Xiu Xiu – Descent Away From Pop Music

San Jose art rockers Xiu Xiu are about to invade our shores for an appearance at Room 40’s Open Frame Festival, and a handful of shows in other parts of the country.  And while they’re here – they’ve got some pretty amusing things that they want to get done. 

Music Feeds wrote to mastermind Jamie Stewart about their hobbies away from touring, and his plans to fill the band’s next decade of songwriting and performances with “more DOOOOOOOM, more CROOOOOON, more GROOOOOOMING, more GOOOOOONS.”

Music Feeds: You’re credited with writing intensely personal music; what drives you to offer yourself up so earnestly, and has your willingness to expose yourself evolved over 10 years?

Xiu Xiu: An intense feeling of constant dread and anxiety. What else am I going to do?

MF: After a decade of baring yourself via music, have any songs come back to haunt you that you now wish you’d never released?

XX: I have enough regrets already.

MF: You’ve said that the 10th Anniversary of Xiu Xiu feels like the start of a new chapter as opposed to the end of one. Creatively speaking, what are you hoping to discover in this new chapter?

XX: More aggressive songs, simpler songs, descent away from pop music, descent into I don’t know kind of mess, more percussion, more DOOOOOOM, more CROOOOOON, more GROOOOOOMING, more GOOOOOONS.

MF: In a past interview you have said that Always serves as a ‘restatement to the vows of music’. What does that mean?

XX: My music heart got kind of beat up by the music biz in the last few years and my confidence was smashed up. I thought about quitting all the time. After forcing myself not to be such a jerk by cutting off both of my arms and putting them in a jar, it became clear that music is worth feeling like a loser sometimes.

MF: Black Drum Machine is a narrative continuation of sorts of Black Keyboard (2008). Was it always your intent to further explore the themes in Black Keyboard, and what was it about the issues of molestation and incest that made you want to expand on the subject matter?

XX: I will talk about any songs other than those.

MF: How is your book of Spanking Haikus going? Is there any chance of sharing one in print?

XX: HA!!! I was kind of bullied into that, so to speak. I have one book of haikus that came out this Feb. called, A New Tropical Companion and have another coming out this Dec. called Onliest. Spanking Haikus is a longer term project that requires a particular focus and endurance and idiocy.

MF: By the time Xiu Xiu tours Australia in October, the new lineup will have been playing gigs together for approximately 3 or 4 months. How quickly has the band meshed and are there any kinks still being worked out?

XX: Actually, the new lineup just finished rehearsals today. Shayna is amazing. I am very very very excited to be playing with her. She is totally creative and brilliant. We are trying something musically that Xiu Xiu has never done before. I am nervous about it, but I hope that people will get something from it.

MF: Aside from the tour and appearing at Room 40’s Open Frame Festival, what plans do Xiu Xiu have while in Australia?

XX: Other shows and finally chopping off my ears, nose, lips and knee caps. They are not for sale, but they will be available on a one day per crack on the head loan. Also, if anyone would like to ride on my back like I was a pony, that will also be going on.

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