Back in August we premiered a song from Bay Area thrash/hard rock band X-Method. Their debut full length ‘Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music’, which was released via Pavement Music, caught my attention with a perfect blend of old-school and crossover thrash influences fused together with hardcore and hard rock elements. Spread across seventeen songs, it really had a little bit of everything for listeners to discover. Sometimes the band might rip through some fast paced riffs that are equal parts Slayer and D.R.I. while other moments might have a groove metal slant or even a bit of that Sevendust style hard rock melodies circa their better days. I was curious to find out more about what these guys were all about, particularly as they have a sizeable fan base in South America and have toured down there at an earlier stage than most groups. Vocalist Abby provides some in-depth answers which you can read below, and if this material grabs you pick it up from Pavement Music!
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): X-Method has been around for a few years now, but Abby has had ideas for a band like this since 1999. How did all of the members of the band meet each other and how have your musical ideas evolved from Abby’s ideas from years ago?
X-Method (Abby): I’ve known my guitarist Tony since high school. We went to different schools but ran with the same circle of friends; we played in a band together in the mid-90s and the original version of X-Method which started in 1999. Unfortunately it did not leave the studio, some of the other dudes were in other bands that needed to tour and I owned a business at the time and was doing a lot of traveling as well when they were on tour so it was easy to get distracted and drift away from the project. As for our drummer Collin and guitarist Markus, I met them both in the California Central Valley music scene. They were both jamming in different bands at the time and we just connected musically and shared the same vision. Our bass player Larry I have also known for many years through the music industry, he introduced me to my 1st band members in the 90’s and linked up our 1st gig at the legendary Stone in The Bay Area California. Unfortunately Larry is not with us anymore for personal reasons, super cool talented dude that will be missed, but we do have a new member on bass. His name is Rivar, I was introduced to him by my guitarist Markus, they have been friends for 10 years and he fits the X Method mold very well….
In regards to the musical ideas evolving I would say if anything it’s not 100 miles an hour all the time as it was for us in the 90’s. I am a little more open to melodic songs way more than I was back in the days as well. I feel the need to be true to myself musically, I’m not pissed off all the time anymore, so now you get different vibes like a party vibe, songs of death and loss, anger, love etc. I grew up on Slayer, Destruction, Venom, Kreator, Mercyful Fate, D.R.I., Dead Kennedy’s, Discharge etc. etc. but as a little kid I was listening to Scorpions, Iron Maiden, original Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Saxon, and Motorhead etc. etc. so my writing style can be trippy at times being that I grew up on a lot of different musical styles. I’ve had a few people ask me why 17 songs and my answer is always the same, why not? I am a metal/rock musician that loves writing songs, I am my own person and don’t feel the need to follow anyone else’s rules or standards, hell! I want the next CD to be a double album with a DVD of our out of country experiences, gigs, behind the scenes stuff etc…. ‘Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music’ is not just a title, I have always went against the grain. Bottom line, I’ve never liked people telling me what to do or how to do it…..
TO: I was impressed with how much variety ‘Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music’ has. You touch upon everything from thrash, rock ballads, and even some hardcore at times. With so many different elements coming together seamlessly on the album, how does your writing process work? Does each member bring something different to the table?
X-Method: I am the main writer for X-Method. I have been writing for many years and get inspired on a regular basis, sometimes I write lyrics 1st with a melody then write the music, or at times I write the music and build the lyrics around it. It all depends on my mood, I have no set way of doing it, all I know is that when I feel it I have to stop whatever I’m doing and record the idea so I don’t forget or lose it. I always keep a recorder with me so I don’t lose any melodies or riffs. I wrote like 28 songs when I was in Peru at the end of 2015, I just got back yesterday from Peru again, I recorded 10 new tracks out there (vocals only) and wrote another 10 to 14 or so songs. I get really inspired when I am in South America. The variety of styles for sure comes from my many musical influences of the bands I grew up on, everything from classic rock, heavy metal, death metal, thrash, punk, and as of the last 10 years Spanish music,(the more guitars the better)……
TO: ‘Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music’ has great production values that allow the heavier sections to hit as hard as possible while also giving the melodies plenty of space. Where did you record the album and how long did it take to complete? What were some challenges you faced during the recording process?
X-Method: We recorded with Adam Bove at Bove Music. It took about a year of work, tracking, writing etc. Some of the challenges for me personally were doing melodic songs on the same day as the hardcore ones so I had to switch it up and do melodic with melodic and hardcore on hardcore days….we were in the studio 10 hours plus every visit. Being that I love recording and being in the studio I really enjoyed it. I could not tell you much on the guitar tones and tricks seeing as I’m the vocalist but I can say that I expressed to Adam our producer that I wanted the guitars heavy, melodies and harmonies clean, and drums to hit hard especially the double bass…. It was really easy working with him, we had some killer co producers as well, our buds AJ Cottrell and Keith Milutinovic of Amongst Thieves did killer work to make this a super cool process….Looking forward to the next one, which I am working on as we speak here in Lima Peru.
TO: Did you guys grow up in the Bay Area alongside some of the classic thrash bands, and if so how has that influenced you? How do you feel the Bay Area/California music scene has changed over the years and how supportive is it of bands like yours right now?
