Monday 23 May 2016

***EXELAR, THE exclusive interview***

GenresPunk / Hardcore / Screamo / Grind / Noise Rock / Experimental
Related artistsI, Robot, Devola, River Dragon, Nada Sadhana, The Recovery, Achilles' Heel, One, YearoftheMule, Smackdown, The Rules, Turn-Off, Sleepwaker, Top Bunk and Splurge.
CountryNew York USA
Years Active2000-2009
Song: "Firing Squad"
Album: "Witness Relocation Program"
Year: 2004
For fans ofTowers, Reversal Of Man, His Hero Is Gone, A Flower Kollapsed, Louise Cyphre, With Love, C.R., Incurable Complaint, Combatwoundedveteran, Republic Of Dreams, Converge, Rats Into Robots, Universal Order Of Armageddon, Born Against, Phoenix Bodies, Rorschach, Enkephalin, Furnace and Jeromes Dream aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): Peterwalkee Records / Oneohfive Records / Shock Value Records / Plenge / Pogonophobia Records / Strong Ridge
This post's artist is from the March 2016 Mix. This is track #8.
You can download: the May Mix#5 right here or get the new June 2016 Mix#6 here.

This entire interview and review was orchestrated and carried out by Jesse Mowery, my good friend that plays bass in мятеж, does stuff with Van Hagar as well as his solo project Apostles Of Eris.

THE EXELAR are a band I fell in love with immediately once I heard them. Noisy dissonant grinding hardcore that is very political and surprisingly catchy, with no hints of beatdown type breakdowns and very intense vocals from every member. Since getting introduced to this band I have found very few people who know about them, and very little information about them online, so when David asked me to do a review of THE EXELAR I gladly accepted so I could maybe spread this wonderful music out there at least a little bit. I ended up getting in contact with their bassist and he assembled the main lineup of the band to have an internet chat with me, which consisted of two sets of brothers. Jamal couldn’t chip in at the time we did it, but he ended up adding to it afterwards. So give THE EXELAR a listen and continue further down for the interview.


Click )==>here<==( to download the band's complete discography in mp3 form.
2000 - Demo cdrEP

2002 - With Love split 12"LP (same tracks as 'Demo')

2004 - Witness Relocation Program 7"EP

2006 - Early Demonstrations (split w/Towers) 12"LP (same tracks as 'Demo')
2006 - Message From a Moving Target 7"EP

2009 - The Newburgh Conspiracy cdLP


(2004) THE EXELAR - "Witness Relocation Program" (from 'Witness Relocation Program') official music video

(2004) THE EXELAR - "Lines on Paper" (from 'Witness Relocation Program')

(2006) THE EXELAR - "There's Something in the Water" (from 'Early Demonstrations')

(2006) THE EXELAR - "Fallout" (from 'Message From a Moving Target')

(2009) THE EXELAR - "A Perfect Ending" (from 'Newburgh Conspiracy')



Would you want to start by telling me a sort of brief history of the band?
*Puge- Matt & his ex-Devola/I, Robot bandmates started a fake tough guy Long Island hardcore band to play their farewell party from college. I was drafted to play bass.
*Matt- Then it kind of grew from there with Puge and I with another guy from that stupid show. That was in 2000. Then we drafted Jamal to play guitar, the original guy left, and we went through 3-4 guitarists until the last line up. Two sets of brothers playing short songs.

How was the dynamic with having the band consist of brothers? I've always wondered about how it would be playing music with one of my siblings.
*Puge- It's musically rewarding.
*Mike- Feels normal actually. This is the 3rd time I've been in a band with Matt.
*Matt- It's also fine because we were older. If we were kids, touring and writing would have been more challenging, I thought. It makes you closer because you share something outside of the normal family dynamic.
*Puge- (Jamal is gonna look over this and add to it when he gets some time)
*Matt- That's it, he's out of the band.
*Mike- I call lead guitar!
*Matt- Me too.
*Mike- Does calling it not mean anything these days?

