Artist In Residence: UBOAMeltdown / Shutdown performing The Origin of My Depression / Calm Down

Making her first foray outside of Australia, Xandra Metcalfe who creates under the name UBOA, will be an artist in residence at Roadburn 2024, performing three times across the span of the festival. This uncompromising artist has developed a dedicated underground following (we count ourselves amongst that number), and it’s clear to us that with her star on the ascent, now is the perfect time to showcase her incredible talents and introduce her fully to the Roadburn audience.

Across the three performances, Xandra will demonstrate different facets of her sound as well as revealing more of her personal connection to her creative output using her voice, noise, synths, guitar, drone, and other electronic elements to communicate. Catharsis is the common thread that weaves between these three shows, acting as the overarching theme as she explores rage, sorrow and rest. Inspired by her own experiences with PTSD and neurodivergence. The centrepiece of the residency will be a performance of her disquieting 2019 album, The Origin of My Depression

On Thursday, 18 April, the first set of three will encompass the feeling of rage and overwhelm, and will manifest itself by way of a noise set titled Meltdown. Expect this to be the shortest and most sonically obliterating of the three. The set, which will be exclusive to Roadburn, will represent the release of bottled up rage, an unholy communion of shared release.

Saturday’s performance of The Origin of My Depression will no doubt be highly anticipated by those who are already familiar with Xandra’s work. A collection of songs that has seemingly taken on a life of its own as word spread online after its release – the album has resonated with so many, offering solace and companionship through the fog of sadness. As part of the trilogy of shows, this performance will encapsulate the Shutdown phase and be presented under that subheading.  This will be the first time that the album has been performed live in its entirety – we’re honoured to play host to this special show.

The final piece of the puzzle will be a Sunday set under the heading Calm Down. Being aware of the physical and mental toll of travelling to the other side of the world and performing two challenging and emotionally intense, Xandra is offering up a space for communal healing in the final set of her residency. This finale will comprise a single long-form song performed in an environment tailored towards restoration. This unique set will bring closure to the emotional whirlwind of the residency of this extraordinary artist. 

Of the opportunity to showcase these different elements of her artistry, Xandra comments:
“‘About three years ago, I was diagnosed as being Autistic and ADHD, shortly after the release of my last record, The Origin of My Depression.

“Autism in particular is considered inherently ‘cringe’ and thus not much art about it is out there. Afterwards, I became much happier when I started accepting I was neurodivergent. I started demanding accomodations from the world rather than merely accommodating to the world. I stopped seeing myself as ‘broken’ and rather realised a majority of my trauma comes down to living in an ableist society where disabled people are seen as disposable and subhuman – usually because we are seen as ‘unproductive’ from the perspective of capitalism. Indeed, I also consider my gender and my neurodivergence to be two parts of the same thing – hence I also consider transphobia and ableism to be closely entwined.

“This is why it makes sense to frame the world live premiere of The Origin of My Depression in terms of neurodivergence.

“If it wasn’t clear, the origin of my depression was nothing other seeing myself as ‘broken’ for being autistic, ADHD and trans. The end of it came when I realised I wasn’t alone in feeling this way, and that it wasn’t me that was broken, but the world. And I believe with more awareness and collective struggle, the world can be fixed.”

We couldn’t be more thrilled to present these distinctive and life-affirming sets, and to work alongside an artist so thoughtful and dedicated to their craft. As an artist, she is sometimes hard to pin down, but her constant search for connection through catharsis makes her eternally compelling. Please join us in welcoming Uboa to Roadburn for the very first time. 

– Becky Laverty

Date: April 18 | April 20 | April 21

Time: 17:30 - 18:10 | 17:50 - 18:40 | 22:00 - 23:10

Stage: The Engine Room | Hall of Fame