We speak to Victoria Owsnett, lead vocalist of synthpop trio Axls.
How did you three get together and where did the name AXLS come from?
So I had been experimenting with music production and wanted to find some like-minded people to work with. I uploaded an ad to a website called ‘Join my Band’ and our now bass player, Conrad, got in touch. We met a few times to work on some electronic material, including ‘Alone’ which is the first song on our album! After a few sessions Conrad brought along our synth player, Chris, who he had worked with in the past. We all gelled immediately and started work on our Sci-Fi inspired debut album.
We wanted a short and unusual name for the band. We each compiled name ideas and then went through them all over a pint or two. After deciding to start the name with an ‘A’ the rest was just messing around with the coolest sounding combinations!
How would you describe your sound?
We have an electro-pop sound made up of cool synths, heavenly vocals and low-slung bass. We take influences from bands such as Gunship, Chvrches and The Human League so I would say you can hear a bit of those artists in our work.
The title ‘First Contact’ is quite suggestive. What are the themes behind the album?
The theme of our album is quite literally Earth’s ‘First Contact’ with an alien race. The tracks take the listener on a journey of extraterrestrial visitation and abduction. The album’s first song – ‘Alone’ – sets the scene, describing the first night of the invasion. It seems that, despite searching lifetimes for signs of life elsewhere, humanity would now rather be left alone. The story continues from there, with each track describing the next chapter.
You’re based in the North-East, UK. What’s the local music scene like?
The music scene in the North East is insane! If you need proof of this then just listen to our local BBC Intro shows in Newcastle and Teesside. There are so many talented artists here, of all genres! Twist Helix, Talk Like Tigers, Courtney Dixon, Afnan Prince, Hivemind and Moodbay are all ones to watch, just to name a few!
What will AXLS be up to for the rest of 2020?
We have already started work on new material and will be releasing some dark, poppy singles later this year. We will also be doing lots of gigs, including an in-store HMV gig on April 25th. March will see us perform in Manchester at the iconic Factory Records building (now named FAC251), playing a gig in support of Musicians Against Homelessness and at a Nova Radio showcase concert. We will also be performing locally alongside some amazing artists at an Afterlife Management gig on May 2nd.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
We’d love to work with the other electronic artists in the North East, such as Moodbay, Twist Helix and Talk Like Tigers. It’s always great to work with artists in the same genre and really important for artists in the local scene to support each other.
Listen to 'First Contact':