When it comes to epic-grade electronica, Xilent is an artist with a voice of his own. His new album We Are Virtual received a rave review from TMMP for good reason – and here, the man himself chats about his origin story, that long-player, his biggest ambition as a musician, and more…
Your new album We Are Virtual is out now. How do you feel about the reactions to it so far?
It has been really great, the amount of people that appreciate the album’s style and message as well as enjoy it as a whole makes me incredibly happy! Releasing it opened doors to a completely new world to me, because literally everything that has been a part of my style and mindset since I began making music is encompassed among all the tracks that make up We Are Virtual.
What first inspired you to take a musical path in life?
A major inspiration were my family; my parents had actually met each other at a musical school during their higher education. My mom used to be a trained violinist as well as orchestra conductor at the time and my dad was a professional drummer and singer – yes, at the same time – as a part of many bands in Poland for over 25 years. Then came school and along with it, me following my dad’s drumming steps.
I was in various hardcore punk bands for the duration of my entire education, and finally quit drumming when I moved out to the UK, where Xilent began full scale.
What was your creative process like during the making of We Are Virtual?
The concept came first, almost 3 years ago, when I still lived in Scotland. I decided to finally make an album which would reflect my lifelong ideologies and still be entertaining. It began with only a couple of tracks loosely based around the idea of portraying the style I’d been known for until then.
I started producing quite quickly at a certain phase, despite moving around from country to country every eight months or so. By the end of last year I had a lot to choose from to make a concise story for the album. My moods and, in turn, the atmosphere of certain tracks have changed a lot – especially after I got married. That’s when I started finishing the album up with more positive tunes, such as Animation.
Were there any challenges/setbacks during the making of the album? If so, how did you get around them?
Since I was moving so often and I’m not a hoarder, [I] would often change equipment and buy or trade for something new. Because of that, there were two big setbacks that made the finalising of this album quite difficult.
I switched external hard drives and PCs halfway through the production work. The original hard drive was encrypted to only be used with the computer I practically ended up discarding. This caused a lot of the original project files to be not compatible with the new operating system and its new hard drive privileges.
I also misplaced virtual instruments and ended up not being able to utilise some of the ones I was accustomed to on my new machine. I essentially ended up with half the album exported and self-mastered, and half of it still in raw projects. So wrapping it up into a concisely sounding bundle was really difficult.
I remember staying up all night after New Year’s Eve tweaking the “punches” of every kick and snare of half of the mastered versions of tracks of the album. Now I know never to switch computers while writing something bigger!
You blend a lot of styles into your music. How did you manage to achieve that?
Ever since I can remember, I was a fan of both trance and drum & bass. Both metalcore and dirty punk rock. Both synth-pop new-age stuff and industrial.
I know I feel inspired by things around me on a daily basis and alter my style accordingly. And despite it being enormously helpful with remix work, where you have to be really adaptive to certain new styles and ideas, I get bored easily, so I like to keep things different and experiment. We Are Virtual for instance – it serves as a showcase of all my styles from the beginning of Xilent ’til 2015…and as of now I have a feeling I won’t make much of that sound again. I want to divert into uncharted territories.
What does the future hold for you?
Only time will tell! We’re currently putting out new album-oriented merchandise and distributing exclusive CD versions of the album soon. Looks as though I’ll be touring Australia and the US shortly, and I’ve also got a couple of collaborations pencilled in for later in the year, which I’m quite excited about doing too.
What’s your greatest ambition as a musician?
Initially when I started it was always about testing myself, whether I’m capable of doing it full scale. Now that I know, I just want to make people wake up when it comes to the emotional side of electronic music. Make them feel something different as well as make them happy.
Thanks for taking the time to do this – it’s a pleasure to support great music-making!
Thank you for having me, and my pleasure entirely!
Links / Video
Check out TMMP’s review of We Are Virtual here.