Our last year’s guests, Athens based alt rockers XOAN have been working on their debut album “Greenhorn”, and today we have a great pleasure to give you the band’s third single “Saw the Sun” and new comforting music video that will make you even more missing your holidays under the Greek sun. We caught up with the band to give you a bit more context and background behind the track and share their views on the current situation in Athens.
XOAN is a four-piece band formed in 2017 in Athens. Keeping the sound of the late-90’s and early-00’s as their main connection point, xoan craft songs with catchy hooks and melodic heavy riffing. After a period of pre-production, rehearsals and gigs all around Athens, in the spring of 2018 they hit the studio with prominent producer Alex Bolpasis to create their debut record. The result was “Greenhorn”, a coming of age record that refuses to come of age. Greenhorn consists of 8 vibrant tracks, filled with vulnerable yet visceral tunefulness that is meant to serve as a coping mechanism in the constant struggle of trying to pull yourself together. Their first single called “Dirt” premiered in July 2019 and shortly after they were selected to perform in the 2nd Music Showcase Greece festival in Thessaloniki. Their full debut album is expected to be released on May 29th.
American author Tom Robbins writes in his book Jitterbug Perfume (as his character, Dannyboy):
“The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. “
Saw The Sun mainly refers to the moment when the unhappy and self-indulgent person gets a glimpse of clarity and a shift in perspective.
Its themes are pretty open for interpretation but you can’t really drift way away from the main idea. It’s also worth noting that part of the second verse is a tribute to the same book and more specifically, to a part where two protagonists dissolve and become one with the universe through some sort of transcendental meditation.
As the title suggests, this record holds its naivety dear. Coming of age as a process can translate into losing individuality, getting exploited in the workplace, trying and failing to fit in and feeling and perceiving things less vividly than in the past. However, growing is inevitable and as the record progresses, it embraces themes of meaninglessness and alienation disguised in vibrant melodies.
Sonically, we felt that for this record we’d like to attempt a fresh approach on a sound that takes us back to when we all first started to really love music. That’s when we decided to have Alex Bolpasis as our producer. A man with tons of experience in any genre imaginable who also happens to share some of the same influences with us. Also, in a more literal level, we thought that such a title is fitting for the debut of a new band.
We’ve done a couple of internet shows while we were quarantined and we recorded some demos of new songs so our lockdown was somewhat creative. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, we were trying to plan a mini tour in the Balkan region but right now honestly, we just want to gather in a room and play.
We are only starting to see the repercussions of this crisis and things are not looking good regarding artists in general.
In Greece at least, there has been a ton of reactions these days from art workers because the government is not providing any kind of relief for people working in these professions and whose industry right now is shut down with no clue regarding when things are going to return to normal.
Hopefully, when all of this is over, we will try to reschedule the tour we were planning from scratch and finally get on the road sometime in 2021.
Athens local rock scene
Despite the overall panic and the uncertainty of this condition, we see a lot of efforts being made by local artists and labels in the form of online concerts, theatrical plays, fundraisers etc. Unfortunately, it is not enough to actually support the people involved but it’s a good start to build a sense of community in the extended art world.
Other bands worth a listen
Technocat – Former One Leg Mary frontman’s diy project. He writes the sickest tunes.
Pale Oaks – 80’s nostalgia meets indie rock with a hefty splash of pop.
Despite Everything – Sweaty Greek punk rock, the smelly kind, the heartfelt kind, the good kind.
The Overjoyed – If you ever loved Dookie you’ll love these guys.
Son – The sleekest, sweetest midwestern math-rock that’s ever entered your ears.
Waλves – Experimental post rock – emo rock with a twist of electronic progressiveness.
King Medicine – A fresh approach in old school emo.
Hex – Psych rock band with crazy good tunes.
Produced by Alex Bolpasis & Xoan
Recorded by Alex Bolpasis at PiGi Studio & Artracks Studio, Athens.
Drums recorded by Giannis Nikolakopoulos and Nikos Dimitrakakos at Unreal Studio Athens.
Bass recorded by Alex Bolpasis and Petros Vinakos at Destiny Studio Athens.
Mixed by Alex Bolpasis at Artracks Studio & Suono Studio Athens.
Mastered by Nick Townsend at Townsend Mastering, Orange County, CA.
Artwork created by Antonakis Christodoulou.