Based in Madrid, Spain, Alejandro Agudín Arribas, a.k.a. XEINN, has just released his debut album, Pride of the Weak (Manttra Records). Beginning his career posting cover versions of popular songs on his YouTube channel to the release of his debut EP, Diversity, to finally releasing his debut full-length, music has always been a huge part of his life. As such, we spoke to XEINN about his musical background, inspirations, and fascination with human nature.
Thanks for your time. How is life treating you today?
XEINN: “Thanks to you for the interview. Well, I’m in a very happy moment, I just released my first studio album Pride of the Weak and everything is going quite well, people are really enjoying it and it has had great acceptance, I can’t ask for more at the moment.”
So, tell us a little bit about XEINN. Who is XEINN?
“Well, XEINN is a 22-year-old artist from Spain, who has been in music professionally for six years and is now releasing his first studio album Pride of the Weak. My music is characterized by an R&B/soul sound, where I also use funk, pop, hip-hop, or electronic sounds. I like to try a multitude of genres, that’s why I would never be able to make music of only one genre. I like to change, innovate, and dare with new sounds. It is part of the artist’s job to have the ability to be open to new challenges that take him out of his comfort zone, this is the only way to improve as an artist as well.”
You’ve just dropped your debut album, Pride Of The Weak. What can fans expect from it?
“The idea of Pride of the Weak is related to all the experiences that I had on a personal and emotional level. They are situations and emotions such as sadness, loneliness, a painful breakup, enjoying meeting someone you love… I also talk about problematic experiences in the past and reflections on how my life is going.
I am talking about feelings that we have all felt at some point in our life and that’s why I think people are going to identify with Pride of the Weak because I’m talking about feelings that we have all felt at some point in our life and that makes us look weak in the eyes of the rest, but nothing is further from reality, that is what makes us strong and learn about what you lived and how you want to be, and you got to feel proud of it.”
The title track talks about themes of love, pain, betrayal, party, joy, sensuality, all-powerful emotions. What do you get out of channelling those emotions into your work?
“It is not as simple as it seems: the fact of looking for your deepest feelings and putting them on paper is a complicated task since it requires a retrospective vision of yourself, and many times you can deceive yourself or not be honest with yourself. However, when you overcome all these obstacles, inspiration comes as if it were magic and what seemed difficult, becomes a much simpler process, and above all what I always say, this retrospective vision of yourself allows you to know yourself much better, and that it is something very important to a person’s life.”
Human nature is another subject you explore throughout the album. What is it about human nature that interests you?
“This is a very deep question, I think that human nature is an abstract term that has several intrinsic meanings, however, what I am most passionate about would be the different personalities and ways of thinking that we each have. Based on our experiences, our personality and vision of the world, our human nature is created. I am passionate about observing how different people observe the environment that surrounds them and how they interpret it, I like to know what they feel and how they behave about it. I like to analyze the different attitudes of people but without any kind of prejudice towards them, it is just that I am interested in seeing how they act and what they think.
All this helps me in an incredible way to compose since I am capable of not only talking about my experiences, but I’m able to talk about other people’s experiences, or directly invent them, create a different character, with different protagonists and environments. It is a really nutritious process from which I am constantly learning, and I think that all this also comes from what I have studied, because I have a degree in political science and this gives me a broad vision of what Aristotle called ‘Zoon politikón’ that in English would be something like the political animal, referring to the human being and his capacity to relate politically and in society.”
What do you hope we’ve learned as a race from the last 18 months?
“2020 and 2021 have been quite complicated years, I think this pandemic has affected us to a greater or lesser extent and the consequences, not only economic, but also political and social of this great problem will have to be analyzed.
Apart from all this, I think we have learned many things, first that nature is wild and can end the lives of millions of people with a virus, which today may be COVID but in a few years it may become another and even more dangerous, so we have to take action on the matter so that such a dramatic circumstance doesn’t happen again, with greater coordination between countries and being sincere and realistic from the first moment.
From a social point of view, I think there has been a general negative feeling that is gradually being overcome, as well as, we have valued what freedom was before COVID, and I think that makes us really value what we had and what we still cannot have, but when in the future we return to the normality that we all knew before, I think we will appreciate it and enjoy it much more.
And to finish, I believe that we have all developed an awareness of respect and care, especially with the elderly and most vulnerable people in this problem, trying to take attitudes that don’t put their lives at risk.”
Reading your biography, it would seem music has played a huge part in your life. Do you remember your early musical experiences?
“I have several memories of my first musical adventures, the first of them is when I was in the school choir, I was very young, I would be nine years old, but at that time I already knew that music was an important part of my life. I enjoyed singing a lot and demonstrating my vocal skills, however, the choir disintegrated and I left the music for a while. It was three years later when I went back to music learning violin, I spent two years where I learned a lot about music theory and I remember when we performed in the school theatre and the parents came to see us, I was still a child at that time and I was quite nervous performing in front of the public.”
