June 2012 “Band of the Month” – XAVII
We’ve been honored to have such a talented lineup of bands of our Band of the Month series. The series is definitely something we should have started last year but nonetheless, we’ve been able to speak with bands that we’ve been able to watch grow over the past months and it’s a pleasure being able to work with them. Just in case you missed:
One would expect a city with a rich musical history like Macon to consistently turn out quality band after band. From the 50s-70s, Macon has produced legends such as Little Richard, Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers and was home to Capricorn Records, the label that produced some of the most well-known icons in American rock and roll. Following the crash of Capricorn Records, the city’s music scene, or what was left of it, lacked creative quality. Fast forward years later and the city is now home to over 12 functioning venues of all sizes and in recent years has produced artists that have appeared on national television (JuBee & The Morning After), have dozens of awards (Floco Torres’ “Cherry Street“) and have created a network for local artists through a printing, publishing, recording, booking and production group (Macon Noise Records) where bands support each other and encourage success. Of the Macon Noise artists, a group called XAVII has stood out consistently over the past two years. Formed more than two years ago, while the entire band was still in high school, the 4-piece has changed shape and size and has grown expansively since the release of their debut EP (produced & recorded at Favorite Gentlemen Records studio) Mud is Better Than Words. Since building up a strong regional presence, the band is set to take their music on the road. If comparisons were a worthy way to describe a band, these guys fall somewhere between Explosions in the Sky, Don Caballero, O’Brother and Mahavishnu Orchestra but in a niche uniquely their own. There’s no doubt this group is as ambitious as they are talented and with their follow up EP titled “Our Recent Futures” due out later this year, along with an East Coast tour with label-mates Trufflelina, you can expect something special is on the way.
***The band was kind enough to allow us to debut an exclusive preview of their upcoming EP***
No Valley For The Nine Blind / Wings of Wax
TBI: Local columnist Anthony Harris made a flattering (and probably biased) observation about your name when he attempted to find the meaning behind it (X = 10, the highest range on a universal scale, A = Alpha;First, VII = 7, the heavenly number). Where does the band’s name originate from and was
their any initial meaning behind it?
XAVII: (Clark) We named our band after a Russian Circles song. The initial meaning was just inspiration at the time. Just like Blue Indian from Widespread Panic?
TBI: Each of you has played a different role in the progression of Macon Noise Records over the past few years. In an ideal world, where would you see the label one year from now?
XAVII: (Clark) I’d hope to be putting out more great records on a larger than just DIY scale. We want to have our bands touring outside of Macon on a more regular basis and opening for larger touring acts when they come to play in Macon. I could only hope that in the long term Macon Noise Records is looked upon as a prolifically driven group of musicians like that of the Capricorn Records day.
TBI: When the first EP was recorded, the band was obviously younger but the lineup was different as well. Has the overall vision for the group changed since then or do you simply find that you’ve grown up more and are still working towards your founding idea?
XAVII: (Zack) I’d say we have grown up some. Our direction is much more focused, but our passion is still the same. I feel like I’m stuck with this band for forever probably. They are like brothers. Like any relationship things tend to get strained but we usually can overcome small things and focus on the reason why we are together.
(Clark) Recently the goal has been to be much more musical and dynamic in our writing and performances.
(Steve) I think the only vision we truly have and started out with is to enjoy music and share it with others, so i guess now we just do it differently as a result of different influences in our lives.
TBI: You recorded the first record at Favorite Gentlemen Records (Manchester Orchestra, O’Brother, All Get Out) studio. The band and the label’s technician produced the album, alongside help from members of various bands. What prompted you all to work with FG on the first album, whereas you choose to record and produce the upcoming album in a home studio outside of Macon?
XAVII: (Dustin) Being friends with the drummer for O’Brother got us a lead into the studio for our first record.
(Steve) Those guys were mighty kind and generous to share their time and knowledge. I think now the opportunity to have so much independence is very valuable and a luxury that we’re kind of lucky to enjoy.
