So firstly it’s pronounced zoop…
XUP is Lane on vox and other noises including: the mustang bass, telecaster gee-tar + the drums. Formerly of Nine Black Alps (erstwhile founder member) and bassist in legendary uber post-Sonic punks The Strap Ons, this journey has seen XUP move from Manchester to London and back to Manchester.
XUP is the kind of emotional, almost philosophical urban angst that drove punk rock to evolve and mature and capably manages to be quietly menacing. The urgent post-Siouxsie grit is mesmerizing. The ever so slightly honeyed vocals sit on this barbed wired bed like it’s the most natural of things. Sounds something like Joy Division making an art-house B movie starring Sonic Youth and Patti Smith…
Possessed of a predatory post punk prowl and gouged by a distractedly dead eyed sparsely detached noir stained schlock. It aches and howls with a deeply penetrating psychosis that at times makes Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ’the scream’ sound like a sunny walk in the park…
Northern Revive: What made you want to get into music?
XUP: I didn’t grow up wanting to be a musician. i got into it quite late. Because I was painfully shy I didn’t even make the school choir, so I never thought I could sing. As an art student I started going to gigs in Manchester and was just in awe of the bands I saw. I never for a second thought that one day I could get up on stage too. I always thought the bass players were the coolest band members so one year, for my birthday, my best friend gave me a bass guitar which I still have, but it took some years before I’d join my first band. The first bassline that really stuck out for me was Barbarism Begins At Home, by The Smiths. But the first time I decided I really needed to play music was when I watched Hole at Manchester Academy in 1995. I desperately wanted to get up there, all dressed up, holding a guitar as a weapon, and hiking my foot up on the monitor. And eventually, I got to do just that.
NR: What inspires you to write?
XUP: Writing has now become second nature. I don’t think about it as an abstract concept. I just write. I have written as far back as I can remember. So it’s not so much inspiration, but a part of life. When I’m writing for XUP, the topics are always quite personal. I milk every bad relationship. And I write about my childhood. Because once it’s done, I just wrap it all up in a nice album-shaped box, and send it out into the ether, where it can learn to fend for itself. I always cry at the end of an album. Because every album is a little cocoon and a universe. And once it’s finished, I’m not allowed back in. Thems are the breaks.
NR: Who has had the most influence on your music?
XUP: I grew up in southern Spain, so I listened to a lot of Flamenco by default. It poured out onto the streets, out of the shops and bars and cafés. As I got older I listen to a lot of NYC punk and post punk as well as 90s bands from the States. If I had to pick two artists/bands I suppose I would go with Hole and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
NR: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far?
XUP: I have had to learn to do most things myself for XUP. I have learnt to record and mix, design album covers and websites, produce videos and program drum beats. While I’ve always been creative, I’m not naturally technically minded. I also don’t enjoy having to run my social media sites. I am at my happiest when I’m in my practice room with my mustang bass, writing new songs.
NR: What has been the nicest thing ever written about you
XUP: Here are a few snippets:
“The urgent post-Siouxsie grit is mesmerising. The ever so slightly honeyed vocals sit on this barbed wired bed like it’s the most natural of things. Sounds something like Joy Division making an art-house B movie starring Sonic Youth and Patti Smith…” Manchester Music.
“It aches and howls with a deeply penetrating psychosis that at times makes Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ’the scream’ sound like a sunny walk in the park… A torn and tortured beauty…” Manchester Rocks
“A black and bleached heeled nightmare of hate and cigarettes” My ex boyfriend.
Of all of the above, I like my ex’s description the best!
NR: What has been the best and worst gig you’ve ever played?
XUP: One of my favourite gigs was supporting The Parkinsons at Manchester Academy with my old band. We loved The Parkinsons and had seen them several times as well as hung out with them. It was also our biggest gig to date and we were really well looked after. With my current band XUP my first solo show since 2010 happened in June 2019 at The Peer Hat, which is below my practice rooms. It had taken me a few years to pluck up the courage to play live again and everyone at The Peer Hat as well as my friends had been really supportive. so when i took to the stage i felt nothing but love and warmth. it was still really terrifying after all that time! I don’t have a worst gig but the ones i enjoy less are where the venues are not familiar with my set up, where i’m talked down to by promoters or sound engineers and where the soundcheck takes too long!
NR: What is the last album you played on Spotify?
XUP: I’ve lately been revisiting Masseduction by St Vincent. I think she’s amazing.
NR: If you could support any band who would it be and why?
XUP: I would love love love to support Hole if they ever reform with the classic line up – Courtney, Eric, Melissa and Patty. That’s the Live Through This line up and that is my favorite Hole album.
NR: What other bands do we need to be checking out right now?
XUP: Well, you should definitely check out my friends’ bands: The Battery Farm; Bull; Thee Windom Earles; and my friends Bones Shake – who i share a practice room with. I also recently watched a band from Australia called Hideous Sun Demon, who were mind-blowing live.
NR: Give us a few hints on what’s in store next for XUP
NR: I’ve just finished my sixth album. It will be released on 23 August 2020 and will be available on digital download as well as a very limited run on vinyl. I’m also doing bits and bobs for a podcast and zine called Rat Alley, for underground bands and artists in Manchester and beyond. And of course I can’t wait to play live again when we are able to.
New single CUT YOU OPEN is released 9/7/20
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