Xarah Dion

Xarah Dion

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Hello Xarah, you are a real underground star, so I guess most of our readers don’t know, so introduce yourself.
I am a musician and composer based in Montreal, Canada, where I have been an integral presence in the music scene for over 10 years. I participated in an array of projects from prog rock, to arabic music and free form improv. Since 2014 I specialize in the synthwave/minimal wave genre. I have released two well received Lps Le Mal Nécessaire (2014) and Fugitive (2016) and have toured extensively in Europe.

An underground star which is between all those influential 80s act...from Peter Hook to Front 242...I guess you’re thrilled to play at W Fest?
W-Fest is an incredible occasion to cross-pollinate with artists from the old and new generation. It is a true honor to share the stage with figures which I was strongly influenced by. As a side interest, I Dj 80s electronic and post-punk sounds and regularly play classics that have shaped the sound of industrial, synthwave, minimal wave etc It is somehow a dream come true to play W-Fest.

Your music is described as minimal and I guess that’s it. There’s so many good stuff coming from Canada, even Hélène from Hante said to me that all her favorite bands seem to come from Canada. How do you explain that?
Minimal to me is a genre describing DIY electronic music, disco influenced but coming from the underground, with often subversive and leftfield ideology content. It is very close to techno and punk which are both community based. I believe there are many minimal wave bands in Montreal because we have a strong tradition of camaraderie, collaboration and exchange in the underground. Coming from the experience of artistic and DIY lofts, underground raves and community oriented festivals, we are a large group of musicians living for the transformative power of music.

When talking about contemporary minimal music, I mostly think of Wierd. How important was this label and have you ever visited one of those legendary nights?
I have never had the chance to visit a legendary Wierd night in New York On the other hand I was heavily influenced by the works of Xeno & Oaklander, Martial Canterel and Automelodi which were all released on the label. I have had the pleasure to share the stage with them on various occasions and still follow their works avidly.

Anyway, you are on Visage Musique which is a superb label. How is it working with them?
Visage Musique really helped to bring my music out as I used to work completely alone before meeting them. My first LP was self-released on my label and live music production company Zodiaque Musique which I am now taking a break from. So by working with Visage, I can concentrate better on the music. Having their support is stimulating as I have always been at ease with team work.

Your music is danceable, but also with a lot of tristesse. Do you consider yourself as a melancholic person?
I have lived with melancholy since a teenager, this un-welcomed visitor. I have navigated through life on my own terms despite the challenges brought by this vulnerability. I feel dance music is a great way to share one’s vulnerability in power and communion. I think I share this hypersensitivity with other artists and consider it a gift rather than a disorder.

You already played in Europe? How was it and is it different with the Canadian club scene?
Europe is a fertile and welcoming ground for touring artists. The reception I have had in the last years definitely informed my work on both a professional and artistic level. Since the music I produce has most of its roots in Europe, every time I have the chance to perform I feel I can renew my approach and meet people who are avid and informed listeners. The club scene is not much different in Montreal but obviously I learn much more by working outside my local ground and zone of comfort.

I know it’s a strange question but I’m intrigued by its answer. What does music mean for you?
Music is a beautiful means to explore the invisible and build worlds outside of reason but with the help of reason. The psyche can communicate on a different level with the language of music. That joy, that eagerness of sharing sounds and sharing the listening experience is an irreplaceable emotion.

This summer you will be playing at W-Fest in Belgium, I guess you’re looking forward to that?
As mentioned earlier, it is a true pleasure for me to partake in such an important festival in the heart of Belgium, sharing time and space with legendary acts.

Any acts you want to see yourself at W-Festival?
I am looking forward enjoying the music and company of my friend Hélène aka Hante. I am also excited to see the great Anne Clark and the celebrated Front 242 for the first time.

What do you prefer on a festival : ice cream, beer or French fries?
All of the above please!

What is your favorite record of all time and please state why.
It is impossible for me to answer this question as I am a complete music maniac...

With who would you want to be alone in an elevator for 8 hours and what would you do then?
My fiancé and what we would do is classified...

The last words are yours.....
Thank you generously for giving me the opportunity to speak with you and your readers!

Artist interview by Luminous Dash

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