Author: Xania

I’m Broke

My new music video ‘I’m Broke’ made the Bucketlist!
“Montreal’s tap-dancing rapper, Xania, releases “I’m Broke”, the first video from her brand new album All Alone Together. This video was filmed with $0, hard work and lots of pure joy. It was filmed by Robert Donachie and Sylvain Brosset…”

Check out the video:

Read the article here!

“Highly Recommended”

My first review for All Alone Together has arrived!

To read the original, Deutsches version (for all you German homies) go here: http://www.tantepop.de/2015/11/xania-all-alone-together.html

Below is a translation done by Björn Hochschild:

Yes, from time to time we do indulge in Rap music. Sometimes we even consider calling completely electronic noises “music”. In the case of Xania’s new album, both of these things coincide.

In 2013, rapper and tap-dancer, Xania, also known as one half of the Berlin-based Band Trike from 2006 till 2012, published her first solo album. Now – surprise surprise! – her second album follows.

All Alone Together’s 10 songs (and 2 interludes) impress with a club-like sound (a rather fancy club with fancy customers), yet their contents do require a certain amount of attention – getting off your head with questionable substances while listening is not advised. ‘I’m Broke’ could be a late-capitalistic club-hit. The beatboxing right at the beginning is quite creative and gets stuck in your head in less than half a second.

The album examines the abyss of human relationships. For instance ‘You Don’t Want To’, which charmingly quotes the Cheap Trick lyrics ‘I want you to want me’ – draws the battle lines. Songs like ‘Dance with the Robot’ use robotic voice effects that add a chill to the album’s electronic sound, while the lyrics mostly strive for a warmer tone. ‘Put Your Arm Around Me’, for example, starts with warm words, then drifts away into darker territories and ends in Spanish.

‘Gotham City’ is a daydream set to music, floating around in the middle of the album. It has an interesting, multifarious arrangement, which we especially enjoyed. And because deep in our hearts we always hold faith with real, acoustic instruments, it is easy to name our favorite: ‘Follow Me’ has a beautiful bass-line, gets stuck in your head and adds a feeling similar to Architecture in Helsinki to the album.

As a bonus, a nice party-track is hidden at the end of the album.

We recommend the album to anyone that has not completely rejected Hip Hop and Electro. Yeah, well, that is probably the majority. We are quite old-school. But sometimes it is rewarding to look beyond your own musical horizon. Xania’s second Album All Alone Together is definitely highly recommended, even if we are not the experts in this type of music.

All Alone Together

Happy Day of the Dead

My father died when I was 13 and my two younger brothers were 11 and 7.  Having a parent die when we were kids left a void in the three of us.  Our childhoods and teens were partly spent trying to fill that bottomless void in however ways we could.  Shitty relationships, television, booze, weed, studying and working as hard as possible, may have been attempts at filling the void.  One by one we each, in turn, came of age.  And the void thinned.
But it never went away.  (Perhaps because I don’t think I want it to.  Like that song ‘I don’t wanna get over you’.  I hold on to a bit of grief because letting go of it would mean letting go of a piece of my dad.  And I don’t want to.)

Besides stunting us, losing our father also gave us something.  My brothers and I all value time like barely anyone I know.  We can’t stand and won’t put up with doing things we don’t like doing. Because we’ve learned that time is limited, so we value that shiznit.

It can be easy to look at the dead through a hazy filter of nostalgia that smooths out faults and turns them into noble attributes.  So only recently have I been able to look back and value memories of not only my dad but my mom as well.

Holy shit, it must’ve been hard losing your soul-mate (being mega-in-love helps me with that perspective).  Holy shit, it must’ve been hard raising us on your own.  Holy shit it must’ve been hard being the only person in your family living in Montreal (the rest of whom live in Mexico, which is so far away).  And having to find a job after being a stay-at-home mom for forever.  And juggling grief, crappy jobs and annoying kids who want expensive crap they see on tv.

And never once did I hear my mom complain about money.  When we wanted fancy clothes, she would take us to the second-hand shops and buy us second-hand clothes we thought were lame and told us that it was a lesson in ‘Not giving a fuck’ and we’d appreciate it someday.

