Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what
were/are your goals with it:
‘Distant Minds’ is a collection of 10 songs that take the listener on a journey that demands you to strap in and be part of the experience –this really isn’t elevator music!
We wanted to write a collection of tracks that really connect with the listener and hook them in. The main concepts running through the album is the human condition – we like the listener to come to their own conclusions on things.
The album presents a unique combination of shifting time signatures, melodic textures and massive vocal hooks, Xilla have created a collection of complex, ambitious songs to engage with audiences everywhere.
Main goal with ‘Distant Minds’ was to present the band in the best way we could – to really show people what Xilla was all about!
Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
We didn’t have a specific sound in mind, just to make something memorable that other people would enjoy and that we would buy as fans of music! Every band has influences which is healthy but the Xilla sound just grew and evolved with experience – playing together live and honing our songwriting skills.
How does your writing process normally work out?
Its a combination of jamming in the rehearsal room and then taking the best bits and honing the parts in the studio. Every member contributes to the writing process which usually starts with a riff or vocal melody idea.
What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?
We really believe in what we do so we want to do more of it! Ultimately it would be great to grow the size of the band to a big headline act in as many countries as possible!
What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?
We have a ton of influences, everything from Pink Floyd to Alice in Chains to Radiohead – it all has some influence in our sound but we’re constantly trying to put our own spin on things to stand out as something different.
What’s next for you?
Pushing the album ‘Distant Minds’ by getting out on the road – see you down the front!
Tonight saw us perform Distant Minds from start to finish for our fans at Scruffy Murphys in our home town of Birmingham.
We also saw the first sales of the Album on CD! As usual the support was imense and we can't thank everyone enough for their support!
Keep your eyes peeled on the social pages for pictures of the night.
Rockportaal.nl Album Review - Distant Minds
We have received our very first album review, which we are happy to share with you all! Some really promising words from Maurice of dutch site, Rockportaal.nl.
Review by Maurice van der Zalm, 20/03/2019
Does coincidence exist? Or do you believe in ‘fate’? I do not know. Experiences in my life make me believe that coincidence does exist. I came across the band Xilla by "coincidence." Although I think that this was fate, because none other than Leigh Oates takes care of the vocals with Xilla and he has already been able to delight me with his singing qualities. I love the sound of him. I became acquainted with him with Rise to Addiction, a band that merged into Order Of Voices. Order Of Voices delivered two excellent albums and for this reason I started the adventure that is called Xilla which means "protector / wants to protect".
The sound on Distant Minds has strong similarities with the sound of Order Of Voices, but with its own stamp on it. In ten compositions, melancholy and power are mixed with each other. The album starts with Crux and is followed by the first single Heroes, a composition that soon settles in your brain. Singer Leigh Oates is assisted in Xilla by guitarists Chris Flanagan and Greg Pullin, who weave a subtle sense of guitar melody into the overall sound, and the dry snare drum sound of Pete Smyth accentuates that as an inexhaustible metronome. A tension field is created that gets its release in the choruses.
With Let Me Breathe, Xilla creates a striking sound where the Rhythm and melody are rustic and slightly progressive. For me, Leigh Oates is sublime in his vocal performance, but he shows in Let Me Breathe that he also delivers quality in the more sensitive moments and follows the expansion of the progressive character with ease.
It was already clear that Xilla has similarities with the sound of Order Of Voices. On the album you can also hear various influences that lie further in the past. The guitar sound in Distant Minds reminds me of Red Guitars on the album Tales Of The Expected, although not entirely, because the bluesy guitar solo offers a different perspective. In Catharsis the comparison lies more with a combination of Heaven 17 and the old Alice In Chains which is not surprising because of the way of singing by Leigh Oates is also reminiscent of Temple Of The Dog.
You Crawl is nice and heavy and progresses at a slow pace, where especially the heavy character of Alice In Chains is recognizable. The riff sound is wonderful and in the choruses the whole sound is extremely optimistic. You Crawl is especially versatile and your feelings are flung in many directions.
From Burning Sky the melancholy comes into play a bit more. Burning Sky itself is an extremely sensitive composition, but Reborn and Left To Burn are also melancholic in nature. Where the power lies in these compositions is the fact that Xilla constantly manages to keep the tension high, making it a pleasure to listen to. Left To Burn is a long composition , but the full twelve minutes are all worth the experience. Xilla is pretty convincing .That the music does not always have to be very difficult becomes reality in the easy listening Everything At Once. It plays away like an unplugged composition that maintains peace by a campfire and in which the instrumental pieces are wonderful to listen to and filled with various different solos.
I do believe in fate. Although I appreciate every album with Leigh Oates to date, it’s no coincidence that he makes beautiful music .Distant Minds is a varied album full of melancholic and slightly progressive elements that know how to fascinate.
Today we have release our first single, Heroes. This is the first song we have released from our debut album Distant Minds!
Album Update #5
We completed filming for our first single, release date tbc but we are very excited for this one!
Album Update #4
We met up with Neale Hayes Photography (http://www.nealehayes.co.uk/) to get some promo shots for the Album. We are really pleased with the shots we got and will update the social with some very soon!
Album Update #3
We have been working with Matt Grundy to create of Diecast Design to create a new logo and some awesome artwork to compliment our first release, stay tuned for the big reveal in the near future.
Album Update #2
All recording is now finished
Leigh finished the last of the vocals today so it's time to get mixing...
We're very excited for you to hear this album!
Mixing and Mastering duties for the album are being handled by John Mitchell (You Me At Six, Architects, Alter Bridge, Inglorious) at Outhouse Studios in Reading.
Comments Leigh 'I'm really happy with the vocals I've put down, as the new guy it's been great to come in and really work with the band on this batch of songs in detail - I'm no stranger to the studio but I believe this is some of my best work'.
We'll keep the updates coming as we have more news!
Debut Album Update
We're hard at work on the recording of the new album, all the music is now recorded and Leigh is over half way on the vocals!
We're also having a test mix done of our lead single from the album at the moment.
Still to decide upon a name - lots of ideas so we're pretty excited.
Xilla welcome new lead singer Leigh Oates, Leigh brings lots of experience to the band having been a member of critically acclaimed bands Order of Voices, Soldierfield, Rise to Addiction and Ninedenine. Leigh has toured the UK and Europe extensively and has released 10 albums commercially throughout his career so far...