Brian Peelcatches up with the boys from XY&O, a pop electronic trio from Cardiff, Wales.
XY&O’s single Low Tide amassed over one million Spotify streams online with worldwide exposure. The next single release was Lights On – an absolute brilliant follow up track. Brian speaks to Skip (Vocals/Guitar), Tudor (Programming/Keys) & Nick (Lead Guitar) about their formation, their take on the music industry today, the use of digital social media channels plus what’s ahead for the new year.
Brian and JOY 94.9 have the special Australian premiere of their latest single Fahrenheit, a first for the Southern Hemisphere!
XY&O are a trio on the up with a bright and amazing future ahead of them. Join Brian for this very special JOY 94.9 interview.
Give us an introduction. How did it all begin? What had you first interested in music?
Well, growing up music was just ever present for me (Skip). As I went through school etc I never really considered going into any other industry, I don’t think I ever seriously considered anything else. I started finding new bands and working with them in the studio, then got picked up as a record producer for a while. As for XY&O, it originally started out as a Me and Tudor writing songs for other artists to sing. We were putting stuff out under the name XY&O for managers and artists to listen to, so they could pick them up, but then one of our early demos got blogged around in the US and all of a sudden we had US radio DJ’s emailing us asking when we were touring!? So we roped in Nick (guitar) full time and turned it into a real band.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
I just hear other great music and think, I want to write something like that or I want to be involved in something like that. As for influences, there’s too many to mention between three of us.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I think we just want to keep getting our music out there and hope that people enjoy it. If, as an artist you can get your career to a position where you can announce a gig in some middle of no-where place a few hours before playing and still manage to pack that place out, that’s a pretty good measure of your success. We’re all really keen to get out more live and play some trippy gigs. I saw a band recently do a tour of the Alps during the ski-season, that would be cool. We don’t really set to many long term goals, the industry changes so much all the time, so we like to keep it spontaneous.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
Yeah, we’ve got a few more tracks, live sessions and videos to get out first over the summer and we’ll be announcing some more live shows too.
As for touring, later this year is the plan I think!
Tell us a bit about your latest album and how would you best describe your music?
I’d describe our music as hazy pop. The record right now is about half-written, we have some ‘up on your feet dancey’ tracks but then some slower, more soulful ones too. The guitar is a central element to our music, Nick is a phenomenal player and writes in a really unusual way, I play guitar too so we layer things up and recreate it live. When we play live we have a full six-piece band because we never wanted to rely on boring playback at our gigs.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Hopefully we’ll be able to tell you in a few years….
Writing tracks that people like and offering them something worth seeing live, I hope…
What has been your biggest career highlight?
Probably just the overall pick up and exposure of our tracks to be honest. The fact we’re talking to your good self in Australia is testament to that!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
It’s tough, there are so many phenomenal artists who are inspiring in different ways. And then there are lots of stars who are posthumously inspiring. Right now, maybe someone like Prince in the way he’s re-emerged over the last 12/18 months and captivated a whole new audience. He did a series of surprise live dates last year in Camden which he announced like a day before, no pre-sale tickets, totally off the cuff. That’s the spontaneity thing I was talking about. Everything is so visible these days so to keep people on their toes is increasingly difficult….especially if you’re Prince.
Any new projects in the pipeline?
Lots more to come with XY&O over the summer and rest of the year. I’m (Skip) writing and producing a tracks for other artists too which I’m always doing and always excited about.
Tudor is usually writing beats or collabing with various artists too. And Nick is pretty much always playing various instruments with various people. We’re looking into a couple of XY&O collaboration options too if the right thing comes along.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
If we’re still around then that says something! There are so many artists who seem to explode out of nowhere and then fade away as people get bored, or maybe the industry gets bored of them so by proxy so does the public. If we’re still writing, gigging and recording and making stuff that people enjoy then that will be pretty good!
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
Well, Empire of the Sun were one of the biggest inspirations behind the tracks we started writing as XY&O. ‘Walking on a Dream’ blew my mind when that came out, I love their left-field electro pop stuff.
And obviously Tame Impala makes, some of the coolest music in the world right now same as usual for them. Kevin Parker is a genius. A special mention should go to Silverchair too, Diorama was a great album. There’s some really good new stuff coming out too, there always is I guess, I was checking out Collarbones and Lower Plenty just recently, both great groups!
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
The industry is so fluid, it’s always changing and new apps, websites and platforms are coming out every week that people are using to find new music and consume music. In one way it’s hard to keep up and hard to get your head above water, but in another it’s never been easier for artists to get their music heard online through social media etc.
I still think that if artists are writing good enough records that people enjoy listening too then usually those artists find their audiences. If you’re clever with social media etc, sometimes you can find and connect with those audiences faster, but ultimately, if your music is appealing enough and available enough online then you’ll get somewhere. Organic growth is a good thing, figuratively and literally!
Thanks for the interview! What final message do you have for us today?