Xombie: Atom Crews and Roy Galvan – interview
Louder Than War’s Eileen Shapiro meets Atom Crews and Roy Galvan of Xombie.
New York City based Rapcore, Punk, Metal band Xombie has just released their new single, Might As Well. The song is off their soon to be released album Super Cell. Two of the friendliest, enthusiastic, and fun band members Atom Crews/Adam Cruz, lead vocalist and Roy Galvan, on guitar and vocals were kind enough to talk about their music, and the band, amidst the sound of Cathedral chimes ringing out in the background. We laughed through the entire interview. These guys were fully animated, very confident, and just a blast!
The group formed on 2010, and also includes: Robert Fishkin on lead guitar, “Cadillac” Mike Martabano on bass, and Eric Castillo playing drums, and their first album was supported by a video starring UFC fighter, Kimbo, and Fuse TV host Juliya Chernetsky. They have performed at some major festivals including the CBGB festival in New York. Their new album Super Cell, will be released this June, but in the meanwhile these boys are making some noise, with a very unique sound.
Louder Than War: Let’s hear some history referencing your band.
Adam: Roy and I started the band probably about seven years ago. We met at a work event, and started talking about jamming together, and eventually started to write some songs. We wrote two or three songs the first year, then we ended up getting a drummer that Roy used to drum with in College, who put us altogether. Then we had a bass player come in who was working with them. Little by little we started to grow. We started playing some shows in the city, and we started getting some buzz. We ended up getting premiered on MTV, we ended up raising $11,000 on Kickstarter for an national tour, and we supported some pretty big national acts here. Then we started growing some more, and did a video with Kimbo a couple of years ago. It’s been two years that we’ve been working on this new album called Super Cell. We’re excited about it because it’s going to be fresh. We’ve been playing shows but haven’t released anything new until now.
So you rap and do punk.
Adam: Yeah, it’s developed to a more punk sound, it’s definitely developed over the years to a unique sound.
Roy: The drummer that joined us back in 2014 has really affected our sound and changed it in a really good way. He is more of a punk drummer, so it’s kind of gone that why a little bit more.
What bands are you influenced by?
Roy: I think that’s what makes us really unique, is for example, I’m like a huge metal head. My background is, Slayer, Megadeth, all the rah, rah music. Then we have the drummer that I was talking to you about who joined in 2014, he’s a real punker. Then the bass player, is really in the pocket, and he’s into hip hop, which complements Adam because he is a rapper. Then through the years he’s developed more of a unique style to adapt to ours. Our sound is really more hard-core, so he had to push him to kind of be on top of all the craziness. I think all of that together, makes our unique sound. All of those little elements. Everybody contributes with their own strength. We just don’t go by one person. Someone would bring up the idea and then the others give their opinions. So there’s all of these little elements of hip-hop, metal, punk, experimental, mixed together. We started calling it Rapcore. People when they hear that think of the old-school type of rap/metal type of thing, but I think we are totally away from that, because we’re not trying to mesh both. We just kind of do our own thing. That’s just kind of how it comes out. That’s the beauty of it.
What kind of impression have you left on this planet so far?
Adam: I think a really good one so far. I always tell people when they come to a show that everyone leaves with some kind of great satisfaction. We always hear from people that there was so much energy. I think that when you experience us live, it’s like a whole other world, there’s nothing like live music. We do a really good job of providing such good entertainment, and you’ll have such a blast, it’s great. I get fans who send me messages, they listen to the lyrics and things. Certain songs are their favorite songs, they can connect with it, in a positive way. I write a lot about my stories and my life. I think that’s a huge part of it, it’s all very authentic. I think that opens the door for some kind of emotional connection with people. So I think so far it’s been a very positive light for us. We’re just trying to get out there, and spread it as much as we can, and hope that people enjoy what we do.
Roy: Just to add to what Adam was saying, what’s awesome about our live shows is that even people that don’t like the music, they enjoy the show, just because of the energy, we give it our all. Even if you don’t like the music, you are going to leave like, “Damn, fuck yeah, that was awesome”. They are probably not going to listen to it again but, everybody that goes, I try to convince. I say that if they don’t like it, I’ll buy the ticket back. If they don’t like the music they at least appreciate the showmanship. I think that is another thing that sets us apart.
Tell me a little about your new album.
Adam: I’m so excited! For me I think this is a really critical point for us because it really matured our sound. This album really put it in context, like the magic ball that genie uses. We are in that ball now. In the beginning we were all trying to show off all of our skills, now we’re just great at one. It shows all of our learning for the past seven years.
Roy: This is our real sound that’s really unique. We all contribute to each other but we also learned everything that we learned in the past ten years. Before we were trying to do too many things, now we do just one. It has everything on it, it has punk, it has hip hop, it kind of sets the genre I mentioned before, Rapcore. It sums it up in one. Adam can go more I to the words, he’s more of a lyricist. That’s the word right?
That’s the word.
I’m from the Dominican republic, so sometimes I think of words in English.
You guys sound like you have a lot of fun as a group.
Adam: We definitely do. Our last album we wrote half of it with our former drummer, who ended up leaving. The new drummer wrote the second half of it, and changed some things, but we didn’t write the entire album together. The new one, we ended up writing 90% of the album together. So it’s a lot more intimate. It’s a lot tighter now. There weren’t people stepping in, we did everything ourselves. On the lyrical side of it, my story and life are way different than they are during the last album. I’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years. My father passed away right before Capital X was released, so he never got to hear the last album. In this album there is a song about him on it. I went through a really bad break up at the time too, so it is a very personal album for me, as far as from a story telling perspective. But, those make for the best songs.
Yeah, they come out best when you write what you know about.
Adam: Absolutely. I don’t talk about things that I don’t know about. That’s in real life too.
Are you playing anywhere in New York?
Roy: Yes we’re playing at Webster Hall. I can put you on the list, and if you don’t like it, I’ll buy your ticket back!
Adam: There is nothing better than seeing it first hand!
All words by Eileen Shapiro. More of Eileen’s writing can be found in her author’s archive.