A Personal History of Xenat-Ra, by Dave Trenkel

On the surface, Xenat-Ra is like most bands, a bunch of friends getting together semi-regularly in a practice room to make some noise and have fun. What I think sets us apart is the range of material we draw upon for inspiration, and the collective musicianship of the band. We’ve never really set out to create a post-modern fusion of genres, we just play and see where the music takes us. We all share a love for hiphop, both the classic and the modern underground styles, jazz, from classic through soul jazz to the most avant free improv, rock, particularly prog and metal, funk, dub, afrobeat, and are open just about anything else. We hope to do this in a way that is not self-conscious, just trying to challenge our individual and collective musicianship to get to new places.

I’ve played in many bands over the years, some lasting a gig or two, some never even making it that far. Others have toured, recorded and had a regional impact. I feel incredibly lucky to have had some of these musical experiences in this crazy career. Still, Xenat-Ra has to be the most challenging and satisfying musical projects I’ve ever had the honor of sharing.

This post is based on my reflections and memories, and I hope the rest of the band will chime in to give their perspective.


About Xenat-Ra

Monk Metz: words, electronics
Matt Calkins: sax, effects, percussion
Mark France: guitars
Dave Trenkel: keyboards, keyboard bass, laptop, Moog
JD Monroe: drums, turntables, mallets, laptop
Joel Hirsch: percussion, vocals


While many bands claim to be eclectic, Xenat-Ra truly lives it. Based in Corvallis, OR, Xenat-Ra is the result of years of shared musical experiences and a rich sonic vocabulary. Xenat-Ra owes allegiance to no particular genre, borrowing sounds from the fringes of hip hop, jazz, progressive rock, dub, metal and any other style that crosses their path. The sound can be spacious or dense, freely improvised or strictly composed, deeply funky or aggressively atonal, all topped by Monk Metz’ rapid-fire, often surreal, poetry.


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