South African-raised and now Wales-based artist, Romy Xeno who works under the musical pseudonym Xenoula, releases her first record today on Weird World. Growing up in South Africa, the musician was influenced by “the elemental songs of nearby villagers and the (tranquil) rhythms of nature,” forming a connection with “flora and fauna rather than with man and machines”. Both of these qualities are shown in her record, and the mixtape she’s curated for us this week.
Romy’s upbringing experienced a shift when she moved back to the UK aged 16, and in turn Xenoula’s record “is an exploration of nature and human contradiction,” creating music that is ethereal, full of memories, and the current landscape she now resides in.
Why have you picked these songs, what do they remind you of or make you feel?
I have picked these songs because this is the kind of music I would like to listen to when I am walking around in the wilderness far away from phone signals, car smells and construction noises. These songs make me feel like I’m there already, I can drift off to this magical place even when I’m stuck in a traffic jam.
When or where should this mixtape be listened to?
When you are somewhere beautiful and the air is fresh, or if you would like to escape to a place like that in your mind.
Can you tell us a bit more about your new record?
It is a collection of worlds and atmosphere. Each track combines a mood and story about earth/nature glittered with confusion, hope of change and awareness. Magical orbs of noise.
What do you listen to while working in the studio?
I like to open my window and hear the wind, birds, and of course, the Welsh sheep.
What posters did you have on your bedroom walls when you were younger?
Anything that came free in Animal Talk and Fantasia.
If a film about Xenoula was to be made, what song would play on the trailer and why?
Giraffe on a skateboard, it’s a song I haven’t released yet. You’ll have to wait for the trailer ;-)
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.