Baring souls: talking Exoaura

Fresh in presence and fresh in sound, US progressive/alternative metal duo Exoaura are beginning to create a stir. Drawing on an array flavours, it is a band with bold imagination and sounds. So with their debut release barely out of its wrapper, we took to exploring this exciting emerging outfit with great thanks to both Lindsey and Adam, delving into the band’s beginnings, musical instincts, that new release and much more…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

We are Lindsey Church (vocals/piano/strings) and Adam Ingram (instrumentation/engineering). We’re a female fronted alternative-metal duo with a twist of soul, from Spokane WA, US.

Lindsey: We’ve been best friends for years and have been writing and performing music together since 2004. We have extremely different tastes in music. I like a lot of soul and R&B, while Adam listens to a lot more prog and rock, but we both have a common love for metal, so we decided to blend our styles and form Exoaura.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so how have those experiences infused within Exoaura?

Lindsey: We were both in the nu-metal band Reflection. It had a wide spectrum of light and melodic, to heavy sounds that we both loved…and some progressive elements, so we brought a lot of that into Exoaura. Also writing and growing as musicians together for so many years, we’ve developed a great chemistry that, from what our fans tell us, can really be felt in what we write.

What inspired the band name?

Adam: We wanted our sounds and band name to represent a concept of being something bigger than the boundaries and limitations that people put on themselves…so, we came up with Exoaura, “exo” meaning outside and “aura” meaning one’s atmosphere.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Lindsey: Exoaura is a new project that we just formed summer of 2016, but the drive regardless of what band I’ve sung in, remains the same. It’s a need for raw self-expression and using that to connect on a deeper level with other people. It’s the freedom that you can only get from your art.

Where has your thoughts and personal direction in music evolved over time?

Lindsey: I think we should always be looking for ways to grow and evolve, so I’ve studied vocals for years. I take what I learn and apply it to my writing. When I increase my range, or learn different styles, it gives me the ability to get a more diverse sound. It’s like getting a new toy to play with and it’s always exciting lol.

Though you are still in your early days as Exoaura, how would you say your sound has evolved to date?

Adam: I’m a gear junkie. I love picking up and experimenting with new sounds, processes and effects. I’ve also been listening to a lot of progressive metal bands and have been incorporating more and more of these kinds of picking techniques in my guitar work.

Is there an organic flow to the movement and exploration of your sound or is it that you deliberately search out new things to try?

Adam: Our evolution has been organic. Whether it’s from finding new bands to listen to, or learning something different from training, our writing flows in new ways with each other from the inspiration we find.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of those inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Lindsey: Absolutely. TesseracT has been a huge influence. Dan Tompkins is an incredible vocalist and I’ve always been blown away by his impeccable technique and range. I had a chance to study with him and he helped me to realize the dynamics of my voice and how to unleash it. So, he’s had a huge impact on how I write.

Is there a particular process to your songwriting?

Adam: Usually, yeah. I’ll boot up one of my writing templates in Cubase, set a tempo then create a groove as a foundation for the mood and energy of the track. After I’ve recorded my instruments I’ll send Lindsey a draft mix where she adds her creative process with orchestral and vocal melodies. Once all the magic is captured I spend quite a bit of time getting a solid mix together then migrate to mastering, getting it spit polished for release.

Where do you generally draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs from?

Lindsey: I’m fascinated by the polarity of love and hate in the world and the interconnectivity between all living things that people feel, but tend to ignore. So, a lot of my lyrics are about that seemingly eternal struggle to break free of that and see things for what they truly are.

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

Our debut self-titled EP will be released on June 30th, 2017. It’s a combination of thought provoking lyrics, melodic grooves, ethereal orchestration and passionate soul.

How about the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Lindsey: The concept relates to the division in society today and that despite how much negativity and hate there is there are people who are strong enough to surpass that.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Adam: We tend to develop our songs in our studio: We’ll have basic ideas and outlines, but once we’re tracking and start to hear the composition come alive, it guides us in which direction the song should go.

Is there a live side to the band yet?

