Xylos (@xylosmusic) are do-it-yourselfers.
The band, which includes Monika Heidemann, Eric Zeiler, Nikki Lancy, Matt Aronoff and Chris Berry, recently put out their debut album on their own label, an achievement they are really proud of.
This DIY mentality that made them a perfect fit for the Tinderbox Music Festival which was conceived after founder Alyson Greenfield was unable to score a place at Lillith Fair because she didn’t have a large enough following.
“It allowed us to have full control of the process,” says vocalist Heidemann. “We all learned a lot from that - and had some fun doing it.”
Tinderbox promises to be a great place to show off the output of that process —the dancey, orchestral finely-woven and occasionally dark sound that marks the self-titled effort.
“It was an honor to be invited,” says Heidemann. “Even though women in music are making progress and are being heard more and more, there is still a long way to go.”
The band was also drawn to the philanthropic nature of the event.
“Artists need people as much as people need artists,” says Heidemann. “Errrr… artists are people too,” she laughs. “Anyways, it’s about giving back and supporting each other because that’s what we are here to do in this life—connect with each other and help each other grow.”
Women musicians in particular can benefit from more support.
“We are under a microscope more than men are,” says Heidemann. “Visually, and as musicians, we have to prove ourselves more, especially as instrumentalists. I used to play saxophone and people would just assume I was the singer when I’d show up for a gig. I’m not saying they would assume that I sucked, but it was always a thing like, “Oh! A female sax player!” It was a novelty. All too often I hear comments from both men and women about whether a woman is attractive or not in a band, before any mention of the music is made.”
She notes that similar stereotyping happens to men, but not to the same degree.
“It’s the same kind of challenges women have faced in all professions as they started to enter and thrive more in a male-dominated industry.”
Along with Tinderbox, Xylos and Heidemann are doing what they can to change that.
“We still need festivals and organizations like Tinderbox to support female-fronted bands, and we are very happy to be one of the faces that represent this progress. Come to Tinderbox Music Festival!”
The Tinderbox Music Festival is Saturday, Sept. 10 at The Knitting Factory Brooklyn. Xylos play at 8:00 pm on the main stage.