XOVA

XOVA are an eclectic mashup of rock n' roll and reggae, comprised of seasoned performers and newcomers alike. The seven-piece count BBC 6Music's Tom Robinson among their dedicated fans.

Kyle Fisher
  • By Kyle Fisher
  • 5 Dec 2012
  • min read
XOVA (pronounced Crossover) are an eclectic mashup of rock n roll and reggae, comprised of seasoned performers and newcomers alike.

BBC 6Music's Tom Robinson has already made it apparent he is fond of the collective, playing their music for three weeks in a row. Their track 9 Lives, which you can watch below, also opened the BBC WM Introducing show most recently.

The seven-strong group take experience from what they call the legends (The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix) but also contemporary songwriters like Paolo Nutini. We wanted to find out a little bit more about their songwriting style and how playing together works for XOVA. Check our what they had to say for themselves in this 30 seconds interview.

We first started writing music because...
I (Wayne Lawrence - lead vocals, guitar) had a head full of melodies and lyrics that started to shout out to be heard. I started with a song about rice and peas then went on to write about the usual things; girls, love and loss, and nowadays about issues that have affected people around us. In fact the first time we performed an original song as XOVA was in Lithuania when we were on tour and were asked to go on prime time Saturday night television as an international act had just cancelled. I said to the rest of the band, I've got a great track called All This Time and that we should perform that track, which we did. From there we returned to the UK and started to write our first album The Pressures Of Life.

We have been making music since...
I was 14 when I wrote my first song, but had been playing guitar since I was about eight or nine. The rest of the band have played in many groups over the years, have had some recording success and toured all over the world. So some of the band have seen it and done it while the others are fresh and hungry to show the world what we’re all about! The band have been doing their stuff as XOVA for the last few years.

Our music is...
Lyrical, musical and emotional, with melodies, hooks and killer rhythms. It’s a crossover (XOVA) of indie power pop/rock and reggae with a tight brass section that is instrumental to our sound.

You'll like us if you listen to...
Your soul! Ha ha... But early Maroon 5, The Beatles, Bob Marley, No Doubt, Paulo Nutini, Mumford and Sons, Oasis... proper bands who kick it live and play what they want, not being afraid to try new sounds and styles or take an old sound, embrace it, put jump leads on and bring it to life, just like the Mumfords have done for folk.

Our favourite venue is...
Quite a few, like Islington Assembly Hall where we supported The Skatalites. Then there’s Muzikcentrum Straff  in Leeuwarden, Holland,  where we have played quite a few times. In fact, every gig abroad has been memorable, such as the Afro Latino Festival in Belgium (quality gig) where we supported Jimmy Cliff and Kymani Marley... Hopefully next week will see us find a new favourite venue as we’ll be playing Birmingham Town Hall for the first time when we support The Beat on 15 December.

Music is important because...
It’s how any person can really communicate something from a serious message to a love song, no matter who or where they are, from banging a drum in a desert, blowing some pipes on top of a mountain or thrashing a guitar in a dingy pub basement. It transcends all borders, colours and creed, which I know is a very stereotypical thing to say, but for once it’s true. Music knows no age, sex, religion, or fashion and the very best (in some cases worst) often outlives the writer and brings happiness to so many people.

It’s a connection that cannot have a price put on it, or in our case, it brought six people together who would normally only be close to each other if they were in the same job centre queue! Our ages, backgrounds and lives have all been so different. But once in a rehearsal room, studio or stage, we become family, as solid as blood and that’s solely down to the power and love of music.

Our biggest inspiration is...
The legends; Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. You will find influences of at least one of them in virtually any track made today, whether it’s the message of the song, the guitar lick, bass line, the harmonies, chorus, the passion, or the riff.

Our dream collaboration would be...
Paul McCartney from the legends obviously, as he knows his reggae as well, or Paulo Nutini as we all love his genuine vibe.

To try us out listen to our song...
Chillout Maximum - it’s a bit rock, it’s a bit reggae, it’s a bit soul, it’s full of passion, drive and energy. We start our live set with it and it’s always great to see the crowd look at us, as we fall on to the stage, wondering what the hell! But by the end of that track they’re blown away, even if we say so ourselves, no one kicks it off like us...

In 10 years time we want to be...
Alive! Seriously that would be good news as the last few years we have been living a bit wild, throwing the management's bed out of the hotel windows in Europe, borrowing other bands' alcohol riders, having a female dwarf thrown on stage at us. Too many hours on motorways in a clapped out LDV van eating crap in service stations as we cant afford hotels now. So yes, in the future a proper tour bus with a toilet, microwave and bar as the norm would be nice... And a road crew to carry our stuff and pack away for us so we can get on with the serious business of being rock n roll stars!