In choosing a band name that starts with an X how much of a pronunciation issue have you opened up for? Why go with this word as your band name?
-Well of course, sometimes people don´t know how to pronounce the name at first, but when we chose it we liked the pronunciation as well as its statement and look. The “X” at the beginning and the “S” at the end of “XENESTHIS” sound dangerous, a bit like a hissing of a snake. And there´s also a personal story to it. XENESTHIS is the name for a sort of tarantula. When our drummer joined the band, he told us that he has several of these spiders at home. We liked the idea and were looking for a band name at this time. And as there were no another bands, labels or brands with this name we decided on this word. Snakes and tarantulas make a good combination, isn´t it?
Your music is often described as modern metal. What is that really, what is modern?
-To us, modern stands for adjectives like fresh, free, unbound, to the point. Classifications are of course not the perfect way to describe music, but if you tell people none at all, they think you have no plan about what you are doing – even if this is wrong. As we have so many different influences in our music, “modern” seemed to be a good term to comprehend them all.
Where do you find your influences and inspiration? Any one thing that stand out more than others as your main inspiration?
-Raffael who is writing most parts of the music says he is inspired by bands he loved since his teenage years, like Pantera, Dream Theater, Extreme, but his inspiration also is depended on the day’s condition and mood which is connected to the direct environment – fellow human beings, experiences he had during the day. On some days this mood suddenly condenses in a song – which can be slow and calm on the one day and more aggressive the other day. And as always the own attitude towards life, the whole personality plays a big part in a creative process. My inspiration for the lyrics is also the world surrounding us, the changes in society and the tiny and bigger dramas in our lives. Making music and writing songs has always been a kind of therapy for me. So some songs are related to this very personal topic of being in and out of love, full of passion for someone, the feeling of despair and helplessness, when relationships break up and friends fall seriously ill, the realization that we are not immortal – and fate can strike us when we expect it the least. Sometimes my lyrics have also a socio critical approach, f.e. I wrote the lyrics to “Raised Fist Armed” when students in Austria went to the streets to protest for better education and did a sit-in for month at the university.
In the last decade or more the stage for great metal has moved from Central Europe to Northern Europe. Why is it that so many great bands are now coming from the north and not the south? Does this make you work harder in proving yourself worthy too?
-The support in Northern Europe is stronger than ever. While artist in the North are paid for being in a band, cause it’s obviously considered there as a common job, musicians in the South have to earn their living by doing other jobs. Short spoken: Making music here is considered just as a hobby, it’s a hard and long way to be seen here as a professional, but we are trying our best.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene or do you stand all alone fighting not only non-believers but also other metal fans?
-It appears that people got very inflexible and uninterested in discovering new forms of music. While Kerry King and James Hetfield are well accepted, young and talented bands have to fight for attention. If you have a look at the current metal-magazines, you’ll find mostly music of the 80’s and even 70’s. It’s time to thank Lemmy and Mustaine and to open up for new stuff. Art needs development.
With what kind of motivation did you enter the studio to record “Thou Shalt Not”? How do you think it all turned out in the end?
-We really wanted to record that stuff as we were doing some heavy songwriting the months before. It´s feels like being pregnant. You know the songs are already there, but nobody except the band has heard them. So you want the baby to be born in order that you can release it into the world. We were really eager to hit the studio and it turned out really well. It also helped that we had a lot of confidence in our producer Nobert Leitner who cares to get the meaning and feeling of the song on tape.
With an album out what is that you want to achieve now? Is everything made now?
-The most important thing for us by recording an album is to make a bit more of our vision of music, of our dream, come true. We got good reviews, the German Metal Hammer magazine named us “Heroes of Tomorrow”, our video got in a short time over 45.000 views and we played some fine concerts with the new material. We had fun and hope other people enjoy our music as much as we do.
I´m so old that I haven´t really grasped the impact sites like Youtube can have. How important have the social media become in bringing the band to the audience?
-Social media are of course a good possibility to gain some recognition from people you wouldn´t reach otherwise. Most of our listeners on Youtube come from states outside Europe, mostly the USA, Southern America and also from Asia. Without these possibilities it would have been very hard to reach them. On the other hand die-hard fans are mostly people you convince during concerts. Especially in a time where you can fake so much in the studio and polish your qualities there, people have become interested to see if the band can perform live as well as on CD.
What kind of future is there for Xenesthis?
-The future of XENESTHIS is full of fun, good music and nice people…and tons of gold bars of course.