April 17 2013 – Very few things are as exciting as finding something new you love. Much like archaeologists that dig to find hidden treasures, we here at T-Mak World really enjoy trying to find new bands or artists that we love. Once we find such musicians, we approach our favourites to request interviews for our Emerging Artist Spotlight series. Today we set our focus on an artist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US named XANDER DEMOS. All musicians we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on Xander’s website reads:
Xander Demos is one of today’s premier shred metal guitarists. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, he currently fronts his own solo band, XDB and national tribute act, James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath. Xander performs in excess of 100 times a year, and he is active in recording collaborations with artists all over the world. Xander plays guitars from Suhr, McNaught and Conklin, with whom he has endorsement deals. His endorsement from these guitar companies is a testament to his impressive skills and his deep commitment to playing the best guitars in the world.
Xander’s style ranges from the beautifully melodic to the jaw-droppingly insane. His playing encompasses much of what he has learned and absorbed from other players over the years; artists like Shawn Lane, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Vinnie Moore, Jason Becker, Neal Schon, Michael Romeo and John Sykes. One constant in his music is a focus on strong guitar melodies. On February 29, 2012, Xander released his full-length follow-up to his EP “Road To Guitarcadia.” The new album was mixed by CJ Snare of Firehouse. The album is simply titled, “Guitarcadia,” and it contains 10 incredible tracks of pure guitar heaven. This release will be followed by an instructional DVD, while performing with his two live bands every week and passing on his passion for guitar by giving in person and online instructions to eager students.
Recently, Xander has been making quite the name for himself and his solo band by appearing as support for acts like Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob, Buckethead, UFO, Lizzy Borden, Kip Winger, Neil Zaza and Dio Disciples. He recently had two #1 Metal and Progressive music videos on Myspace, with his videos “Right Angles” and “Chase The Sun.” His last single, “White Knuckle Driving” received airplay in Brazil, Russia, Denmark, the UK and all over the world!
Here is what Xander had to say to us:
- Hey Xander, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Let’s start off with the obligatory introductions. Who’s in the band and what instrument does everyone rock?
Xander Demos: Well, when we started this thing, it was pretty much a solo artist kind of thing. So, I had a few different drummers and bass players on the album, Guitarcadia. Now, for the next album, we’re evolving more into a band situation. I’ve got some amazing guys in the band, including Mario Brescia on vocals, Jeff Anzelone on Drums, Ben Chiarini on bass and Adam Heusey on keys…and of course, I’m doing the shred-tasty guitars.
- How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?
Xander: I got started playing guitar when I was 15. Kind of a late bloomer, but I was a drummer first. Kind of the Eddie Van Halen story. Lol. I watched all the amazing guitar players on MTV and said, “That’s what I want to do.” I immediately started playing guitar and haven’t looked back.
- Who are some of your musical influences?
Xander: Guys like Vai, Satriani, Malmsteen, but also John Sykes, Adrian Vandenberg, Guthrie Govan and Shaun Lane. There are just so many….it’s hard to pick just a few. I’ve always been a big fan of not only technique, but melody. I try to use that approach when writing songs for my albums.
- So based on the above how would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it?
Xander: Melodic heaviness with shred-tasty guitar solos.
- Why should a music fan come and see your show instead of all the other choices available to them on any given night?
Xander: I think that we put ourselves out there as a “musician’s band.” Not to draw comparisons, but we fall into the categories with bands like Dream Theater and Queensryche, Symphony X, Dragonforce, and the bands that the musicians want to see. So, hopefully, we can give them something to talk about later. All of the guys are extremely gifted on their instruments, so we like to show off a little. I love when kids are out there just jamming at the solos I’m doing. I hope we can inspire and drive them to go pick up their instruments and take it to the next level.
- What is your favorite single line of lyrics the band has written and why?
Xander : Well, being that the first album only has one original vocal track on it, I’d have to choose something from “Under A Darkened Sky:” Under a Darkened Sky, Beyond this world we fly, Eternal dreams, the eagle cries out in the night
- What does 2013 hold for you?
Xander: We’re starting to record some new material for a new EP, “Dancing Thru Daggers.” It should be ready for the fall. We’re out on the road, doing some regional tour dates. We’ll also be playing at some pretty amazing festivals this year, Skull Fest, Rock Harvest II, and a 3rd that I can’t reveal yet.
- Imagine that you were asked to be the opener for any band’s world tour (both current and historical). Which band and tour would be your dream opening gig.
Xander: Wow! That’s a great question. Probably Van Halen’s 1984 tour or Dokken’s Beast From the East tour.
- What is the future of the music industry? With the concept of the album and physical CD’s facing extinction, how will we be consuming music in 10 years? Are the economics feasible for emerging artists?
Xander: Artists need to get out of the mentality that sales of tangible music is where the money is at. That model is gone. Unless something can be done about file sharing and preventing it, then that will never be a way for indie bands to survive. Live performances can bring money, but not from the gig guarantees. Those are gone, too. You’ve got to find a way to sell a piece of that experience of the show to the ticket holder. People are pretty sentimental and like physical mementos from events, to remember them by, so if you can sell that amazing one of a kind item for them to hold on to and cherish, then THAT’S where you make your money.
- Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
Xander: It’s pretty much everywhere you can buy music online, itunes, amazon, rhapsody, etc. You can also get physical cds from my site here
- At the end of 2012 we published our picks for top 10 albums of 2012. Lists like those are always a reflection of personal tastes so if you were making the list what are some albums you would you have had on it?
Xander: Too many to choose from. I’d probably say the latest from Rush and Dream Theater, to start.
- Any closing remarks for our readers?
Xander: I hope that you will give my music a listen. Please check us out on Facebook and Twitter. Keep the dream alive!
Thanks so much to Xander Demos. We hope that you can see him and his band live. They are playing in Altoona, PA on April 18th and Philadelphia, PA on April 19th. Then, Pittsburgh, PA on April 26th and Spring Stampede in White Marsh, MD on April 27th.Article – Terry Makedon T-Mak World: Toronto’s Site for Music, Movies and Culture www.tmakworld.com | Twitter | Facebook Get the T-Mak World Toolbar below to get all the info you need