So when did you guys stop playing together? Was it a planned thing, or did you guys just stop out of nowhere?
*Mike- After the CR reunion I think? When was that?
*Matt- For me, I live two and a half hours away from Mike (and Puge at the time), it was getting harder and harder to practice.

Oh wow I wanted to go that, what was that 2009/10ish?
*Matt- Yep around then. I had written a bunch of new songs, we practiced once after that show, and then haven't played since (or been in the same room at the same time for that matter).
*Mike- Bandcamp!

I know you guys have been in tons of bands before this one, do you guys have anything going on musically right now?
*Mike- Not in a while no.
*Puge- My current projects are The River Dragon & Nada Sadhana. I'm also producing a 7'' of folk songs for my friend Joe Pollck.
*Mike- I play guitar for my son when he gets cranky. That's about it nowadays.
*Matt- I write when I can, mostly doom and black metal kind of stuff, but I don't get much time to. Haven't touched my drums in a few years (sad face). I try to spend as much time with my family and daughter as I can, so I have a great excuse. Music is always a part of my life (listening to the new Tombs record right now). I wrote a bunch of messed up kids songs for a while, did some solo shows with that. Then I recorded a bunch of covers of thrash and punk lullabies for my daughter using Garageband.

Nice. What were some of the bands that you played shows in? Did you ever do any touring?
*Matt- We did a couple of tours, East Coast and Northeast/Canada. once with Take Down Your Art, once with Towers. Towers was our buddy band. Played together often, Towers and D'Amore.

That's awesome, both of those bands ruled.
*Puge- We got to do a show where we setup next to Towers and traded song for song. One of my favorite shows of ours for sure.
*Matt- One of mine too. Trash talking and mean mugging in Delaware.
*Puge- They got SERVED.
*Matt- Well they ran out of songs, so default winners either way.

That sounds like such a good show. So how did the split with With Love come about? I had never heard of them before that, but I checked out everything else they did and really enjoyed it. Hell I had a hard time even finding out that that split existed since there's very little information online about your band.
*Puge- I think they somehow got a copy of Witness Relocation and approached us on the
*Matt- For some reason, and I mean this in all sincerity, somehow people loved I, Robot and 
a lot of interest in us early on was because people thought The Exelar would sound like that, so that record and the 7", as well as the release of the Towers split, had something to do with me being a member of both bands as I recall. But they did mention hearing some of our material.
*PugeYeah, we definitely rode the coat tails of I, Robot & Devola.*Matt- Not so much one liked that band.
*Mike- I certainly didn't.
*Matt- See?
*Mike- That was a test.
*Matt- I found it kind of funny, because when we played there wasn't much interest in Devola or I, Robot. Then people found out there was a "members of..." band and were curious. Then no one came to see that band either.
*PugeExcept Streetsville , Ontario. The whole town came out for that one.
*Matt- Yeah that was one of my favorites.

Well I'm glad you had something to help get your music out there, because I really really enjoy it. Your music has been kind of hard to pin down with comparisons, and none really are that close. You guys are really dissonant but never have a, say, "bro" vibe, which is funny to me knowing you started off as a joke tough guy band. What was the writing process like?
*Puge- My favorites were written in pieces. Matt would write a riff & I would write a riff. Then we would decide who was on lyrics. But, most of the songs have one author (due to the distance of band mates and time constraints). We would demo them and send out Mp3's before a rehearsal.Matt- Early on it was organic. As a three piece we wrote together, when Jamal came along it was more about "coming to practice with something." Once we moved all over New York it became more of an email band, then put it together in a practicePuge- So far as comparisons or influences I'd say Bad Brains, His hero is gone & Born Against...Oh and Miley Cyrus was and will always be our muse!
*Matt- Tons of late 90's bands influenced us too, but for the most part, while we were in this band, I don't think any of us listened to that much punk or hardcore.

