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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Xhohx Interview, March 2008
    Posted: April 17 2008 at 15:06
With a short delay on my part, here is the promised XHOHX interview.
 
First introducing the band:
Xhohx is a Belgian duo of Ramon Ribas Coca (guitar, drum programming) and Oregolakatzor (bass). They play a chaotic yet organized form of heavy avant garde rock, with influences from Japanese Avant-rock bands (Ruins) and from American bands (Flying Luttenbachers) and also from the highly esteemed Belgian band Univers Zero. They themselves state their influences to be as they write in their Myspace: “Chaotic and Organic No Wave, Poly-rhythmic and Atonal Music”.
Their music is highly complex, energetic and relentless.
Their first full length from 2007, Karyotypexplosion, will appeal to all listeners into “organized chaos” avant-rock.
 
 
 
Since the Xhohx guys' first language isn't English, please excuse any mistake you read.
 
1.Tell us about yourselves: who are you, where did you come from, how did Xhohx came to be, what is your musical background, what music has influenced you etc.
 
Oregolakatzor : I'm bassist and "onomatopoeiasist" of XHOHX, we are from northern France (Lille/Rijsel) and Belgium. I discovered the Rock around 12/13 with Bowie "berlinoise" time, in the wave of Joy Division, killing Joke, Crass, P.I.L...We are in music for many years with an involvement in several bands of different kinds of music...But it occurred to us 7 or 8 years ago a real musical mutation with the discovery of other territories which has brought us a break.
It was a realization time which came to a radicalization, as a reaction against our local musical scene which focussed on an interpretation of bands like the "neo metal" and pop music in general which makes you want to dance. From this reaction, XHOHX was born in 2002.

Ramon :
We are both sons of proletariat immigrant living near the border between
Belgium and France, so we keep paying special attention to the hard realities of the socioeconomic context over here and
from elsewhere too. Most of all XHOHX is the fruit of this prevailing uneasiness which oozes from our music.
Yes, for taking up what oregolakatzor said, well before we have played in some bands without conviction, even so we have respectively already experimented some weird stuff at that time playing every music style or almost going from punk/new wave to rock/prog rock included metal
prog (sic). But the band which means a lot to me is "Henry Cow", particularly "in praise of learning" with "Slapp Happy", still deeply moved by this album and the others are equally good. Genesis 70/76 time with "foxtrot" huge concept album very deeply moved by it!!! Ruins very important too, but also The Police, King Crimson and so many more... what matters most is the soul which emanates from the bands and artists.

2.The title I gave to my review of this album is “Soundtrack To Your Seizure” and I think it is a good definition as any to describe the intensity and madness of your music. What “madness” possessed you while writing this album? How do you compose such elaborate and complex music?

Oregolakatzor :
Everything starts with a long process of musical deseducation so now
it becomes a reflex, a second nature to us. At the same time we are setting up ideas which we destroy progressively, this development
breaches, opens up new horizons where we meet the encouraging mistake.
For instance, the interplay of several sound elements makes ghost notes sometimes, a presence which speeds up the inspiration to structure and imagine the rest of things... In our mode of writting, we attach as much importance to rhythm as notes...By unitonal ways, one-way rhythms, taking no account of intervals deliberately, that framework ponctuated of rhythm and tempo accidents, poly-rhythmical structures and others performed in reverse introduces its own climate,it's own colours, it's own atmosphere...


Ramon : Everything is scrupulously written, we start from the principle that one note leads to another but not the most obvious, each of them is a schizophrenic entity with many-sided character. It's the same process with rhythm, nearest the spontaneous writting. Of course we have a strong tendency to build up tortuous structures in which notes move like lost atoms trying to gather together inducing in us a kind of catharsis.
We intended to approach an experimental way to play music and we're really worried we skipped some steps in the process...
according to some people but we laugh at it...

3.What is the concept or ideas behind the Karyotypexplosion, if any? How does the cover relate to that? What does the album title refer to?

Oregolakatzor : Actually, KARYOTYPEXPLOSION is a concept which doesn't show its content at first sight. Except the mastering signed by Ugo Sanna and the guest participation by Greg on sax in Turmenza, It has been produced from A to Z by ourselves in our humble "Telluric Studio".
So, it's "DIY" through and through. For"KARYOTYPEXPLOSION" and I repeat, for this first opus, we use a virtual drummer in the person of a computer whose the first function is to endlessly repeat the military pounding of the sound of jackboots on the pavement. It's a celebration of the eternal conflict man/machine where the organic matter  try to overcome the robotic beat from crushing bone factories and achieves its aim destroying the metronomic system with some "non-rhythmicals".
Voices are these of a contemporary regressing by a dizzy fall towards the early time to tear themselves from its archaic cerebellum...
the primal scream of a misshapen person shouting : our captivity in the realm of musical dogma is over ! The cover refers to birth of this character suffering from neurofibromatozis, a kind of allegory of our human condition. Our own reflection, the one we cast out because of his exterior anomaly but deep down is affected being more delicate than the cruel eyes we hold him, we certitude's slaves.

Ramon : The topic of "KARYOTYPEXPLOSION" is the change of the structure of all chromosomes within our cells by taking drastic steps,
perhaps for curing humanity of its stupidity and arrogance which will be the ruin of all of us and its environment too, but in any case, it may become that misshapen person representing what is wrong with us hoping it isn't our real face... : all in all it's the irremediable aspect of our human condition in a manner of speaking. In fact, it's an act of provocation for prompting us to call ourselves into question.
So, the cover illustrates an original birth wondering if the little person is normal or not...it's must be said that his hands and arms are already fully-formed...what will come of it ?

