YXXAN (EN)

– Hello, thanks for taking your time. How are you holding up?

Thanks! I’m doing well given the circumstances, writing music mostly

-First off, why and how did YXXAN come to be? What was your main motivation behind forming this project?

The only true motivation behind Yxxan was and is my desire to create music. Just like with most people, I started listening to heavy music when I was very young and probably considering to start one’s own project is more common than not considering doing so. Yxxan happened to be the first project that reached a presentable state, i.e. releasing a demo, and its origins is me playing guitar in my apartment after work

-“Yxan” means axe in Swedish. How did you come up with this word as the band’s name? Does it have any deeper significance or was it more of an aesthetic choice?

I don’t remember but there wasn’t any exciting story behind it, so it’s mostly an aesthetic choice that supports my music

-And why Black Metal? What does it attract you from the style?

Genuinely created dark atmosphere and evil riffs. I like the concept of extreme music written and recorded by one person, and that black metal has an established tradition of it definitely played its role in my choice to start the project as black metal – not as death metal or crust punk for example

-You come from having played in Punk bands before. What do you bring to YXXAN from your previous experiences playing in bands?

My ability to play bass and write music, not more than that. None of my earlier bands worked out really

-“Satanic Fortification Overbalance” is your newest material, released in 2020. How did you end up with a label such as Nuclear War Now!?

I contacted NWN myself, they thought “Satanic Fortification Overbalance” was cool and offered to release it on tape

-On both your demos you played all the instruments yourself. When and how did you start playing instruments?

My first instrument was bass, I bought it from a girl in the same social circle when I was 16 or 17, for about 50eur. After a few years someone fucking stole it and after that I didn’t really play instruments until a friend borrowed me her acoustic guitar in 2017. Shortly after I bought an electric guitar and in 2018, when I decided to start writing my own music, I knew already that I didn’t want to use programmed drums. Since I would need a rehearsal space anyway, my plan was to buy any beat-up drum set and learn to pay enough to provide background for the guitar and vocals. But I ended up buying a quite good kit and really liking playing drums which lead to spending much more time behind the drum set than guitar 

-You’ve also made the cover artworks yourself. What do they depict?

“Inverterat Korståg” shows two pagans executing a Christian missionary, “Satanic Fortification Overbalance” represents getting armed by Satan. Both of the covers have connection to a song from their respective demos.

-And the lyrics? On this newest demo they’re not just limited to antireligious topics for what I see.

“Eternal Adversary” ended up having somewhat vague lyrics because I pretty much kept the initial lyrics, instead of building up on them for the final recording. It was the last song I wrote for the demo and I was thinking of skipping it altogether because everything was already sounding the same to me at that point and I didn’t know if I thought the song was good or not.

-Sound-wise I feel “Satanic Fortification Overbalance” is heavier and tighter. What was the reason for this? Different recording process? Different perspective? Natural progression?

It’s a result of natural progress. I had a clearer idea of what I wanted the end result to be and how to achieve it. Also, given that bass was my first instrument, it’s ironic that I didn’t have bass in the first demo, but I added it in the second one (again, a beat-up bass that I got from a friend). It was also mixed by Andrew Lee from Ripped To Shreds, and I used better gear.

-This about “Satanic Fortification Overbalance” being said; how would you describe it with just 3 words?

Abrasive hyperactive noise

-Anyway you got some session live members. What effect has this had on YXXAN? Have you already done any gigs?

We played one small show in the outskirts of Stockholm this summer, everything else got cancelled. The next planned date is 2022 Hell Over Hammaburg, hopefully it takes place

-One-woman bands are more common every day. Are there any other that you like? Or women artists playing extreme Metal that influenced you in any way?

DödsÄngel was a project that I found inspiring before starting Yxxan. It’s one-woman black metal with very obvious punk influences, barebones and aggressive, not the conventional one-person black metal sound. As for other women artists, I don’t know if influence is the best description, but listening to their music or reading about their bands feels motivating to me as an artist in some way. November Grief, Castrator, Mars Sekhmet (drummer in Antediluvian), Runhild Gammelsæter (vocalst in Thorr’s Hammer), to name a few.  

-And in general, what are your main musical and non-musical influences?

Canadian black/death metal is what I often look up to

-How does a one-woman band fit in the current context of extreme Metal?

If it’s extreme metal, it fits in extreme metal, regardless if it’s one woman or four women who make up the band

-You have songs like “Nuns Slaughter Priests”, “Lead me to War (Mother Satan)”… Is it just blasphemy or also a way with breaking with norms and the status quo?

It’s blasphemy expressed in a way that feels right to me.

-And finally, what are now your near-future plans in these uncertain times?

For Yxxan, at the moment I’m writing a full-length. With other bands, mostly recording. 

– That’s all from our side, thanks again for your time. If you’d like to add some final words, feel free to do it.

One-woman band is not more difficult than a full band, it’s just different

Tania Giménez

Tania@queensofsteel.com

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