When we think about how much good music is out there waiting to be discovered, it can be overwhelming. The mind could easily reel. Not to be too pessimistic, but isn’t an endless journey sort of tiring? However, good music can be a lot like love. There is an unlimited amount of both good music and love in the universe. That’s a reason to feel joy, not have a panic attack.

In this tradition of artists making and listeners finding new and good music, Milwaukee experimental rock trio EXITSTATEMENTS is ready to drop their debut. Released through Triple Eye Industries, the band’s self-titled album will be released on June 7 on all streaming platforms, as well as a limited run on vinyl.

Milwaukee scene vets Owen Stefaniak on bass, drummer Kevin DeMars, and singer/guitarist Scott Lashay have created a sonic landscape that gave at least one listener a sense of head-banging to Alien and Blade Runner. (Tonal abstraction and futureshock vibes will do that to a person.) In advance of the album’s release and the band’s June 8 show at Vivarium, Milwaukee Record spoke with Scott Lashay for his insight.

Milwaukee Record: How long have the three of you been playing together? How did you find each other?

Scott Lashay: We began in spring ’23. Owen and I have been in bands together off and on for many years. Kevin is well-known in Milwaukee for his talents as a great all-around musician. I’d been hoping to convince him to play drums in a band with me for a while. I reached out to him. The demos I showed him must have been alluring enough, although none of the demos are on the album [laughs].

MR: In composing the album, did you jam to find ideas that clicked or was it more like having a good plan and executing it?

SL: This album is a good example of experimentation, collaboration, and playing to each other. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have things in mind, but we relied on each other to get where we ended up. I employed a really flexible approach to my guitar and vocal parts to achieve something more interesting than anything I could have hoped for.

MR: What are the ingredients that go into having a fun and productive time in the studio? Are those the same ingredients that make the final product a satisfying experience?

SL: The recipe seems to change over the years. This one included coffee, patience, resilience, a positive attitude, and teamwork. I recorded and mixed the album and I relied on the guys to do a lot more than just track instruments. It was an intensive process and I think we are all extremely satisfied because of it, so yes!

MR: We got hooked right away by the bass line on the opener, “Letterhead.” It’s gripping, gnarly, trance-y, and it just sets the tone. Is it easier to showcase the rhythm section in a trio as opposed to a larger band?

SL: That’s great to hear! It’s really a matter of balancing multiple elements until we feel like we’ve captured something exciting and fulfilling. Rhythm is one of those cornerstone elements and it’s certainly an intrinsic part of the whole. When it comes to showcasing rhythm, I think it just comes to the forefront organically. Kevin and Owen are such strong players and it just makes sense to lean into that.

MR: The guitar work in both “Drones” and “Step (out of)” feels so rare. We get feelings of future shock and cyborgs having nervous breakdowns. How much time did you spend searching for those irregular sounds?

SL: Thanks! I had some loose textures in mind first. The hard part was making them happen in a somewhat repeatable way. A big inspiration was Chris Rosenau from Collections Of Colonies Of Bees. He utilizes effects in a way that is really exciting to me and he’s been kind enough to show me a thing or two. I think ultimately the effects can fill a tonal space where a really structured guitar part usually is. Not having to always rely on a guitar riff is actually quite nice. It’s like an abstraction. You can feel whatever you are inclined to and no one is telling you otherwise.

MR: When we listen to the album and search for words, we keep coming back to “hauntingly beautiful.” Is that a fair description? What is it about that dynamic that is so enticing?

SL: It’s a fair description if you feel it. There is something about beauty that emerges from the darker and more difficult aspects of life that is enriching and relatable. Once you experience some turbulence in life, you may find even more depth and substance in the ephemeral things that bring you joy. And music can really do that. As soon as you hear that part you love, it’s gone. That’s why I keep coming back.

MR: What are the band’s plans for live shows in support of the album?

SL: The official release show is at the new Pabst Group venue, Vivarium in Milwaukee. It looks beautiful and we are lucky enough to be playing with local gems Immortal Girlfriend and Collections Of Colonies Of Bees. We’ve got another good one August 10 at the lovely establishment, Vendetta in Walker’s Point, with Brian Pennington and Genau.

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About The Author

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Little is known about Nick's personal life, but word on the street is that whatever is going on behind that curtain, it's riveting. You can enjoy his awkward charm by listening to his stories on his Spotify show 'Who Needs More Content.' If you'd rather read, he's got you covered at his blog, iouablogname.blogspot.com. PS, his mighty beard is powered by anxiety and pizza consumption.