By now you would have caught the news – XamVolo has released his debut album “All The Sweetness On The Surface”. The 15 track record is gaining acclaim from everyone who listens. It even got a nice mention on the hugely popular Joe Budden Podcast this week…and has already racked up close to million streams.
THE PLAYMAKER GROUP work with the man himself in a variety of ways – and worked quite closely with him on the album so it was only right we got to chop it up with him to share more about the album and his journey over the past few years.
PMG: This album took over 2 years to make and was in the vault for a while before release, what was the experience like making and releasing the album?
XV: Making the album was definitely the best part of the whole process; being given the opportunity to apply everything I’ve learn over the years was one of the most intense and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. The most interesting part has been the campaign side of things, though. As much as I feel I’ve grown musically and artistically over this period, I’ve also learnt a lot about the inner-workings of the album cycle – as well as the inner-workings of people. It’s easy to underestimate what goes into everything until you’re in the centre of it – I’d consider that the most valuable thing I’ve taken from the whole journey.
PMG: It seems the response by key supporters and the public has been amazing since you put it out, how did that feel and how does that inform your future plans?
XV: I find it validating. I shouldn’t (and don’t) rely solely on external validation when it comes to my work but to me it holds value, especially the widely trusted opinions of people who are exposed to so much music on a regular basis. For a while a few years ago I wasn’t sure what I was making was even viable, but having all this sustained public support has kept (and keeps) me motivated and inspired to continue up this path.
PMG: What’s your favourite song on the project and why?
XV: From a production standpoint it has to be ‘Alive’ – it’s probably the piece of production I’m most proud of at the moment – got to use a talk box as well which I’ve always wanted to do. From a lyrical standpoint it would probably be ‘Beast’, only because it illustrates a dilemma I’ve had for a long time: “if I did away with the rules of human society I would imagine it to be so liberating, but could I do without all the benefits that come with walking through life as a human being?” – wasn’t easy to put into words but I’m glad it worked out well.
PMG: There is a hidden gem within the album – can you tell us more about that?
XV: The second half of the album uses real world drug symptoms to illustrate the multi-staged side effects of Slaize (‘Alive’ being likened to cocaine, ‘Adored’ being likened to diazepam, ‘I Win You Lose’ to alcohol etc.) I wanted the final stage to be an intense hallucinogenic experience, so to illustrate that I made the Intro and Outro to reveal a hidden title track when played at the same time – by putting ‘All The Sweetness’ on ‘The Surface’. The result is intended to be a conversation between a version of the character before consuming Slaize (the subject of the album) and the version afterwards, held in a space that transcends two-track audio.
PMG: Comparing XV before working on and releasing this album, and XV after, can your talk about your professional growth?
XV: I’ve learnt a lot as I said before; I reckon I have a better understanding of what goes into a whole campaign – it’s a lot. I better understand the value of organic connections of all kinds – they’re so powerful. Moreover, there’s only so much about music you can learn in the studio – there’s an incredible amount about people and the industry you can’t learn online, or in a book. Those experiences, the great ones and the not-so-great ones, have changed my whole perception of what ‘experience’ means entirely. I can’t wait to learn more and grow even further.
Check out the new album XAMVOLO – ALL THE SWEETNESS ON THE SURFACE – out on all digital music stores and streaming sites worldwide