2020 was always supposed to be a transformative year for the duo of Exanimate. Relocating to the Pacific Northwest with the intention of cementing new roots and continuing to hone their craft, the band has managed to navigate the uncertainty of the year by remaining steadfast in their plans.
Rather than sitting idle, wallowing in the world's pause lining-up perfectly with their move, the band has stayed the course with a slue of new music -emerging at an impressive pace. Delivering an EP with Darkness in the spring, then the follow-up with "Mosaic Warfare" a few months later, the band is back at it with their latest in the stand-alone single, "Spirit Decay."
Revisiting such a pivotal time for the duo, the magnitude of being in a new place during the most uncertain of times ultimately led to a weighty track that channels the band's personal adversity, punctuated with a sense of optimism - a reality most listeners really need right about now.
The band's Alec Journey discussed the track and how Exanimate's wide-array of influences are an element the tandem are proud to display.
"Spirit Decay" was the first song the band composed after relocating to Seattle. What was the feeling like at the time and how did it work into the track?
Journey - Honestly it was a combination of excitement and dread. We had just moved across the entire country with cliche dreams of bettering our lives and really diving head first into the scene and establishing ourselves here, only to be met with the brick wall that COVID brought. Alex and I are kinda okay with that though, the obstacles keep us on our toes.
2020 has been a year of turmoil and tension. Does that favor the creative drive of the band or does it make it difficult to focus?
Journey - It definitely goes both ways as I’m sure it does for all artists alike. There has been so much free time and all the means necessary to make the music we’ve always wanted, that we haven’t really had before but at the same time the staleness brings out a lot of internal struggle that naturally gets in the way of the process unfortunately.
There does seem to be an element of optimism in the song. Is it important to counter the bleak side of life with some sense of positivity in these songs?
Journey - We absolutely feel a personal need to keep a slightly brighter edge to our new music, as we just aren’t the angry young dudes we once were. Our music is the only thing that will outlast our life span and we want to really emulate ourselves in it. We’re a couple of the happiest sad folk out there.
There is a myriad of influences that are included in your music. Deathcore, black metal, hardcore - is there ever any worry that kind of variety might overwhelm the audience?
Journey - We like a lot of music. Sticking to one genre style for me makes it incredibly hard to write. Some of our biggest influences aren’t even metal bands, but I think we’ve found a system to coherently blend what were feeling at the time and stay true to the sound we’ve found.
Do you feel like modern heavy music is less genre specific? What bands are blurring those lines and is that something you aspire to?
Journey - Modern metal is absolutely blurring all sorts of genre boundaries and we love it. From bands like Kardashev, who really bring the purest emotion of almost opera standard but also include blaring blast beats and the nastiest grooves to groups like Currents who sound like your favorite metalcore band and deathcore bands combined with the hooks and the structure of their tracks. We think it’s important to keep the genre interesting and to keep finding new ways to add outside influence to metal, even if it’s not necessarily musical.
Stream the KNOTFEST premiere of "Spirit Decay" from Exanimate