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Met 'Act The Injured Innocent' gaf het Gorinchemse gezelschap X-Tinxtion recentelijk haar visitekaartje af en plaatste zich meteen tussen de subtoppers in de thrash metal divisie. LoM had een gesprek met twee personen uit die band, te weten Frans Swaters (gitaar) en Monica Janssen (zang) over de totstandkoming van hun laatste werkje, hun verleden en over de toekomst.

Door: Guus | Archiveer onder speed / thrash metal

Hi Frans and Monica, how are you guys?
Frans: I'm doing great, thanks. The winter's finally over and the sun is shining. I can't wait to play the new songs at the few open air festivals we're going to play this summer.

Monica: Very well, thanks. The band has recently finished the new EP. We are all gleaming with pride.

The first promo/demo came as a total surprise a few years ago. Can you tell me something about the early days of X-TinXion up to now.
Frans: Peter van Toren (drummer) approached me around 2002 with the idea to start a cover band. The plan was to play good old thrash metal songs from the 80's, like Exodus and Testament. But after the very first rehearsal it became clear that we wanted to write our own music. After a couple of line up changes we had a pretty stable band and recorded our first demo called 'Twisting The Knife'. That one featured our old singer Stefan van Geel on vocals and Paul van Son on bass. Two years later we re-recorded that demo when our singer Monica and lead guitarist Conrad Hultermans joined X-tinXion. We played as much shows as possible to build up a name.

Monica: I fell in love with the music the very minute I walked into the door of the place where they were rehearsing. I never intended to do yet another band besides what I was doing at the time, but I just couldn't help myself. They were playing so f**cking tight! I was deeply impressed by it, haha. In 2008 we started preparing to record the new cd 'Act The Injured Innocent'. Hans Pieters from Excess Studios (Gorefest, Hail of Bullets, Ayreon, After Forever) approached us and said he really wanted to record us. It was a great opportunity thatwe grabbed with both hands. We started recording late 2008. During the recordings however, we were forced to replace Paul. It took us a while before we found our new bass player Mischa van Rodijnen and that explains why it took us such a long time to complete the new record.

What kind of music did you play as before X TinXion was founded and can you name some of the guys/bands that you have worked with. And why was former frontman Stefan replaced?
Frans: I already played thrash metal with my band Stigma (which still exists). But Stigma plays a more extreme form of thrash. Conrad is a very experienced guitar player. He played in Revolt, Gallowmere and is still member of the Glamrock coverband 666 “The Nightmare”

Monica: Peter has played in many bands, one of which was a thrash metal band called Hidden Remains, it had built up quite a reputation. Mischa used to play guitar in Transmission, Engine of doom and Reveal. I played in different bands before (and while) joining X-TinXion. I sung in prog/thrash band Imp for many years, played bassguitar in a gothic metal band, of which Peter was also the drummer and because we work so well together (haha) Peter and I have recently started a rockband called Down to Dust in which I play bass

Frans: We replaced Stefan because he and Peter weren't getting along at all. The situation was really getting absurd between those two. They were arguing after every single gig, haha. Also we felt he was too 'hardcore' for X-tinXion and we just weren't that impressed with his vocals. He would lose his voice at the middle of each show and stuff like that. Luckily we found Monica, who blew us away with her incredible voice!

As I already stated the album was released as an independent. Was there no other label who was convinced of the bands capacities at the moment.
Frans: We actually never send the old demo to any label. I think we've grown so much as a band in the last couple of years that the old one didn't represent us anymore. So we needed to record 'Act The Injured Innocent'. Not only to get labels interested but also to get more gigs. Right now we're sending the new cd to every label we know. So far we've had great responses from the press and audience. Let's hope that we can get a label interested in us as well.

I myself was quite impressed by this 'Act Of Injured Innocent'. If you take a look back, how do you feel about the actual result in the end? And if you had the chance, would you change

Frans: I'm really satisfied by the end result. Every aspect of thrash metal comes along. From fast and furious tempos to twin harmonies and unique vocals. I won't change anything if I had the chance.

