The Strange Sounds of Xiu Xiu

Avant-garde American pop band Xiu Xiu are heading to Perth in October to play at the inagural This Is Nowhere Festival.

Since forming in San Jose in 2002 Xiu Xiu has been through multiple line-up changes. Throughout it all Jamie Stewart has been the group’s creative centre working with a series of collabporators to create an intriguing mix of melody and challenging sounds that are often drenched in lyrics that focus on somber and dark topics.

Despite the many line up changes the band has endured Stewart tells OUTinPerth’s Vanessa Manivannen that he doesn’t like changing collaborators but notes the positive creative influence that can occur,

‘It’s difficult’, says Stewart, ‘I don’t like changing band members, if you’ve known someone for a long time, it get’s easier. But then again, playing with a lot of people is exciting and allows you to find new things.’

The bands audience grew considerably following the populararity of their 2010 album Dear God I Hate Myself. The band’s follow up album didn’t take long, earlier this year there latest album Always was released to critical aclaim. Stewart is excited about the way the band has been developing and has no problem efining the bands sound as pop music,

‘We’re going through a bit of a transformation right now, in the past I would have said experimental pop music and essentially we’re a band that’s continuing to explore pop music.’

On Always the songs tackle a variety of challenging subjects for pop music. I Luv Abortion focusses on a friend of Stewart’s who decided to have an abortion because she felt she would not be a good parent, Born to Suffer lingers on the author’s suicidal thoughts, while another track focuses on the plight of women in China. Stewart explains that his creative process is quite varied,

‘It’s really different for each song, some songs just appear out of the ether and then some of the require pages and pages of sketches in the notebook which end up as three pages of paper on the fllor with crosses through the things that don’t work and circles around the parts that may become a song.

‘With some songs several parts are just improvised into the computer and then put together with pro-tools ans then other are recorded all in one shot. There’s no set way to do it, I try to leave myself open to any process that will along a song to get done. It’s best to stay out of the way of music and let it do its own thing.

While Stewart says he doesn’t think we’ll see another Xiu Xiu album for a few years, he doesn’t rule out some side projects coming to light next year as he is always eager to make more music,

‘It’s out my hands, says Stewart, ‘Ever since I was a child it’s been sitting inside of me to particpate in life that way, I don’t think it’s an uncommon experience to be overwhelmed music and not being able to not make music.

Xiu Xiu will be appearing at the This Is Nowhere Festival on October 14, alongside Tortoise, Grails, New War and a host of other bands, get all the details at

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  1. Pingback: Xiu Xiu recording 'Twin Peaks' cover album - Gay and Lesbian Perth WA News - OutInPerth | Gay and Lesbian Perth WA News – OutInPerth

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