Going back to a question I asked previously about the state of the UK metal music 'scene'. How do you feel the music scene in the UK has evolved since the creation of the band ?                                                                                           Owain:  It's changed a LOT, but there are so many bands coming out now, some of them are for the better, some of them suck. There's always been a flurry of great bands paving the way, I just hope people listen to the good ones


 Due to the rise in illegal downloading over the last five years there has been an influx in availability of free music that's legal to download, how do you think this will affect the music industry as a whole and specifically, the underground music scene as it stands?                                                                                                                                                                                           Owain: Websites like Soundcloud and reverbnation allow bands to get their music out there, and I can't see that as anything but a good thing. I can't poopoo torrent sites either though, due to the rise in the sheer amount of bands making music I use torrent sites as a way of checking out how good an album is before I pay for it. Torrent sites hurt labels more than they hurt bands. If I torrent an album, I'll make sure I at the very least buy a t shirt, as well as buy the album. It's like being given a list of all the football teams in Europe and you've got to decide for yourself who's in the premiere league.


Interesting comparison there, what is it about music in your opinions that makes fans so avid and loyal?                                     Owain: I'm not sure. I would hope that we offer something new. Orchestra and metal isn't new, loads of bands have done that, but I would hope that the "Xerath" style shines through. As well, we cover a lot of bases. You could put us in front of a death metal, black metal, djent, tech metal crowd etc. and I'd like to think we have something to offer.


Do you think there's a decline in 'labelling' metal bands of late or is there still quite a few pigeon holes bands are mercilessly thrown into ?                                                                                                                                                     Owain: There are a hell of a lot of labels attached to metal nowadays. If you call your band "post" anything you're probably a massive dickhead. What is "post metal" or "post hardcore?" It's not a thing, it just means you have more lobe piercings than brain cells. Genres are a great way of describing sound. If you aspire to sound like any particular genre then you've lost from the get go!


Many bands and artists have changed musical styles, target audiences as well as many aesthetic's surrounding the band. Many have the opinion that these bands/artists are 'selling out' or have 'lost their way'. Do you agree ?                             Owain: Depends on the band and how they've changed. 


Nice easy example, Metallica.                                                                                                                                                                        Owain: Metallica are a band I don't believe have sold out, they just got shit. If you've changed your voice or musical sound you've sold out. Off the top of my head I can't think of any. If you compromise your ideals on music for a few extra quid then you've sold out. There are however a few bands who start as sell outs. The Blackout for example. I refuse to believe you're that much of an emo twat from birth! That's got to be the result of a chat with some fuckarse Sony exec! A good friend of mine was the drummer in a metal band, now he's on a tour supporting Cher Lloyd. I'm alright with still being friends; I just won't respect him musically anymore.


 It's a pretty well-known fact that pop music changes with the tides, as different genres of music slip in and out of being popular. What impact do you think the late 90's - early 2000's had on the metal scene as a whole, with bands like Linkin Park and slipknot becoming more popular within the mainstream?                                                                                                                         Owain: They opened up a lot of youngsters to metal, and they definitely made an impact to the industry. Before that you didn't have a lot of options. Suddenly because of softer metal bands like Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park etc suddenly you could like metal AND be one of the cool kids. At the very worst, you could like the obscure SOAD tracks and be the coolest of the "Goths." What a lot of the late 90's long leather jacket wearers don't realise is that there was a whole movement of metal kids moving up alongside them due to bands like "At the gates" and "In Flames" and such like. That said, there was definitely a lot of elitism involved with the aforementioned bands. If you weren't on the "cutting edge" of metal you just weren't "with it". You were either "PANTERA!!!!" or you were "MUDVAYNE" Or you were like "Soilwork!". There weren't a lot of Soilworkers in England. If things weren't bad enough and you were into Immortal then you were REALLY fucked!


It's nearly festival season, can your fans expect to see you at a festival in the UK this year?                                                             Owain: There are a lot of great festivals, but there are a lot of new ones popping up and I'm all for that, but some are going to suffer. There's only so much crowd to go around

We also have the sad news that Jim Marshall has passed, do you anything to say on this?                                                                    Owain: I'm gutted. I grew up on Marshalls and was a long time JCM800 user. I also met Jim briefly in 1999. He's made probably one of the biggest contributions to music next to Les Paul.

Xerath have gone from strength to strength in recent years what can we expect in 2012?                                                                  Owain: We're out on tour a couple of times this year, but I think we're concentrating on writing the third album at the moment. We've re jigged our live set a bit, so I don't think you'll get the same show you saw last year.