"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where recording artists with an recently released CD is confronted with 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
XORIGIN: "State Of The Art"
XORIGIN is the duo of Norwegian vocalist Johannes Stole and Swedish guitarist Daniel Palmqvist, friends since their time at Musicians Institute in LA in the late nineties. Originally known as Orange Crush, XorigiN's debut album at Frontier Records, "State Of The Art", takes you a rollercoaster ride of AOR, Westcoast and Poppy Power Rock arrangements. Find out everything and more about the album, the duo, and their influences, here's,: DANIEL PALMQVIST...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
So far it's been really good! We've gotten a lot of great reviews and the AOR fans seem to dig the album and that makes us very happy of course!
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
Well, it took about 6 months. The main reason for why it took a fairly long time to record is that we where working on our album on and off between other commitments. Which might have been a good thing since it gave us the time to take a step back and think things through a bit during the process.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
We definitely had an idea of trying to combine different elements of some of our favourite bands in the genre, like Toto, Yes (90125/Big Generator era), Journey to name a few. But at the same time trying to create something that also sounded like “us”.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Our producer Daniel Flores (who also played the drums on the album) had a lot of input. He’s someone we’ve worked with in the past and he knows this style of music very well. We’re the same age and we’ve been growing up with a lot of the same influences so he really understood what we where going for.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Yes, we’re very happy with the production and overall sound of the album. Being a musician (or an artist in any craft really) I think you always seek perfection and aim too make your “masterpiece”, and that’s what pushes you forward and also what makes sure that you’re never 100% satisfied with anything, haha. But we really feel like this is a strong debut album with songs we’re very proud of!
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Well, Daniel Flores has a trick or two up his sleeve, but that is a question for him to answer. I don’t want to give away any possible “trade secrets”, haha. As far as I’m concerned I recorded all lead guitars and some keys and some rhythm guitars in my studio, but I’m a fairly traditional kind of guy. When it comes to recording lead guitars I just take a good amp (usually my modified Marshall) , a good cab and then a shure mic in front of the cab. Not exactly the most unique way of recording guitars:-) It’s a good thing I live in a house though, cause I like to crank the amp real loud, haha.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
Well, I guess we didn’t cause we haven’t played live with this band yet, although Johannes and I have played live many times with the earlier version of this band “Orange Crush”. But we are of course looking forward to perform these songs live and to capture the albums sound live instead, haha.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
That’s a bit like asking a parent which of his children he loves the most, haha. But to pick a favourite (at least today’s favourite) I pick
"Gina". It’s a catchy song with a nice hook and it was a bit inspired by Winger/Ratt. Then in the bridge it was (oddly enough) inspired by the The Beach Boys as far as the vocal arrangement is concerned.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Speaking for myself I really like to tell a story in a song. I usually end up in the old ”love found/love lost theme” when writing lyrics, but so do most lyricists it seems, haha.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Well, I’m sure it does in one way or another, but I feel like my instinct for writing good songs (imo) gets better and better as I get more experienced.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Frontiers are known as a label for melodic hardrock and AOR, so they were expecting certain things for sure. There where a couple of songs that we recorded early on in the production that was a bit too far from what they where looking for, and although a bit annoyed at the time I now agree that those songs where stylistically not right for the album. Actually the song “In The Blink Of An eye” where the last song we wrote for the album since we needed one more ballad, and it is one of our strongest songs I think.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Not really, but there is one weird story that I can share. The day after completing the demo for the song “GINA”, Johannes (the singer of XorigiN) went on a cruise ship to do some shows and he just happened to meet a woman named Gina… anyone familiar with the chorus lyrics of that song will probably find that a bit amusing. I leave the details for Johannes to tell sometime in the future…
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
It’s our interpretation of what we think melodic hard rock/AOR should sound like. There’s catchy riffs, good melodies, big vocal arrangements and big hooks. Or at least we think so, haha.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Toto is a big one, especially Hydra and Isolation (for me, that is). I’m also a big fan of Yes (Trevor Rabin era), Journey, Giant, Asia and a bunch of more bands from this style of music and close to it. I think Johannes has very similar taste when it comes to bands, although he may prefer the more “pop oriented” albums and songs of the earlier mentioned bands, where as I seem to lean a bit more towards the heavier side.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
We really hope that fans of AOR melodic rock who haven’t heard of us yet will give us a chance and check out our album. We hope to see you on the road in the future!