Element X are an Irish hard rock band formed in 2014. We nabbed an interview with them ahead of the launch of their debut EP The Prologue.
OC: Tell us about your upcoming EP Launch?
Rodrigo: It is a very exciting project which we have invested a lot of hours, hope, and money into! It was a great adventure and I hope people enjoy it as much as we did creating and recording it. It is just the pure Element X sound, five of our favourite original tunes that can show the world what we do, what we can do, and the spectrum of music that we play…..and obviously a sample of how much fun you can get at our gigs!
Sean: It’s a pretty big deal for us. It’s something we’ve been working on for quite a while. We started planning this back in February, two guitarists ago! Everything had to be planned and discussed, no stone unturned. It took a few weeks just to decide which songs to put on it! In total, between writing, recording and planning, almost a year’s worth of hard work will be shown at this launch. Add to that the fact that we havent been able to gig in a while, yeah it’s gonna be one hell of a release.
Ian: Yeah as the guys said it’s been a lot of work all leading to this point. The launch itself is going to be held in a new venue in Dublin called On The Rox on November 13th, and that same night the EP will be released. But we’ve been working hard, preparing for this launch, we will give it everything we have to make it one hell of a show and hopefully it all goes well!
Dave: On top of that, it’ll be a free entry with drink promos! We will be supported by fellow rockers, Within Without and special guests, The Aces.
OC: Sounds like it will be an amazing night! How did you find the recording process? Do you prefer recording to gigging?
Ian: The recording process was fantastic, it was a long held dream finally coming true. I just wish it lasted longer because I loved every second we were there! But it went very smoothly, we went to Red Lake Sound Studios in Portlaoise, and we worked with Gary Duncan there who is without question absolutely brilliant at what he does. Over the course of two weekends we got it all done and completed and we were all delighted with how it turned out. It has a very powerful sound to it and that’s exactly what we aimed for at the start. As far as recording vs gigging goes, it’s so hard to compare them. I love them both and would never give up either one!
Sean: Recording in Red Lake with Gary was a dream. The man is simply a genius. He got the best out of each of us, he was blunt when he said something wasn’t going to work, he knew the limits of what we could do, and wasn’t afraid to suggest slight improvements here and there. Gary also got the best out of the sound too. His ear is incredible. Nothing gets lost in the mix (and I’d know, im a bloody bassist!)
Dave: It was a very unique and humbling experience for myself. It wasn’t the first time that we recorded together as we recorded our first demos in Dublin. That prepared us, or it was certainly a wake up call for us to prepare ourselves as much as we could before we go back to the recording studio. And so when we went to Red Lake Studios in Portlaoise, we were as ready as we could be. Even with all our preparation, Gary (our producer) worked with us to help us step up to a whole new level. His advice on timing and lyrics was very helpful for me. I’d probably prefer gigging as there’s nothing like performing in front of a live crowd. But looking back at the recording process of the EP, I’ve come to appreciate recording just as much as gigging.
Rodrigo: Both are so different. Recording is the search for perfection, taking care of any minimal detail, spending a lot of hours, trying things to improve the end result. Gigging is all about having fun in first place and making people have even more fun. It’s about connecting with the people and making them enjoy the night and make it worth it to come to our gigs.
OC: We’re very excited about the new EP, describe it in only three words?
Sean: Fuck yeah, motherfucker!
Rodrigo: Element X: Prologue.
Dave: IN YOUR FACE!
Ian: Just the beginning.
OC: What is your personal favourite track from the EP?
Dave: My favourite track is Full Throttle. For me, it’s the most positive or “in your face” song out of the 5 tracks we have. It’s like a solid song to have when you’re hitting the road.
Sean: ReaperFire would have to be my favourite. Its just the perfect song to describe the band. People ask me what kind of band we are, I tell them to listen to that one song. That’s us. It was the most fun to write, and its the most fun (original) to play. It’s fast. Its noisy. It’s mayhem. Just the way I like it.
Ian: If I’m really honest, this is always the hardest question for me to answer. I am so attached to each of our songs that choosing one is always really difficult. BUT…..in saying that, it’s ReaperFire, as Sean said it’s where everything seemed to come together perfectly. It’s also our newest song so I hope things continue down that path!
Rodrigo: If the track is in the EP it is because it’s one of our favourites, so any of them could qualify. Maybe for me personally, Reaper Fire is one of the most fun to play and has some different sounds in it.
OC: What was it like bringing in a new member of the band during such a pivotal point in releasing the EP?
Sean: Not gonna lie, it was tough. We had this big launch to be preparing for, but we knew we needed a guitarist. Losing Atte was huge. He was a great guy, not only a gifted guitarist but a great friend to all of us too. He’s always missed. Thankfully Cormac, our original lead guitarist, agreed to come back to play the launch gig. It took a lot of the pressure off, and meant we didn’t have to rush the search for Atte’s replacement.
Dave: It was one of those situations that you’d wish that you wouldn’t lose anyone. But at the same time, the show must go on as they say. Plus I believe that it drew the remaining 4 of us closer as a band and as friends. We’re all now delighted that we’re now back as a 5 piece with Liam joining us.
Ian: Really tough. Losing Atte was such a blow. Both for the band and personally because he is a very good friend. But he’s doing really well back in Finland now so we wish him the best! So yeah, balancing auditions with preparing for the EP launch was tricky, but in the end it worked out because we are almost ready to go now for the launch, and we have our new guitarist in Liam who will be joining us straight after the launch.