Well, I sure appreciate it now.  Because I don’t give a fuck.  (At least I try not to.)  And I’m so thankful for that.

My brothers and I may not have many measurable achievements, but we do have something.  We have some sort of invisible incorruptibility.  A quality in us that can’t be dissolved because it comes from our experiences.

Love you mom, dad.

Day of the Dead

How to Make Album Covers

I sit on a park bench in the sun as red leaves fall around me. I can hear a flock of geese flying South.  I feel the exciting buzz of potential.  We spent this week making cd covers for the new album.

In my experience, albums with hand-made covers sell 1000% (that’s a real number) better than regular albums, even if they’re sold at twice the price.  They give fans something personal to take home and they’re fun to design and make.

In my old band, I designed and sewed cd covers that doubled as hand-puppets.  I thought it would be cool if the cover had a purpose other than housing a cd.

For my first solo album, I made the covers out of cloth BECAUSE IT’S SOFT AND PRETTY!

For this upcoming album, I thought I “wood” (get it!?) make a cover that doubled as a piece of art. I decided to print an image on cd-sized pieces of wood with a little hook on the back so the buyer could hang it up on their wall.

The technique is simple enough, and it looks damn good:
1) Print an image (mirrored)
2) Coat the wood with gel medium and put your image face-down on the wood.
3) Let it dry for 8 hours.
4) Wet the back of the paper to weaken it and carefully rub off all the paper fibres.  The ink from the photocopy bonds to the medium and sticks to the wood.
5) Coat the image with sealer.

We made 10 tests with different variations of the cover design and different printers before we were satisfied.  Then we went to town and printed all 120 bits of wood!

The back will have a pocket with the album and booklet, as well as a download code (cds are dying, dude, but some people still use them…)

The title ‘All Alone Together’ is a recurring theme in my life that holds lots of different meanings and I thought it could be meaningful to other people too.   So it’s the main feature of the album art.

The phrase could symbolize lonely thoughts like “We’re born alone, we die alone.  With those things in common, we’re together.”
Or pragmatic thoughts like “We do things so as not to feel alone like: love eachother, have sex, make art, listen to music…”
Or lovey dovey thoughts like “I love being all alone with you, my soul-mate.”

So yeah, album drops November 19th.

POP MONTREAL!

Last night I played Pop Montreal and it was a dream come true! Everything went perfectly! Line-up, audience, sound, projections, beautiful familiar faces dotted the crowd, I’m still high off the night!
Thank you Pop Montreal & One Man Band Festival, Jonah, Bobby for the wonderful projections and everybody there!

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Indiegogo Campaign: ‘All Alone Together’

I’m raising funds to publish my new album ‘All Alone Together’.

 
Here’s the link to check out the campaign: http://igg.me/at/iamxania/x/11982264

Over the past few months, with the help of several friends, I’ve written, recorded and edited 10 songs. We layered electronic and acoustic sounds with care to create fun, silly and serious pieces about robots, outer space and being alone and broke.

Now, all that is left to do is mix, master and press the album and I need your help!

cover new

Drop the Ego, Make Some Art

It’s taken a lot of work and frustration to get my new album to sound how it should.  Sometimes, all it takes is removing an instrument, re-recording a phrase or adding a tiny detail.  But knowing what to alter is the hardest part.  I can get stuck in a cycle of adding more and more layers, but sometimes less is more.

We recorded most of the album back in April, went on tour in May, and spent June and July editing, re-recording, re-thinking the album. For a while, I thought the album was absolute turd. But the list of details, clean-ups and re-takes is getting smaller and I can hear the songs as they’re supposed to sound and I am so happy! It’s turning out to be dancey, fun, serious and silly and I can’t wait for people to hear it!

I remember recording the last album and mentally telling my future-self “this is hard! But don’t give up, just push through it!”

The one important thing I’ve learned while making this new album is: “drop the ego.” I’ve noticed that I have a notion of who I am and it fits into a me-shaped-mould.  But I have to break out of that conception of myself to do what the song calls for.
-That’s too rough / too sexy / too weak a thing for me to say.
-Just drop the fucking ego, get into the song, perform it, record it!