Monica: I am my own worst critic. I know I can also be a pain in the ass for others as well where music and sound is concerned, however, the songs on this EP came out so well, I wouldn't change a thing.

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The actual recording of 'Act Of Injured Innocent' has taken place in the Excess Studio owned by Hans Pieters.
Frans: As I said, he approached us after he had seen a DVD of us. Peter and Monica worked with him before and were very enthusiastic about his sound and the way he works. And I've got to say, he really knows how to get the best out of you. He's just so experienced and has such a good ear for detail. He did a terrific job.

Did you use digital recording techniques or are your more in the traditional analogue recording?
Frans: I'm not really an expert, but we used digital recording techniques. Although we play 'Bay Area' styled thrash metal, Hans thought it would be best to really make it a modern record. And it makes a lot of sense. The last records of Testament, Megadeth and Exodus also have a very modern sound while still remaining that old school vibe.

What is the main difference between the last promo from 2006 and this one.
Frans: There's a lot more variety on this one. Some parts are more extreme and faster, other parts have much more melody. The last promo was actually recorded before Conrad and Monica joined the band. Conrad only played in the lead guitar and Monica re-recorded the vocals. But this time they really had the opportunity to add their personal flavor. That's why there's a lot more guitar harmonies on 'Act the Injured Innocent'. This time Monica wrote her own lyrics and really amazed me with her wide range.

Why did you christened it 'Act The Injured Innocent'. Do you have a special meaning with this?
Monica: Absolutely! A lot of lyrics I write for X-TinXion have something to do with human failure, war, the horrible way in which we treat each other. Mankind has written many books, plays and poems about the loss of innocence. We know so much and yet so little. I am not a religious person, but I do believe that by gaining knowledge, science is becoming the new creed. The title has a double meaning: on the one hand there's the saying, which means a person did something wrong, knows this very well, but acts as if he/she really couldn't help it at all. On the other hand, that which is always thought of as being innocent, children, have to grow up in this modern world really fast. There is not much pure innocence left, if it ever existed. The drawing on the cover is a grown man murdering a demon child, it is a hint to the first song: One foot in the grave.

Talking about lyrics and songwriting, who is responsible for that and what is your favorite track on this cd?
Frans: You could say that I'm responsible for most of the songwriting. I usually write the songs alone at home and then take them to rehearsal. That's where a lot gets changed. Everyone adds something to the songs and sometimes we try out different structures. My favorite track is 'One Foot In The Grave'. This song has everything you could ask for. It's fast and aggressive, but the middle part is very melodic with its twin guitars and amazing solo. Also, Monica's vocals are incredible and very catchy.

Monica: The lyrics of older songs were written by different people in the band. The new lyrics are mostly written by me. Sometimes Frans has a few suggestions or ideas about melody, but most of the vocal structures and lyrics are done by me. 'Genetic Sickness' is my favorite song at the moment, but this changes with my mood sometimes.

Do you want to express something with the lyrical content? For instance 'Genetic Sickness' has an interesting subject.
Monica: Haha, yes, I can imagine it isn't the kind of thing you would expect a girl to write about. As I expressed before, I like to write about the seamy side of humanity. I am fascinated by what drives people and by the edges of what is sanity. I like lyrics to tell a story. Sometimes it is a story of what could happen in a parallel universe. Sometimes it has a more realistic approach and can be about war, for instance, or murder, or something I read in a science magazine. 'Genetic Sickness' is about incestuous child abuse, but it describes the mind of the abuser, who was also a victim to the same thing when he was a child.

What are your plans for the more long-term perspective?
Frans: We want to do as much shows as possible. We already have quite some interesting shows planned. We're playing with Heathen on the 14th of May for instance in the Baroeg and we're headlining Duveltjesrock festival in Gorinchem on the 5th of June.

Monica: Wow, long-term is such a long way away, haha. In the near future, as Frans said, we have a number of gigs planned to which we are really looking forward. I hope we will be able to record a full-length album as well. But right now, I only wish for people to hear our EP, come see us play and spread the word!

Thanks for your time and rock on..
Frans: Thrash till Death!!!

Monica: Thanks, METAAAAALLLL!!!

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