Xander Demos Shreds His Time to the Top

Metal shredmaster Xander Demos' plays the guitar and has played with a variety of bands at various events and festivals doing his thing.  He took sometime to discuss about all what he does, that he does, that makes him do it.

1. What type of artist are you?

Xander: I am a shred metal guitarist, with melodic tendencies and a taste of attitude.

2. Tell us the brief history of how you became the artist you are today?

Xander: Started out playing drums, believe it, or not.  After watching the “Guitar Gods” of 80s hair metal on MTV (when they used to play music—haha) I thought to myself, THAT’S where it’s at!  So, after playing around on the Florida metal scene for a while, I moved to Pittsburgh, PA and played in quite a few bands, Stormfront and Stronghold were probably two of the bigger bands.  Then, came Into the Arena, a party-rock band that covered much of the great music from the 80s and early 90s.  We even started adding some current pop/dance material, but crunched up and metal-ized.  After ITA, I wanted to put out an instrumental guitar album, like the days of the Shrapnel Records releases, and I was lucky enough to hook up with CJ Snare of the band, Firehouse, who mixed my debut album, “Guitarcadia.”  That brings us up to date.

3. What lead you to wanting to play the guitar as your instrument of choice?

Xander: Just seeing those guys play on MTV was very inspiring.  Plus, chicks dig guitar players…

4. Out of all of the guitars you may have owned or would like to own which would those be and why?

Xander: Gotta be my McNaught XD727 signature guitar model!  Talk about a career highlight and milestone!  I helped design it, so it’s exactly what I want in a guitar.  I never leave home without it.

5. Who are some of the guitarists, artists, bands, musicians you take influence or inspiration from and why?

Xander: I listen to a wide, eclectic range of music, everything from 80s rock and pop to classical, to straight out thrash metal.  I love the classic stuff with melody, like Boston, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, etc.  Those guys could write amazing songs, put in killer riffs and impressive solos.  Real Musicians, you know?  But, I can get inspired by Lady Gaga and Abba, too.  Haha.

6. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Xander: Anything from driving to politics to space-type themes.  I’m kind of all over the place.  The first record was mostly instrumental, so the themes aren't as “in your face.”  With the new record we’re working on, the lyrics are relationship-based and a snapshot of society.

7. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Xander: Yes.  I’ll usually be practicing and just come up with a cool riff.  Then, I develop that riff into a chord progression and melody.  If it’s a good song, it usually comes quickly.  There are songs that I've literally written start to finish in under 30 minutes.  Some have developed over years, just because of different band lineups.  You might like a part of one song that you've been sitting on, and then, combine it with something new you've come up with.  So, it can evolve over years, or it can take minutes.

8. Why go and call yourself Xander Demos is that your real name? If so, why name this project after yourself? If it's not your real name why name this project this anyway?

Xander: Yes. Xander Demos is my real name.  Alexander is my given first name.  Demos is my last name, and while it can be confusing to some, they think it’s like a recording demo..it’s actually pronounced “Dee-muss.”  The project was named for me, because it was my recording.  I just brought in studio guys/friends to play on the first record.   Now, this next one, is going to be named something different.  It may be XDB, cause that’s what we’re called now, but we may just choose another band name, altogether.  It’s much more of a band feeling and atmosphere this time.

9. Can you tell me about the other projects and bands you're involved with and why juggle so many at once?

Xander: Right now, I’m involved with a Pittsburgh-based tribute act called Bon Journey.  We do all Journey and Bon Jovi tunes.  It’s a fun release, and gets me out and in front of crowds.  Keeps my chops up.  Sabbath Judas Sabbath has been a lot of fun, as well as playing with James Rivera’s solo band, but we haven’t been doing too much with that, at the moment.  Always great crowds.  I still do an Into the Arena show or two, here or there.  Everyone in the band is busy with other projects, so we just do that for fun, to reminisce.  Our old following seems to love it.  I've had the pleasure of recording with some incredible musicians.  The Ged Ryland’s Rage of Angels project won all kind of “Best Of 2013” awards.  I played part of a solo on that.  XDB is my main focus, and it comes ahead of everything.  I just love to play, and if I had the opportunity to tour, as part of another act, I’d love to do that, too!

10. Have you ever considered bringing this project and the other projects together for a tour or show?

Xander: Mmmm, not really.  The other projects are more cover material, where as XDB is mostly original.  We do throw a few covers in, to get the crowd pumped up for something familiar, but overall, I doubt we’d ever do a show with the other acts.  XDB is more of a national act.  I mean, we've played some pretty big festival events, with a national focus, so it’s sort of on a different level than ITA or Bon Journey.

11. What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?

Xander: So far, just Guitarcadia.  It was received extremely well by the press.  Most reviews were outstanding.  It was named among the Best of 2012 by Hair Metal Mansion, which was quite an honor!  We sell a lot of CDs at shows, too.  That’s the number one place for us.

12. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Xander: I think they should be interested, because we bring a lot to the table.  The national press and concert scenes have invited us in, and they've helped us get to that next level.  We’re bringing technical playing with that classic metal feel and melody thrown in for good measure.  Our fans are super-supportive, too.  We recently helped sell out our show with Metal Church. We've got openers with Stryper and Primal Fear up next.  The fact that we’re working with CJ and JK Northrup of King Kobra, on the next record, should be of interest too.

13. What plans do you have for the future?

Xander: Finish up the new record.  Should be done by June.  We've got Skull Fest 2 in Nebraska and Rock N’ Skull in Illinois coming up this fall.  Plus the other shows I mentioned.  I’ll be back at NAMM Metal Jam in LA this January.  More touring.  More press.  More videos.  A new XD signature McNaught will be out this spring/summer, too!

14. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Xander: www.xanderdemos.com   www.reverbnation.com/xanderdemos  www.xanderdemos.bigcartel.com

And of course, on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

15. How does music affect you and the world around you?

Xander: It makes it a hell of a lot more tolerable.

16. What's new in the recording of your music?

Xander: We’re working on album #2, Dancing Through Daggers.  Should be out by June.

17. What advice would you give to fellow acts who want to do what you're doing?

Xander: Stick with a steady day job.  No, seriously…work hard at your music, practice a TON, play out as often as you can.  But, make sure you have $ to pay for the things that you need for your career.  Kickstarter and other outlets like that are only going to last so long.  Nothing beats working hard and paying for stuff yourself.  Then, you owe nothing to nobody.  Good luck!

18. Is that your final answer?

Xander: That is my final answer.

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