First of all we have to admit that we have been strongly impressed by the amazing production quality and the strength of the tracks of your debut album “Pleasure & Romance” on Gigolo Records. It is your “debut”, but this does not mean at all, that we are talking about amateurism. How did you meet up becoming XLOVER and what have each of you done before?
Bryan: Before XLOVER, I had a band called ‘haloblack’ which I started in the US in the 90’s. Around the same time, I was working for Prince, in my hometown of Minneapolis, which is where I learned a lot about music production.
When I came to London, I met Olivier, who’s a drummer, but also an amazing producer as well. He started playing drums in my band ‘haloblack’. We soon realised we both wanted to make stripped down electronic music. So we started digging up old records from DAF, Prince, and the first song we wrote together, was signed immediately to City Rockers in London. It was so much fun, that we decided to pursue this project full time, and call it XLOVER.
Why did you pick Gigolo Records as your label, or did they choose you?
Bryan: I met DJ HELL in London around the time we recorded our first demo. We talked about doing something together. I was signed to City Rockers, but as soon as we finished the first single, we immediately resumed our communications with Hell. At the time the band was Olivier and myself. We didn’t have a singer. We put together an album of songs, and came to Germany for some shows with Hell. This time we had a complete live band, including our newest member, lead singer, Nina. After an exciting show at Berlin Love Parade, we signed to Gigolo.
Your record company says, that you are a band from London, even though we now that “London is everywhere”, but, where do you really come from and are you at least all live in London town/ City of London?
Bryan: The band was formed in East London. In Shoreditch, our studio was in Old Street. We spent most of our time partying and making music here. Now, we write music while we travel and our home is always changing..
I come from Minneapolis in the US. When I came to London, I met Olivier and started XLOVER. Olivier is from Paris. Scott is from Toronto. And Nina is from London. Everyone is currently living in London, but nina and I are considering relocating to Berlin soon.
Please tell us a little more about the production process of the new album. How long did it take and was it originally planed as an album right from the beginning? And with whom did you collaborate with on “Pleasure & Romance?
Bryan: We went through about 3 phases in making this record. In the beginning, it was just Olivier and myself making dark electro, using our own voices and playing all the instruments. Songs such as ‘Voodoo U’ and ‘Machine’ came from these sessions. We probably have a whole album of material from this period alone. After meeting Nina, we started writing songs, which featured her vocals, and this is where most of the album came together. Our focus shifted from making dance records aimed at the dance floor, to creating a broader sound, which could be delivered via Djs or through our own live performances. Our inspiration for the band aspect was Prince, Nine Inch Nails, Sonic Youth, etc.. Something perverted and wild, but focused.
We wanted this album to include our darkest moments as much as our quirkier pop moments. The instrumentation ranges from a drum machine and a naked vocal, to a complete live band and string sections.We enlisted some friends to help make the record more dynamic.We ran into Princess Superstar when we were recording with Felix Da Housecat. So we did a few tracks together for her new album, as well as one with her and Felix for a film called ‘Thinking XXX’, called ‘Coochi Coo’. It was by chance she came in the studio when we were working on ‘Darling Nikki’, which we originally wanted Tiga to sing on. Princess Superstar was really taken by the music and decided to give it a shot.
Jon Klein is a guitarist we often work with. He’s worked with The Cure and Souxsie and The Banshees, so he had an idea of the sound we were after. Felix Da Housecat added some melodies on ‘Lady Lover’.Scott Fairbrother had just left the band Client, when he joined our live band. He immediately understood what we were after. He added a guitar to ‘Sex Rebel’ that sounds distinctly like New Order, which we absolutely loved.
The album contains two strong cover versions from tracks by Prince & Nirvana. Why? Is there a special reason, maybe even relationship towards these artists/ titles?
Prince’s ‘Darling Nikki’ was one of the songs, which inspired me to make music. I never dreamed I could ever do justice to it, but we tried for fun, and it worked. Part of me wanted to show Prince what one of his songs would sound like with modern production. I don’t think he knows what I’m doing now (since I stopped working for him), and hopefully this will get his attention.
We usually do cover songs when we need a break from writing, and want to experiment with our production.
Listening to your lyrics, it almost seems that the name of the band and the album title has been chosen due to an overall art concept. Or is it maybe just a coincidence?
We wanted to make a perverse pop record, but not in such an overtly sexual way. We were equally excited to write about sex as we were about love. The name XLOVER was purely an accident. We were working on our first song, and one of the lyrics was ‘latex lover’, and after awhile, we abbreviated it to ‘Xlover’. Our first song was then called ‘XLOVER’, and shortly after, we decided to name the project this, cause it was playful and sexy..
