by Jake Curtis
Local Louisville hardcore outfit Xerxes has been a mainstay in the punk scene for about five years.
Since its beginning, starting out as a five-piece, the band has changed drastically from its loud, raw brand of hardcore to a catchier, darker and noisier blend of punk and 80’s Goth rock. The band’s lineup has also switched up several times, and now has four members: Will Allard on guitar, Joseph Goode on bass, Ben Sears on drums, and Calvin Philley as vocalist/lyricist.
Recently, Xerxes has started to tour in support of its new album, Collision Blonde, which was released Oct. 21. The album has already garnered high marks and popularity from many magazines and blogs (such as Alternative Press), and I highly recommend you pick up a copy from the website.
I asked bassist Joseph Goode about the writing process of the new album, Collision Blonde, what music he’s been listening to recently, and some of his favorite local experiences.
LouKY: What bands were you guys listening to when you were working on the new record? What bands inspired you most while writing the music?
Joseph Goode: I catch myself on long drives going through a sporadic and sometimes uneasy blend of music ranging from harsh noise to quiet crooning, though in writing the record I had a bunch of new wave/goth rock bands in mind, stuff like Christian death, the cure, tears for fears, and things around that era and style.
LouKY: Describe yourself.
JG: Tall, dark, and decent looking.
LouKY: How do you see the new album, and what was the writing process like?
JG: I think the main thing to understand about the record is that we’re at a certain point in our lives where doing something that isn’t inherently ‘us’ is just trite and inevitably pointless. Nothing really dictates what we write inwardly or outwardly, we just sit down and play our instruments until we have songs we like written. We didn’t worry about what people might think, and truthfully nobody in this band dictated any other member. As cliché as it sounds the songs we write are an expression of our tastes, creativity, and abilities in their purest forms.
LouKY: What is your stance on the Louisville punk scene (inner workings, relationships, shows/concerts, etc.)?
JG: Louisville’s music scene is pretty cool from the outside looking in as far as being a secluded hardly-midwest-hardly-southern town. Secluded enough to breed weirdos and around enough to be noticed. One could say there’s a certain clique mentality that sort of binds people to their little groups, which maybe inhibits a community feel at times but certain things have the ability to bring everyone into the same room, ya know? At least I’d like to think so.
LouKY: Why do you play music, and what do you hope to accomplish through playing and presenting it?
JG: At this point I think music is the only thing I can do with enough proficiency to not put myself in a hole every day. I’ve been in and out of a bunch of different bands since I was 16, and touring pretty heavily since 18. I’m only 21 now and I’ve gotten to travel the states and Europe and meet hundreds of new people by being a weird punk. It’s great.
LouKY: Some favorite books of yours?
JG: I could go on all day about my favorite books, but I’ll keep it short(ish) and sweet(ish). I’ll start out on a plain old good book: Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. A total page turner, following two different stories that collide frequently though indirectly, and has a wonderfully different take on the weight of life. The book I think has changed my life more than any other is Antoine Bloye by Paul Nizan, about a poor railroad worker who toils his life away just to barely make it to the middle class. I read it during the two weeks I took off work to record the record, and it helped me romanticize not working and instead giving my dreams a little push in the right direction towards realization. Lastly, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis just blows my mind. The imagery in his books is always so simply given that the ideas presented create a whole abysmal universe in between the lines. I still go online and try to learn about things being said that aren’t really ‘said’ in its 100 or so pages, and get a whole new take on certain parts. It rules.
LouKY: Do you have any musical or creative aspirations outside of Xerxes?
JG: Outside of Xerxes I have some ideas floating around within Louisville and beyond. Trying to keep as busy as possible.
LouKY: Is there a figure (activist, musician, etc.) that you look up to or are influenced by specifically?
JG: Sounds weird to say but my muse is definitely Phil Elverum of The Microphones and Mount Eerie fame. Dude just has it right, experiential analog music that sounds like whatever he feels like writing, about nature, solitude, his town, literature, or even about how dumb cigarettes are.
LouKY: A favorite Louisville restaurant/ Louisville restaurant experience of yours?
JG: My favorite restaurant by far is Simply Thai, if you’re trying to treat yourself right. Easily the best raw tuna I’ve had. They also have this great mango curry that just blows my taste buds into another world. A little pricy but I’d rather go there than anywhere else in the world I’ve ever eaten.
LouKY: Tell us one of your favorite moments/experiences/times in Louisville. It can be something as simple as walking down the street, watching a sunset, or eating a Popsicle.
JG: What immediately comes to mind as my favorite Louisville day was sitting in the gazebo at Dog Hill the day after my van exploded, thinking about how I’m gonna make enough money to get a new car, how I need a new job, and how I’ll generally pan out as a human as the years come. But I had this moment where I told myself ‘who cares?’ and I pulled out the book I was reading (Kokoro by Natsume Soseki) and read it for nearly 5 hours. Then I napped, pet dogs and went home.
Xerxes will be playing a hometown/record release show on November 7th at Astro Black Records on Oak and Swan St. The show will cost absolutely nothing, and starts at 7 PM sharp. The band assures us they will have merch to sell, so make sure to stop by, listen to some music and have fun. Below I have listed several websites where you can find more information on Xerxes, as well as a website where you can purchase their new record, Collision Blonde. Please remember to continue to support local music as well as Louisville punk and hardcore!
Order the new record at: noslp.co
Find the band at: https://www.facebook.com/xerxesband and http://xerxesband.com/