kerrang!, 4/5 from Metal Hammer, 7/10 From Hotpress and 5/5 from Black Velvet Magazine. Since it's release, tracks from the album have appeared in several unlikely places, such as the Welsh independent movie "Zombies From Ireland", a white water rafting showcase dvd, a pool trick shot dvd series, a Michinima games review and a song even appeared on a guitar hero clone!

You are currently working on new material with an EP and an album due out this year. Can you tell us about these upcoming releases?

Fiachra: Our 2nd album, "In The Presence Of Darkness" is a concept album nearing writing completion. We are aiming for 10-12 songs, and hope to have it out by the end of the summer. In the meantime, we are focusing on an EP, expected out by late spring/early summer. The new songs and sound focus on a much heavier side of our writing, and for the first time we are using both death metal and clean vocals. We are also going for a more aggressive feel with the bass and drums, and we are experimenting more with industrial type synth, effects and samples to add to the depth of the songs.

Martyna: The concept is based on the recent Craigslist killer Miranda Barbour whom the media described as "female Dexter", and because I loved the series, I thought it would be a great concept to explore. Like Dexter, our character experienced a trauma in childhood which led her to "punish" those who hurt children. Throughout the album, we explore issues such as child abuse, manipulation, morality and justice. I don't want to spoil the story too much...in that case, and if you'll have us, we would like to come back to Femetalism when the album is completely finished and give you a bit more of the story ;)

How do you feel your music has developed since the release of Absence of Light?

Fiachra: From a technical point of view, its been a big step up for us, and now employ techniques such as poly-rhythms, time signature changes, tempo and key changes and various other complexities that we would simply not have used on "Absence". When writing Absence, we aimed for a simplistic approach 99% of the time, but would throw in an off-time beat or multi-layered chord to create textures or complexities. Nowadays, we have expanded the guitar's role in the sound with more rhythmical based playing, more solos and more "sound scape" oriented ideas than before. Both bass and drums are now more active and pushing than before which give the songs a real sense of urgency and power, as mentioned before we now employ the use of both clean and death metal vocals to colourise the sound.

Damian: Our style has changed completely from when I first joined Xerosun. With the new lineup we went in a completely new direction. Our new material is much heavier, full of surprises and hopefully exciting for the listener. We decided quite some time ago that we wouldn't be playing any material off the first album any more as it does not suit the rest of the set.

Gareth: Thinking back, it was quite a bold move for us since we had already enjoyed some success with Absence Of Light. It wasn't an easy decision and since we only had 1 or 2 new songs written at the time it meant that we had to stop playing live and in turn slowed down the momentum we had gathered. Thankfully we quickly developed an understanding of each other and now we fully believe in what we are creating musically so it has all been worthwhile in my opinion.

There is some great music coming out of Ireland at the moment - what is your experience of the metal scene there?

Fiachra: There is a very healthy scene in both the north and south of the island, many bands emerging over the last few years have shown great skill and song writing prowess. The live scene is pretty good too, the fans really like to get behind their bands - we even have a fan who first saw us supporting Avenged Sevenfold at the Olympia in Dublin and has been a fan ever since. He even has our "Sun" logo tattooed on his arm which will always be a great memory for us.

You have plans to tour the UK, Ireland and Europe this year - where are you heading?

Gareth: Next stop is Belfast. We were asked to take part in a pretty special event called Blazefest which is a charity gig in aid of The Royal Belfast Hospital for sick children. This was set up by Darren and Dawn Shields-Pettitt who's son Blaze suffers from Hydronephrosis. Blazefest is in its 5th year now and has raised quite a lot of money to date. It will be held in the Belfast Empire on Saturday the 21st of March. The line-up is a good one as always with plenty of talent on display. Tickets cost £10 and are available on Ticketmaster.ie. Check out the following link for more on this event; https://www.facebook.com/BlazefestNI

Damian: We hope to tour the UK around July/August/September. We are still in negotiation with various venues and booking agents, but we will announce news as it comes on www.xerosun.com, facebook.com/xerosun or twitter.com/xerosun 

If you were to tour further afield, where would you like to perform?

Gareth: We would set our sights first on Europe, we think there is a lot of great festivals and venues that we would love to play. A few areas we have in mind so far include Poland, Germany and Hungary - but realistically we will travel anywhere that will have us. We have looked into the American market with detail too, and again, it's something we would love to try.

Martyna: Japan would be super amazing! I wouldn't mind going as far as Australia even, just keep all those spiders away from me! More or less though we are ready and very keen to work, so anywhere that will have us, we will go.

2015 sounds like a busy year for Xerosun with the EP, the album and the touring.  What else have you planned for the rest of the year?

Fiachra: We are hoping to do at least 2 videos promoting the new songs from the album and EP this year and we are constantly on the look-out for talented directors. We are particularly keen on playing festivals this year and would love to play whenever/wherever possible. Later on in the year we would hope to return to writing for album No3, parts of which we have begun discussing already!

Gareth: In the meantime please check out our brand new single "I Spared Hundreds" which we released on March 3rd. It will feature on our new EP "Seek The Blood" and on the album "In The Presence Of Darkness" coming later this year.



Thanks so much to Xerosun for taking the time to talk to Femetalism.  We are really loving the new single and look forward to both the EP and the new album.  We would love to talk to you again about the album in more depth and we will be keeping an eye out for the UK tour dates later in the year.

Follow the band on:

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Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.