Milan – the Lombardian fashion metropolis and Italy’s business motor has another attraction: according to their name, a young and ambitious Rock band is about to take a great leap forward and to conquer the rest of Europe. Thanks to their adrenaline-driven Rock music, Exilia rank among the most sensational newcomers of 2003, fronted by their expressive and impulsive vocalist Masha who has a powerful voice and who needn’t hide behind leading figures of the scene. Critics and the audience often wondered: ”Is that really a female voice?” An amazement which can be compared to the career start of Guano Apes’ vocalist Sandra Nasic.
So far, Exilia not only had to fight against the usual difficulties the music business has in store for them, but also against the rather bad sphere of their native country which is dominated by Dance and Pop acts. ”The response of the Milan as well as the Italian scene in general to our music is extremely restrained”, vocalist Masha regrets. ”With this kind of music, you are part of the underground! Hardly any clubs or magazines support Rock bands. You have to struggle hard every day to survive!” The foursome made a virtue out of necessity and – thanks to their unbroken will and blazing enthusiasm – have gained a loyal fan base over the years supporting bands such as Guano Apes, H-Blockx, Clawfinger, HIM or Therapy?
In 1998, vocalist Masha and guitarist Elioalien meet in a music store and straight away look for suitable co-musicians. This is followed by some gigs in Northern Italy and Switzerland and their debut album RIGHTSIDE UP (2000), which causes a stir in their native country. But the line-up is not complete until they are joined by bass player Random and drummer Ge one year later. ”We usually like bands with four musicians”, Masha further explains. ”In a quartet, all musicians can develop their abilities to the full – provided, however, that everyone involved is a strong musical character.”
For Exilia, this means that drummer Ge and bass player Random provide an extremely groovy and heavy undertone which is attacked by New Metal influenced aggressive riffs played by guitarist Elioalien before vocalist Masha dominates the song with her powerful voice. In the next few minutes, the foursome take the listener on an interesting trip through different emotional levels, to be heard on the title track of their brand-new EP UNDERDOG. Manic riffs alternate with quiet bits until the song really explodes and Masha introduces the chorus: groove, tunefulness and roughness – these are Exilia’s trademarks which also dominate the four other songs of the EP. ”We love to change the atmosphere within one and the same song”, Masha explains the songwriting concept. ”Sometimes we want to let out the energy in its pure and raw form, sometimes we prefer the quiet sounds.” An example for that is the tremendous ballad ”Moony” where Masha as well as her band mates reveal their entire musical preferences. ”Our influences range from Led Zeppelin to RATM, from Korn to extreme bands such as Slipknot.”
The lyrics are about Masha’s personal experiences, they ”are about a girl who wakes up and has to face the world day by day”, Masha explains. ”Sometimes it’s not easy to react to problems the way it should be: your parents don’t understand you, your neighborhood turns you down because you don’t fit the common cliché.” This may be true for everyday life – but musically speaking, we are grateful for extraordinary and original bands. As is the case with Exilia!