X-Method: Yes, I grew up with the Bay Area legends. Their style and the European thrash style influenced me a lot growing up, being a young metalhead listening to the likes of Exodus, old school Metallica, Death Angel, Kreator, Destruction etc. The Stone in The Bay Area was the place to be if you liked real metal. I can honestly say I miss those days because it was pure, raw and just plain bad ass!!! I remember being a kid standing 5 ft. away from Jeff Hanneman (stage left) while watching the metal gods SLAYER in complete amazement, coolest thing ever. Andy Galeon, original Death Angel drummer, worked with our drummer on styles and techniques before his 1st South American show last year (2015). Keep in mind our drummer Collin was 15 years old at the time, it was truly an honor…..the scene is not the same, it’s very different now. Too many people trying to start trends and scenes with pretty Beiber haircuts and dress shirts, whatever happened to jeans and a Slayer shirt??? Metal is not supposed to be pretty, it’s a pissed off war-cry for the most part. I miss the purity of it all, the cool thing that still happens is when the main Bay Area legends play a show and we get to see all the old-school people from back then…
TO: Your fans are known as the “Method Militia” and you like to involve them in every aspect of your music. Tell us more about your fan base and how it has grown over the years. Will your fans be in any of your upcoming music videos?
X-Method: They help us run our international fan pages and help a lot in spreading the word about us, some are in videos as well and our goal is to meet them all. It’s super cool to talk to people from different countries that enjoy the tunes, we are all super stoked, and they are hella fun to meet and hang with at the shows.
TO: Last year you released a music video for the song Suicide Girl/Cutter. What was the shoot for that like and who came up with the concept?
X-Method: I wrote the script/video for Suicide Girl/Cutter, the shoot was killer and we had a blast doing it. It was a song about this crazy chick I knew that was a cutter, I really did get pictures of her arms cut sent to me, let’s just say she got my attention. But after writing the song and letting her see the video and hearing the lyrics I don’t think I will be getting anymore pics like that from her, and please no one get any ideas of sending me stuff like that because I won’t write about it again being that I already covered the topic lol…. The shoot was a trip, we recorded a lot of clips for it, and there are still some that didn’t get used. I am considering putting some of those in the future behind the scenes DVD if all goes well……
TO: You’ve already had the opportunity to tour internationally, having gone to South America. Tell us more about these experiences and what the fan base is like in that part of the world.
X-Method: South American fans are the sickest, they go crazy for us, it’s the way it was in the Bay Area back in the glory days…We love our South American metal maniacs, that’s probably why I go there so much. There is nothing cooler than seeing a large group of people thrashing and head-banging because the energy level is super high and we feed off of it. After the show they just want to buy us drinks and party with us til 6am which is super cool. To be honest when I’m in a bedroom writing or in my studio I am not really thinking about how people are going to react to a song idea, I get caught in the moment. It’s just me and the music, so it always trips me out when I see them having fun to it. At times live I’m like (holy sh$t!) I wrote this song in the kitchen while eating breakfast, never thought that people would be going nuts to it, we are super appreciative of all the people that support us, it’s an honor…..
In regards to the musical ideas evolving I would say if anything it’s not 100 miles an hour all the time as it was for us in the 90’s. I am a little more open to melodic songs way more than I was back in the days as well
TO: How did you connect with Pavement Music and what made them the right label for your debut?
X-Method: We had a friend in common that told me to reach out to them and the rest was history….I just felt they were the right fit for us. We have been getting radio airplay from a really good amount of radio shows and one of the DJ’s in particular, Miss Evil from Adrenaline 101 always said good things about them and how they promote their bands, I have always respected her and her opinion subsequently our friend Sean sent Pavement our stuff and told me to reach out to them, being that I heard so many positive things about Pavement before, it was easy for me to go for it. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain so I did, next thing we knew our manager was telling me they were interested. We are super stoked to be on this label, they are putting our name and music everywhere, this is nuts!!
TO: With the album out, will you be heading out on a nationwide tour later this year or next year?
X-Method: If all goes well we will be on tour asap. I’ll be honest with you all, I like living out of a suitcase, hotels, different cities, countries, traveling in general. Yes there is no place like home but at times when you are gone for a while you have a better appreciation for home when you return. I literally just got back from Peru not even 24 hours ago and I must say, it feels good to be here even if it’s for a little while. I think we will be playing a few CD release parties and some local stuff for a bit, we must see what the label has in mind for us first, the plan so far is a tour in Japan in March of 2017, if all goes as planned that will be another dream come true…..
TO: You guys are big alcohol fans. What’s each member’s drink of choice?
X-Method: Lol me personally my venom of choice are Southern Comfort, Smirnoff 100% Vodka, Fireball and don’t laugh (Coors Light).
Tony likes Fireball, Southern Comfort and some different ales that I forgot the name of…
Markus likes fireball and Coors Light as well…
Rivar likes Jim Beam (Black Tooth Grin) and IPA Little Sumpin
Collin does not drink…
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music’ or X-Method?
X-Method: (Sponsorships anyone???) 😀