You have recently played live in Berlin, Munich and the Hotel Shanghai in Essen. When will be your next shows - in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland? – Maybe a tour also? What can the audience expect from Xlover live? And what is the mystery behind Nina Rais show appearance?
We’re working on a show right now. A 4-member band with video projections.
Up to now, our shows have been all about punk energy. Now we’re going to put back the electronic element into the mix and step up the live production. Nina is a mystery, so you never know what to expect from her performance. That’s what keeps it exciting..
We should be touring around Germany and Europe in May and June.
`”So Blue” is the first single release, and is also
featured on the Gigole 8 compilation. How was the feedback on it so far? Is the second single already in the planning process and will it this time
contain remixes from other artists as well?
We wanted to start with So Blue, cause it’s a beautiful, powerful song, and not at all what you’d expect. The remix makes it more danceable and electric. Its been a favourite in most dj sets and is on radio eins and radio in the UK. Its probably my favourite song on the album. Dj Hell insisted it was the perfect choice. We admired his bravery and confidence with choosing this single.
We’re working on the release of the next single now. It will feature a video and remixes from some great musicians.
Knowing that you all got a lot of side projects, we would like to know, if the character of Xlover to you is more that of another project or of a real band?
XLOVER is our focus. And it’s our only ‘band’ project. When we feel like making total noise, we make a record as MOTOR. We just like to keep moving and keep it fresh. Slowly, XLOVER and MOTOR are becoming similar. Maybe it’s a good experiment, that will keep XLOVER progressing.
One of our standards is the question for your all time top 10 favourites, no matter if artists albums, or songs. Please let us know…
Prince- The Black Album
Nine Inch Nails- Pretty Hate Machine
Depeche Mode- Violator
New Order- Power, Corruption and Lies
Aphex Twin- Selected Ambient Works, volume II
Beethoven- Ave Maria
The Cure- Japanese Whispers
Tones on Tail- Night Music
XLOVER 'PLEASURE & ROMANCE” Album (GIGOLO)
XLOVER 'SO BLUE' 12" (GIGOLO)
XLOVER 'TRASH ME' 7" (CITY SEVENS 03)
XLOVER 'TRASH ME' 12" (CITY ROCKERS 13)
'THINKING XXX' FILM SOUNDTRACK (EMPEROR NORTON/ RYKODISC)
XLOVER 'TRASH ME', 'VOODOO U'
FUTURISM 2 COMPILATION (CITY ROCKERS)
collaborations/ co- writes.
FELIX DA HOUSECAT'ROMANTIQUE'
FROM 'DEVIN DAZZLE AND THE NEON FEVER' ALBUM (EMPEROR NORTON/ RUDE PHOTO)
FELIX DA HOUSECAT'GODZILLA: FINAL WARS' (MUSIC FOR THE FILM)
TOHO PICTURES JAPAN
FELIX DA HOUSECAT'DO ME WHAT I DO' (PLAYBOY 'THE MANSION'- VIDEO GAME AND COMPILATION)
PLAYBOY MAGAZINE/ IN-GROOVES GAMES
ATSUSHI SAKURAI 'X-LOVER' (WRITTEN BY XLOVER)
AI NO WAKUSEI (VICTOR JAPAN)
PRINCESS SUPERSTAR 'COOCHI COO' + 'PUSH(MAKE IT WORK)
DRUGBEAT 'KILL YOURSELF ON THE DANCEFLOOR' (XLOVER AND CROSSOVER)
SHITKATAPULT/ MUSICK RECORDS
MARILYN MANSON 'PERSONAL JESUS' (RUDE PHOTO MOTOR REMIX) -INTERSCOPE
BLONDIE 'GOOD BOYS' (XLOVER REMIX) SONY
DANIEL DIAMOND 'CHAMPU' (XLOVER REMIX) CITY ROCKERS
ULTRAFOX'CLOAKROOM GIRL' (XLOVER REMIX) LOSER FRIENDLY
THROBBING GRISTLE 'PERSUASION' -MUTANT TG (MOTOR REMIX) -NOVAMUTE
CLIENT 'PORNOGRAPHY' (MOTOR REMIX) -TOAST HAWAII/ MUTE
GWEN STEFANI 'WHAT YOU WAITING FOR?' -INTERSCOPE RECORDS
MOTOR 'STUKA / STUNT' (NOVAMUTE) 12"
MOTOR 'BOTOX' - KOMPILATION 2005 (NOVAMUTE)
MOTOR '0503' (NOVAMUTE) 3-TRACK 12"
MOTOR 'DIN 10' SHITKATAPULT STRIKE 50 DVD/LP COMPILATION
HALOBLACK 'THROB.' (THESICKCITY.COM/ ARMALYTE)