Alina (keyboards): We are X.Kernel, from Kyiv, Ukraine, playing Melodic Death Metal inspired by Gothenburg sound. Quite cynical and sarcastic in our lyrics, but really optimistic in reality.
Nikita (guitars, back-vocals): And we are trying to move metal in Ukraine, where it is still in deep underground, and raise it to European level.
2.You have a new album coming out in April, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
N: We spent a lot of time looking for the optimal combination of Gothenburg guitar sound, cold melodic keys, old school mid-range growl, deep baritone clean vocals and fat bass as the basis of a dense mix. Check out our album to hear how we’ve got it.
3.The band has been around since 2009 but has only put out 2 releases, can you tell us a little bit more about the gaps in between recordings?
A: While recording maybe the most important thing is having stable line-up with members that are pretty confident in their parts. The band started when we were students, and, as studies is the time when person is looking for him or herself, our line-up changed a lot of times before ‘freezing’. Maybe, the most dramatic issue we had several times to deal with was loss of vocalist. Also our band leader Nikita is a kind of perfectionist, and it takes a lot of time for him to make sure that the song and its arrangement are pretty good for recording. Especially when it comes to debut long-play release.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
A: When we recorded all tracks for our album and started to think about their order, we suddenly discovered that songs can be divided on two logical parts. The first, ‘personal’ one, is dedicated to individual in conditionally peaceful times, though it is not bright at all. It is full of pressure, bringing fatigue and frustration, like in second track ‘Exhausted’, which is able to drive you mad like in ‘Locked in Delirium’, or just deprive you in your belief, like in ‘Dying Gods’. The second, ‘martial’ part, is concentrated on mankind’s war against alien beings and it’s horrible ending from track ‘No fate’. The final track ‘Dream of Sun’ stands apart of both of them, because of its historical background. We heard interesting theory that Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten planted a cult of the Sun because he was losing his vision, and found this concept impressive: idolizing something which is leaving you. One way or another, all our lyrics are about quite depressive things.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'X.Kernel'?
A: From the very beginning our line-up had a lot of IT-guys (and currently it entirely consists of them), so when we thought about name we found it interesting to build it around entity from IT. Especially we found it natural in light of our search for new, more modern sound. We found ‘kernel’ the best fitting word, as it is both central element of operational system and core, central concept of the thing. And ‘X’ is a kind of unknown, mysterious, something in tune with dark side of mankind to which we dedicate our lyrics.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
N: During our stage performances we are trying to give the most musical and sound nuances from our songs, convey their initial atmosphere and mix it with wild energy and catchy vivacity of our lead-vocalist Max.
A: And about shows: maybe, the warmest memories are connected with our concert in Vinnytsia, a big city on South-West from Kyiv, together with Kharkiv Death Doom band Mortalium and local Post-rock band The Moon Belongs To Everyone. Though it was Monday, the beginning of the working week and traditionally dead season for live-events, the club was full and we faced quite warm welcome from the audience, who was going wild listening to our set.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
A: Right now we do not have definite tour dates, but we are planning to make a kind of presentation tour for our album in several big cities of Ukraine, possibly including some Eastern Europe’s places and fests.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic death metal?
N: Nowadays MDM is not the genre on the top of popularity among metalheads, and it is not easy for us to find fans. But it is really pleasant when somebody is getting interested in our music. We are looking forward to our album’s release to reach a higher level and deliver our songs in good quality to bigger audience.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
N: We've come a long way while composing tracks for ‘Face the Truth’ and recording it. Our line-up changed dramatically, in fact we’ve become quite different people during this time. So it is hard to tell exactly, how will our music sound in future. But we definitely know that it will be melodic, driving and epic, and it will still contain both modern influences and comebacks to the old school.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
N: The biggest influence on us had Swedish Melodic Death Metal of the second half of 90-s, especially such bands as In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Arch Enemy and later Soilwork. Also we can’t forget American Metalcore like As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Trivium whose echoes you can hear in such tracks as Exhausted, Locked in Delirium, Dying Gods. Also we always loved classics, therefore we tend to a more musical, harmonious songs’ development.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Max (lead vocals): Militarism as it is, video games and crafting everything I can.
Nikita (leader, guitars, back-vocals): Travelling, video games, live role play games, books – all that stuff that helps me with inspiration and energy for creating new songs and ideas.
Alina (keyboards): Writing science fiction and fantasy stories, hand-made jewellery, playing board games - everything where I can incarnate my wild imagination.
Oles (bass): I’m a big fan of tourism, especially speleology, motorcycle and bicycle riding. And last year I even went tracking on Nepal to the foot of Everest.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
N: We had a long journey while creating this album, and do not plan to stop here. Wait for a lot more interesting staff from us!