Bearded meets XM-3a


Posted on Feb 15th, 2011 in Features and Interviews, XM-3a, New Heavy Sounds / By Peter Clark
Bearded meets XM-3a Sci-Fi Riffs, Doom Riffs, Weird Riffs, Pissed Off Riffs, 10 Minute Riffs. If you love long gigantic songs that slowly beat you to death with wave upon wave of guitar riffage, the modern era has evolved a band for you. But with XM-3a, you get more than just a headbanger's wet dream. The band offer a passion and drive that is only ever found in the bands that you keep close to your heart. They love vinyl, and have set up their own record label and clubnight to combat the mundality of what they see as a world sadly lacking in enough heavy and abrasive music. Bearded met up with Paul, Ged, and Tom from the band to get to the heart of the matter.

It’s a very peculiar moniker you’re going under. What can you tell us about it?
It was because we wanted a name that was a bit mathematical , a bit sci-fi, a bit weird..a bit like us really. Also we wanted to have something that wasn't a standard name or phrase or be called 'The.........' or whatever. It's a bit mysterious, un-pigeonholable too, which we like.
But .... XM-3 and XM-4 are satellites that broadcast music to The States, they're nicknamed Rhythm and Blues. If you wanted to, you could say , we are a satellite of those satellites hence XM-3a

Can XM-3a be categorised into a particular sound or genre?
Genres, now there's a thing. The bands music is the sum of our influences really. Heavy rock, hard rock, garage, psychedelia, progressive (as opposed to prog). We love heavy metal and doom and it's all about long songs and riffing really. Is there a genre that encompasses all this? Dunno but we call it 'Doomadelic'. The reality is that we're not a heavy metal band, we're a Heavy psychedelic hard rock band. Confused? We are.

How did the band start out?
First there was the riff, we looked on the riff and the riff was good, so XM-3a came into being to play that riff.
We'd all been at the riffing game before but came together to make that riffing loader, heavier, slower, darker. It was what we all wanted to do.

we did one show at The Black Heart in Camden and got closed down and banned from the Borough of Camden for excessive volume.

Is there a grand master plan for XM-3a?
It's all about the album for us, it will be a big musical statement. Hopefully fuelling a move for music to be harder and heavier than it now is, outside of the metal scene of course. We want the metalheads as well as indie kids to love it, and there's a whole host of new bands out there from outside of the metal scene who are doing it as well. the master plan is to bring heavy rock back. Also, if we can remind folks of the greatness that is / was British Rock we'll be happy.

Your single ‘Bad Robot Man’ is out on 12” and is nine minutes long. What is the song about? Are you releasing it on 12” for a particular reason and not on CD?
It's about a robot army that is sent by an invading force to conquer the earth. It'll all make sense when you hear the album, it's a concept you see, that is to say, more prosaically, a story.
It's a 12" because that's meant to be unfashionable (unless you're a dance act). Time to stop following fashion folks, is our motto. We love vinyl too, it's having a real artifact, 12" seemed the only way to get the whole thing on there.

What can people expect from your album (on double vinyl)? Any concepts or themes involved?
It will be a science fiction car crash in music. A heavy riffadelic cocktail of crunching slow riffs, hammond organ, weird vocals and weirder synth sounds, chorus' and hooks all wrapped around a lyrical concept of a future robot armageddon. Yes folks it's a concept album, but we won't be dissappearing up our own arses just yet..we're not good enough musicians...ha...ha. We want it to be a must have artifact. Double gatefold vinyl, with a sleeve illustrated by one of the best sc-fi illustrators around. Put the record on, stare at the sleeve and get freaked out. There is a story, but if we told you it now it'd ruin it for you. You'll just have to wait for the album.

What inspires you to create?
Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and not following any hip current trend (is there one?). Playing music that stretches us and yet is accessable and interesting. Will we succeed? Up to you on that one peeps. But quite frankly we just love heavy riffing, it great fun. Putting a barrel of riffs together is just the best.

A heavy riffadelic cocktail of crunching slow riffs, hammond organ, weird vocals and weirder synth sounds, chorus' and hooks all wrapped around a lyrical concept of a future robot armageddon.

Do you intend your music to be challenging to the listener or to alienate them from your sound?
Challenging..yes. Alienating.....absolutey not. We believe that you can get into our stuff, we're not showing off and we're not noodling around, there are songs in there too. If you come to us as say a die-hard metal-head or indie rock lover who's totally governed by the rigid parameters of your particular genre classification, then you will probably be disappointed. But if you stick with it those parameters will blur and die ha...ha. There are no rules but one for us. Keep it heavy.

What does an XM-3a live show involve, and should people be fearful?
It contains volume, obviously, density (there are 6 of us), attitude (we mean this), a front man who gives a shit about communicating, and a performance, unlike 95% of the current indie scene but only a fraction of the rock world. We use projections too to challenge people's perceptions too. And it it is several ten minute chunks of riffage.

Two of you guys also run the New Heavy Sounds club night/label in London. What can you tell us about the label and nights you organise?
New Heavy Sounds nights are a reaction against the endless nights of the same old indie and artrock being put on at every pub and bar in London with the same bands playing what are now tired angular and spikey motifs.
The more abrasive and heavy scene is one which is poorly represented at the moment so we wanted to try and find an audience for this new scene. Lo and behold bands like Pulled Apart by Horses and Rolo Tomassi are starting to find audiences and play bigger than club venues, but there are loads of good new bands (check out our compilation for just a taste). So we wanted to do a different kind of gig - one which would be challenging, in your face, full on but unpretentious. The DJs only play heavy stuff from classic rock to grunge, punk to NWOBHM, Doom to acid rock etc etc. At the moment we are doing nights every few weeks at The Macbeth in London - we did one show at The Black Heart in Camden and got closed down and banned from the Borough of Camden for excessive volume.
The label is a logical extension of that - to represent and promote even further a scene which is unrepresented and at the moment ignored.