Xion - Interview
Modern day thrash metal is perhaps one of the most expanded worlds when it comes to the new generation of bands, which are constantly coming and going as years go by, but there is some new blood which is on the verge of reaching their career peak, while still fulfilling their mission of keeping the sacred old school metal tradition alive. Not long ago, my friend Andjela Zrnić had the opportunity to meet the Swedish thrash metal band Xion from Dalarna at the contest "Imagine" in Brussels, Belgium, organized by JMI (Jeunesses Musicales International). Although the band was formed in 2018, they released their first single in 2022, with many more in 2023, and they also had the opportunity to play at the Gefle Metal Festival with a dozen of great and popular bands from every sub genre. Andjela was kind enough to do an interview with the band members on my behalf to get some basic info about the band, and some time after, I decided to reach out to Xion myself and dig a little bit deeper with the questions regarding their five singles that they released on digital streaming platforms, and also a bit about their debut album "Between Shadows And Gods". Please join us on this journey to discover a bit about Xion, a new generation in the world of thrash metal music.
Andjela: Who are you guys and might we know the name of the band?
Robin: Hi, I'm Robin!
Erik: And I'm Erik.
Algot: I'm Algot.
Liam: My name's Liam.
Robin: And we are XION!
Andjela: First of all, hello, so for starters, what kind of music do you guys play?
Erik: A combination of old-school thrash metal and old-school heavy metal.
Andjela: That's very interesting, do you have any particular influences or source of musical inspirations?
Erik: Well, Megadeth, Slayer and all kinds of old-school thrash metal stuff and also old hard rock, like for example early 70's music like Black Sabbath.
Liam: And we also all have our own individual music inspirations, that's the big picture.
Andjela: We are eager to know, how did this band form in the first place?
Johan: Oh gosh, we've told this story so many times... So, five years ago, me and Erik knew each other and we kind of knew we listened to the same music, and I knew he wanted to start a band. So I played bass and we had another drummer at the time, we played a few shows. But then, in 2021, we met these guys (pointing at Robin, Algot and Liam) and we formed a group. It was great, they are really good. We've been playing since then, so it's about two years.
Andjela: Did you guys have any expectations when it comes to this project organized by JM International?
Robin: Well, a new experience, I guess.
Johan: Yes, I think we mostly see it as a fun experience. Yes, fun trip. But it's also really nice to meet people from different countries, different cultures and also the music from these countries.
Erik: It's been a long journey, like it's the end of the line. It's like the fourth last international finals, it's like closing a book, you know?
Andjela: We certainly hope it's not the last chapter of your very successful careers! Do you have any concerts or tours incoming?
Liam: We have two concerts in January planned right now. It's going to be two release parties, we're releasing our new album Between Shadows And Gods on January 19th. So, we have one gig in Stockholm and then one in our hometown Falun, where we'll release our new album. So that will be fun!
Johan: Don't miss it!
Andjela: Wonderful to hear it! So far, what has this trip brought you? What does this mean to you and the band?
Liam: We did get in touch with some people. We created contacts, helpful contacts, and this is actually the first time this band's been abroad. But every morning we woke up hung over so, the mornings were pretty tough.
Andjela: It's very difficult to get up at 8am indeed…Did you learn anything new about yourselves and other people during this competition?
Johan: We had this thing where we had to close our eyes and let the other person lead you around the room. But I was really afraid that I will hit something! I didn't think that that would happen and luckily, it didn't.
Liam: We also learned about the personality of our band from the presentation we had. We were focusing on something we could explore, trying to seek that a little bit.
Vladimir: From what I've heard of your five singles that you released, it is pure balls to the wall thrash metal with heavy metal elements, and your material shows a lot of potential that it can certainly achieve. What part of the songwriting process do you consider to be of key importance?
Erik writes most of the songs and he says that you have to be in a certain songwriting-mode and it takes a lot of time and trial and error. It's like playing the lotto, sometimes you win and sometimes not. Sometimes you come up with something good and sometimes something bad. You just have to spend the time so that you eventually come up with something great.
Vladimir: Does any of the five singles stand out as for you guys the best song to represent Xion in terms of the musical output and overall songwriting capabilities? If so, why have you chosen this song in particular?
All of our songs represent a different part of us and the album will give you the whole picture. But out of our singles it will probably be 'Men Who Play God' because of it being very consistently good and the power and melodies represent us very good.
Vladimir: Do you guys stick to a certain mindset when writing new material? If there is one, do you believe that other metal bands of your age should stick to that mindset as well?
