When Jamie Rose and Paul Michlik teamed up to become SXO two years ago, they were a promising punk duo in a Seattle basement. Cut to two years later, and they are quickly conquering the west coast from their San Diego headquarters, with a killer live show and a new EP, Cats in Heat. Their sound is a glorious hodgepodge of singer/songwriter lyricism and punk power chords, polished off with some synth sampling. They have played close to 100 live shows, and are eagerly preparing a west coast tour come September. They are, to put it simply, a testament to leaps and bounds musicians can make with hard work and dedication backing up their talent.
“I used to be in another band… [but] I wanted to start something new,” Jamie says of her initial work with Paul. “My old band was pop-ish, we had choreography…the raw sounds and distortion [of SXO] could be a reaction to that.” As you listen to an SXO song, it might be hard to imagine Jamie singing pop and doing 8-counts in her head. Her vocals are the epitome of punk – unrestrained with strong, rich tones.
Paul’s sampling balances out her firey vocals, simultaneously creating a force of sound that makes the song whole. “I’m inspired by everything,” Paul explains, which could account for the textured feeling of his sampling. Paul handles the drums, bass, guitar, and keys sampling, while Jamie focuses on lyrics and guitar.
When it’s time to work the crowd, SXO is ready and able to put on a great show. “If you’re paying to see a show,” Jamie reasons, “You want to get your money’s worth.” Paul is quick to add, “We just sort of listen to the music and respond to that.” With the danceable (or rather, thrashable) tracks these two are churning out, it makes perfect sense that the band, as Jamie says, “[Has] a good time, for sure.”
SXO will be playing tonight at San Diego’s Ruby Room, and it promises to be a show you won’t want to miss out! Also, you can catch their EP Cats in Heat on iTunes in August.