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Interview With Atmospheric Melodic Blackened Doom Dark Folk Exulansis

Can you tell me a little about Exulansis--its origins, band members, and history?

James: Exulansis started in the winter of 2015/16 with Mark Morgan and I jamming as a two piece. We’d practice at the Morgan’s childhood home in Colestin, Oregon right at the edge of the California border. We were very much a black doom grind outfit. We added Alex Grey on bass in the spring of 2016 and played our first show at Club 66 (RIP) in Ashland, Oregon. In May we recorded “Chaos Reigns Demo'' and played our 2nd show with Steaksauce Mustache, Jay Jayle, and Sumac (also at Club 66). We were inactive until October 2017 while I was wildland firefighting in California. We came back for a few shows in fall of 2017 and were getting ready to record our 2nd demo “Cyclical Sentient Struggle''. We were trying to veer away from dissonant caveman riffs and go more in a melodic black doom crust vein. I had envisioned stringed parts and immediately thought of Andrea Morgan. We went up to Portland and recorded “CSS'' in her house with her partner Dave Clark. Her first time practicing with us was in the studio! During this time we had members in Portland, Southern Oregon, and Oakland, California, meeting up once a month for band practice in the Colestin. In late 2017 Andrea got us on a tour with Isenordal and Omens. After the tour we played two more shows in the summer of 2018 before deciding to part ways with our bassist Alex Grey. We were starting to lean heavily into the melodic and folk elements from Andrea’s classical training and my busking background. We played two more shows in late 2018 before turning these collections of songs into what would be our full length “Sequestered Sympathy”. We now are located in Martinez (California), Portland (Oregon), and Oregon City.

exulansis Photo by Tatiana Ray

Where did the name Exulansis come from?

James: I was looking for a name that embodied the project, and we were trying to avoid being pigeon holed into a single genre. Our lyrical content varied from personal, philosophical, to political. I found the word via a meme that was circulating and was like THIS!

Exulansis - The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

I resonated with the idea of not being able to express oneself. At the time I was having a hard time with communication as a person due to addiction and trauma, while being in a toxically masculine career and damaging relationships where I wasn’t heard or understood. It was also the best name we had in the running, so we went with it.

Exulansis doesn’t really sound like any other band to me (which is a good thing). However, occasionally I hear slight resemblances to Wolves In The Throne Room, Dawn Ray’d, and Giant Squid. How would you describe Exulansis’ sound and who are the band’s major influences?

James: I describe our recent album as Atmospheric Melodic Blackened Doom with some Dark Folk songs.

Influences include: Leech, Thou, His Hero is Gone, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Townes Van Zandt, Emma Ruth Rundle, and Elliot Smith

For someone who has never heard the band before, what bands would you say “fans of ______ band will also like Exulansis”?

For Fans Of: Embers, Sangre De Muerdago, Subrosa, Panopticon, Dead to a Dying World, Falls of Rauros, Vradiazei, Fall of Efrafa, Buried Inside

“Sequestered Sympathy” was recorded a bit over a year ago and has been out for over six months now. Can you tell us about that album’s creation and what the reception has been like?

Andrea: When we recorded this album in April of 2019, there was a lot going on personally for each of us, and the process of documenting this music was as intense as it was cathartic. It really brought us together and helped establish our foundation not only as friends and family, but who we are as an ensemble. It was clear after completing this album, that we were in this for the long haul. Our relationships with each other and our ability to communicate musically has continued to grow ever since. The reception of the album has been truly humbling. People from all over the world have reached out to us to express the challenges they were enduring when this music came into their lives, and the catharsis it has brought them. To know that the energy we put into making this music could then be transferred as a form of healing to those receiving it, reminds us of the powerful bond that is forged from unified intention. This exchange makes it all worthwhile and we’re so grateful for that experience.

Exulansis had a west coast tour planned for this month and were scheduled to perform from Tijuana all the way up to Seattle, but those dates were all cancelled due to COVID-19. How else has the pandemic affected the band? Have any new dates/tours been scheduled? Have you written any new material because of the lockdown?

Andrea: Though the three of us have been affected financially from the virus, we are extremely lucky to still have our health. There is not much more we could ask for at this point. We have experienced an outpouring of generosity from fans and fellow artists who have gone out of their way to support us during this time through donations, purchasing our merchandise, and reaching out with uplifting and encouraging messages of love and solidarity. Though we had no choice but to cancel our tour, we have been rescheduled to play at Northwest Terror Fest 2021 and hope we can reschedule some other shows we planned this year as well. In the meantime, already at a significant distance from each other before the pandemic, we have begun using the technology at our fingertips to exchange ideas and begin writing a lot of new material. All of this is helping us stay focused and look towards the future however uncertain it may be right now.

Let’s pretend you can tour any five countries with any two bands. What countries and what bands (and why)?

James: It’s hard to think about. We’re seeing huge ecological recovery from the lack of travel due to the lockdowns. Returning to “normal” will undo all of this progress. But since we are pretending: we’d love to tour Germany, Uruguay, Mexico, the UK, Japan and so many others.

As far as bands, we’d like to tour with: we want to go with bands who have a chill, humble, funny, positive attitude, and who aren’t xenophobes.

What’s your favorite album from 2019? 2020?

2019: Lingua Ignota - Caligula, Abigail Williams - “Walk Beyond the Dark”, Haunter - “Sacramental Death Qualia”
2020: Panopticon/Aerial Ruin - “Split”, Occlith - “Gates, Doorways, & Endings”, Tre Burt - “Caught it From the Rye”

You can pick up Exulansis stuff here. Listen to “Sequestered Sympathy” below.

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