Your family has also played an important part in your musical upbringing. What is the most important lesson you learned from them?
“I think my father and my mother have played an important role in my music. When I was a little boy, my father, who is a music fanatic, played American and English music of various genres: rock & roll, blues, funky, soul, hip-hop, and electronic music. All this music was what inspired and influenced me as a child and was a great support to my musical career.
My mother, on the other hand, has always sung, and she is in a choir where she does performances all over the country, so I have always had music close at home. From the first moment I told them that I wanted to dedicate myself to music, they supported me without a doubt, and it is a great relief to know that your family supports you, since it is a fundamental part of my life, and I think that’s the best lesson I receive for them, the support of my family and that I’m not alone in this.”
You’ve talked about a song like “The Leaving” as being a cathartic song. People use all forms of music to help them get through tough situations. Have you used music to help you through the last 18 months? What artists/albums do you turn to to help you through tough or challenging times?
“In these months it is true that I have not had bad moments emotionally speaking, at least that I remember, however, when certain emotional circumstances have effected me, I have go to several albums by different artists. The 669 album of Anders seems like a great album to me, songs like ‘With or Without,’ ‘You for You,’ ‘Notice,’ or ‘The Days’ are songs that I always like to listen to when I am somewhat sad. From the artist NBDY, I like to listen to his songs ‘Battlezone’ or ‘Admissions,’ they are really good. Justin Bieber’s whole Journals album is incredibly good for these kinds of moments. From XXXTENTACION I like to listen to his album 17 with the tears and emotion in his voice, it really touches my heart. However, the album I use the most is Trilogy by The Weeknd, in those moments when I am down, this album helps me calm down and reflect on what is happening, as well as it serves as a great inspiration.
To add, I think that without a doubt he would also use his album After Hours it is really a masterpiece where the sentimental side of The Weeknd is perfectly reflected and how this kind of thing effects him too, it is quite tragic despite having various songs that make one feels better. Finally, add that I am a person who doesn’t like when it is not well emotionally, to be constantly listening to sad or depressing music since I believe that this doesn’t make you get out of that problem, listen to happy music and that it encourages you getting out there and doing things is so important to you and your mental health as well.”
If someone turns to your music to help them through a challenging time, how would you hope it would help them?
“I think my music can help him in many ways. On the one hand, we have really sad songs like ‘The Leaving’ in which he can feel very identified and even really connect with that song, and understand that he is not alone, that me and everyone goes through those kinds of moments. You will find other songs that will help him cheer up such as ‘My Way’ or ‘Nothing to Lose’ which have tremendous energy and make everyone feel so much better.
Finally, with the song ‘Pride of the Weak’ which is the song that gives meaning to the album, what I try to do is to open people’s eyes, to make them realize that all they are going through will allow them to get to know themselves better. A kind of insight into the interior, which will be of great help to them in future moments, making them better people and feeling proud of it.”
When you started out as an artist posting covers on YouTube what were your ambitions? Now you’ve released your debut album, how have those ambitions changed?
“My ambitions have not changed that much since I started with music, since my goal is to be successful with my music and to be someone of great recognition and importance within the musical world, creating my own music scene, and it is something that I am convinced that I will get. The fundamental difference since then is that my current creative capacity is at a much higher level, just as I am open to new sounds and challenges, I am also much more focused on composing and creating new songs, and most importantly, I know exactly what song I want, how to make it, that has warmth and that it sounds really incredible.”
The album is out, life is returning to a new norm, what is next for XEINN?
“On a musical level, we are creating new music with very different sounds from the ones we have been using: more electronic sounds, although never leaving the R&B, soul sound aside, we are mixing them up. At a compositional level, we are in an incredible moment where we can create whatever we want, we are writing things that we have never written before where XEINN is in situations that he had never been before, creating really good melodies and a really characteristic and unique sound. I am very happy with what we are doing and excited at what 2021 and 2022 will bring us.
Finally, the return to the stage will take place in approximately October, I can play all the songs from Pride of the Weak and the new ones that we are composing at the moment and it’s really something I really want to do, since being on stage and seeing so many people singing your songs, it’s something really magical.”
Thanks for your time and good luck for the rest of the year. Over to you to wrap this up…
“Well, thanks for this interview, it has really been incredible for me as you asked me things that have never been asked before. It’s something that I have found good as I think that people can better understand who XEINN is. Finally, don’t forget that my latest album Pride of the Weak is on all platforms, listen to it because you’re going to love it, I assure you. Here you have my social networks to be informed of everything new that I am going to release:
– Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/xeinn_
– YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzlK88dpMLqi3bFdSEHK3-A
– Twitter: https://twitter.com/_XEINN
Greetings and take care of yourself.”