Through the Hypnotic Overdubs of EXEK: Interview

A Conversation with EXEK’s Albert Wolski

EXEK is an Australian post-punk band known for their unique and eclectic sound. Formed in Melbourne, the band blends various genres such as punk, trip-hop, RnB, dub, krautrock, and avant-garde. Since their formation, EXEK has released six albums, with the latest, ‘The Map and the Territory,’ released in October 2023 on Foreign Records. Their sound is characterized by dreamy, jazzy explorations and unsettling yet captivating soundscapes, marked by a combination of synths, trumpets, guitars, samples, and intricate rhythms.

Exek ‘s Bandcamp & Instagram

Can you describe what motivates you to create EXEK and what were your initial musical inspirations?

Inspirations were dub, kraut, pop, and post punk. Seemed there was a lot to explore with those sounds. I’m not saying we are doing anything revolutionary, but it’s kinda different than your average rock band. It’s also not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those that discover and get into it, it must scratch a similar itch to mine. 

Do you have any memorable stories from your early days in the Melbourne music scene, and how has it influenced your music?

My memory has unfortunately been clouded over by decades of partying. Nothing really sticks out. It’s just a general satisfaction. It is strange that basically it’s the same old operation, people playing shows in more or less the same venues. But these days it’s a new gen creating most of the action. People that were once integral have now completely disappeared. It’s all good. The action is the juice.

What was your experience working with Castle Face Records for “Advertise Here”? How did this partnership come about?

John Dwyer emailed out of the blue saying he bought a couple of our albums and was digging them. He’s a busy boy so that was cool. Then I asked if he’d be keen to reissue our first album, and then I asked if he’d be keen to release our 5th album. Dealing with CF has always been smooth. 

What’s the significance of the album title “The Map and the Territory”? How does it reflect the themes explored in the album?

The title’s borrowed from a novel by Michel Houellebecq. I was reading it on the last tour, driving around the French countryside, and our drives kept overlapping with the locations set in the book. That was unexpected and definitely amplified the enjoyment from the book. I thought it was a great title too. Something that would sit nicely amongst our other titles.

Could you discuss your approach to recording and how it contributes to the final sound of your music? What role does improvisation play in your writing and recording process?

It’s a long and winding road that begins with tracking hours of drum beats. Then the beats are edited and loops are created. Then bass lines are formed, and more and more overdubs are layered. I tried to keep the ideas kind of raw, so improvisation is important. Pressing the record and not knowing what the plan is. Sometimes there’s magic there. Mistakes are great too. It’s like talking to God. Rehearsing a part, pressing record, and then bollocking it up, only to discover the mistake is better than the original idea. 

How do you manage to blend sound elements from various genres so seamlessly?

I think the bonding glue is the rhythm. If you get the rhythm right, a lot of genres can come together in sweet sweet harmony. 

EXEK interview 2

Your lyrics often blend surrealism with direct commentary. Could you discuss your process for finding this balance?

The balance is analogous to everyone’s everyday life – full of mundanity, but then add in day dreaming, goals and aspirations, and dreams you have at night. 

Have you ever considered scoring for films, and if so, what kind of film would you like to score?

Would love to do a feature length. Recently I did two short films. They will be screening in film festivals shortly. Very happy with how they turned out. They were both very different concepts, and I’m keen to do most genres, though I probably would suck at doing a comedy soundtrack. 

Are there influences or inspirations from other art forms, such as film or literature, that impact your music?

Lot of film. Definitely literature too, as mentioned earlier regarding The Map and the Territory. Also, architecture is important to me and the music/lyrics i write. Travel is a big inspiration too. I spend most of my time daydreaming about being somewhere that I don’t live in. 

Could you share details about any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?

Currently working on LP7. It of course will be the strongest album to date. 

Photos courtesy of EXEK

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by retrofuturista

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