The musical juggernaut that is Canberra's own I EXIST are getting ready to release their latest album, II: The Broken Passage, following on from last year's I: A Turn For The Worse. I caught up with vocalist Jake Willougby, drummer Simon Murphy and bassist Alex Young, to talk about the new album and recording with Billy Anderson.
Simon told me, “I'd never heard of the guy before, but you know, he produced a few of Aaron's favourite albums.” Aaron Osborne is I Exist's founding member, one of four guitarists involved in the band. “He'd done things like Sleep and Eyehategod, he played in The Melvins for a while. When it was suggested that we get a big name producer, the main names suggested didn't seem to suit. Billy was kind of a dream producer for Aaron, and Graham from Resist got in touch with him and things came together fairly quickly from there.”
The band returned to Goatsound, the studio of Bloodduster's Jason PC, this time with Billy Anderson at the helm. Alex said, “At first, Jason just showed him around the studio, but then when it came to the guitars, that was where his knowledge really came through.”
Featuring up to seven members on the stage, after launching their album later this month, I Exist will take to the road in July alongside Doomriders, including a couple of shows in New Zealand. I Exist have built up a strong following in their short couple of years, based mainly around relentless touring. The band features current and former members of a wide range of Canberra's metal and hardcore acts, most notably Hard Luck, Slowburn, Pod People and many more. These varied influences have all contributed to the sound of I Exist. “I think everyone is adding more to this album. Aaron comes up with the basic structure, and then we add our own ideas. Josh has come out of his shell a lot more on this album, he writes a lot of the leads.”
Since playing their first shows in early 2009, I Exist have gone from strength to strength, already putting out their second album, alongside a Wet & Wild themed split recording with Sydney's Phantoms, as well as a demo and a seven inch. It's been a busy period. The band members I talked to put their progress and their busy schedule down to one thing. “It's definitely due to the huge amount of work that Aaron puts in the band.”
As for the new album Jake told me, “We've kind of moved away from the themes we began with, there are a lot more songs on here that are just based around wizards and dragons. It's not that we're not a serious band, more that we're moving away from the ideas we began with. Prepare for a serious dose of mythical hardcore on an international scale.”
I Exist will be launching II : The Broken Passage on Saturday June 25, at The Basement, with Anchors, Disavow and Loveshy. Sorry, under-agers, this is 18+ only!