I’ll Take the Low Road: Our Trip to Scotland

The forecast predicted thunder showers every day.
“That car will never make the drive to Scotland,”  (The exhaust is literally held together with an old tin of beans.)

But our little car made the 6-hour drive, and every day we spent in Scotland was sunny.

In Glasgow, we stayed with my pal Neil, who lives near a take-away place / concrete shack without any windows called the ‘China Hut’.
“I suppose it’s so nobody can break the windows…”
(An abandoned school around the corner with all it’s windows smashed was evidence that this theory was probably correct.)

A few empty glass bottles of Buckfast lay broken on the sidewalk.  (Buckfast is fortified wine mixed with caffeine (!)  Their unofficial slogan is ‘Buckfast gets you fucked fast’ (!!)  In spite of all these gritty stereotypes, the place had a friendly charm.

Our trip to Scotland was off to a good start.

Neil took us on a tour of Glasgow to see the Cathedral, the Art museum, the botanical gardens and the oldest remaining house in Glasgow (built in 1471… and it has linoleum floors…those things last forever!)

The next day was show day, I was playing at Apocalypso: a monthly concert at the Rumshack.  The booker hung up tropical decorations which brightened the place.  The venue filled to it’s 200 person capacity and after Future Fetish played, I was up.

The sound was great, the audience was great, Robert manned the projections, (which looked great) and the whole night went perfectly!  I drank cans of Red Stripe, met many lovable Glaswegians and enjoyed watching Raza and Fallopé and the Tubes (a band who dress up as vaginas and sing about psychic orgasms.  They are now my favourite band.)

At 2am, I got a message asking if I’d be up for another gig the next day at the Glasgow Art School!  Hells yes I would!  It’s a massive venue (800 capacity) and I was over-joyed to be invited!  The event was called Broad Daylight, an all-day event on Easter Sunday.  11 bands, DJs and a zine workshop!

At the venue, bands set up in a semi-circle in front of the stage.  I was up first so I line-checked and started my set at about 4pm.  Although it was early, the brave ones danced and it was a wonderful experience performing in front huge, high-quality speakers (instead of getting sound from smaller monitors onstage like one typically does).  Robert VJ-ed, Neil took pictures, I had a ball.   We stuck around for the wide-range of different bands from experimental to rock to noise.

I
fell
in love
with Glasgow.

Neil took us to Loch Lomond (where we saw Nessie poking her head out of the depths for some sun!) and a pretty village called Luss.   We met some Scottish re-enactors and got to hold their large authentic rifles…(get yer mind outta the gulley!)

The next day we drove to Edinburgh.

“What’s Edinburgh like?” I asked a Glaswegian.
“It’s shite.  It’s pretty, but it’s shite.”

Hot damn is Edinburgh pretty!  Way too pretty, it’s unreal!  They should really consider giving some of that prettiness to other cities instead of hoarding it all for themselves!

We stayed at my old pal Andrew’s place, he lives close to the centre.  He gave us a tour and showed us the graveyard where J.K. Rowling found inspiration for many of her character’s names!  (Squeeeee!)

We stood in front of William McGonagall’s grave.  He was a notoriously terrible Scottish poet from the 1800’s.  Everyone loved to hate on his poems, but he didn’t give a fuck!  He kept touring and reading them, and when audience-members would chuck rotten fruit at him during his performances, he was prepared with a large sword he used to deflect the incoming projectiles!  He’d continue reading his poetry whilst simultaneously battling produce!  The man’s a legend.

We also ate a haggis burrito!  It was so good when you didn’t think about what’s in it!

Then we went to see my friend Cera Impala and her band perform folky, gorgeous tunes at their cd launch.  I met Cera in Berlin, where folk music ain’t so popular.  (This apparently has to do with it being Hitler’s favourite type of music.  Germans just don’t wanna associate with anything that guy loved).  One day, Cera had a dream she moved to Edinburgh.  She packed up her family, moved there and hasn’t looked back since.  I was happy to see her play at a wonderful venue to many adoring fans and I was happy to know that Cera found a home for herself and her music.

We did a 3-hour walking tour of Edinburgh, went to a few pubs, hung out with Andrew, ate some pizza made from a Sicilian man who adamantly proclaimed “I swear, I’m not in the mafia!”  (Don’t know why he had to clarify that to us…SUSPICIOUS!)

We unfortunately went to the Surgeon’s Hall Museum where we looked at bloated 200-year-old ball-tumours in jars and dead babies with no skin.  We felt faint and had to leave without seeing a fraction of the exhibition.  (Andrew’s scientific bravery got him through the exhibition, but he claims to have struggled as well,..)

Then we climbed Arthur’s seat to clear our heads from those things we can’t unsee.  It was so beautiful!  We took a billion pictures, ate Scottish pancakes and hung out looking over the wondrous land of Robert’s forefathers.  The view is so magical, if anyone visits Edinburgh, this is one thing I recommend!

We drove to Bamburgh to meet Robert’s family and spend a day by the sea with them.  We went to Holy Island, which is only accessible at low-tide.  At high-tide the road gets swallowed by water and some unlucky cars get flushed away!  We explored Bamburgh Castle for three hours, learned lots of history, which I won’t bore you with…(did you know that a chain-mail shirt weighs 15 kilograms!?  And Sir William Armstrong, who lived in the castle, invented hydraulics!)

After so many adventures and wonderful experiences, our Scotland trip was over and we drove back to Sheffield to hang out with steel-workers and the rain.

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Glasgow!

Driving to Glasgeee tomorrow!

Gonna play Apocalypso this Saturday at the Rum Shack (657 Pollokshaws Rd) 8pm

fb event is here

Can’t wait to have a good blether and a wee swally at the hoachin bar! Yaldi!!!!!

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Cult Montreal Interview

Far too many rappers rhyme about unimaginable excess. Few devote lyrics to describing debt and penny pinching. Xania Keane has no qualms about telling such tales of frugality and misfortune in her latest video, aptly titled “I’m Broke,” which is also a single from her latest album, All Alone Together. In the video she mops floors, attempts to buy pastries with spare change and defies the dollar bill, slinging clichés of typical rap videos in numerous other ways.

But of course the Montreal bred MC has always been unconventional. She doesn’t breakdance — she tap dances. She doesn’t rely on premixed samples in concert, instead looping those musical snippets herself into Kaleidoscopic synth arrangements that blend and blur like soothing hues.

Check out the Full Interview here: Cult Montreal Interview

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.