X.U.L - 10 Questions Music Interview
X.U.L (Gašper Selko) uses music as a language by combining contemporary classical with elements of minimalism and experimental electronic music to explore the unique interaction between music and it's listeners. He played trumpet in his younger years, then went on to study music at a conservatory level. After finishing the Conservatory for Music in Ljubljana, he continued his studies at the Academy of Music Ljubljana where he graduated in a class of Tibor Kerekeš. During this time, he had already started experimenting with various musical genres!
He is a member of several bands: Leni Kravac, ''MUSCAH," Good Vibration, and Yanu, Kamnik City Band. He also collaborates with many artists and groups such as Noctiferia, Murat and Jose, Igor Leonardi, Denis Beganovič, JaMirko, Damaris etc. Music is an important part of his life because everything he listens to, creates, and plays is a reflection of himself - from the power of metal to the perfection of classical music, and from the freedom of jazz to the diversity of folk and ethnic music, X.U.L.'s music is an integral part of who he is.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
For many years, I was only an instrumentalist studying classical music at a Music Academy in Ljubljana where I played in various groups and collaborated with different artists. I played everything from Balkan music to metal, hip hop, electronic, etc. When a friend showed me Olafur Arnald's music, I started to explore music from the North as it was a different sound for me. I am, of course, a die-hard metal-head so I'm big fan of Nordic music, but this was different. It touched me on different levels. I started to explore genres and found masterpieces from Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Arve Henriksen, Ulver etc. All of these great artists and groups influenced me and I found my own sound.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
There were so many crazy moments on the road from releasing my debut album to touring from the south to north, but definitely the best moments included meeting artists who inspired me, such as Behemoth's front-man, Adam Nergal Darski, and meeting Olafur Arnalds ...
What has been the high point of your music path?
I don't think about reaching a high point as I'm here for growth. I'm here to share my music, feelings ... my life. And my language is music. So there is no end, just growth. And if I may use a quote from great metal band:
''This is the fire, started so long ago. We've kept the flame and the smoldering embers below. Deep in our hearts, our music defines our lives. We carry it on, finding a way to survive.''
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I don't have particular approach. Sometimes I'm recording stuff on my phone, whistling or singing. Sometimes I'm improvising on piano. I try to collect ideas in my ''music notebook.'' Certain life events and moments are the main fuel for my music. I'm trying to put emotions in my music so normally, I'm just going with the flow of my fingers, my heart, or my mind. When my initial ideas are recorded, or somehow composed, I'm listening intensely to find the right sound or soundscape. I'm not thinking about structure, arrangement, or final product. Most of time, I'm exploring, improvising and having fun, of course.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
In this modern age, it's hard to reach and to live as an artist. I think that all of the managers, booking agents, owners of clubs ... they just need to listen, to have time for people who are giving 100% to make an impact. We have showcase festivals; we have Youtube; and we have other digital services. You can basically contact your favorite artist ... but we don't have time for things. I think everyone needs to realize that ''the path is the goal.''
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I'll chose two of them. First of all, my favorite band from Poland, Behemoth, and amazing Wolfpack from Bergen, Ulcer.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Usually I start to practice and of course set up in my room; later I'm rehearsing (with the band or others) in a rehearsal place or venue. I just run the whole set-list a few times, thinking about every aspect of having a show (how to get there, making the rider, catering, preparations, schedule ...)
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Definitely a great cover which I made it on my debut album from amazing band, Jambinai. I worked with them on a festival, as a stage manager, and I'm big fan of their music. I asked them if I could make a cover of their song, "For Everything That You Lost." I didn't want to just copy certain stuff, using just another instrument. I took the essence of the song and used my sound to create something out of it. It was difficult because I didn't want to disappoint the band or myself. And when I threw my perfectionist ideas at it, well it was just there.
What's coming up in the future?
I'm working a lot on my debut album, trying to share music and be present in the culture sphere in Slovenia. I'm also super busy with my main band called Leni Kravac and an international collective, ''MUSCAH.'' In addition, I work at a cultural center and a youth center so I'm gaining experience in the music business. What I'm really looking forward is my new black metal project.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
My music is available on all major digital platforms. You can find more information on my Facebook page. So please, take time and enjoy.
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This music review was brought to you by BWH Music Group.