You probably know the situation: No matter how many concerts you host and tracks you make, it still feels like if it’s the same little group of fans that stands there in front of you. No hard feelings, a small group of fans can still be a thousand times more valuable than a huge group, but oh’ boy how you wish more people would know about your band.
Imagine the opposite situation. You never really crave for the livestages but love the feeling of finishing another song in the studio. Then imagine if 90.000 people (!) chose to follow you on facebook – by comparisons that is almost the same amount of people Marie Key and Shaka Loveless would get if they merged their facebook pages…
This is X Contract from Aarhus!
Right now competing in Student Music Award, so go see them live 11th April at Studenterhus Aarhus. We took a chat with the boys about the whole going-from-studio-to-live-band, about adding new faces to the band squad and about starting you live career with an entire 14 concerts tour in England..
First of all. For those people who do not know X Contract, how would you characterize the band?
We see ourselves as a breath of fresh air to an otherwise very versatile Danish music scene. We play progressive rock, but stands out from the underground by placing great emphasis on the promotion of our music.
Unlike many other artists in recent years you never really prioritized the live scene. How have priorities been for the band, and why this slightly different approach to being a musician?
The band started out only counting two members – Lars and Dennis. In the beginning there were no ambitions of being or becoming a live band, but rather to achieve personal satisfaction by created a concept album. The first album was released (Dearest Dream) and we shared it with friends and acquaintances on social media. The response we received was really overwhelming. We began to sense that there was an interest in our music. Therefore the collaboration continued over a second album (Territory: Hours). The album took shape by inviting different musicians into the creative process. Territory: Hours received great reviews and the British music industry became aware of our music. We topped the charts in different forums and it started exploding with “likes ” on Facebook. We were convinced that we were on to something right, and the desire to get out and play in front of our supporters grew. It turned out to be a lengthy process to find the right musicians with the right attitude. It is only now that we really started to get gigs in the calendar.
With a huge fanbase like yours and rave reviews is it possible at all to be nervous about coming out as a live musician?
We have never thought of it that way. We are very aware of the difference between being a “studio band” and being a properly functioning live band. Of course there are great expectations for us as a band, as it may all look very splendid, seen from the outside, but when we meet in the rehearsal room, we are just 6 guys with the exact same premise as a newly started high school band. Our fanbase and promotion work should not be seen as a loophole for the big scenes. We have to create everything from scratch and not worry about having to live up to the success of social media and charts. We are working to become an accomplished live band and attain a lot of experiences.
Two new faces have been added to the band which now count six members. Has it in any way changed the workflow, the dynamics or the band’s sound?
The two new musicians (Sune & Mads) have had a major impact on the workflow and the dynamics of the band. Both were chosen based on criteria that included both their personal characteristics and musical approach to their music. Mads is a multi-instrumentalist and a technically accomplished musician. It has helped us a lot to get new inputs to the internal structure of the music. Sune come from a background where he has worked with sound design and classic film compositions. He has complemented the music’s outer structure – mainly sound and dynamics. He has helped to develop our workflow and the organizational in our band. Common to both is that they have reinforced our desire to music, by entering the band with optimism and commitment.
You just decided to enter the live dimension of music and have already arranged 14 (!) concerts in England. Many other artists and bands play countless concerts in Denmark before trying their luck abroad. How can it be that you start out by jumping straight from Demark to England? Do you feel it as a bet to go on stage in England as much as 14 times?
It is entirely due to the current British awareness, buzz you may call it, to our music. It’s a great risk for the band to start out with such an extensive tour. We have never tried to be on tour before and have no idea what to expect on the other side of North Sea in the UK. However, we have spent a lot of time talking about our expectations of the tour – both musically and on a personal level. If the tour turns out to be a success, then it will certainly be a psychological boost to go all in on music.
You have topped the online list BEAT100 several times. How would you say that you have managed to create such a large audience before you actually crave to go on stage live?
Dennis is really fantastic in his use of Social Media. He has put the same amount of hours into the band’s promotion, as he has spent with his instrument. He has focused on getting our music out in public, and he has worked administratively with all kinds of people in the industry.
What do you guys feel is the reason for the lack of attention from the Danish audience? What is missing for Denmark to find X Contract?
Well, The Danish scene is probably not as much in favor of a progressive rock band as for example the UK, but we hope that there over time slowly comes a growing crowd of supporters, when we start to play concerts in Denmark.
Previously, your sound has been compared to giants like Radiohead and Coldplay. If you had to estimate the sonic inspirations yourselves, what actors do you find?
A great source of inspiration is Muse and Porcupine Tree. That said all aforementioned bands are groups we have the greatest respect for. However, we have put a lot of emphasis in our creative phase on not sounding too much like other songs or bands. We want to create our own unique sound and our own musical universe. It is therefore an honour to be compared with such talented bands and at the same time also so versatile bands.