Music Interview: Xafran

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Xafran
Xafran

We caught up with Washington DC-based artist Xafran following the release of his stunning synth-pop EP ‘Find A Way’. Read our in-depth interview now!

What is your earliest music memory?

My father is a classical pianist and would practice in our home throughout my childhood. I have memories of his music wafting about as long as I can remember, even really understanding what music is… There’s no doubt that the pieces he chose to play had a heavy influence on my developing musical mind. Chopin nocturnes are my absolute favourites.

How did you get into the music industry?

While I’ve been dancing around its periphery for decades, I’ve really just begun to jump in now, after dabbling for quite a while. My musical path has had a lot of different stops. I started out performing in electronic keyboard ensembles. Throughout my youth, I was writing classic demoscene music with trackers…

Later I transitioned to producing various types of fairly energetic electronic music and finished lots of tracks but never released anything officially. A lot of it is still out there if you know what to look for. I spent some years as a club DJ, producing club-focused music… and finally, after a fairly significant hiatus with ample opportunity for maturation, I found myself returning to music with a deeper understanding of my own vibration, ready to transmute it into musical form— and here I am, finally putting it out into the world in an official capacity.

Who influenced your latest release, ‘Find A Way’?

One of my most important and certainly least known influences is my late musical teacher and mentor, Frank Loch, whose original keyboard compositions were the cornerstone of my musical education. I wish he were still here to listen to my album— I think he would like it.

As far as better-known influences go, my musical taste and influences are all over the place and spread out a lot wider than the list below… but if we are talking at least somewhat relevant to this album.

zZounds

Some of the modern ones include Com Truise, Brothertiger, Joey Fehrenbach, Bonobo, Chrome Sparks, Amtrac, Imogen Heap, Tycho, The Midnight, Pink Skies, VHS Collection, Four Tet, Jai Wolf, Tame Impala, The Chain Gang of 1974…

And If we’re going back in time a bit more, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis/Phil Collins, Kraftwerk, Tears for Fears, The Police/Sting, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Elton John…

What draws you to the synth-pop genre?

I’ve found that I have a sort of gravitation toward the vaguely (or not so vaguely) retro when it comes to music that I write. This is a vibe that I am very comfortable with, and being a child of the ’80s, it just feels like home. I wouldn’t necessarily describe what I write as “synth-pop” all the time, although it certainly has elements of that. It’s hard to classify, which is how I like it.

‘Find A Way’ is a brilliant EP; why did you choose to release an EP instead of a single or an album?

Appreciate the positive feedback! These four tracks sort of organically emerged, somewhat independently, and despite how different they are from one another, they started to sound made for each other the more I listened to them together. This EP is definitely a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, to me. For this debut, four tracks just felt right.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I’d love to get in the studio with Com Truise or Brothertiger. We’d have a blast.

What’s your dream venue to play?

Given that I am only just starting to think about developing a live act out of what I’m doing currently, this isn’t something I’ve put a ton of thought into, but I’d love to play in big natural spaces like Red Rocks… I also love venues with history, like the Tabernacle in Atlanta.

Other than music, what are you passionate about?

My family. Parrots. Personal and spiritual growth. Human evolution.


What changes would you like to see in the music business?

Anything to bring more authenticity and less commercialism to the music business would be high on my list. Less industry and more organic creativity. Less exploitation and more sovereignty. Less entertainment and more art. Less vanity and more reality. Less corporations and more compensation. It’s another classic human conundrum where too few have way too much power and control.

How do you feel about how the internet plays a role in today’s music business?

In many ways, it’s the grand equalizer that the music industry needs. Surely online streaming— having essentially every song ever made at our fingertips at a moment’s notice is a significant paradigm shift. Nostalgically, I do miss the days where people physically purchased an album…

Bass at zZounds

It was much more of a commitment, and it encouraged a deeper level of fandom. But the barrier for entry is so much lower now; it makes it far easier for artists like me to break through. And yet, upon entry, we land in a sea that is so vast, it’s hard to be noticed amongst the waves. I think, all told, the internet has had a beneficial effect on the overall culture of music on this planet, even if it has left it fairly unrecognizable.

What would it be if you could choose one thing for fans to take away from your music?

Change is possible. The path forward isn’t always clear, and that’s ok. The most important thing is forming a belief in your goals and a willingness to work. Music can be a transformative force, and producing this EP certainly was for me. I’d love for it to continue promoting change for others like it did for me.

Have you started working on your next release?

There’s a lot in the works. The release strategy is not yet clear, but I tease a fair amount of my works in progress on my Instagram (@xafranmusic), so follow me if you want to keep tabs on what’s coming next.

FVMusicBlog August 2022

https://xafran.com
https://www.instagram.com/xafranmusic/

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