X Marks the Pedwalk (sometimes written as X-Marks the Pedwalk)) is a German band whose styles range from post-industrial dance to electronic body music. X Marks the Pedwalk's influence in the industrial and electronic music scenes was considerable during the 1990s, as they were one of the first and most popular acts from the now defunct record label, Zoth Ommog.
X Marks the Pedwalk was founded by Sevren Ni-Arb (born André Schmechta, May 13, 1969) in 1987. Schmechta - himself a classically trained musician - became interested in synthesizers at an early age, and found himself part of several bands after he was able to buy his first keyboard at the age of 16. At that time, with influences such as Skinny Puppy, Kraftwerk, and DAF, Schmechta started a band called Scarecrow with his school-mate Regan Eracs (born Jörg Böhme).
Shortly after releasing their first single, 1988's "Black Door", the members of Scarecrow were offered to sign to German DJ Talla 2XLC's new record label, Zoth Ommog. Thereafter, the project name was changed to X Marks the Pedwalk, and both members adopted pseudonyms for themselves.
Schmechta, who did the writing, production, and engineering of all X Marks the Pedwalk tracks, was the only consistent member throughout X Marks the Pedwalk's history. After the release of the first album, Freaks, and then the "Cenotaph" single, Böhme left the band in 1992 to pursue other interests, and Schmechta enlisted the help of his brother Raive Yarx (born Thorsten Schmechta, June 14, 1971).
At this time, Schmechta decided to focus on music as a career, and built T.G.I.F. Studios (an acronym for "Thank God It's Friday!"). Although a new member had arrived, X Marks the Pedwalk's musical style did not change drastically until after the Schmechta brothers' first two efforts together: Human Desolation and The Killing Had Begun. 1995's single "Facer", however, saw the combination of "Techno-Dance and Crossover-Industrial with EBM-elements". The final two X Marks the Pedwalk albums, Meshwork and Drawback, received favorable reactions by many fans within Europe, and thanks to the latter's release by Metropolis Records, helped build an extended fanbase in North America. Some listeners, however, rejected the new sound of X Marks the Pedwalk (see Meshwork).
André Schmechta put aside his work on X Marks the Pedwalk in the late 90's (along with his multitude of side-projects) to concentrate on his family and career. He is married to Stefanie Eckmann (born March 21, 1969) who has contributed vocals to X Marks the Pedwalk under the name Estefania, and has two children: Lennard Christian and Luis Maximilian.
X Marks the Pedwalk returned in late 2009/early 2010 with a new album and single, with live shows in 2010.
The first X Marks the Pedwalk concert was performed in Wiesbaden, Germany on December 16, 1989, where they opened for industrial music artists Vomito Negro. Most live material at that time came from their then just-released single "Arbitrary Execution", and the previously released Scarecrow single "Black Door".
Their first tour throughout Germany began after the release of Freaks, with an additional concert being played in Budapest, Hungary. Three subsequent concert tours throughout Germany occurred again after the release of "Cenotaph", Human Desolation, and The Killing Had Begun. With few exceptions, these live shows took place in Germany.
X Marks the Pedwalk was a band that consisted of two members at a time (secondary members Böhme and Thorsten Schmechta never appeared together on an album with André Schmechta), therefore, they never performed completely live, but rather relied heavily on the incorporation of DAT playback. This was complemented with "live overdubs, drum-effects, lead-melodies, and atmospheres...", and André Schmechta on lead vocals. Estefania did not appear on an X Marks the Pedwalk release until The Killing Had Begun, and never toured live with them.
As of 2004, X Marks the Pedwalk still receives requests to play live, although André Schmechta has said that "at the moment it's impossible to plan a tour or concerts".
Throughout the course of X Marks the Pedwalk's history, André Schemchta especially formed or joined several side projects as a creative outlet for music that had a different sound than X Marks the Pedwalk. This is a list and short description of some of the other ventures taken upon by members of X Marks the Pedwalk.
PAX was a project that was created as the result of a working relationship between André Schemchta and Heiko Daniel. Schmechta, who was producing an album for Daniel, felt that they had "something fascinating, easy, emotional and outstanding." From this, two albums and an EP were born.
Ringtailed Snorter was a solo-project by André Schemchta, the first song of which was written as a tribute to a friend who had died. Ringtailed Snorter differs from X Marks the Pedwalk in its use of "clean structures" and "minimal soundscapes to leave more space in the minds of the audience."
Hyperdex-1-Sect was a one-time collaboration between André and Stefanie Schemchta and Jonathan Sharp of the project New Mind. Their release features remixes by the artists' main projects (X Marks the Pedwalk and New Mind, respectively), as well as a remix by cEvin Key's project, Download.
U-Tek saw the coming together of Alexis Schaar (also known as AL/X/S, former producer for X Marks the Pedwalk) and André Schemchta to form a project that combined Alexis's dance and club music background with Schmechta's EBM background. The duo's second project, A-Head focused less on this interaction and more on creating alternative electro music.
Deluga was a darkwave project by Thorsten Schmechta, Stefanie Schmechta, and Falk Aupers. The project never got past the first demo stage.
Some other projects by André Schemchta included two with wife Stefanie, Viviane and Polyxena, the latter also featuring Heiko Daniel, and Lighthouse with friend Bernd Schöler.