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Interview: POKERFACE - Xen Ritter

Xen Ritter

Xen Ritter

Continuing my tour of the Eastern European metal markets I came across the Russian band Pokerface. This time I was lucky because the group was just preparing to go on a spring tour of the Old Continent. So I got in my dilapidated Punto and went to the nearby Frydek-Mistek. On the occasion of the band's performance in this Czech town, I chatted with its guitarist, Xen Ritter.

How long do you play the guitar?

I play the guitar for ten years, but professionally for maybe four, I think.

You joined the band in 2016. Since then, you recorded one studio album and the recent EP.


For a quite long period of time you were playing as a quartet, but now you have a second guitarist again. Do you prefer playing as a sole guitarist or with the second one you feel more comfortable?

That’s interesting question. Actually, we always had five members in the band. The four piece lineup existed only during one single tour beacuse it was more comfortable for us, for different reasons. But generally we prefer two guitarists on stage beacuse our music just has a better sound then. Some melodic songs that we have on the "The Greatest Storm" EP are able to play only with two guitars, beacuse then they sound better.

Do you prefer playing lead or rhythm parts?

I do not consider myself as a star or something, I am not a poser. What matters is only how the whole band works all together. I don’t like people who act like rockstars.

Currently, you are almost finishing the tour promoting your latest EP, "The Greatest Storm" today you are playing the next-to-last show. Have you had any memorable moments during the tour? Or the funny ones?

XenThe funniest moment was when we were sleeping in a hostel and our second guitarist walked into our room and was shouting that our van is towing away from the parking. We walked away and saw that the car is surrounded by police. We didn’t know what is happening. Actually, the owner of the hostel told us that we can park in front of the gates.

And in which country you experienced the best show during the tour?

In Germany. The show in Frankfurt during that tour was one of the best our shows, I think. There was perfect promotion, perfect sound and lights, there were reporters and photographers and the support band was amazing. Everything was amazing.

You are of German descent, aren’t you?

I was born in Dortmund but I was kidnapped and moved to Moscow when I was a little girl. Actually I don’t even know the German language.

Before the soundcheck we have spoken about your guitars. You prefer Jackson, right?

Yes, I love Jackson guitars, but the Japanese ones. It’s beacuse their sound is the best for me. When I was growing up, on the albums which I listened to I heard these old Jacksons. They were the albums of Sodom and Kreator. Today I use the guitars which allow me to acquire the sound which I always wanted to have. I use a white Randy Rhoads and sometimes a black Kelly which I left at home during this tour. Both are great while I am composing new riffs.

And what about the other equipment? What are the amplifiers that you use? Any crucial effects?

We use ENGLs 530 speakers beacuse they are durable and have a great, a little distorted sound. We use Russian amplifiers beacuse they are cheap and easy to repair. But I think that on the next tour we shall change our equipment a little bit.

I suppose that your newest EP, which you promote now is a prequel to the new full length album, isn’t it?

To be honest, now we think about the next step and should we release LP or another EP. We don’t know it already. But I think that we will make an album this year in Autumn. Maybe a little later. The album can always delay a bit. Generally we have our next release in mind, it would be slightly different than our previous outputs.

You cited Sodom and Kreator as your favorite bands. Do you have any other top ones?

It’s quite strange for a thrasher but I really like Opeth. Also Powerwolf, Cannibal Corpse, Devin Townsend, Eluveitie and maybe Gojira.

Thank you so much for the interview.

Thank you, and I hope to see you at our next shows.

Interview conducted by Patryk Pawelec

Xen & Patryk