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INTERVIEW WITH XOLO & THEIR FIRST EVER LIVE SESSION!

There's nothing better than doing interviews that happen spontaneously. That was the case with Xolo, a band (duo, to be precise) that I stumbled upon one day while browsing Kickstarter. Something drew my attention and I had to listen to their music immediately. Guess what? I loved it. I loved its easy, relaxed vibe, the tunes and the vocals, everything I needed to lift me up on a rather blank day. But we're not here to talk about my feelings, let's switch to Xolo facts. Xolo consists of two creative individuals, Rebekkah Castellanos and Justin Cefai, currently living between Los Angeles and Portland. They've recently released their first full length album Future Home, which is full of dreamy, ambient, and intimate melodies. There's no doubt that their love shows through the music they make. After releasing their first album, they had a dream to publish it in a vinyl form too, so they registered the project on Kickstarter and it was successfully pledged! I also have an honor to present their first ever live session that was released earlier today! You'll find some details about it at the end of this post. Now go ahead and meet the love birds with music running through their veins, Rebekkah and Justin.

Hi there Rebekkah and Justin, how are you two doing? What are you most excited about these days?

J: Hi Gita! We're doing well.

R: Hello! We have a lot going on this year, a lot to be excited about. It's my last year in school, and we're working on some new music and a couple of video projects.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? What were you doing before you started to make music together?

J: I was pretty much just skateboarding and playing music with my roommate at the time. He has a band that I play drums in now, called Mirror Days.

R: I was extremely involved in film photography and videography. I ran my blog (www.bekkajc.tumblr.com) for a while, worked as a coffee barista, and focused most of my energy on school.

How did you come up with the name Xolo? What's the meaning behind it?

J: My brother's wife has a degree in Zoology, and she runs this big daycare for dogs. I found a picture of a dog that was very amusing, and she told me the breed is called a Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo for short. It's pronounced with an S sound - show-low.

R: We really liked the way it sounded and just thought it was very unique. It's funny though, most people mis-pronounce it and say "ZOLO" instead.

I love how personal, dreamy and intimate your music is – melodically and lyrically. What inspires you the most when creating it? 

J: It's kind of cheesy, but we're inspired most by nature and by each other. At least that's how I feel when I'm writing. Since Rebekkah lives up in Portland and I'm in Los Angeles, we spend so much time apart that most of our songs just end up being about that longing or distance, and when we're together we're usually inspired to write more positive songs.

R: I'm inspired by my experiences living in Oregon. I moved up there a year ago and I've grown to love the change in seasons, the rainy days, and all of the beautiful nature surrounding the Pacific Northwest.

If you take a look back on your songs, do you think they share a common theme? I think they all work together so well – is that just my perception or do you carefully plan everything?

J: It's definitely not planned.

R: We don't typically plan out a theme for a song or an album. We just aim to make music that speaks to us in that very moment. After we finish writing and recording a multitude of songs, we try to arrange them so that they flow well together on the final album.

What kind of feelings are you trying to evoke in your listeners in general?

R: I personally like it when a song reminds you of a specific experience or time in your life. I hope that our music instills that same sense of nostalgia in our listeners.

Your "Future Home" Kickstarter project was just successfully pledged, congrats! Can you give us a little review on how this happened and how's the production of vinyl going to look like further on?

J: We had the idea to create a Kickstarter as a pre-sale for the vinyl release of Future Home. Since we aren't signed to a label, we needed help from our friends and fans to raise money to fund the vinyl production and to distribute it. They should be available on our website by the time this is up!

R: Yes, I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the kind people who donated to our Kickstarter! We're extremely grateful for their support, and now we are going to start the process of shipping our album out to those folks and contacting different record stores throughout Los Angeles to distribute our album through them.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

J: Celebrating the ten year anniversary of answering this question.

R: Making music, of course. But also traveling, shooting photos, and living happily with Justin.

Do you have any New Year's resolutions for 2015?

J: Mine is to progress musically as much as possible. I've been setting aside an hour or two every day to practice piano, something I've never been good at, and try to get comfortable playing different variations with both hands. That, and finish a new album (if I can get Rebekkah to write some lyrics :)).

R: Make time to write some lyrics! And also, practice guitar so I can out-shred Justin
one day. I also just want to immerse myself in nature more. The Pacific Northwest is so beautiful and majestic, and I'd like to take some time off this year to backpack throughout Oregon, Washington, and Canada :).

If you could go on any music concert (past or present), which one would it be?

J: Just one? I would have liked to see Nirvana. Or a band like Blondie in their prime.

R: A tough question to answer, but I guess I'd like to see Sigur Ros again. Their music was the soundtrack of my teens.

Thanks so much for your answers, I really appreciate it! Keep on creating beautiful things!


As I've mentioned already in the intro, XOLO released their first live session today. Here are a few words about it from Justin: 

This is our first ever live session. We only had one rehearsal before the day of filming, so we asked our friends from the band Mirror Days to help out. It has more of a raw live sound than the album version, so that's kind of cool. Huge thanks to everybody at Hazel Street Recordings, as well as Jesse Wilson and Graham Harrington from Mirror Days, Jonathan Castellanos, Sage Caswell for setting the mood, and Justin Edwards for filming and editing. Hope you enjoy!


I'm gonna thoroughly enjoy this recording now and chill a little. What are your thoughts about it? I'm really curious where the future will take Rebekkah and Justin, I bet it's gonna be productive, inspiring and full of love. You can check them out on their webpage, Facebook page, Soundcloud or Instagram.

xxxx

4 comments:

  1. Suuuper intervju, super muska! :) xx

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  2. Very ethereal yet upbeat. The musicality had a perfect flow. Bravo!!

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  3. Ooooh I love your music finds babes. You always find the sweetest tunes and bands!

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  4. I would definitely pronounce it "zolo" too :p But now I know :)

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