I can hear the influences, but you guys definitely capture something that in my opinion is pretty unique. You guys never sound really dark or evil or metal or whatever, but it is very bleak and foreboding in a way. One thing I really like is the that the lyrics seem to be just as important as the music. I don't see much stuff nowadays that is super political in a non stereotypical punk song kind of way, but even that I don't see much of. What is your view of the current political environment? Some of your lyrics still seem super relevant, which really wasn't that long ago, but so much has happened between then and now. Thoughts?
*Matt- The great thing about us is we NEVER talked politics with each other. Our views of
the world were pretty similar back then. I remember writing the lyrics to the song "Blackface" and was wondering how two black men I was in a band with would react to a white kid from Long Island writing about something foreign to him. But getting to know Puge and Jamal gave me more empathy and understanding of the world around me and their reaction was positive and appreciated. Puge? Oh, and sorry I don't talk politics with anyone (I'm a social studies teacher) so I will leave that part of the question to Mike and Puge.

That's totally fine.
*Mike- I don't think anyone wants to hear me talk about politics.Puge- I think we were writing about issues that were hidden from the public eye. Social media has been a huge help in showing America the direct effects of bigotry and capitalism live on youtube. the song "Message from a moving Target" was written about a protest I walked by at the courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn. There were at least 50 mothers protesting the police officers who had murdered their children and gotten off the hook. This was in 2005. Not much has changed in the last decade. We have a black president. But, the statistics are still the same for black men in the USA. We are filling prisons and funeral homes, not schools or careers. That's funny...The 2 guys I know who read all the presidential biographies have nothing to say.
*Matt- I never can give my opinion in a public forum. Let's just say that this current election may end up defining a generation in a good or bad way.
*Mike- No one wants to actually discuss politics. They want to yell. Act like they're being attacked. Spout talking points and nonsense.Puge- There we go Shaggy!

Yeah it's definitely the strangest political season I've witnessed since I've been alive. Well I don't think I really have much more, anything else you want to add?
*Puge- I think all of the positive things about democracy are being negated by capitalism...
*Mike- I think it's always been that way. This election cycle it's become more and more obvious.
*Matt- When I was a kid I hoped that the music I made would somehow impact people's lives for the better, that someone would find happiness or solace in a song I helped create, That my music would remain relevant. As an adult I'm just glad I had the experiences I've had with the people I've had them with. Being in bands, writing, touring, recording, making shirts, meeting people around the country, that is the most fun anyone could have. Even if kids are in bands that are truly awful, they should try their hardest to do what we did. There is no better way to appreciate or loathe this country then by writing about it and seeing it with your closest friends (or in our case, family).
*Mike- What he said. Goodnight folks.
*Puge- I'd like to say to any younger punks/hardcore kids out there to stay political. Punk is a safe haven from right wing BS. Let's keep it that way! Take a stand for who and what you are. Protect your communivty from neo nazis and bible thumpers.

Awesome! Well thank you so much for your time, it's been great talking to you!
*JamalSorry I couldn't have been with you for this in the moment. But it looks like my brothers have covered things really well. I do want to add that even though we've always been friends with a full time sense of humor in the band, we are very serious people.The band started out because a joke engendered a friendship, but the music couldn't be more serious or heartfelt. We made music from the most sincere places in ourselves. Even though my contributions were mostly musical, I stand by every lyric in every Exelar song as if I'd written them myself. Expressing my anger and frustration on records and stages with people who really understood me made me happy. I don't mean that figuratively. The Exelar was a loud, angry, abrasive band that somehow made me centered and calm and happier than I had ever been before Puge and Matt asked me to play with them. We all have baggage, and we each brought a ton of it to The Exelar. So much of the weight I had been carrying when I started playing this music was made lighter both by writing and playing it. Meeting, creating, and traveling for years with people you know really understand you and support you is profoundly amazing (and hard to put into words). The Exelar was a team. Our goal was to be great friends to each other through being great bandmates for each other. I can't recommend highly enough playing in a band in which you get to be yourself and speak your truth with people who know who you are and love you. It is immeasurably fulfilling and I'll never be able to stress enough how good it was for me.

Interview and review by Jesse Mowery.


THE EXELAR out of print mp3 discography download


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