XUK is a recording artist based in Southern California, USA. The 21 song debut double album, “Love Hits – …like a cricket bat-out-of-hell” was released in August 2005. The latest album “U” is a solo project from the band’s singer/songwriter Simon Holden. It was released as an XUK album in December 2017.
The band was originally formed in Los Angeles in 2003 as a four-piece rock band. A key member of the band from the earliest days was Simon’s son, Robin Holden (22 years old at the time), who first played drums, then bass for the band. Viola player Eric (Summer) Lea was introduced to the band by a mutual friend in 2004 and the symphonic sound of the debut double album was born. Robin Holden also engineered and produced XUK’s debut CD.
XUK was first brought to the attention of thousands of online listeners at iSound.com in June of 2005 and occupied the Number One spot in the website’s Top 100 Unsigned Artists Chart.
Robin returned to play bass during XUK’s 2006 western U.S. tour and SXSW music festival appearance. Ron Pak (Maple Mars, Double-Naught Spies, Drive-Thru Jesus). Matt Peter (The Letter Openers) stepped in for XUK’s live shows from 2006-2008.
XUK was a runner-up in the 2006 Singer/Songwriter Awards and Robin Holden was awarded the 2006 DIY Producer of the Year Award for “Love Hits”.
My first band was a Christian band called “Answer”, with my friend Don Tregartha on bass and me on drums, based at Cannon Street Baptist Church in Accrington, UK. My brother had bought a set of drums which sat unused in our basement on Burnley Road and I taught myself to play them (not very well). After that Don and I used to get together with people like Pete Britcliffe, Adrian Jones, Howard Taylor and others to just jam. Don and I used to write songs together. Don played the piano as well as bass, and I wrote lyrics. I think the first song was based on a poem I’d written at school which Don put to music.
We never did much with these musical get-togethers but after university Don and I both ended up living near each other – me in Hertfordshire and Don in Bedfordshire – and we played together in another couple of bands. We did a few small shows together and a festival around the same time as Live Aid. We also went into the studio under the name Rawhide Love Rainbow (the secret service names for Ronald and Nancy Reagan).
After I moved to Los Angeles to work in the film business I didn’t do anything with music for ten years. Then I bought a keyboard and wrote some instrumental music for my own amusement. A couple of years later I started complete writing songs on the guitar. By this time my son, Robin was working in a studio named Swinghouse in Hollywood. He was assisting a British recording engineer called Warren Huart. I asked Warren to help me record the five songs I’d written, with Warren playing bass and guitar, me providing vocals and some drums. I put out an EP of five songs called Words Mean Nothing under the embarrassing name Simontheband, which is thankfully no longer available. Not a reflection on Warren since I the recording were only demos.
I decided I wanted to form a band to play these five songs and a couple of others I’d written after the recording session, so I formed XUK with various friends. A friend introduced me to Eric “Summer” Lea, the viola player, and he came in and added a whole new dimension to the sound. XUK’s first live show was at a Los Angeles venue called The Kibbitz Room, a bar that is attached to a famous diner, Canters. I continued to write new songs and asked Robin to help me record them all using his other band’s ProTools recording rig at my home in North Hollywood. We tapped several other local musicians for the recording – guitar players (Robert Maune, Matt Southwell, and Tony Lyman), a drummer (Simon Hancock) and a keyboard player (Russian singer-songwriter, Elizaveta).
Most of the drums, backing vocals and bass were provided by Robin who worked for months putting the debut album together. In the end, we recorded 19 original songs plus 2 cover songs – a double CD – called “Love Hits …like a cricket bat-out-of-hell” which was released in August 2005.
The album was entered into the 2006 DIY Music Awards – and Robin won “2006 DIY Producer of the Year” for the album.
Making money with your music as an independent musician is difficult. People tend to think that with music streaming that there’s a flow of revenue for most musicians. This isn’t true. To break even on what even the most frugal musician pays to get an album released is next to impossible without significant sales of CDs and digital downloads. Streaming web sites pay a few thousandths of a cent per play. So unless your music is being constantly accessed by thousands of people a day, streaming is not going to help. I never recouped my investment, and probably never will. So learning that lesson the first time around, I wasn’t particularly motivated to write and record a follow-up. It was another 1i years before I wrote another song.
The live shows and the difficulty in selling music to the public were discouraging, to say the least. But when the new songs started coming, I was compelled to record them… thinking they might just remain as demos. This time I didn’t rely on other people to help me, and I recorded and mixed all the instruments myself. As the tracks developed I really thought the result was something different. So I decided to jump back in and make a whole new album under the same artist name – XUK.
The sound is a lot different this time around. No viola, for one thing. Eric Summer’s viola really defined the sound of XUK in the first phase of the band’s life. Thematically it’s different too, with somewhat less emphasis on relationships – the good and the bad – and broaden the subject matter to more political and universal themes.
SOURCE: Official Bio
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