WHO IS XYLE ANYWAY?
XYLE (Pronounced EXILE, ˈekˌsīl)
XYLE is a musical project, pseudonym and persona created by electronic music producer, DJ and graphic designer Kyle Robinson.
The music of XYLE has evolved over time and continues to constantly change. It can presently be described as a unique blend of retro-futuristic dystopia, mixed with funky electro grooves, atmospheric spacewave, glitchy samples and catchy hooks. XYLE has produced an extensive discography over the past several years including 5 LPs and 3 singles, all released digitally on Spotify and Bandcamp. His music has also been featured 5 times on the massive YouTube channel NewRetroWave, garnering nearly half a million views. The 2016 smash hits “Stargazer” and "Escape Pod,” which were released as an A Side/B Side doubleheader, have currently racked up over 139 thousand views on NRW alone. His music has also been featured on other prominent YouTube channels including The 80's Guy and Luigi Donatello, and has gained airplay on radio shows such as Nightride.FM and Beyond Synth. XYLE’s music has also been reviewed on the popular blog/e-zine Forged in Neon.
Furthermore, XYLE’s music has been a part of several digital and physical compilations put out by an array of independent record labels. His track “Iconoclast (Pariah)” was featured on the 2018 limited vinyl release “Dream Electric” put out by Chicago-based label Electric Dream Records. In 2017 “Stargazer” was included in the mega compilation “Synthaid” put out by Sheffield UK label Steel City Collective. The money raised went to the "Environmental Defense Fund,” one of the world’s leading environmental organizations. Moreover, “Synthaid 2018” was released the very next year featuring the track “Eventide” with proceeds again going to the EDF. In 2019 XYLE was featured on another compilation called "Completely Mental Volume 1” with his explosive track “War Cry.” This compilation was put together by synthwave radio platform Nightride.FM in support of mental health research, support, and awareness. 100% of the profits were split evenly and donated to the following 2 US charities: Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (www.bbrfoundation.org) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org).
XYLE is currently on the artist roster for TW1 Records based in Twickenham, London, UK. TW1 was started by producer Spectral Knight in 2019. The label centres around retrowave, synthwave and electronica. Their ethos is no limits, as they push the boundaries of sound and genres, showcasing talent and challenging the status quo. XYLE’s dark electro anthem “The Exile” is featured on TW1’s 2021 Spotify compilation “For The Users Vol. 1.”
Side Note: XYLE once even caught the attention of Sunrise (or Capitol?) Records in Los Angeles and was approached by an A&R representative. It seemed legit because XYLE had an hour long conversation with her on Instagram about his future musical plans. After the interaction the rep ultimately decided to move on without any sketchy solicitation attempts. Whether it was actually for real or not will always remain a mystery. 100% true story.
From 2018 to 2020, and now again in 2023 XYLE is one of the featured DJs at the monthly “Synthwave Arcade” (aka “Electro Overdrive”) events held at Tilt Arcade Bar in Toronto. The other DJs were The Advantage and Neon Fawkes. Tilt is Toronto’s largest retro arcade bar, with an incredible selection of pinball machines, arcades and amusement games. All games are set to free play, and Tilt is fully licensed with 20 great craft beers on tap and several domestics in bottles. XYLE has also played live at other venues in Toronto including Cherry Cola's Rock 'N' Rolla Cabaret Lounge and Junction City Underground.
XYLE has been producing music for 26 years. He first picked up an electric guitar in 1996 at age 15 after seeing a friend play “Raining Blood” by Slayer through a Marshall practice amp with a Fender Telecaster and a DOD Death Metal pedal. He was so blown away that he got his own guitar soon after. Realizing he could write his own music, XYLE began recording demos onto cassettes. Concurrently, when he was 17 he made 2 CDs of electronic music for school projects which expanded his musical palette even more. At age 19 XYLE formed his first real band with school friends called Frameofmind. The sound was a blend of what came to be known respectively as Nu-Metal and Screamo. Influences were wide ranging including, most prominently, Tool and Deftones. Frameofmind played live shows in and around the Peterborough, Ontario area, as well as Norwood, Oshawa and 2 shows at the legendary Kathedral in downtown Toronto. Once even opening for the multi-platinum selling band Three Days Grace at The Office in Peterborough. Frameofmind disbanded in 2001 and XYLE formed another band in 2004 called Lester. This time the sound was slightly scaled back into a more indie rock, post-punk sound, similar to the likes of Sonic Youth or The Pixies. Lester’s live performances were intense and energetic. Every show concluded with the total destruction of everything on stage including knocking over the drum kit and amplifiers as well as throwing guitars. Lester’s chaotic and ridiculously fun run ended after around 2 years and XYLE relocated to Toronto and continued to attempt to form bands unsuccessfully, all the while creating electronic music with software such as FL Studio and Adobe Audition. It was only until after he bought Ableton Live in 2008 when he settled into the musical groove that he still remains in to this day.
The concept of XYLE was first conceived in 2009. The first incarnation was nothing like what it would later become. The early songs were heavily sample-based and psychedelic, with influences like Burial, μ-ziq, Aphex Twin and other British IDM artists. The sound later evolved to include a more cinematic feel which can be heard on the original “Filmless Soundtrack” LP from 2015. It wasn’t until around this time (2015) that XYLE first discovered synthwave and made his seminal classic “Stargazer,” an album which exploded in popularity and put him on the map. XYLE originally thought synthwave was a joke and Stargazer was made as just that — a complete joke. The film “Flight of The Navigator” from 1986, a childhood favourite, was the main inspiration for the album, with it's space age synths and wild, over-the-top guitar solos. Little did XYLE know that an entire subgenre was beginning to take root in the internet underground and people were hungry for this sound. One day he googled “synthwave radio stations” found NewRetroWave, emailed his songs to them, and the rest is history.
From 2008 to present day XYLE has created several other projects in Ableton including his solo indie rock project "Donna Lynn" (2011), the electronic alt metal project “BOX" (2012), the score for the independent film “Incident at Skey Lane” (2013) and all the music for the introspective web series "Artist Unknown” (2014-2019), plus numerous other freelance musical compositions for clients all over the world. XYLE is also an accomplished graphic designer with 15+ years of experience, hundreds of completed jobs and an extensive online portfolio (including a huge archive of non-XYLE music) which can be found HERE. Additionally, all throughout XYLE’s adult life he’s had an interest in self development programs and motivational speakers and even tried his hand at being a self help guru himself. In 2018 XYLE began posting “XYLE Quick Tips” on his social media. These are short videos where XYLE gives quick and concise life advice in under 1 minute.
Side Note: Check out this 2014 episode of Artist Unknown entitled “Artist in XYLE” — a 49 minute documentary about XYLE in his pre-synthwave days.
XYLE is currently based in Toronto, Canada and continues to write and release music. In 2022 he released a single “The Return from Exile” which can be purchased on Bandcamp or streamed on Spotify. He also released 4 mashups which are available for download free of charge on his Bandcamp page. He presently has new music in the works. XYLE also DJs live on Twitch most Fridays. You can watch the streams HERE. Finally, be sure to check out The XYLE Merch Store with cool products for sale including t-shirts, stickers and more. To visit the store go HERE.