4.Does the name Xhohx mean anything?

Ramon : Yes it does, XHOHX stands for XHOHX, it's like a algebraic expression with the "X" standing for "the unknown", the "O" standing for "the empty set"..."the nothingness" and the "H", initial of "the human", so it's rather "Human fighting within the unknown while refraining from falling into the nothingness", it's also a a useful palindromic word and a weird voicing which fits with us too. Anyway, the schemer XHOHX brings reaction from quite a lot of people.

Oregolakatzor :
Yes, the "H" are our "fingerprints" in the midst of "the" mountain of human which we are a part of. It should read : "Humanity on the verge of the nothingness which is plunged into the unknown...

5.What bands/musicians served as an influence for Xhohx?
 
Oregolakatzor : Like all and sandry we listen to enormously some music but I don't think it's bound to influence us, quite the opposite, we learned to stand back faced with a profusion of artists and styles while remaining admiring, this isolation ability during the composition stage is unavoidable in order to venture in forbidden territories, to go in search of our hidden emotions.
 
Ramon : It's obvious that deeply into our brain remains some hints of  influence, it's natural...we are not extraterrestrial. Everything builds up our mind but all the same we endeavour as far as possible to keep alouf from these influences, it may be our  idiosyncratic touch...

6.Do you plan to stay in this duo lineup or expand? Do you feel constrained by the fact you’re only two, or is it the contrary that you feel freer to do what you want this way?

Ramon : In fact, we found it necessary to be a duo after all, not that it's the best solution, but it turned out that over here it's very difficult to find musicians who can make head of our music, as a result it's a little out of spite we did this line up but it was absolutely  necessary in order that our atistic expression comes true, so we are both more bound to go down the right road.

Oregolakatzor
: To be in a duo configuration have quite a few advantages, but we already talked about it, we're thinking of including a drummer for the next album which will have skills to contribute to our music, above all an organic aspect and some others forms of composition

7. The progressive music scene in Belgium is very prolific these days. Are there any bands/projects/musicians that you appreciate particularly or would like to collaborate with? What do you think of those other bands?

Oregolakatzor
: Prolific, I'm not too sure. Anyway some time ago we was at a Univers Zero's concert here in
Belgium and the least we can say is there were not many people, although their music is still so intense and attended by a good communication, I don't know the reason why ...idem with Present which is compelled to give a performance almost accidentally here and there or not at all, there are paying the price for their integrity...Well, the picture is not as gloomy as it may seem, some others alternative scenes exist! Don't hesitate to keep an ear on K-Branding and everybody from Mandaï Distribution for instance, But also... there are in France Rectus, Syrinx, Diatriba and so on...in a global aspect, I'm speechless with PAK, The Molecules, Clonicos...in short, the freedom of the nonconformist creation is well and truly real but everybody doesn't give a damn or nobody doesn't want it, That's the drama that "orphan" musics live today.
  
Ramon : For us, the exemplary artist is Roger Trigaux co-founder of Univers Zero and above all founder of Present, two huge bands. The thing we particularly like about him is his artistic integrity, infallible and musically timeless...We saw Othin Spake live too, a belgan band too, very interesting.
That's certainely true there is a wave of musical creativity which raises the commonplace progressive music over here and throughout the world. There's no accounting for taste but any music can coexists under these conditions and one should not mistake people for idiot...

8.What are your future plans for Xhohx? Do you have any side projects going on or that you want to do?

Oregolakatzor : For the moment we're only focussed on this project which needs to rise. We are planning a French tour for september and a European tour  too for the following months. We are going to devote to do concerts as much as we can during all year while we are carrying on with the promotion of KARYOTYPEXPLOSION in the international underground network with all our energy in order to win recognition of our music, to get connections with those who want to support us, to play with bands whose we appreciate the music, to strengthen the links with those which currently encourage us and about that we are most grateful to you for interviewing us because without your passion for discovery nothing would happen.
 
Ramon : Yes, actually XHOHX  takes all our time, especially as we are only two and so it's unfortunately difficult to collaborate with some other artists.
We are settling down to our repertoire for the concerts performance because we care about playing KARYOTYPEXPLOSION in its integrity. We have already our second album in mind which will be approached in a different angle, we hope its release for autumn 2009.

9.Are you looking for a label to help produce and distribute your albums, or are you content for now with you being responsible and in charge of everything, managing your own releases?

Oregakatzor :
It would be very well for us, but the important thing is that our music holds an interest for a label. Of course we are open to all offers, it makes us possible to focus exclusively on our creativity. We are realistic, we have to prove ourselves and in the meantime to be signed, the best way to manage with what we are able to do by our own.

Ramon : Gettting a label and to be produced are of course our object to attain, hoping it will do in the near future, and actually gigs go certainly contribute to it in this way. The fact of "attending to everything" is what we currently lives and the task is very hard to fulfil, we have to do continually the job in double quick time...
 
10.Any other comments or things you want to tell us?
 
Ramon : First thanks so much for taking an interest in us hoping this answers will have explained what we try to convey.
 
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 23 2008 at 20:39
I haven`t had the chance of listening to them, first of all congrats for the interview Assaf, and it's a pity that me and the others had not posted here, knowing your taste, i am sure this is a worth listening band which should be noticed by us members of PA

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 24 2008 at 01:49
Damn...I could of sworn I posted here.
 
Apologies. 
 
Nice interview! Nice band. Something I need to listen to again soon.
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