Interview: AXLS | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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A band making waves on the North-East music scene lately is Newcastle’s synth-pop trio, AXLS. Having released three singles to rave reviews, plenty of radio play and umpteen Spotify streams the band now release their debut album, First Contact (available from all good streaming sites). We have a chat with them to find out more. 

How did you form? 
The band formed in late 2018. We met online via JoinMyBand.co.uk, which is a great place to meet like-minded musicians with similar influences.

Where did the name AXLS come from?
Haha! We wanted a name that represented our electronic sound and also something that would come first alphabetically in a list of bands! 

How would you describe your sound?
Our music is an odyssey of electronica, cool synths, dreamy female vocals and low slung bass! We make progressive electronica influenced by old school electro bands like Kraftwerk, Human League etc to more modern sounds like London Grammar, Lorde and LCD Soundsystem, mixed with Big Screen sci-fi-like Bladerunner, 2001 and John Carpenter.

Describe your songwriting and recording process.
It’s very collaborative. One of us generally comes up with a starting point which sounds like The Cure in 1981! Then we deconstruct it. We rebuild it with rhythms, loops and samples. Chris adds a mellow synth riff, Conrad adds some bass parts, Victoria adds vocals and melody. Then we all add drums, beeps and electronics until it sounds like AXLS 2020!

Tell us more about your debut album. What are the themes within it?
Our debut LP is called “First Contact”. It is released 30th January on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music etc and it tells the story of apparently benign aliens who enslave humanity with their addictive immersive virtual reality. Only Alias, a young girl, has the power to resist and lead humanity’s fight back. We recorded it with the legendary Kyle Martin at The Garage, South Shields throughout 2019.

What does 2020 have in store for you?
We’re playing the iconic Factory 251 in Manchester on March 6th and then a Newcastle show at The Globe for Musicians Against Homelessness on March 13th. We’ll be releasing a few more dark poppy singles (not sci-fi related!) and hopefully playing a few festivals. We’ll also be releasing a video game “First Contact” to go with the album, which you will be able to play online. It’s a bit Space Invaders and bit Galaxians. Real old school 80s arcade stuff, designed and programmed by our super talented synth player Chris.

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