XENO: Personal Strengths


Dutch metallers Xeno recently released their debut album titled Atlas Construct. Their suggestion is to play it loud, so make sure to head over to their Bandcamp page and hit the play button. In an interview with Prog Sphere, Xeno tell us about their work.

Define the mission of Xeno.

For now we think it would be to keep on growing, as musicians and as a group. To keep finding the fun in what we do is important to us, so we hope to keep continuing as we are now. We’d love to keep on playing gigs and have some beers here and there with friends and strangers, together with every adventure it may bring us. Making more records in the future would be nice as well, as we already have some lingering ideas about how to follow up on our first record.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album Atlas Construct and the themes it captures.

Our process is a very diverse one. We sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, record it, and show it to the others the next day. It doesn’t even have to be music. It could be a concept story for a song, a setting, a situation. It could be that one guy absolutely loves something that’s been written while the others don’t really like it. This sometimes makes it hard to find a path all five of us would like to take. Everyone within the band contributes to the writing and editing process of songs, you know. Concerning the themes, we kinda saw a pattern in the stuff we wrote and the kind of emotions we wanted to bring to life. We came up with the concept of “Atlas Construct” by piecing the songs together as a story.

What is the message you are trying to give with Atlas Construct?

It’s become an album about personal strength. Perseverance would be a better word for it. To carry the obvious burdens of life and the world that some choose to ignore. I’m talking about pollution, corruption, the evils of religion, the mass consuming of irreplaceable resources, war. Power always corrupts. History has kept repeating itself. When looking at the songs in our album, it starts off with the killing of the world (Mundicide). It doesn’t take long before a new rise to power. Smitten down again to be rebuilt on ashes of what was before. It’s inevitable. It makes you feel powerless. So we tried to invent a way to break this cycle, the Atlas construct as we saw it, carries the wellbeing of the world and everything on it by choice, as should we.

XENO Atlas Construct Album Art

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

We use multiple tools to document our stuff. Sometimes ideas have been hummed into a telephone, others were programmed into guitar tracking software. On other occasions we would record it oldschool style. For songwriting we mostly use whiteboards to keep track of the structures of the music.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Not really. Sometimes we would just get into the flow of a song, and then later try to piece the puzzle together in relation to the other songs. It didn’t always fit, but we didn’t go as far as to rewriting a completely new song. We dig it or we don’t, that’s about it, haha.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

At first we tried to record it ourselves. When nearing completion, we found out that most tracks were clipping, meaning we had to start over again. A friend of ours offered to help us record after hearing an interview with us on the radio. We had quite a few setbacks still, but completed the album nevertheless. However all of these setbacks are a part of a valuable learning process. We have a better understanding of what to do and what not to do for a next record.

How long was Atlas Construct in the making?

The songwriting had been going on for some years, but we let a lot of songs go. We weren’t interested in recording at the time. When we decided to make a record, we wrote some more songs and started researching how to record an album. The first recording sessions ultimately took place in november 2015, and the final recordings were done in may 2016.


Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

A shit-ton (can we say that on here? Cool.) of bands. To name a few: Xerath, Meshuggah, Born of Osiris, Animals as Leaders, Lamb of God, Intervals, Taake, Periphery, Textures. Just a few major bands we look up to, the list goes on and on.

What is your view on technology in music?

We think it has made recording a bit easier and more approachable. All this flashy tech stuff can really help sculpt a sound or atmosphere. Taking it too far is also possible though, seeing that teens these days are getting poisoned by deliberately putting audible autotune on (pop)vocals. Why would you want to do that?

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Beyond just making music, we hope to spread a message and a certain energy. We try to tell the story of how we see the world, and hope to influence people with that. When playing live we want to see you be part of our show, a part of us.

What are your plans for the future?

We’d like to do alot of live shows, at first in our homecountry (The Netherlands) and after that we would like to visit alot of neighbouring countries. Besides from that, we are busy writing songs for an upcoming EP.

Follow Xeno on Facebook here.

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