12 Followers/Meteo Xavier
I recently had the privilege of reviewing the latest CD from Ambient Composer 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier entitled Espers. Its strong suit it’s amazing sonic ambience the song for song musical flow. 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier gets high marks for his brilliant musical transitions and connecting passages - nice touch. This CD will be a real joy for those listeners out there who want flowing theatrical ambience to fill their sonic space peacefully and unobtrusively. This progressive format makes for a great extended play experience. I recommend you just hit play, close your eyes and see where the journey takes you. This CD feels like a musical journey and will work best when experienced in that capacity. If I could say anything to 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier is simply this – trim up this CD by 30% and you’ve got yourself a real winner. So if you’re looking for a psychedelic musical experience with sonic ambience, theatrical brilliance and a psychedelic rock aftertaste then I highly recommend you take a listen to Espers by 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier.
IMD How would you classify your music and your overall writing style?
MX I know the pretentious thing to do is to say, "I don't like to categorize my music; it feels so limiting" and etc. however my overall writing style is so chaotic from start to finish that, sometimes, I'm not even sure what genre the track will be once it's done. The word I'll use then is Progressive, because most of my influences were Progressive Rock composers at one point or another and most of what I've learned and use today came from them. I just love the idea of a music genre where you can take the song anywhere you want and have it work and people thoroughly enjoy it.
IMD Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
MX In terms of teaching me composition, I'll go with - Motoi Sakuraba, Hiroki Kikuta, Yasunori Mitsuda, Steve Hackett, Nobuo Uematsu
I'm pretty much a video game/prog-rock nerd for the most part and almost everything I listen to anymore is based with modern Japanese composers. What tracks I work with or practice end up sounding much more like Kikuta or Sakuraba these days than anything else. My biggest influence that kick-started the need to learn music was Genesis and all its many offshoots, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and so on. I didn't study them as much, but they started the whole music thing for me
IMD What was the first song you ever wrote?
MX Man, what WAS it called? I just remember it being this 70 second long MIDI that took me six hours to compose on this little freeware MIDI composer where I had to paint each note by hand (no sequencer). That was before I knew anything about writing within scales, so much of the work came from trying to figure out why certain notes sounded very sour against others. Soon, after piano lessons that were essentially a waste beyond what they taught me to compose, I moved into DAW territory with FL Studio and that's what I've used to make music ever since. 8 years later I'm trying to learn how to use it.
IMD What’s the main thing you want people to take from your music?
MX That someone finally started to give a crap about the melodies and energies and structures presented. I know that's pretty hypocritical considering ESPERS had very sparse melodies and a lack of up-front energy, but the main thing I want to focus my music in are catchy melodies - the kinds of tracks you find yourself humming to randomly at 2:12PM on Tuesday while you're at work.
IMD Could you tell us what inspired the name “12 Followers/Meteo Xavier?”
"I just love the idea of a music genre where you can take the
song anywhere you want and have it work and people
thoroughly enjoy it.
MX At the time, I don't even remember when at this point, I was doing music under both names (and also because, surprisingly enough, "Electric Embryo" was taken) and it looked attractive enough to just put them together and call it good from there. It's not a glamorous reason, but it serves its purposes well enough. The other reason I keep the 12 Followers part of it, as opposed to just "Meteo Xavier", is because I'd always kind of wanted to do an artist collective with it and someday I'd like to do a release with other artists that just had "12 Followers" and me plus some other artists doing tracks on it. I'm not sure if that will ever come to fruition, but its nice to dream...Also, 12 Followers, I've learned, is pretty handy for when my name appears in huge artist roster lists because it will almost always be near the top where people can see it. :)
IMD What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
MX I've only been to 5 concerts in my life and after watching NIN play in Knoxville in... was it 2005? I don't know, but that's definitely the last concert I will ever go to. Since then I've purely hated concerts. $100 to be surrounded by ****heads for 3 hours just so I can barely see Trent Reznor's fat ass and barely hear poorly mixed versions of songs I already own? Right. Won't make that mistake again. The best was Weird Al Yankovic the year before that. He played perfectly, almost no bull**** in getting to the concert and inside and it was just a great trip with no problems whatsoever. I wish more concerts were like that. Cut out the noise and get to the entertainment.
IMD Is there a song that stands out on this release as being your favorite?
MX In all honesty, "Navi Whisperwilde" and only because it's the only track on there that didn't make me wish I never started the project at all. Only one track on that album came out ok without any huge, HUGE problems whatsoever and that was it. "Sagetellah" is a close contender because of Michael Huang's beautiful work on the keys and it standing as my most complicated and dignified published composition to date, but man was it hard just to find a piano person in the first place. It took longer to find a piano player than it did to compose the track! ESPERS was a baptism by fire from day one and I even had an out-of-body experience during the middle of production. It was my first serious music project and just about everything you can imagine going wrong went wrong, leading up to a computer crash that wiped out most of my samples and instruments before I could go back and fix them. All I could do from there is send them out to my mastering guy, Mr. Andrew Aversa, and that's the product we have today. Blemishes or not though, I'm super proud of ESPERS all the same and it came out much better than it could have ever hoped to survive. I would've loved to go back and fix stuff, like the mixing in "Maria Le Pitruzelluca", but what it is is what it is and I'm proud of it all the same... I'm just going to count the least troublesome track as my favorite.
IMD How’s the music business in your neck of the woods?
MX I live in the hometown of Dolly Parton, Sevier County, Tennessee, so the music business here is HUGE - for pretty much everyone here but me as I can't play an acoustic instrument. Oh well, I learned plenty and got some great early exposure to stuff from my dad and his buddies, who were all sound engineers for Dollywood and musicians and such. This area will never be huge into the electronica I'm doing and hoping to do, but it's been a great breeding ground for me to get started with.
IMD Could you share with us how you compose a piece of music, and what types of programs you utilize when you write?
I use FL Studio as my DAW and I have Komplete 6, the EWQL Composer Collection, Smoker's Delight, z3ta+ and Zebra 2 plus a bunch of other fun stuff.
IMD What’s next for 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier?
MX Well sir, I did a free VGM album called Meteocrity Vol. 1, which is a compilation of commissioned older videogame tracks I did that had yet to be published in any game form, I just did 13 tracks for a Tower Defense-kind of game that, to my knowledge, has yet to be titled. I just released a book called "Vulgarity For the Masses" under the name J.S. Lawhead, and I'll be starting another novel in November if things go well. I'm currently assistant directing a major remix project for ocremix.org and by January I hope to be doing a free chiptune album as well. Busy times for me, but I'm enjoying just about every moment of it!
interview conducted by Cyrus Rhodes. Property of Indie Music Media LLC.
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