XAM was originally Matthew’s solo project, the name borrowed from the closing song of latter-day Dusseldorf-via-Detroit cult classic ‘Subway II’. He recorded a number of tracks at home between Hookworms albums in 2014 which were released last year as the ‘Tone Systems’ EP on Deep Distance. Following the EP’s release, there were offer to play live, solo, for the first time. “It was all very daunting,” Matthew explains. “I found travelling to and playing shows by myself quite a lonely experience after having been in bands for the last 10 years, so I began thinking about collaboration.”
Inspired to mix his electronics with saxophone, Rhodes piano and other acoustic instrumentation after playing live shows alongside the likes of Sun Araw and Bitchin’ Bajas, he began his search for collaborators. Fortuitously, Christopher had just recorded with Matthew’s Hookworms bandmate MJ, who put the two in touch. The magic was there right from the start.
“I’d been looking for an outlet for a while to play more saxophone and focus on electronics,” says Christopher. “So MJ gave Matthew my details and the first time we ever played together was in Suburban Home Studio, and that totally improvised session makes up about half of the record.” “It felt like we really clicked musically,” adds Matthew. “I think it’s amazing that people will be able to hear literally the first time we ever played music together on this album, the first exploratory moments of us tip-toeing round each other and trying to settle on our sound and work each other out. In some ways it might sound like an extension of Hookworms: lots of repetition and easy to zone out to. But in other ways this is my outlet for exploring my love of more self-indulgent, extended electronic music.”