Novation Spotlight: Xylo Aria
We caught up with Xylo Aria after her visit to our Novation London Pop-Up store, to discover a little more about her background in music making, her greatest inspirations and how she has used Launchkey to help with her most recent release, 'My Bandage'.
Xylo Aria is a singer, producer, entrepreneur and true visionary. Born in India, identifying with Australia but residing in the UK, Xylo brings her global perspective into her music and everything she does. In 2017 Xylo took the decision to produce her own music and has since released multiple of her own, self-produced tracks including 'Pig' and 'M.R.I'. Xylo is also the founder and creator of the online education platform MPW - Music Production for Women, which launched in 2019, and created to go beyond the realms of educating women, and become a movement in the music industry which would empower and encourage more women to take their first steps into music technology.
I'm Xylo Aria, an artist and producer currently based in London. I was born in India but spent most of my life in Melbourne, Australia. I think all of these places have in many ways shaped my music and my sound, not necessarily though the music that I've been exposed to in these places but rather how I've changed through the experiences I've been exposed to with my move through each location. Every artist hates defining their genre, and I'm much the same! I guess I'd call it downtempo, electronic R&B, but if someone has a better definition I'd love to hear it! Outside my music I'm hugely passionate about improving the gender balance in music tech and created a learning platform called Music Production for Women as my answer to the current situation.
When and why did you first start making music?
I guess it's always been a part of who I am and a way I've expressed myself rather than it being a conscious decision. I've been singing for as long as I can remember and I think I wrote my first song when I was 12 and have been writing ever since. My production journey has been much more recent but has opened up so many more possibilities for me! With so much being easily available to all of us from a software and gear perspective, the possibilities even in a home studio are really endless.
What/who inspires you?
I'm inspired by a few artist such as James Blake and FKA Twigs but to be honest I think my biggest inspiration is my family in most things I do. Through them I've learnt how important it is to work hard, face challenges head on and appreciate everything that we're lucky to have. I think that feeling of groundedness is one of the most important things in this industry and as soon as you feel that disappearing, in an instant you can feel totally lost! So I'm very thankful to have the support of my family through every step and hope that I can make them proud.
Describe your track – what is the sound you’re going for?
There was really very little thought process behind the creation of My Bandage. This is probably one of the most emotional and personal tracks that I've written and as a result was a direct expression of that feeling. It came together very quickly, over 2, max 3 sessions if I remember correctly. The process was a little different on this track. It started with me sitting in bed with a pen and paper and getting the lyrics and melody down. Once I had this, I had the basic structure of the track. At this stage I got into the production of it around the vocals. As the sections were already there it didn't take long to start slotting in sounds and introducing different elements to keep the track interesting.
What products did you use?
My set up is fairly simple, I don't use a load of elements and gear. For this track I pretty much just used my Macbook, my Launchkey mini (Keysie), my Focusrite 2i2 (Little red) and my Yamaha HS7 monitors (Roger and Larry), I like to name things haha! Oh and Ableton of course.
This was also the first track where I'd used the Launchkey to create. Compared to a few of my other tracks, there are not too many elements in this one and it's structure is fairly simple so to keep the elements interesting I incorporated quite a bit of automation and used elements other than additional sounds. For this the Arpeggiator function was super helpful to come up with ideas which would bring something different in the last chorus for example. It's integration with Ableton is something that really saves me so much hassle of midi mapping etc. The pots worked really well to record in filter and frequency automations. And still sitting in bed is my favourite place to write! I will then hook up to monitors to fix and perfect things but that's where majority of the ideas form for me. So the best thing about the Launchkey Mini for me is that it's so light and small that I can just plonk it next to me and keep creating.
Where can people listen to your music?
You can have a listen to My Bandage on my Spotify page, and also another EP which will be out in no time at all! But it is also available on any platform you use to listen to music under Xylo Aria. Let me know what you think!