You could say that 2018 is the year for Xqui, a new British solo underground artist to appear on the experimental electronic scene. Already he has issued several releases this year via Bandcamp. Despite being so prolific, Xqui seems to have opted for a quieter existence, with a stronger focus on creating music and without a lot of PR fuss. His latest release, the Dragonette EP, was just released a few days ago (Oct. 26), following a steady output stream beginning earlier this year. So who is this masked musical marauder lurking in the shadow, you may ask? This week we had the opportunity to speak with Xqui!
Hello Xqui – You’ve been very prolific this past year with your music output. Would you consider yourself a newcomer to the music scene or is there a whole musical past we don’t know about?
Hi Noise Journal, a little bit of both I suppose. I’ve made music under another name in the past with assistance from others, but I wanted to do something purely by myself and slightly less mainstream. I was brimming with ideas so decided not to let any go to waste and to release steadily but frequently in the beginning. There has been good interest in what I have done which is very pleasing. The scene I have evolved into is one of experimentation and noise with elements of ambient too.
Have you always been more in the experimental realm or was this a gradual process to arrive here?
I’ve liked slightly left of center music since my late teens after becoming tired with the mainstream music I heard every day on the radio. Since then I’ve been more interested in artists that are unique and prepared to be daring rather than be safe in what they produce. My first album Dragon was very much a selection of sounds that people could expect from Xqui. I like that I have no boundaries, that I can do as I please without anyone influencing my decisions, it allows for me to be very creative, sometimes perhaps unlistenable! Ha Ha!
Please tell us about your latest release as Xqui.
My last Xqui release was a secretive EP in so much as I haven’t promoted it. It contains five tracks which I had and wanted to get out prior to starting work on the second album, clearing my head in a way to make way for a brand-new project. Before that, I made two tracks with a brilliant artist from America, Elizabeth Joan Kelly. Like me, she uses found sounds and field recordings and manipulates them into music and sounds. We ‘met’ over the internet and we had a lot in common. The Starchild EP was made by sending sounds to each other for us both to work on, I loved the results, very atmospheric. Recently I was asked to remix a single for a band called mylittlebrother who I was introduced to by my label mate Equinox. He had worked with their frontman on his debut album and suggested I might like to remix for them.
Where do you live? Are you part of a live music scene too?
I live in Lancashire in England. I’m not part of a live music scene although there is very much a thriving scene called the ‘no audience underground’. Effectively, it is artists like me making music through pure enjoyment. The initial audience is the artists themselves although now and again, there does appear to be recognition elsewhere.
What inspires you to create music?
Everything. I can hear sounds, find them or just get ideas from noises or music. I am constantly recording sounds on my mobile phone and trying to manipulate them from organic to digital sounds. I’ve recorded my children playing, traffic, workmen, even animals and made interesting sounds from them. The inspiration is purely limited by my imagination. I love the fact that music is all around, everything can be seen to be music if it has a beat or repetition.
What are your top 5 faves Xqui tracks?
That’s difficult as they mean different things to me at different times. I try not to have favorites but there may be some that had special relevance for me, for instance from my first EP or album. It will probably change if you ask me again tomorrow and five is a very small number to choose but I’ll go for:
Britannia Part 3 (Britannia EP)
Bun (Dragon album)
Aliens (Aliens EP)
Spark, Rekindled in Despair (Antriksh Bali Mix) (Wyrmling EP)
Zeiglerville (forthcoming album)
What are your top 5 fave tracks by other artists you’re currently listening to?
Elizabeth Joan Kelly – Sci Fi Drive
Halo Dragonfly – Quartin Shite
Blancmange – In Your Room
Yazoo – I Before E Except After C
Xqui – Cypriot
What plans have you got for Xqui over the next year?
Firstly, I’m completing the new album for release in the next few months. I’ll be making more EPs I suspect and have a couple of artists that I’d like to collaborate with. Just really seeing where things take me and if anyone is interested in what I do! I’ve also decided to take up painting again and will maybe put the results up on Bandcamp to see if there are any takers! Ha Ha! I will also be releasing an album under another name, but I don’t really see any reason to link that to Xqui just yet. Keep your eyes and ears open as my sound is taking a distinctly harder and more abrasive direction at the moment.
Keep Up With Xqui
Written by Mike D.