Feature: AXLS – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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AXLS are a three piece electronic outfit from Newcastle whose music tells us about the conquest of Earth by aliens. Their follow up to their first single ICBM is called Alias and is about a girl who is immune to the aliens addictive immersive virtual reality that is enslaving humanity. The sci-fi inspired singles are part of a progressive concept album, due to be released in November. Band members Victoria, Chris & Nathan and tell us more about the inspiration behind their first two singles.

Our debut LP is an electronic concept album primarily influenced by our shared love of old school synth-pop from the 1970/80s. In particular, artists such as Kraftwerk, New Order, Lorde, Human League, and LCD Soundsystem inform our sound. Old School cinema such as Blade Runner, Logan’s Run, 2001, and War of The Worlds has also been a big inspiration to our music development. 

The three of us met in the autumn of 2018 and bonded over our mutual love of synthwave outfit Gunship. Contrary to our electronic aesthetic, we also take cues from bands who incorporate storytelling into their album song writing. YES, Iron Maiden, and King Crimson are all bands which have shaped our progressive themes. Though musically we may not sound like those artists, we mix their form of narrative with our own neon-soaked synth soundscapes. 

Our song writing process is collaborative, with everyone adding to the creative process. We usually start with a synth pattern, then layer bass and drum beats. Finally come the melody and lyrics, which usually come to us upon listening to the song on repeat until inspiration strikes.  

The upcoming album will tell a story of humanity’s fight against an alien race, with each song playing a vital role in the timeline. Once released it is intended to be listened to as a whole piece from start to finish.  

ICBM 

Our first release started life in a rehearsal room with the classic “I wrote this ages ago and don’t know how best to use it”. From this basic chord progression, we added a new arrangement and dramatic lyrics. Later when we began to record the song with Kyle Martin at The Garage Studios, South Shields, it became more of an electro dance tune than was intended. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Skipping right into the action with our first release, ICBM follows humanity’s attempt to resist the influence of the newcomers. Weapons have failed us and it seems there is no hope. We must rely on the defiance of a young girl who doesn’t know her own capabilities. Alias is our hero in this fight against the alien AI and only she can resist the addictive virtual world created to enslave humanity. 

Alias 

Our current single started with the words “Hey guys, my synth player has a Theremin style laser on it!”. Upon making this discovery and after five minutes of doodling, we had a repetitive but catchy riff that didn’t seem to be getting tiresome. The next famous words were “Keep playing exactly like that!” while the melody seemed to form itself and lyrics fell into place. On top of this we added bass, a drum beat and electronic touches.  

In this chapter of our extraterrestrial tale, it’s Alias’ time to shine. Successfully managing to release some fellow humans from their cerebral prisons, the mutiny has begun. We will continue this outer space saga in our upcoming single releases, with our album due in the autumn of 2019.  

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