Lindsey: Exoaura is new, so we haven’t started touring yet. But with our past projects, for me it’s the combination of getting lost in the feeling our music, while connecting to the audience so that they can experience the intense emotion that went into writing it. That synergy is just unforgettable.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Adam: Honestly, I think it is far easier now than it has ever been. Regionally speaking, metal is very much alive and kicking in the Pacific Northwest, and we are very fortunate of that. We’re from Spokane, not far from Seattle, one of the largest music scenes in the US and have proximity to a very active music community here. Nationally and further afield, bands have access to social media, digital discovery services and by leveraging analytics/demographics, any band in any genre can find and connect with their target audience. We’re a new band ourselves and even in the past few months we’ve been asked for tour dates from here in the US all the way to Brazil.

…And the internet and social media. How has that impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as some artists seem to almost expect?

Adam: As a DIY artist, social media and digital streaming services are incredibly valuable, nearly mandatory resources. I happen to have a marketing background, which has certainly helped Exoaura’s online presence. The evolution of how music is accessed is something musicians just have to adopt. Each platform and strategy has its own learning curve, sure, but the reward of understanding these tools is far greater.

Once again guys; a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Lindsey: You’re so welcome! Yes, our official release date for our EP is June 30th, 2017. And of course, thank you to all our fans for your love and support! Find us

Explore Exoaura further @

Pete RingMaster 07/07/2017

As You Drown – Rat King

If you get nothing else from listening to Rat King from Swedish death metal band As You Drown you will feel refreshed and lighter from its sonic enema of the senses. With the power of a blast furnace it strips away layers and layers with nine tracks of blistering ferocity to leave behind raw nerves and deeply satisfying numbness. This is not for anyone searching for wistful melodies or delightfully caressing melodies, As You Drown only deal with intensity of the most ferocious kind.

Formed in the fading weeks of 2003 and inspired by the atmosphere and simple structure of original death metal as much as the speed and relentless brutality of the modern evolution of the genre, the band released three demos (named Ethereal) before 2005 and then their debut album Reflection in 2009 after the settlement of the bands current line-up. As with their debut, Rat King finds a release via Metal Blade Records on October 11th and is sure to leave many more wasted but grinning bodies in its wake.  

The album was recorded in April of this year in the band’s own AYD Studio in Borås Sweden and then mixed and mastered by Plec (Watain, Scar Symmetry, Miseration) at Panic Room Studio in Skövde Sweden in July, the result a cascade and of titanic and monstrous riffs and punishing energy that the word ‘intense’ seems barely adequate for.  The album is apparently themed around the medieval German folk phenomena of rat kings and their association with plagues that ravaged European. This is something we without seeing the lyrics will trust them on as with a delivery as crushing and  barbaric as the sound there is never a moment where the vocals of Henrik Blomqvist are clear or remotely understandable. Do not take this as a negative though as it all adds to the impressive and unrelenting effect.

Musically the band is the epitome of raw power, bassist Robert Karlsson and drummer Martin Latvala bringing rhythms and aggression that breaks down any wall before them. From the opening track ‘Conqueror’ they pummel at the senses whilst the guitars of Mikael Åkerström and Simon Exner scythe away chunks of their own. Though not the strongest track on Rat King it is still a great and imposing opening to the album.

As the next track ‘Slaves To The Kingdom Of Fear’ takes over the bar is raised to never dip again throughout the whole release. Steam rolling drums, the incessant guitar battering and consuming guttural growls all grip hard and deeply. The opening two tracks are just the start of an intrusive and dehabilitating assault of sound that never lessens, not that one wants it to.

Each and every track is a beast but the incisive ‘You Should Be Paranoid’, the monstrous  ‘Rabid Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing’ that leaves one feeling like they have been decapitated by the lack of feeling in the skull after it leaves its mark, and ‘The Nothing’ which could not drill deeper if it was powered by a jack hammer, all are devastating attacks on the ear. Equally ferocious and intently vicious they stoke up the most primal feelings that eagerly welcome the assault.

By the time the album ends on the haunting and colossal savagery of the stunning ‘Cleansing Hands’ there is nothing left to give the album apart from a deep breath and to dive back into its evil depths. In truth there is nothing amazingly new about what As You Drown bring within Rat King but rarely is it done with such wonderfully devastating effect. The band has something extra that is hard to define but as it is so satisfying and unrelenting who cares, just enjoy  the punishment.

RingMaster 04/10/2011 Registered & Protected


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