When speaking with Liverpool-based neo-soul artist XamVolo and investigating his work, his style and his presence, you get the feeling that it’s only a matter of time before he’s big news. His new single Old Soul is the perfect blend of pop sensibility and music nuance, with fresh production never masking the organic, soulful and jazz-tinged qualities of his writing and vocal delivery. It feels as if it would be equally at home over the festival soundsystem, the kitchen radio and coffee shop jukebox, but it’s on Band on the Wall’s stage this Saturday, that it will cascade down on a Manchester audience for the first time.
Ahead of XamVolo’s performance at the Future Vibes all-dayer, we had five rapid-fire questions for him about his new single…
Old Soul is delivered from the perspective of a carefree protagonist; does writing from that perspective take preparation, certain rules and restrictions, or is it an easy space for you to access?
Kind of – it works in reverse for me really. I’ll have a couple basic initial ideas (like the perspective or something broad like that), but then as song ideas come in, the rules start to take a more defined shape. I’ve always believed that having a few rules helps things get going initially, but too many defined rules early on makes the end stages of a project pretty hard – all of a sudden you’re looking for something so specific it almost becomes a chore. I’d rather shrink-wrap the rules around it all when it’s closer to completion – when the patterns start showing up.
Who laid down the lovely spanish guitar that introduces the track and underpins it thereafter? Was that guitar the bedrock from a compositional standpoint?
That was Bruno Major – he came up with a riff after a few minutes of vibing and it just stuck – it wasn’t a fancy rig we were using to record it, which I think made it sound fairly intimate.
Are the vocal stacks and BV’s all your own voice or are we hearing several vocalists on the track?
Yep all mine – love me some vocal arrangement. Bruno says “yeah man” at the end – which was left on a rough take from the first session, thought it just added a little something so I left it in.
What, for you, is the pinnacle of ‘old soul’ – that desert island soul disc you couldn’t be without?
Bilal – 1st Born Second – it’s so good – 2000s Soul/RnB was excellent.
Has Old Soul worked its way into the live set already…or would that be telling?
Yep, it’s one of my favourite to play live now – it’s just a bump.