This week seem to be “impossible to pronounce band name week”. Don’t let the tongue twisting stop you from checking out XAON. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

What pressure is there in releasing an album compared to a demo? Do you feel that there is a sort of pressure to succeed when you release and album, that it sorta is for real now?
Rob: I guess there is a little more pressure because you’re releasing a finished commercial product. The production needs to be on point, the composition needs to be flawless and everything needs to make sense. When you’re doing a demo you’re still in the stages of finding the band’s sound, all the different characteristics and aesthetics that will start to define your career and you have a little more wiggle room to figure that out.

When you release a record of any sort what kind of expectations do you have on it? Do you set up goals for it?
Rob: Well obviously we want as many people as possible to listen to it and enjoy it as much as they can. We don’t really have any sales targets since we’re a fairly new band but the more the better!

When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
Rob: As I said, we’re a fairly new band so I don’t think people know our songs that much. I’ve had that case with my other band that has been around for a while longer and it does feel pretty great when people know your songs and try to sing along! The downside is that they know when you fuck up a part.. At least I can get the audience to finish up a part when I’m out of breath!

Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new when it comes to lyrics and art work for everything so that those that bought the previous record will recognize your sound?
Rob: Yes and no, I think the band’s identity transpires between records because of the compositional approach but that doesn’t mean the band’s sound can’t evolve through time. Again, we’re a young band and in our case we only had one EP that came out before the album, and there is definitely a fairly big change in sound because of the quality of the production and also because of that bigger orchestral approach we have on our new album. However the backbone is still pretty much in the same vein.

Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
Rob: Absolutely! Maybe not just because we’re in a band but because we’re in a metal band. I think the metal community has the strongest bond in the world, it goes way beyond language, borders, religion, politics or anything else. You can go to any city and find a metal community, if you spot a metalhead across the street you can give him the metal horns and he’ll respond back. It’s a wonderful inspiring entity that will transcend time and keep bringing us joy for many years to come and I’m very humbled to be a part of it.
How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that that still are you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
Rob: In our case, Vince (guitars) takes care of the backbone of the songs, he’ll write the guitar riffs and drums and then I’ll write all the orchestrations and maybe rework the structure and a few riffs that fit my orchestrations better. He has a very different way of writing than I do so that pushes me out of my comfort zone and I try and do the same for him, that blend of both worlds creates a very unique compositional approach with a myriad of sonic possibilities and keeps it fairly fresh every time.

What influences/inspires you today? Where do you draw inspiration from? Is it important to have some sort of message?
Rob: Honestly I don’t really listen to much music because I work as a sound engineer and I’m already listening to the same songs over and over again for 12 to 16 hours a day, so there’s not much time for me to discover new things nor the envy. However I like to listen to other bands I play with at gigs and try to analyze the way they do things. I think when you start writing music it can be hard to really let your mind free when listening to other bands because you’re always trying to analyze everything you’re hearing and comparing it with your own material.

We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that cd sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
Rob: Well we just heard that we made the iTunes charts in certain countries so I guess the album did sell well, I don’t have any numbers though so I can’t tell you where we fit in.

What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
Rob: Personally I like physical, I spend a lot of time in my car which is filled with CDs. I love having a nice artwork with a booklet to read the lyrics, the credits and everything. But digital has some great advantages for distribution and I don’t have a problem with that.

What lies in the future?
Rob: More gigs, more gigs and more gigs! We’re working on getting some good tours around Europe and in the US, maybe even further than that if the album gets passed around enough and there’s a good enough demand. Right now we’ve got a huge gig coming up on the 4th of July opening for the incredible Gojira at the Arenale Romane in Bucharest, we played there last year and that was probably the biggest stage I’ve ever played on so I’m extremely excited to be coming back to Romania!

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