It’s been a little while. We’ve missed you too. But enjoy this. From late November, it’s Future Of The Left performing one of the hits. And speaking on a personal note, one of my favourite songs in the last decade.
Ahead of Xeno & Oaklander’s appearance for us at the Lexington on 6th July, they kindly spared a few minutes of their time to answer a few questions..
What’s the best way to describe xeno and oaklander to someone who has never heard your music?
We’re a synth duo based in Brooklyn, girl and boy: we play minimal electronics. The music is cinematic in that it conjures up a lot of visual connotations when people listen to it, and it is also quite visceral in that our live shows are rather intense. A lot of celestial arpeggios, driven drum-machine beats, walls of harmonic noise, washed away vocals.
What is about the minimalist feel and sound that appeals most to you as a band and as individuals?
The hand is important to us - we love playing our synths live, and to record them like that too. We enjoy the immediacy of it. It is fun to shape voltage there and then, to alter envelopes, and create melodies that way. So the reason why the music is minimal is because it is restrained to the number of instruments we can play at once, resulting in sparse arrangements. The warmth comes from the analogue gear that we use, synthesizers from the 70’s and the 80’s, living and breathing voltage-based instruments.
Would you ever consider incorporating some digital instrumentation?
We have nothing against digital, we just prefer the sound and the interface of analogue gear. If there were digital instruments which could interface with our voltage based systems, sure, however very few exist.
Does playing in Europe feel more enjoyable in terms of audience appreciation, particularly in Germany, France etc.
The minimal electronics genre takes its roots in Europe so there is already a history and a time-honoured sensibility there. Also a lot of the minimal synth collectors are based in Europe. Although, there is an inspiring minimal electronics scene here in New York and in the US at large, with brand new bands releasing great new tracks, and playing live shows all the time.
What’s the biggest misconception surrounding cold/synthwave?
The sound is overall cold and dark, but there is warmth to the sound and hope to the lyrics that make our music ultimately celebratory and affirmative.
Not long now.