We don't really have a special mindset. It comes down more to what sounds good to us. When writing new songs we always try to come up with something original, don't stick to a certain pattern.
Vladimir: Many bands usually release a demo or an EP before going out with their first full-length album, but you went with a different approach by releasing singles before the album comes out. Do you think that singles on digital streaming help better to push the band to a wider audience than a demo or an EP would?
Yes, because when you release several singles we always have something new for the audience. If we were to release an EP people would maybe listen to it for one month but when releasing 4 different songs people will have Xion in their minds for a longer period of time.
Vladimir: Do you have any exemplary modern-day album, be it from a Swedish or non-Swedish metal band, to which extent you would like to achieve the same level of greatness with your music?
"Great War" and "The Last Stand" by Sabaton is a great example. These are modern albums that have become very big and Sabaton are very active right now and they have achieved a lot. They actually come from our hometown Falun, Sweden. It would also be fun to write an iconic album such as "Slaughter Of The Soul" by At The Gates.
Vladimir: Coming from a powerful and respected country such as Sweden, the big advantage is that you are constantly surrounded by metal enthusiasts and excellent bands that make the scene richer. Does the fact that you are a Swedish metal band play a big role in your overall creativity, as well as your passion to perform and make music?
Yes we are constantly surrounded by metal and music enthusiasts overall which helps us keep our spirits up. And also being able to see that there exists many other bands our age that can accompany us on our journey is great.
Vladimir: I've seen that you had the opportunity to share the stage with some popular bands at the Gefle Metal Festival. Did you get the chance to exchange words with any of the bands that were part of that lineup? Have you managed to form new friendships along the way?
Yes it's fun that you brought that up. On that festival we actually met both Amon Amarth and Kreator. We also drank beer with Abbath and orbit culture on separate occasions. We got to meet new people our age in bands which was very fun to make a connection with them.
Vladimir: Are there any of the bands which weren't present at the festival that you would really like to share the stage with someday?
Yes, how long should we make the list? Megadeth, At The Gates, Anthrax, Sabaton, Avatar, amongst others.
Vladimir: Have you received any encouraging words from some veteran musicians in the Swedish metal scene and what advice did you get?
The drummer, Johan Reivén, of Swedish band Lok has produced our album and he thinks we are great. Also the drummer of At The Gates has said that we are very promising.
Vladimir: I would like to know what is the origin behind the band's name? Who came up with the idea and how does it connect to your music?
It's just a word. It doesn't really have a meaning. I, Johan, came up with it just out of the blue.
Andjela: Last question that I have is: If you could give any advice to the young musicians and artists, what would you say?
Robin: Do what you like!
Erik: For every genre of music, do what you like. Find that passion through music, your legends, your heroes and do what you do. Don't try to do stuff that you don't want. Go! Listen to your heart!
Liam: Don't listen to what anyone says, don't let anyone bring you down. Just keep going!
Johan: And remember to Rock 'n' Roll! More action that's important! Well, there isn't so much action now, but for us, we had a lot of action yesterday, so we were kind of tired…
Andjela: Well, I want to thank you guys for this opportunity and I wish you good luck!
Vladimir: Thank you so much for doing this interview guys! Best wishes to everyone of you from the MetalBite community and I hope that your new album will be a blast. Any final words before we wrap this up?
Thank you for writing to us, we hope to come to Serbia one day and we hope you like the album.
Between Shadows And Gods
- Wrang - Haatspraak - Feb 29
- Beyrevra - Echoes: Vanished Lore Of Fire - Feb 29
- Lilla Veneda - Primordial Movements - Feb 29
- Drain Down - Toxic Society - Feb 29
- Mephisto - Carpathian Tales - Mar 01
- Messiah - Christus Hypercubus - Mar 01
- Profane Burial - My Plateau - Mar 01
- Northern Genocide - The Point Of No Return - Mar 01
- Devastator - Conjurers Of Cruelty - Mar 01
- Surgical Strike - 24/7 Hate - Mar 01
- Saturnalia Temple - Paradigm Call - Mar 01
- Firewind - Stand United - Mar 01
- Suicidal Angels - Profane Prayer - Mar 01
- Beyond The Hate - Darkest Times - Mar 08
- Merrimack - Of Grace And Gravity - Mar 08
- Apogean - Cyberstrictive - Mar 08
- Ecclesia - Ecclesia Militans - Mar 08
- Puteraeon - Quindecennial Horror - Mar 08
- Shadohm - Through Darkness Towards Enlightenment - Mar 08
- Alterium - Of War And Flames - Mar 08