We conducted an interview with Will Rugless and Joel Nash of British experimental outfit XUUKI on January 24, 2012.
Hey. Thank you for taking this interview. Please introduce yourself and tell us why would you want to turn some of our readers onto your side?
Hi, thanks for taking the time to ask us some questions! Well XUUKI has four members, Josh Semmens (bass guitar), Will Rugless(lead guitarist), David Higham (Drums) and Joel Nash (lead vocals and synth). We have been friends for many years now, each with our own background and influences in music – we are always trying to develop XUUKI further. Our sounds stem from our interest with electronica and experimental music such as BIBIO, APHEX TWIN, RADIOHEAD, etc. To answer your question we would want to turn some of your readers onto our side because we thoroughly enjoy writing music together and hope to share it.
You are hailing from Buckinghamshire, South East England. What’s the best and the worst thing about the place you live? How would you describe your local music scene?
The Local music scene is varied which is good however we only follow a handful of bands here. Bucks isn’t particularly bustling, but the scenery’s nice.
“Immersive and simply beautiful”, “lyrics that could make leaves fall from trees”, “waves of vocal beauty”, “an epic sound”, “washes of vocal harmonies”, “a suspension of consciousness” – these are only some of the excerpts from reviews of your music. Do you pay people to write reviews? [laughs] How did you manage to create such amazing musical landscapes? How do you write your songs? Do you take any kind of prepared ideas with you to the recording session? What’s the secret?
So far we’ve made our recordings in make shift studio’s at home so we have been able to take our time when producing the music. That gives us the leeway to experiment with the equipment and push things as far as we can. We also, try not to take things too seriously or stick to one thought or idea. It seems to work best when we keep an open mind to trying new things.
Ok, your music has very unique touch to it, no doubt about it. What are your favorite artists these days?
Some of our favourite artists at the moment include CONNAN MOCKASIN, SEEKAE and BLOOD ORANGE. WASHED OUT and BURIAL.
Would you count yourself as a part of the post-rock music scene? What do you think about labeling music in general?
Well Sometimes it’s necessary to categorise different genres so that people can refer to the music they like and it makes music more accessible. Labelling music is just a factor of how music progresses and not much different to how people try to distinguish between an art movement, or transgressions happening in fashion. As for the post-rock scene, I wouldn’t say we really mind being labelled if we fit the criteria, but we’re just creating the music we enjoy.
Please you give us a quick tour of your musical life. Did you have any musical projects or collaborated with any bands before XUUKI?
We played in a lot of different bands through our school years, which is always amusing to look back on. Now’a days, we play around and experiment with music individually, and with other musicians to broaden our horizons and discover new ways of working. But essentially we try and funnel the best of our creative energy into XUUKI.
What releases have you recorded there so far?
Our first single release was Sun flid, which we recorded 2 years ago, using very limited recording equipment. And just last year we recorded our first, self titled, EP with a really great friend of ours Sam Pinion. I’d say we’ve progressed a lot since making this EP, so we are very eager to get new material recorded and hopefully released.
What’s on your schedule at the moment?
Well currently I’m at University in Kent, which has been something with it’s pro’s and con’s in terms of XUUKI. Obviously we haven’t had a lot of time to work together since september. However, the time spent apart has been valuable to gather inspiration, and work on personal ideas. When we have been able to get together, we’re fully aware not to take it for granted. Which is something that has pushed us to work harder and create some of the music we’ve been most satisfied with so far.
I ask this almost every time, but this part of an artist’s existence is so important in my opinion that it’s not possible to omit it. When and where can we see you perform live? How important is touring for you?
In the past few months we haven’t been able to play any shows, due to myself being at university. We also want to develop our sound a lot further before we start playing live again. The small couple of tours we did in the summer of last year were the absolute highlights of our musical careers so far, and we cherished every moment. As you can imagine we can’t wait to play a bunch of live shows again. Hopefully we’ll organise a few in Bucks over the summer, but we’ll have to wait and see how things go before we can contemplate touring.
Many thanks. Feel free to tell whatever you want, but remember there are younger kids reading [laughs].
Well thank you very much for showing an interest in what we’re doing! It’s fantastic to know that people appreciate it. I see us working as a band for a very long time to come, so we hope, anyone with interest in us can be patient for us to develop. And we shall see what the future holds.