XELLE Waves The Red Flag, Supports LGBTQ Russians
By Jason Salerno
The name XELLE has multiple meanings. It represents how the band strives to excel in everything they do: their music, videos, and live shows. The name reflects how they like big things: big voices, big hits, and making a big impact. And it’s a pun on the fact that the girls are not size 0 supermodels. They’re proud of their shapes and love to show off their curves.
The girls came together in a New York City gay bar. It was karaoke night and three strangers – Rony G, JC Cassis and Mimi Imfurst – took the stage to sing “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. The performance was electric, the crowd went wild and the three decided to join forces, under the direction of acclaimed music producer Zach Adam.
In the next two years, the group unleashed a string of popular dance songs and music videos including “Party Girl”, “Queen” and “Hologram”. Their YouTube Channel logged in over 1.2 million views.
Now, they’re back – minus Mimi Imfurst who has decided to pursue a solo career – with a new club song that is very different from their previous tracks. “Red Flag” is a call-to-action, meant to inspire fans to stand up to fiends like Russian President Vladimir Putin who recently signed a new law placing restrictions on the discussion of homosexuality.
The girls are also announcing a new movement (IRaiseARedFlag.com) that encourages everyone who believes in human rights to post videos, pictures and social media updates with the hashtag #IRaiseARedFlag. The goal is to show the global community that anti-LGBT sentiment; behavior and legislation will not be tolerated.
Tell us about your new club song, “Red Flag”.
JC Cassis: It’s about standing up for what you believe in and raising awareness when you see something wrong. Saying something is a red flag means that it is a problem and a warning of something worse that’s coming.
Like the anti-gay atrocities happening in Russia today?
Rony G: What’s happening in Russia with the anti-LGBT crackdown is reminiscent of what happened in Germany before World War II with anti-Semitism. If we don’t stop it now, it will grow, spread and become more severe, leading to hatred, violence and death for thousands or even millions of people.
Should the world boycott the Sochi Olympics?
JC Cassis: We think it would be more impactful if everyone around the world who is against what the Russian government is doing took action by pressuring the Olympic Committee, the sponsors, participants and attendees of the Olympics to make a strong statement of support for the Russian LGBT community and equal rights for all in Russia. The Russian government needs to be made aware that their actions are wrong and unacceptable to the global community and that the Russian LGBT community has allies around the world who will help them stand against injustice.
How does “Red Flag” compare with your previous releases?
Rony G: Our other releases were more about having fun and not taking things too seriously. We like to say our sound combines the sass of TLC with the fun of The Spice Girls and the timeless pop excellence of ABBA. We call our sound megapop, because it’s everything you love about pop music, turned up all the way. But there are some things in life worth getting angry about and taking very seriously, like human rights. “Red Flag” is a political track, but it’s still a great pop song. We’re still XELLE and that means anything we release is going to be full of hot diva vocals, danceable beats, and powerful synth rhythms.
Who are some of your nightlife inspirations?
JC Cassis: Great artists like Madonna and Queen inspire us to be bold and forward thinking, but we are even more influenced by the incredible creativity on display in gay clubs. Drag acts like Acid Betty and Mila Jam are big inspirations because they go all the way with their hair, makeup, performance and fashion. People like them remind us who will be dancing to the songs we make and that we must always make the fiercest songs possible.
What’s something your fans would be surprised to learn about XELLE?
Rony G: Most people probably don’t know that JC went to Harvard University and I served in the Israeli military.
Describe a typical day in the life of XELLE.
JC Cassis: We are constantly shopping on Amazon for wacky props and outfits, working with designers to make incredible looks, rehearsing dance moves till we drop, and, of course, playing shows all over the country.
What’s the ultimate goal?
Rony G: To be a force for positive change in the world.
JC Cassis: We want to be a part of winning equality for all.
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