(Clark) Working on studio time constraints, varying band members schedules, and without much money of our own, we ultimately decided to record where we were most comfortable and to use the tools we had available to us. We also enjoyed the luxury of recording in our home at Macon Noise, which is where we practice all the time and where we can work long hours on things if needed. We were still slightly in the writing process for the album and we weren’t looking to rush things too much performance wise. The new album has a lot more work into it and we think it will shine over our last release.
TBI: The band has never toured outside of the state of Georgia but will be embarking on a string of dates up and down the East Coast with Trufflelina, a band who occasionally shares members with Xavii. What are you all most excited about with getting out on the road and sharing your music and message with audiences?
XAVII: (Clark) We have visited Jacksonville on multiple occasions but this is our first run up north. Getting to see new places, venues, and meet new people who are interested in music. Getting to see old music friends and catch up is a great part of it to. Sharing this tour with Trufflelina will also be interesting as we are sharing members of both bands.
(Zack) This is my first time on the road really, I know it will be a challenge but I think we are ready and it will only drive us to be better and more efficient, also just imagine being piled in a hot sweaty van with your best friends for two weeks !
TBI: As many nationally touring acts have shown, a band can be successful on a large scale and still adopt a DIY ethic. Is this operating model something that the band hopes to develop and maintain completely or is there an expectancy to eventually work with other labels or management?
XAVII: (Clark) We appreciate the DIY ethic and also are very passionate about crafting our sound for now. We would love the chance to go beyond our normal DIY routine and find a larger label who reflects our taste and love for our music. We always hope to maintain that DIY passion and stay true to grassroots methods but getting into bigger things is surely not out of the question for us. Working with support of a larger label would be of huge help to us in the future for capturing the studio sound we admire and for gaining more attention.
(Zack) It always feels good to have finished an entire work on your own, a sense of accomplishment. I know I’m proud of this band and Clark especially for helping us pull all of this together. Working with a label has been a small dream of mine, as probably with most musicians. Having someone believe in what you’re doing and help fund the operations makes a lot of difference.
TBI: Aside from local favorites, what have you all been listening to? Are there any “influences” one might not expect from you all?
XAVII: (Clark) Lately I’ve been listening to The Meatpuppets, Ariel Pink, Karl Blau, 70s Afro-rock, and lots of free jazz.
(Dustin) As of late White Suns, Don Cab, Miles Davis. Surprisingly, Blind Willie Mctell and Merle Haggard.
(Zack) Rumah Sakit, Sigur Ros, 33.3, Toe
TBI: Lastly, you all have the opportunity to tour the United States with 3 other artists, from any time period. Who would you choose and why?
XAVII: (Clark) The Allman Brothers Band, cause we would get to hang out with The Legendary Red Dog, Barry Oakley, and Duane Allman.
(Steve) Sufjan Stevens just to have the opportunity to watch him perform every night.
(Zack) Vic Chesnutt with Silver Mt. Zion orchestra, Mono (great Japanese instrumental band) and maybe a fusion great like Mahavishnu Orchestra.
XAVII / TRUFFLELINA 2012 EAST COAST TOUR
June 5 Macon, GA @ The Hangar with Trufflelina, Tanosweg
June 12 Athens, GA @ Flickr Bar with Argonauts, Looking for Alaska, Nurture
June 14 Atlanta, GA @ 911 House with Faun and a Pan Flute, Babar, Memes
June 15 Macon, GA @ Roasted Cafe with Trufflelina, Trendlenberg
June16 Boone, NC @ Black Cat with Trufflelia, Clover Buds
June17 Greensboro, NC @ The Karate Dungeon with TBA
June 20 Charlottesville, VA @ The Pigeon Hole with Trufflelina and TBA
June 21 NYC/Brooklyn @ Charleston with Trufflelina, Many Mansion and TBA
June 22-23 NYC/Boston/RI with Trufflelina and TBA
June 24 Allston, MA @ O’Brien’s with Trufflelina, Trespasser, and King Orchid
June 25 Philidelphia/NYC TBA
June 26 Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5 with Trufflelina, Houdan The Mystic, Navi