Self-doubt, comparing oneself to other artists, being over-sensitive to friends’ criticisms, are all part of my ego.

Today, I’m proud to say that we’ve made lots of progress and I feel grateful for the album being almost finished!!!!

The release is set for October. (The exact date will be announced soon.)

Now we’re driving off to the Maritimes (road trip with MY MOM!) to take part in Action Week and Messtival! Woohoo!

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Sex, Drugs & Hip Hop: Last One

The soundman snorted lines of white powder off the mixing console. The show was being promoted as the venue’s last live show, because of too many noise complaints and visits from the Polizei.

The club owners were like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jekyll would walk by smiling and say “Have anything you like, I’m here to help,” Hyde would walk by yelling at us for any number of reasons, like having someone on the guestlist, or trying to start the show too early. (And they were never in the same room at the same time…SUSPICIOUS!)
We didn’t perform until 2am because Hyde kept telling us to wait.

I was performing with SPT and the venue was full. SPT and I used to perform together for many years. He lives in Berlin and has gone viral (which I’m totally not jealous about…) You may know of him from the SHITs FUCKed video.
The performances ended as the sky lit up neon blue. The crowd was wonderful and the atmosphere of the venue was Berlin-esque, with concrete walls, found art and eccentric individuals.
We had agreed upon a 75/25 door money split, but when the time came to get paid, Hyde tried to convince us to take a 60/40 split! What the Hell?!
Thankfully, SPT did not agree to get hoodwinked and Hyde gave us our 75%.

The next day, Robert and I went to soundcheck at Gelegenheiten, which is run by an enthusiastic, smiling, happy collective (what a difference a day makes!)
The night was incredible! It was a Cyborg party, so I performed to a room packed with costumed Berliners. Terminators, tin-foil hats, people painted silver with red contact lenses and someone with a 6 million dollar price tag…(Get it?)  Robert did amazing visual projections for my set.
The party was wild and very loud, but since it was the venue’s main party (held but once a year) they informed their neighbours well in advance…But that didn’t stop the police from showing up in the wee hours.

The next day we recovered by going to see Mad Max and having beers in the park with Robert’s old roomies.
We got up early to catch a plane to Paris and take in as much as we could in one day. It’s such a beautiful city full of people too busy to enjoy it. We went to Montmartre, Notre-Dame and a bar with my friend Laurent.
Then we took a train to Toulouse and caught our plane back home to Montreal. Another tour over, with a bucket-full of new memories.

Thank you to all the bookers, sound people, crash spots, audiences and friends for making this tour the most beautiful, gritty adventure I could ever dream of!

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Sex, Drugs & Hip Hop: Berlin

Transportation can be very cheap in Germany.  On the weekends, one can take the ‘Schönes Wochenende’ ticket (translates to ‘Beautiful Weekend’) to anywhere in Germany.  The ticket is 44 euros and up to 5 people can ride on one ticket BUT you can only take local transport.  We started in Antwerp and only 7 transfers and 14 hours later, we were in Berlin!

500ml of beer = $0.60.  Cheaper than water and just as plentiful.

We hung out by remnants of the old Berlin wall by the spree, drinking beers with Tim and trying to come up with a name for his solo project.  (‘The Anxious Anus’ and ‘Gooch Parachute’ were amongst the forerunners.)

The next day, Tim and I played a secret show at a new venue in Wedding.  Tim played first, followed by me; our shows went really well.  The crowd was great and the sound wasn’t bad.  Then SPT went onstage, but before he could finish his set, the police were called and he had to end his set mid-song.  LEX, the British hip hop headliner didn’t even get to set foot onstage.  We were all pretty bummed about not getting to see LEX perform, but had to heed the strict Berlin sound laws, which forbade loud music after 10pm.

Robert and I met in Berlin, so we felt right at home staying at his old room-mates’ place.  We did laundry! We showered!  We slept really well!  I played ping pong for the first time ever against Simon and Jo who are seasoned professionals, and I kicked their asses!! (Well, I won once out of thirty matches…)

1 Berlin show down, 2 more to go…

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