Staving Off Boredom

4 December 2013 | 3:30 am | Lochlan Watt

"I think everyone’s goal with any band basically is to just try and not do things they have done before."

The ride upwards for I Exist has all been fairly swift. 2009 saw the release of the band's first demo, followed in 2010 by an EP and their first album I: A Turn For The Worse. They then signed to Resist Records for second album II: The Dark Passage in 2011, and the Record/Resist 7” in 2012. Now, the six-piece have dropped the numerical thing and unveiled a mighty third album simply titled From Darkness. Amongst all this the band has completed a massive European tour, a trip to New Zealand, and countless Australian tours, including runs with Black Breath, Doomriders, Eyehategod, Shai Hulud and Extortion.

Prolific schedule in mind, is the band one that set out to be this way from the start? “I think so?” answers Osbourne. “[It's] one of the things I have always admired with bands like Melvins and stuff. The bands I was in before I Exist were always really slow with releasing things, and I didn't like that, and everyone liked to put heaps of thought… not that we don't put thought into what we do with I Exist, but sometimes I just think people think about shit too much. The thing for me, and I know it is the same for other members of the band, is that I just get fucking bored playing the same thing all the time. I guess when we started the band the idea was to just be fun and heavy, but as it went along it was like, 'Oh we just did this, so let's just do something new'. I mean, I've already started writing new songs.”

I Exist, while undeniably a stoner/sludge band, still have their roots in hardcore. The influence was displayed much more gratuitous in their earlier works, but perhaps around the middle of their career things got a bit dirtier and slower. Many audiences perhaps weren't sure what to do when the group would go from playing a breakneck hardcore anthem straight into a massive and more gradual explosion of stoner riffs inspired by the likes of such bands as Black Sabbath and Sleep.

“For me, the whole point of this record was to write [something] that fit better into a live setting. I think our first record did that quite well, but maybe the songs weren't as good as they could have been. I thought the last record had really good songs, but the tracks didn't translate to the live performance so well. The idea with this album was to try and make it as playable live as we could, so like every song we could get away with doing live, even if it's a slower, bluesy type song, or a faster hardcore type song.”

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The results speak for themselves. From Darkness is perhaps the group's most cohesive work to date, all the while displaying more influences and stylistic divergences than ever before. The songs seem to breathe with their own identities, all the while without any one song being overly focused in a single aspect of their sound. Captured with precision in the studio of Blood Duster bassist Jason PC, Osbourne explains that the band's relationship with the Aussie metal legend has been in place for some years.

“So far every album we have recorded has been in his presence in one way or another. It's really good. We're all really good friends with him now, we're very comfortable with him now, and we've gotten to the point where we know what we want our records to sound like, he knows what we want our records to sound like, and he's very enthusiastic about trying to get that done. I'm glad we did this album with him – this one was a bit different to how we'd done our other ones,” he says, going on to explain that instead of recording in one chunk, the album was a gradual process done over the course of a month or so, rather than just an intense two week block.

I Exist will play a small run of Australian launch shows to see the year out, but what happens next? “I think everyone's goal with any band basically is to just try and not do things they have done before. We just want to expand on everything we've done. Maybe we'll get the chance to go to America, or to try and go to Europe again and solidify in some people's heads that they should be paying attention to us, and hopefully they'll like us. That's the main goal for this next little while.”