OC: While Ireland’s alternative music scene has thankfully begun regrowing, do you still find Ireland a hard place to break out in?
Dave: I believe so. Ireland has always been renowned for it’s music and especially it’s rock music. Plus there’s so many great acts from all levels that I’ve seen here. It’s hard for me to really tell though, because I’ve only really seen what the music scene has in Dublin as opposed to all of Ireland. Maybe if or when we tour around Ireland, I’ll hopefully have a clearer view on it.
Ian: Yeah I believe it’s a difficult place to break through, which is obviously a bad thing for us! But it has had one positive effect on this band, we know how tough it is to make it here, so it’s created an attitude of taking every chance we get and grabbing it with both hands. We are fighting for this band and we believe in it, so hopefully this attitude and the hard work will pay off.
Rodrigo: I had previous music experience with a band back in Spain. It is very different. It’s not easy anywhere, not here,not in Spain. Right now anyone can get an instrument, can play and even can record something with great recording quality, and because of that the competition is bigger and obviously it’s harder to get noticed in a sea of music. That’s why you need to work harder and harder to make something unique and great. I can say that finding places to play here in Ireland is harder, and because of our style I find it very reduced to a couple of places. When I was in Spain you have plenty of options, plenty of places to play, different sizes, different crowd… but on the other hand, in Spain you usually have to pay to play in the venues.
Sean: Its tough to say really. Every step up we take, we feel like it was earned. But personally, I don’t know how hard it is. It doesn’t come easy, but then again, what does?
OC: What has been your favourite gig you’ve played so far?
Sean: My favourite gig so far would have to be a gig we played in Gypsy Rose in Dublin, where we headlined, with Headstoned, a Swedish band as our support with Last Word Spoken. It was such a good night. The lads in Headstoned were amazing. The place was packed. A gang of huge German lads in matching jerseys came in, and were headbanging. It was surreal.
Ian: Yeah, I agree with Sean, that was my favourite one too. It was a gig organised and put on by Trickster Promotions, which is a new start up promotion well worth a look, great to work with. Then again, ask me this question again after the EP Launch and I’ll hopefully have a new favourite!
Rodrigo: Is not easy to pick one, because for most of them you have great memories: the crowd, the bands, the venue, the night… I always say that my favourite gig is the next one we will play.
Dave: I’m going to go with the gig where we headlined Fibber Magees for the first time during the summer. We were supposed to be the main support act for Dead End Music’s gig. But on the day of the gig, we were informed that we’d be headlining as the main band had to pull out at the last minute. Call it a rush of adrenaline or a breath of good fortune in the air, but everything seemed to work out perfectly for us at that gig. For me, it was probably our most well received performance so far.
OC: What was it that made you realise music was something you wanted to pursue?
Ian: For me, it’s always been a huge part of me. As far back into my childhood as I can remember, there was music. I always loved listening to it, and I remember at an early age, my Aunt showing me how to play the piano, and then the day my uncle handed me my first guitar. It was an old one of his he randomly found in an attic, turned to me, asked me if I wanted a guitar, and I haven’t stopped playing since!
Sean: Honestly, I have no idea. Its just always been the way with me. Always been something I have wanted to do. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Rodrigo: I play drums, the most enjoyable and fun instrument to play in the world… isn’t that enough!!
Ian: He only says that because he can’t play the guitar!
Dave: I only realized that I wanted to pursue music about 3 and a half years ago when I took up singing lessons under Nicki Shira Byrne. I came in looking for something new after having withdrawals from doing musical theatre shows in college and I haven’t really looked back since. Nicki helped me discover my true voice and character as a performer and after nearly a year of lessons, she constantly encouraged me to join a band. And I eventually did when I joined Element X.
OC: Many of us start out as outcasts, do you have any advice for anyone who might still be trying to find their place in the world?
Rodrigo: Do what completes you, what makes you happy and what you enjoy the most, even if you aren’t good at it. If you enjoy something, that’s the important thing and also, it’s easier to improve.
Ian: Speaking from exerience here, from a social aspect outside of family I definitely didn’t have a fun childhood or teenage years. The feeling of being an outcast is definitely one I know. But never give up. Explore your passions. Mine was music so I stuck with it, it had a good effect on me, I love it, and through music I met many people who are my friends to this day, and obviously the band. More than just a band, these guys are like brothers to me. There is light at the end of every tunnel, and no matter how hard it is to believe, there are always people ready and willing to listen and to help. Live life the way you want to live it, and eventually life will adapt to you and you will find a place where you truly belong.
Sean: I don’t think anybody knows their place in the world. I’m a 23 year old college dropout. I haven’t a clue what to do. But you know, that’s okay. I don’t think anybody truly knows what they want in life. Some people are just afraid to admit it, and get stuck hating what they do. Honestly, take your time. Its your life. Do what makes you happy.
Dave: It’s never too late to find yourself. It took me a long enough time where I didn’t really find myself or know where or how I could unlock my potential to the guy that I am now. But when you happily accept who you are, it’s one of the most satisfying feeling that you’ll have in your life. Always look for the positives and ignore the negatives.
Well said guys! Catch Element X at On The Rox in Smithfield on Friday the 13th! Joining them will be support from Within Without and special guests Aces! Free entry and doors at 8pm!