What has eight legs, eight arms, starts with an X, ends with a prime and are as talented as they are charm- ing? The answer you’re looking for would be local Niagara Region pop-rock band, Xprime.
The Brock Press had the pleasure of interviewing the band on what they are up to as of late and at the beginning of what they are hoping is going to be their most exciting year yet March release of their full length album The Album, and the expansion of their touring locations.
The band consists of Gab Sid (keys, guitar, vocals), Steph Mercier (guitar, vocals), Neil Carson (bass, vocals) and Phil Taylor (percussion, vocals). Sid and Mercier are from Welland while Neil and Phil are both from Niagara Falls. The band came together through the members growing up attending music classes in high school togeather and becoming friends. From there they have come together and created what is now Xprime.
When asked what genre they would consider their own music to be, they answered that it lies somewhere between rock and pop that’s rooted in the classics with a modern twist.
“The intention is that each song will stand on its own. It’s not going to be the same sounding song every time. We sort of go between genres, and when we’re writing a song and see that it’s a more pop sounding song then we roll with it, and make it an archetype. It would be the perfect archetype for that kind of music” said Sid. He continued, “we don’t tell ourselves as a band we have to write any specific type of music. It’s just like: here’s a song idea and all of us are like well this is what should be for this song.”
Taylor added to the response, “we write songs, not genres. If you listen to The Album there’s something that unites all the music as being Xprime songs and that’s the context. There’s little things we’ll do that validate us as Xprime but every song has a different vibe to it.”
The band originated in 2009 and claims that they spent the years leading up to the release of The Album “perfecting their signature sound and their explosive performances,” also having released their EP Here We Are in 2012.
The band acknowledges how their sound has changed over the course of their time, working together and even from their release in 2012 to their 2014 release of The Album stating that their music has changed and evolved into something more mature and lyrically profound.
“When we first started I was always thinking ‘what’s the coolest thing I can do on the drums that will impress other drummers?”, said Taylor. “That was at the very beginning of the band and even somewhat on Here We Are. Now there’s definitely been a maturity in song writing and it’s less about the weird, quirky things.”
When it comes to song writing, the group ensures that everyone is working together on everything unlike in many situations where a band will add instruments after a song is written. Instead, one of the members might have a small idea for a song and they get together to work on it collectively.
“What I’ve noticed in the song writing process that’s changed is initially I would write a whole song and add drums and bass and in a way the song would change because of that, but now our process is like we’ll have a little start of something and then we all get together and we write the whole song. That itself ensures that no one’s left behind. In the end, this process makes it so the result is a reflection of what all four of us want,” said Sid.
“It’s not easier, but it definitely adds quality to our finished product,” said Mercier.
When asked what the general themes are throughout their music, Sid answered, “the song’s themes are varied, but classically over time most songs are written either about love or specific topics that are kind of universal. Like we have a song called “Inspiration” which is about inspiration, and a song called “Closer” that’s about being in a touring band and leaving your girl behind. The themes on the album a lot are about girls and love and relationships.”
“Face and Powders” is a song that’s directly about wearing too much makeup and the reasons behind it and why it’s fine to wear makeup if you’re just having fun but if it’s because you’re trying to hide something or you don’t feel comfortable then you need to be okay and get over it,” added Mercier.
The songs off of The Album are typically upbeat and the mixing and influence of different genres is very prevalent throughout. They acknowledge that many of the themes in their music are universal, umbrella topics that might be more relatable to their audience. They said these ideas will carry over into the new material they’re working on.
“We are writing new stuff right now, the themes will change, some of them will stay the same, because some of them are universal and that’s what affects us as people, and we write about what affects us as people. Not saying our next album’s going to be like American Idiot or anything but we’re ready to explore other topics and we’ve grown as people and so what we find important in life is changing so the songs are going to change,” said Sid.
Xprime has had the opportunity of playing shows in Hamilton and Toronto and has recently been able to expand to playing in more spots throughout Ontario. On Sept. 17 they will play a show in Windsor and also have shows coming up in London, Guelph, Barrie and Kingston in the near future. Of course, they also love playing their local shows in the Niagara Region, primarily at the Hard Rock Café in Niagara Falls and at Detour Music Hall in St. Catharines.
“Hard Rock recently opened their doors to indie bands which is really awesome and they’re doing a really good job with it and of course we have Timur at Indoor Shoes and the whole group of people who go to those shows, which is always awesome at Detour,” Taylor said.
The band also recently announced that they’ll be playing shows every other Thursday at Red Hot Chilli Pepper, so anyone in the area will have a chance to see what Xprime is all about. They’re a very high energy group both on and off the stage, and they’re definitely a group you want to see live.
“Throughout touring, we’ve really realized how lucky we are to come from such a supportive area,” Taylor said. The band concurred that the Niagara Region is full of support as far as how local talent is appreciated and they are thankful to be a part of it.
“We want our fans to know that we’re still improving ourselves and growing and that because of all our supporters who have helped us to the point we’re at now, we’re motivated to work even harder. We want to thank everyone who’s been a part of this. We want to make this the best year yet and only get better from there.”